EAST AFRICA GAP DETAILED ITINERARY
IN-COUNTRY ORIENTATION: On Safari in Northern Circuit (Week 1)
Below the majestic ridgeline of Mt. Meru, Arusha’s busy streets and colorful local markets serve as the gateway to the “Northern Circuit” of Tanzania. Here you begin Swahili language classes as your group makes preparations for the safari of a lifetime. From Arusha your bus steers westerly to gradually climb the escarpment of the Rift Valley. You make camp in this dramatic landscape of rolling grasslands and natural cauldrons of the most prized wildlife parks in the world. Safari into the depths of the massive Ngorongoro Crater where some of East Africa’s last black rhinos thrive in the traditional grazing pastures of the Massai people. Catch a glimpse of tree-climbing lions on the edge of Lake Manyara, where soda deposits draw thousands of pink flamingoes to its shallows. Finally, enjoy the large herds of elephant and zebra that graze the baobab tree-dotted landscape of Tarangire National Park.
This exciting start to your journey provides the backdrop for an orientation training designed to prepare you for all aspects of your semester. Together with your group, participate in lectures, discussions, and activities designed to deepen your understanding of the culture, customs and life of rural Tanzania and explore the nuances of sustainable development and responsible volunteerism.
SERVICE, TEACHING & INDEPENDENT PROJECTS: (Weeks 2-11)
Group Service Project (3 weeks): Dive into the rural, picturesque and traditional villages of Tanzania through service with your group. While living in pairs with host families, you work together in the spirit of harambee to build, paint, or remodel a community center, playground, or school classroom. You can expect to work hard on the project while enjoying the company of community members who work eagerly alongside you. In the afternoons and evenings, spend time learning Swahili with your new friends and family or initiating secondary projects such as building school desks, planting trees, painting a mural, or starting a soccer tournament. Prepare for your teaching placement in the latter half of the program by observing and assisting teachers in the local school and even teaching a few of your own lessons.
Mid-Program Break: Mt Meru (1 week): For a week-long excursion, your group will choose to climb part of the spectacular Mt. Meru, a volcanic crater with exhilarating views. At 14,980 feet, it is the second highest peak in Tanzania and is a steady presence in the landscape of your homestay village. Stay overnight in huts located on the mountain before descending back down into your host community. You’ll also have the opportunity to visit the amazing United African Alliance Community Center for more of an educational and arts twist to your group’s adventure. Spend two days engaged in workshops and classes with the children at the UAACC creating music, art, games, and conversation together.
Teaching & Independent Projects (6 weeks, Tanzania): Continue your East African immersion experience in Tanzania. You and one fellow intern move into your own host community to teach at a local school and live together with a host family. Depending upon your skills and interests and the school’s needs, you may teach math, English, science, or social ethics. Your in-country director visits you weekly to provide ideas, strategies and ongoing support. In your downtime, spend an afternoon conversing with the village chief, making ugali with your host mother, drinking a chai in the local duka, or gathering water from the community well. Initiate an Independent Project such as volunteering at a local health clinic, working with a women’s cooperative, building a playground, starting environmental initiatives, or running a sports or arts camp.
FINAL TRAVEL: Zanzibar (Week 12)
Final Travel, Zanzibar, Tanzania: Spend your final days together as a group in Zanzibar, an important port along East Africa’s 19th century slave trading route and the birthplace of Swahili, the language created specifically for trade between the Bantu tribes of the archipelago and Arabian traders. Explore the ornate architecture and mysterious cobbled-alleyways of Stone Town and tour a working spice plantation. Relax on remote sandy beaches, snorkel, and sail by dhow, a traditional wooden fishing boat. In this spectacular setting, you and your group begin the important process of debriefing your contributions and discoveries, evaluating the program, and preparing to come home.