Field Hockey's Shannon Regan spent a month in Tanzania, spending most of her days at a construction site helping build a school. Here is the second of three blogs that tells about her trip.
Second Week: May 19-26
The second week we continued work. One day, I visited the school to help teach English. It’s an Islam community so we had to wear long skirts and shirts that covered our shoulders. Everyone in the school was so eager to learn and so grateful that we were there to help them. Most of the kids didn’t have shoes. Seeing the kids and locals survive in such poverty and still be so happy really touched me. It makes one think about their life and how lucky we are to have the things we do. The kids always wanted us to play with them and swing them around. They loved having their picture taken because most of them had never seen themselves before. After a week of volunteering, we had two days off. Our first day off we swam with dolphins in the wild, went to a monkey forest, and visited Stone town which is the biggest city in Zanzibar. On our second day we sailed to the island of Mnemba and snorkeled. After two days off we got right back into working again. We were getting a lot done, much more than anyone had expected. At the end of the second week we left our home in Zanzibar. It was hard saying goodbye to everyone on the island because became very close with all of the locals and staff that we met at our hostel. Although saying goodbye was hard, we knew that the work we did in those two weeks made a world of a difference for their community. On our last night we had a bonfire with our village where we made smores, sang campfire songs, and danced around the bonfire. It was a great way to end the first leg of our trip. Zanzibar was such a beautiful place. The people were so welcoming, they just wanted to make us feel safe and at home. Everyone on the streets would say hello and ask us how we were. I never felt like I wasn’t safe. It was hands down the best experience of my life and really changed my outlook on everything. I realized what’s really important in life. It made me realize what I want to do once I graduate; help people. I would love to go back to Tanzania and continue the work that’s been started. I loved seeing the kids’ faces when we brought them a piece of gum, or the look in the parents’ eyes when they saw the school they will eventually send their children to. It is something I will cherish forever.
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