Tag Archives: Tanzania

Tanzania – Service Learning – by Paul Schulzetenberg. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Tanzania – Service Learning – by Paul Schulzetenberg. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Editor’s Note: Many thanks to photographer Adam Bridge for the permission to use his photos for photos # 1 and 4.

That might be kilograms?

That might be kilograms?

[Photo #1 caption: Me with Emanueli, the head baker. He was telling me how much flour I needed to weigh out.]

During the “service learning” part of the trip, several other students, a professor, the photographer, and I were sent to the Chipole monastary. We remained in Chipole for two weeks participating in service learning as well as getting to know the people we came into contact with. For this report, I would like to discuss the concept a service learning a bit and some thoughts about my own experience with service learning and my current perspective.

I was thinking about this a lot while I was there and questioning what exactly I was doing and what the point of this trip was. What does service learning mean? We had discussed this prior to going to Tanzania; however, what was really bothering me was that I did not know what service I would be providing, or if it would be useful to them. For one, I was not providing any sort of unique or specialized service that they lacked. For instance, I was not a nurse, so I could not help much in the dispensary. In fact, I was completely uneducated with regards to most of the tasks that they did, and they were actually teaching me, which I had no problem with by the way. That is a part of service learning: learning through participating in their way of life. What I was really pondering was if I was actually doing them more of a disservice by being there because they had to “train me in” per say, but maybe that is the point. I kept questioning myself and wondering if I was providing services in order to simply broaden my view of the world (a potentially selfish endeavor), or if I was actually positively contributing to their life. I did not want to have a job in which my contribution was unhelpful and was not up to par with their standards. The point was not to “feel good” about what I did, but to feel as though I am contributing positively in some aspect of their life.

Photo #2

[Photo #2 caption: Cakes getting ready to be baked. We had to make the batter, grease the pans, and pour the batter into them. I spent a lot of time at this table doing a wide variety of tasks.]

It is important to mention I fully recognized I was not there to impose my will on to them nor was I there to “teach” them; I was there to learn through service. I always tried to keep in mind that just because I do things differently than they do does not make my way correct or better than theirs. It is easy to get into that mindset sometimes, and the more I kept that in mind, the more I learned. I was there to experience how they do things and what their methods are. The issue that I was running against, however, was if the service I was providing to them was actually beneficial or if it was a hindrance to them. I had no intention of trying to “teach them my ways;” I just wished I had more to offer other than my willingness to work and a functioning body to perform tasks.

For instance, a majority of my time was spent in the monastery bakery learning how to bake various sorts of breads, cakes, and cookies. It was a great experience, and I have some awesome memories as a result. However, the baker, Emanueli and the other workers (mostly postulates), had to take time out of their workday to teach me how to make the various types of dough and batter, and to teach me proper techniques in cutting and kneading the bread. As mentioned previously, I was always worried that I would mess something up or do something wrong. I did not want them to have redo the process because I did it wrong. Not to mention all the time spent trying to communicate as a result of the language barrier. I was completely clueless when it came to making baked goods and what the proper techniques were. Emanueli was extremely patient and one of the friendliest people that I met while I was there. I am very grateful for getting to know him and who he is as a person. I was learning their methods, and I had a lot of fun doing it. However, my contribution was simply a helping hand, and I sincerely hope that I was helpful.

Photo #3

[Photo #3 caption: This is one of the machines used for mixing. All their machines were huge and for making large amount of batter and dough. I believe most of the machinery was either made in Germany or Switzerland.]

Now, there is another side to this that I had pondered while I was there albeit a bit incompletely fleshed out. Perhaps it is not necessarily the “product” that my service provides, but the human interaction and cross-cultural connections that result from it. In other words, it is not that I am literally providing a physical service that contributes to their well-being in obvious ways. Perhaps, it has more to do with the gesture and my willingness to learn about their way of life. I do not want to say that I was “breaking down” cultural stereotypes through individual interaction. I simply mean that I think by showing that I was interested in how they do things as well as my willingness to participate and learn, it allowed for a level of communication that may be of some significance for both individuals involved. The baker was able to learn about my way of life and my beliefs to some degree, and I was able to learn a great deal about his. I showed interest in his craft, and thought of him as a teacher. Regardless, working in the bakery was a great experience. I spent a lot of time trying to communicate with Emanueli as he knew very little English and I knew very little Swahili. This was a lot of fun. Apart from the language barrier, we were able to learn about each other through hand motions and fragmented sentences.

