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On my journey from Stonetown to Matamwe, many thoughts went through my head. I was
anxious, curious and slightly reserved. During the journey, I took in the beautiful nature that
Zanzibar has to offer and I was utterly astounded by the alluring greenery that took many
different forms. Being of East African Indian origin; this was not my first time in East Africa,
so I thought I knew exactly what to expect… oh how I was wrong! Arriving in Matemwe and
seeing mud huts, small wood-made shops and medium-sized cement arrangements was
not only a culture shock; but also a privilege shock. Despite this; the people of Matemwe
are some of the most grateful, joyful and happiest people I have ever met, which inspired
me to take their attitude toward life and apply it to mine.
What pleasantly caught me by surprise from the moment I started volunteering in the school
was the cultural attitude that everyone had towards teachers. Growing up in The West; I
always felt as though the general attitude towards teachers was that it is not a very hard or
important job and thus teachers are not respected greatly – I always felt this was unfair as
teachers are the ones who shape the future! In Tamani; I definitely felt like teachers were
given the respect and accolade that they deserve – from standing up and greeting the
teacher when they walk in; to always attentively listening to the teachers’ explanations and
instructions. The kids absolutely admire and adore their teachers, and this is how it should
I learnt so much in my month at Tamani, from both staff and students. Seeing how much time
and effort people like Teacher Zahra dedicate to the school inspired me to use my time for the
better. Seeing how level-headed Teacher Rahma is when dealing with complicated
student-related matters taught me to always try to understand the perspective of others. Seeing
how dedicated Teacher Alisha is to ensure that learning is fun for the kids taught me to not
necessarily do what is easiest for you; but to do what is best.
I would absolutely love to go back to Tamani one day. Every single person made me feel at
home and until I return I will continue to miss it! There will always Matemwe shaped stamp
tattoo on my heart.