Written by Lee Marcus, TSF Intern from UPenn
Mambo from Iringa!
As we walked off of the plane and through the gangway in Dar es Salaam, signs read, “Karibuni,” welcoming those visiting the country, and welcoming back those who live here.
We obtained our visas, were admitted into the country, and met by Joseph Ignas just outside the airport. “Karibu,” he said, and was surprised when I responded “Asante,” a word I had learned just hours before, my first use of Swahili. We were welcomed at the Blue Pearl, where we stayed overnight, welcomed onto the bus that took us on a ten-hour journey from Dar to Iringa.
As we disembarked the bus, two more people met us, the first faces that smiled at us in Iringa. Rashid, Headmaster of Ummu Salama Primary School, exclaimed, “Karibu,” and introduced us to others who also welcomed us. We settled into our new home, dropped off our belongings, and went to Sai Villa, where we were welcomed for a tasty meal.
Over the past few days we have met with many individuals. An organization called Global Outreach runs two computer labs that are accessible to eleven schools in the Iringa Region, including Lugalo. The Tanzanians who worked there welcomed us into their labs and showed us everything they have to offer. “Karibu,” we were told before we entered each room of their facility. “Karibu,” said a professor at Ruaha University who helped us find a space for the technology training camp that begins on Monday. “Karibu,” said the secondary school headmaster at Lugalo. “Karibu,” said the Deputy Head Master at Ummu Salama.
Never in my life have I felt respected at the level of sincerity that I have experienced in Iringa. I am more than excited for the opportunity to lead a technology camp that supports students in Iringa. On Monday, I will, too, say “Karibuni,” welcoming TSF’s students into our classroom, and our lives, just as so many have so kindly welcomed us into theirs.