Photo #4

[Photo #4 caption: Professor Schuettler and I at work in bakery. We were cutting small strips of dough that we then fried in sunflower oil. The machine that flattened the dough was a lot of fun to use once we got the hang of it.]

Overall, I would personally say that service learning was more of a “selfish” endeavor for me. I got to learn about a different way of life and see how they view the world, but I do not feel like I benefitted anyone. Is this a bad thing? Well, that is what I was struggling with over the course of the trip. I am sure as I think about it more, I may come up with new reasons and ideas, but that has been my general conclusion. I recognize the complexity of the situation, and that is why I think I struggle with what I interpret service learning to be. I recognize the disparities in wealth, the lack of sufficient medical care, the need for more schools, and various other social difficulties that are experienced by the people of Tanzania. With this in mind, I wonder what exactly my impact could be amidst such a broad and complex system of issues. I did not go there to fix anything; I went there to learn, and maybe I should accept my experience at face value. It was learning experience, which provided me with a true experience through my own eyes.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In five semesters we have published 200 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. We are sponsored by St. Scholastica’s Department of History and Politics and by the scholarly Middle Ground Journal: World History and Global Studies (http://theMiddleGroundJournal.org).

For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Tanzania – The First Week of a Month Long Experience — The North Star Reports – by Paul Schulzetenberg. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

Tanzania – The First Week of a Month Long Experience — The North Star Reports – by Paul Schulzetenberg. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

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[Photo 1: The bed I was given on arrival. The pink net is not only stylish, but keeps out mosquitos. This was my bed for the first few days.]

It’s easy to speculate about a place, and build assumptions based on what is heard on the news or read on the internet, but to actually go there and experience their way of life provides one with something much more vivid. This past summer, I traveled to Tanzania for a service learning trip through St. Scholastica. I knew very little about Tanzania, and most of the information I did know was broad generalizations about what Africa might be like, which is an extremely narrow view considering the amount of countries within Africa, and the variable “cultures” due to past historical experiences (e.g. colonialism, tribal feuds, politics, etc.). While I was only there for a month, I got to see a large portion of Tanzania, which greatly enhanced my perspective.

PaulOne2

[Photo 2: The entrance to main lobby of the hostel we stayed at.]

The trip itself was considered a service trip. The College of St. Scholastica has two sister monasteries there: one in Chipole, and the other in Imiliwaha. There were fourteen of us total: eleven students, two faculty members, and a photographer. The plan was for the group to split in half, so six went to Imiliwaha and five went to Chipole. The photographer stayed at Chipole for half of the time, and then went to Imiliwaha for the other half.

PaulOne3

[Photo 3: A decent image of the inner city of Dar Es Salaam. I chose not to take too many pictures while in the city.]

Before the actual service part, however, we did some touring of Tanzania. We got to see several different parts of the country, which also allowed us to experience multiple different aspects of their way of life. This ranged from the more rural areas to much more urban areas and places that were in between both. I found this to be an extremely valuable aspect to the experience because my understanding of their way of life was broadened and shaped by seeing these different aspects rather than just seeing one, which could potentially lead to a false or biased view. We initially stayed in Dar es Salaam, which is the capital of Tanzania. It is considered one of the more urban areas with paved roads, tall buildings, a more prominent business sector, and other aspects. However, from the cities that I have experienced, this was much different. It’s definitely more chaotic than any city I had experienced. Traffic was unbelievable, which could be explained by their lack of street signs, lights, and maybe just their worldview in general. One instance that exemplifies this was when we had driven out of the main part of Dar to go to a beach resort, and we were trying to get back before dinner. Dinner started at 7:30pm, so we gave ourselves about one hour, which is how long the trip should actually take. It took us more than two hours to get back, and we ended up being late to dinner. Luckily, we were able to eat even though we missed the actual dinnertime.

PaulOne4

[Photo 4: The bricks, which were made by hand, that will be used to build the Sr. Gaudencia’s school.]

