My Tanzanian Adventure with Development Perspectives’ Insight. 3

DSC_0094During July 2015 my mind was opened and I began to see the world from a different viewpoint. I travelled to Mwika in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania as part of Development Perspective’s Insight programme.

I am 24 and a primary school teacher from Douglas, Cork. I stumbled across Development Perspectives unintentionally after a friend forwarded an information email about the programme and recommended it to high doh.

Not knowing what I was getting myself into, I ventured to Drogheda to meet the coordinators and to find out more. Insight is a programme run by a Drogheda based NGO called Development Perspectives who strive to implement a Development Education programme which fosters experiential learning and the key skill of critical thinking.

From April to June 2015 we took part in planning and logistics for our overseas phase in Tanzania. It was during this time that I also meet my 11 Irish counterparts that I would be travelling to Africa with. It is wonderful as the participants of this programme come from all walks of life and range diversely in both age and occupation.

I felt immediately comfortable as we flew from Dublin to Dar es Salaam via Dubai. I felt informed about some of the issues facing Tanzania and I had no presumptions. In my mind I was diving into the deep end and I did not know how I would cope.

Upon arrival any qualms I had were immediately alleviated, we transitioned smoothly to Kilimanjaro after a 12 hour bus journey.

Albeit tired, I was ready for whatever the programme had in store!

For 3 weeks we engaged in Action Projects with the local community. Development Perspectives acts through dialogue with the community and assesses what the people need. We were asked by the community to help in the painting of the local school and to help in the creation of brick stoves which would help in preventing deforestation.

To interact and immerse oneself within a community and to feel welcome is an amazing feeling. I learned so much from the experience and by being in the school for several days I had the opportunity to speak with teachers and to compare / contrast education in Tanzania with education in Ireland. The Tanzanian teachers were forward thinking and following modern methodologies however they believed lack of access to technology hindered their progress.

Development Perspectives provide such a structured and concise programme. After our Action Project every morning, we took part in a plethora of activities which were designed to challenge our viewpoints and to consolidate our learning during this journey. We explored some key aspects of Development Education such as poverty, inequality, trade development and development aid.

These workshops were insightful and usually resulted in a lively debate.

We took part in an intensive 4 day Theatre of the Oppressed module which enabled us to come out of our comfort zones and to explore some of the inequality staring us directly in the face in Tanzania. This was a powerful medium and something which had been completely alien to me prior. I found it rewarding and it certainly allowed me to empathize further with the community.

Since I have returned to Ireland, I have had the opportunity to reflect upon my journey to Tanzania. I can undoubtedly say that I have grown as a person and I no longer see Africa as one big country. My eyes have been opened to the diversity of the continent and the warmness of the people.

I begin my Masters of Education in UCC this coming September and this experience will provide a stimulus for further research and discussion. I can truthfully say this is not the end of my journey with Development Education.

I would recommend this programme to anyone looking for inspiration or a personal journey. I promise you Development Perspectives will have you in safe extremely capable hands.

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