We remained in Dar for a day or two before doing any touring, and stayed in a compound. I call it a compound because that is the most fitting description. The building was surrounded by a wall, and the only way to get in was through a gate, which was controlled by either guards (as was the case in Dar) or hired workers who I believe were stationed there 24/7. This seemed to be a common theme in all the places we stayed at, which I found interesting. A lot of the schools were also walled off. This phenomenon, from my own understanding, is a result of fear of theft and vandalism. One example was the boarding school run by the sisters in Chipole. They were trying to build a wall surrounding the school because there had been multiples cases of people sneaking into the rooms of the students and stealing their possessions. Walled off houses also represents that persons economic status. Having the ability to wall off one’s property is a luxury that many in Tanzania do not have. Regardless, this compound in Dar was essentially our home base for the first two weeks. It is important to mention that we were not “struggling” by any means. We had easy access to water, there was always food to eat, running water was available (showers, sink, and toilet), and we even had access to Wi-Fi (which was more common than I was expecting). I want to point this out because this is not a reality for many Tanzanians, and which probably skewed my experience whether I consciously noticed it or not.

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[Photo 5: Where the sisters stay, which is a little ways behind the area where school will be built. Most of the trees in this picture are fruit trees, which exemplify their capacity of self-sustainment.]

In these first two weeks, we would travel to various places, sometimes stay there over night, and then come back to the compound before going somewhere else. First, we went to Bagamoyo, and on the way there we went to another area on the way to see Sr. Gaudencia’s (who attended CSS and received her Masters in Education) site of her new school for children with learning and physical disabilities. The school will be the one the first or the first to do cater to children with disabilities. Here goal is to start with a kindergarten, and as she gets more money, and move incrementally to each grade. People with disabilities are extremely underrepresented in Tanzania, which probably stems from a multitude of factors.

After this, we were on the way to Bagamoyo. Historically, Bagamoyo was the original capital of Tanzania, but the capital was moved to Dar es Salaam. It was an important trading port particularly as a major slave port during the colonization of the area by Germany. We were able to go down the port and see all the ships as well as the fish market. Next, we went to the island of Zanzibar. TO BE CONTINUED…

Paul Schulzetenberg serves as The North Star Reports Assistant Editor and is a student at The College of St. Scholastica

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal’s online learning community and outreach program with undergraduate and K-12 classes around the world. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

The North Star Reports publishes edited essays from our students, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Students have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, Colombia, Norway, northeastern China, Nicaragua, Micronesia, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, El Salvador, England, Finland, Russia, Cyprus, and Haiti. We also publish student reviews of books, documentaries, and films, and analysis of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches, and report on their interactions with the North Star Reports students and teachers. We thank The Department of History and Politics and the School of Arts and Letters of The College of St. Scholastica for their generous financial support for The North Star Reports and The Middle Ground Journal.

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Tanzania, Kenya, United States, Europe — on being quadrilingual — The North Star Reports, sponsored by The Middle Ground Journal. By Eli Megahan

A

Tanzania, Kenya, United States, Europe — on being quadrilingual — The North Star Reports, sponsored by The Middle Ground Journal. By Eli Megahan

Being quadrilingual means that much of my education in language has come from being self-motivated and self-taught. A common misconception is that I’ve learned to speak English, Kiswahili, Setswana and Kalanga in attempts to appear more worldly or cultured. I don’t speak four languages out of a desire to be worldly, but out of necessity. At one stage in my life I was quite envious of those for whom one language is enough. Now, however, I embrace my need to speak four languages.

To this very day I can vaguely remember the orphanage. At seventeen months and sixteen pounds I did not like the look or feel of the world; I found it too visually unappealing for my liking, too upright, twisted and evil for me to invest any hopes in it. Thus, my initial enthusiasm for literature stemmed from a desire to see the world, not as it was, but rather as I believed it ought to have been.

My first seven years were spent in Mwanza, Tanzania, my motherland. The first language I learned to speak was, naturally, Kiswahili. It was the only language spoken both at home and at school. I found that academia, particularly literature, came naturally to me. My peers wrote words, I wrote sentences. While they read paragraphs, I read books. My teacher was so impressed with my progress that she suggested I be promoted to Standard Three to which my mother agreed. Although I did exceptionally well academically, socially I struggled. Being in a classroom with classmates who were three to five years my senior proved challenging. They interacted in a way I was not accustomed to and used a vernacular completely foreign to me. It was a miserable existence.

B

At the age of eight, I left Mwanza and relocated to rural Kenya where I remained for several years. It did not take long for me to become proficient in the local language, Samburu. Although unaware of the fact prior to relocating, we found that Samburu was far from an ideal place to spend one’s childhood. The quality of education was poor as a majority of teachers were uneducated themselves. Furthermore, Samburu was in the midst of a violent war against several neighbors. It was not uncommon to dodge bullets and explosives to and from school. Rather than being anxiety-ridden, my friends and I turned it into a game; whoever could run home the fastest and remain unscathed was crowned victor. Whilst living in Samburu, I was presented with the opportunity to study abroad in the United States of America. I entered a government-sponsored program meant to improve fluency in the English language, a language of which I spoke only three words: ‘hello’ and ‘thank you.’ Prior to this opportunity I had never had a reason to learn English. Whilst my parents were English-speaking Americans, they spoke both Kiswahili and Samburu fluently; the reasons to learn English had simply never presented themselves. Motivated, however, I continued to attend the local village school during the day and made an effort to study in the evenings. Like running water and motor vehicles, electricity was a nonentity in the community of Ngilai. I spent much of my time by a kerosene lantern reading books and newspaper articles I had purchased on bimonthly excursions to Nairobi. Slowly but surely, I saw my hard work and determination come to fruition.

I found works written in English to be of a more fantastical nature. Unlike the dry textbooks and news articles available to me in Kiswahili and Samburu, English literature transported me to lands of which I knew nothing. Favorites ranged from the Maurice Sendak classic Where the Wild Things Are to Lois Lowry’s The Giver. These works provided a means of envisioning an alternate reality for myself, one in which I did not fear for my life.

Nine years ago, I first set foot in the United States of America. I remember very clearly the day the airplane tickets arrived. My mother and I sat at the foot of my bed staring at the bits of paper in joyous disbelief. That night I slept in an empty bedroom knowing that my next sleep would be in a different country. This feeling is one that remains as clear to me as if it happened last night. Knowing that with my hands, eyes, and heart I possessed the power to not only open a book, but the ability to make sense of the letters on any given page brought me more joy than I had ever imagined. I fancied myself something bulletproof, something that could not and would not be broken.

C

I found the schooling environment in Duncanville, Texas to be starkly different from what I had grown accustomed to. In both Tanzania and Kenya, pupils did not speak until spoken to, we did not take our seats until invited to do so. This meant that should the stars have not aligned for an instructor on any given day, there was the chance we would remain standing for a two-hour class period. When a member of the staff, prefect body, or janitorial department approached in the corridors, students were expected to stop walking, align themselves with the left side of the wall and wait for the higher-up to pass, only going about their business once the superior was no longer in sight. We were not rewarded for achieving an A grade; it was expected that we did so. Three consecutive B grades in any given subject would result in suspension. It took me all of the two years I spent in Duncanville, Texas to become accustomed to this example of the American educational system. A system in which the pupils seemed to be handed free rein, in which they barked back at teachers, lashed out at fellow classmates, and openly displayed little to no concern or desire for academic excellence.

Although I had perfected the American accent, I had not learned conversational sentence structure or colloquial vocabulary. Much of my speech sounded derived from a textbook. At the time this frustrated me to no end, but in hindsight, this was quite humorous. While peers were perplexed, teachers and other figures of authority were impressed more often than not.

Following a year in Duncanville, now thirteen years old, I found myself in Francistown, Botswana. As with Kiswahili, I became fluent in both Setswana and Kalanga in little time. I attended a school which was one of two high schools and the only private institution in the country. At John Mackenzie Secondary School I specialized in Accounting, Art, Business Studies, English Literature, English Language and History. Although these courses developed my analytical and theoretical skills while simultaneously challenging my more creative side, I struggled to think of an occupation that would marry all these loves.

Although I finished high school in two years, at fifteen years I was deemed too young to attend university. Uncertain as to what it was I wanted to study, I traveled for three years with Botswana as a base. I studied in France, Italy, Australia, and Hawaii. Through these travels I discovered that media communications was my calling. The very prospect of exploring the field in-depth excited me. Ultimately, I reasoned that pursuing higher education would provide me with the experience and knowledge I needed to become employed in the Advertising and Marketing industry, which remains my goal. I applied to Webster University, a university well known for its Advertising program, and am currently enrolled in the School of Communications as an Advertising and Marketing Communications major.

To this day I am not completely confident in my ability to articulate thoughts and emotions in the English language. I choose words wisely, all the while in silent prayer, terrified my words will be misunderstood or misconstrued. It is a feeling likely to stay with me for the remainder of my existence. I remind myself I am far better off than I was and that somehow my dreams have already broken the boundaries of my fears.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to contribute to The North Star Reports — HLIANG@CSS.EDU

For all of the North Star Reports, see http://NorthStarReports.org

The North Star Reports: The Middle Ground Journal’s collaborative outreach program with K-12 classes around the world. We acknowledge North Star Academy of Duluth, Minnesota as our inaugural partner school, and the flagship of our K-12 outreach program. We also welcome Duluth East High School and other schools around the world. The North Star Reports has flourished since 2012. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

The North Star Reports will share brief dispatches from our student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Student interns have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches, and report on their interactions with the North Star Reports students and teachers.

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA

(c) 2012-present The Middle Ground Journal. See Submission Guidelines page for the journal’s not-for-profit educational open-access policy.

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The North Star Project, 2013-2014 Report Number Eleven — St. Agnes Monastery, Chipole, Tanzania, by Carolyn Cornelius

The North Star Project, 2013-2014 Report Number Eleven — St. Agnes Monastery, Chipole, Tanzania, by Carolyn Cornelius

July 11, 2013

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The sisters are extraordinary.  We are in Chipole, Tanzania at St. Agnes Monastery.  Yesterday we had a most beautiful picnic at their dam, built by Robert Fuchs and finished in 2005.  Before the electricity was given through generators and was therefore spotty and used very sparingly.  Robert died later that same year the dam was finished and is buried (though a native Swiss man) in their honored cemetery and is loved and remembered dearly by the sisters.  We walked home, about nine kilometers, and as the group naturally spread apart throughout the stroll, Brea and I ended up the lucky ones alongside Sister Jane (pronounced phonetically).  She talked about her childhood a bit, as walking brought back memories for her.  The conversation made her smile from ear-to-ear and very proud.  She said there were no cars in her village and so walking was her only mode-of-transportation.  Those she lived alongside would carry heavy loads on their heads and travel far distances.  Water was five kilometers distance and she would carry a very large bucket of water atop her less-than 5 foot frame.  Sr. Jane now has a choice in how to get from place to place as the monastery owns two vehicles, but often she continues to choose to walk.  Sr. Jane is also a beautiful and powerful singer with the best ululating I’ve heard yet!  Brea and I were trying to follow her in a simple song, “Asante, asante sana,” (thank you, thank you very much) and couldn’t land the right notes to save our lives.  She kept expressing “I love to sing!”  The world is a better place for it.  We also talked about all that she gave up to live a life completely devoted to God and doing His work.  That has been SO evident.  I have never in my life seen a community so selfless and so many women completely devoted to serving.  They serve and love earnestly their Lord, each other, their community and guests.  The nuns wake up at five AM and from dawn to dusk they pray, praise, serve and work.  What a blessing to be amongst them all.

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For all of the North Star Project 2013-2014 Reports, see https://mgjnorthstarproject.wordpress.com/

For all of the North Star Project 2013 Summer Reports, see http://www2.css.edu/app/depts/HIS/historyjournal/index.cfm?cat=10

The North Star Project: Collaboration between The Middle Ground Journal Student Interns, The College of St. Scholastica, and North Star Academy 8th Grade Global Studies Classes, 2013-2014 School Year Reports.

Under the leadership of our North Star host teachers and student interns, The North Star Project has flourished for two years. For a brief summary, please see a recent article in the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Having re-tooled and re-designed the collaborative program, we are drawing on the experience of our veteran student interns, ideas from our host teachers, and new projects provided by our incoming student interns. This school year The Middle Ground Journal will share brief dispatches from our North Star Project student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. As of the time of this report we have confirmed student interns who will be reporting from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions of current events from around the world.  We will post their brief dispatches here, and report on their interactions with the North Star students and teachers throughout the school year.

Hong-Ming Liang, Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA, 2013-2014 School Year

(c) 2013 The Middle Ground Journal, Number 7, Fall, 2013. See Submission Guidelines page for the journal’s not-for-profit educational open-access policy.

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The North Star Project, 2013-2014 Report Number Four — Zanzibar, Tanzania, Carolyn Cornelius

The North Star Project, 2013-2014 Report Number Four — Zanzibar, Tanzania, Carolyn Cornelius

My name is Carolyn Cornelius and I am in my senior year as a nursing student at The College of St. Scholastica.  This summer I was given the incredible opportunity to travel to Tanzania in East-Central Africa.  The school’s monastery has a sister monastery there.  One of the nursing instructors, Sister Beverly, has made seven trips to St. Agnes monastery in Tanzania each time with a group of college students.  Our purpose was to both serve and learn.  We worked in their primary and secondary schools, orphanage, kitchen and dispensary and learned a great deal from their incredible hearts and culture.  We spent two weeks of the trip at the monastery and two weeks traveling around Tanzania.  We visited Dar Es Salaam, Zanzibar, Mount Kilimanjaro, Moshi, and enjoyed safaris in Tarangire National Park, the Serengeti, and Ngorongoro Crater.  Wow!  What an experience.  Here are a few days in my life in Africa.
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July 4, 2013

Today we spent in Stone Town, Zanzibar.  To get here a ferry needs to be taken from Dar Es Salaam that rides waves across the Indian ocean for about two hours.  Zanzibar had been the hub of slavery for Arab countries in the 19th and even illegally into the 20th century.  Arabic influence is still very obvious in the city.  It is somewhere around a 98% Muslim population and displays a beautiful, intricately detailed, white building that used to function as their Sultan’s palace.  The door on the palace is extremely large as the size of doors were a sign of wealth and therefore, in the city, it was law that no door exceeded the size of the Sultan’s.  Looking at the size of it, I presume that was a pretty easy law to abide by.  There was a catholic church in Stone Town that was the start of tours focused on the slave trade.  Anglican Cathedral was built after slave trade was outlawed atop the site where the slave market had taken place.  The intention was to offer a place for freed slaves.  The altar took the place of the whipping tree, the place where the strength of slaves was shown by whipping them.  If they didn’t cry, prices went up.  Inside the cathedral is a small cross made of wood with the figure of Jesus on it.  The cross is made from the tree under which Dr. Livingstone’s heart lies in Zambia, Africa.  Dr. Livingstone is regarded as a hero throughout Tanzania and was always spoken of with honor and respect.  He was a Christian missionary from the UK, but his legacy was left in his determination to help end slave trade.  Our tour guide was a  marvelous teacher who spoke very well of such a dark, dark history.  He told us that men, women and children were captured only on the interior of Africa, never on Zanzibar itself, chained by the neck and walked, sometimes hundreds of miles.  Many people were left for dead along the way.  Bagamoyo was a holding port for those so brutally captured and then they were brought to the island of Zanzibar.  Zanzibar was easily accessible by sea to Arab countries.  The people were stuffed into holding cells until the day of the market.  We went into the cells, which had low ceilings, were nearly completely below ground, and separated into two sides, one for women and children and the other for men.  The one we went into was near a river that used to rise (I assume with the tide).  Water would wash into a small window on one side, rush across the holding cells and out another small window.  This mechanism was used to wash the waste of the many people piled upon concrete ledges.  On market day, those so recently stripped of all their freedoms, their home and family, were sold as slaves.  I asked our tour guide how the relationship between native Africans and Arabs was today.  He looked at me and told me he was native and his wife was Arabic and that love and respect is the relationship today.  It was a very humbling thing to hear.  That was something I noticed throughout Tanzania.   There could be a Muslim woman dressed in her burka standing next to a Christian nun standing next to a Maasai woman standing next to a “new age” college woman dressed in jeans with braided hair and there would be no sign of judgment of one another or focus on their differences.  All seemed to respect the other completely.  Tanzania is a wonderful place.
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For all of the North Star Project 2013-2014 Reports, see https://mgjnorthstarproject.wordpress.com/

For all of the North Star Project 2013 Summer Reports, see http://www2.css.edu/app/depts/HIS/historyjournal/index.cfm?cat=10

The North Star Project: Collaboration between The Middle Ground Journal Student Interns, The College of St. Scholastica, and North Star Academy 8th Grade Global Studies Classes, 2013-2014 School Year Reports.

Under the leadership of our North Star host teachers and student interns, The North Star Project has flourished for two years. For a brief summary, please see a recent article in the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Having re-tooled and re-designed the collaborative program, we are drawing on the experience of our veteran student interns, ideas from our host teachers, and new projects provided by our incoming student interns. This school year The Middle Ground Journal will share brief dispatches from our North Star Project student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. As of the time of this report we have confirmed student interns who will be reporting from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions of current events from around the world.  We will post their brief dispatches here, and report on their interactions with the North Star students and teachers throughout the school year.

Hong-Ming Liang, Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA, 2013-2014 School Year

(c) 2013 The Middle Ground Journal, Number 7, Fall, 2013. See Submission Guidelines page for the journal’s not-for-profit educational open-access policy.

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