Country Programs

 

Guess Who I Met on the Plane?

Posted by WTTech in Namibia, South Africa

Danica Shaw, Georgetown/WorldTeach Namibia Volunteer ’94 and WorldTeach Namibia Field Director ’96-’98, also recounts meeting Nelson Mandela on her way to Namibia to begin volunteer service.   I was sitting alone on the plane, having just met all the other volunteers at JFK. After they cleared dinner, I looked up and a man walked into the main section of the plane. I thought to myself, “Wow – he looks like Mandela.” A split-second later I realized it was him. At that moment I knew that I had made the absolute right choice in coming to work in Namibia, to contribute to this very young nation overcoming apartheid in any small way that I could. I went to high school with…

In Rembrance: Nelson Mandela

Posted by Heather Tang in Namibia, South Africa

Scott Person, WorldTeach Namibia Volunteer ’94, reflects about his encounter with Nelson Mandela on the airplane en route to begin his service.   The 1994 WorldTeach Namibia group, by luck, was on the same plane as Nelson Mandela travelling JFK through Johannesburg. The date was January 3, 1994 (or January 4 as we crossed timezones). Nelson Mandela walked the entire plane for hours speaking with each and every one on the plane.   What is striking: He spent many minutes talking with everyone on the plane who wanted to talk. He smiled the entire time and made everyone feel like he had nothing better to do than to speak with them about whatever was on their minds.   Some of…

The End of a Namibian Year

Posted by Heather Tang in Namibia

Erika Bisbocci is finishing up her year of service in Nambia. She reflects on the diversity of landscapes in Namibia and the town of Ondangwa, where Erika has spent much of her WorldTeach year, that is far from idyllic but has grown on Erika over the past 12 months. Read on to learn about Erika’s perspectives on Ondangwa and Namibia…   The dusty, concrete cities of Ovamboland surely aren’t on many travelers’ lists of must-see places. And, aside from the odd Peace Corps volunteer or independent traveler en-route to Opuwo from Etosha National Park, the endless floodplains of Namibia’s northern region fly largely under the radar.   Granted, there is not much in the country’s northern cities to keep travelers…

Gettling to Know My School

Posted by Heather Tang in China

Madeleine Reeves has been in China since August. She is settling into her host community and school. Read on to learn about her new home and job in China where she will be spending the next year…   So, where have I been living since the end of August? A place called Nanya Middle School (南雅中学 nanya zhongxue). Nanya is a branch of Yali (雅礼 yali), one of the most famous and most competitive schools in the province (and also, I believe, the country). It’s a little difficult for me to get the story straight, as I’ve only been told it in Chinese, but this is what I think happened: Yale University (Yale… Yali…. get it?) came to Hunan over…

“Going Out” in American Samoa

Posted by Heather Tang in American Samoa

Alexandra Savinkina arrived in American Samoa this past summer. She recently participated in a very unique American Samoan tradition that gave new meaning to the idea of “going out” on a Friday night. Read on to learn about her experience…   “Are you going out tonight?” one of the other teachers asked me as we were leaving school on Friday a few weeks ago. A pretty typical question to start off the weekend… except when you’re in Samoa, and it’s one week past the full moon, and “going out” actually means standing out in the middle of the ocean at 2am catching sea worm sperm with a giant net. Of course I was “going out”!     Palolo is a…

Experiencing “Día de los Difuntos” in Ecuador

Posted by Heather Tang in Ecuador

Amanda McCarther is in the second half of her WorldTeach year in Ecuador. This past week, she had the chance to experience the Ecuadorian holiday “Día de los Difuntos”. Amanda saw quickly that this holiday was more than just the Latin American version of Halloween. Read on to learn about this unique holiday and how it is celebrated in Amanda’s community.     Que las almas de los fieles difuntos por la misericordia de Dios descansen en paz.” (May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.)   Today is Dia de los Difuntos. Today we remember the dead.   Most of what I know about this holiday comes from what I learned in…

The Rewards of Discomfort

Posted by Heather Tang in Colombia

Ashley Falcon has been living in Colombia with WorldTeach since January 2013. Last month, she took the time to think back on how she has adapted to being outside her comfort zone in Colombia. Read on to learn how Ashley has seen the uncomfortable aspects of Colombia turn into rich cultural experiences…     The fact is; I enjoy being uncomfortable. It makes me feel alive and free. Some of my best decisions have been on the brink of a meltdown. My entire college career I was uncomfortable working thirty to sixty hours a week with 16 – 20 credit hours. But not only did I succeed but a few times, I made Deans list. What is the point of…

An Unexpected Friend In Tanzania

Posted by WTTech in Tanzania

Leigh Bercaw has been in Tanzania since June. On a recent ferry ride back from Zanzibar, Leigh made an unexpected friend and saw firsthand how we can make connections with individuals who at first appear so different from us. Read on to hear about Leigh’s encounter with a new friend during her time with WorldTeach Tanzania… Sometimes making friends feels like Red Rover and you just got called over, sometimes making friends is as easy as the right person sitting next to you on the ferry and asking you a lot of questions about Barack Obama’s hygiene habits. Today I met Daniel on the way home from Zanzibar. He was really disappointed I didn’t know more about Obama’s daily routine,…

Food & Friendship in American Samoa

Posted by Heather Tang in American Samoa

Matt Hoffman arrived in American Samoa this past July. Read on to learn how he is discovering the culture through sharing meals with his community.   Barbeque, in Samoan terminology, refers to anything except the tangy-smokey-nectar one usually finds slathered on ribs and the like. In Samoa, it’s a verb (not all that different from the states) and noun used as a universal term for grilling, or refers to a teriyaki-esque sauce that goes on EVERYTHING.     My first experience with a Samoan barbeque was at a Samoan friend’s house during orientation, where rugby players procured endless Steinlager (New Zealand beer), chicken, and beef strips. I had already eaten dinner, so of course I ate more. Waves and waves…

Why Are We Here?

Posted by Heather Tang in Namibia

Erika Bisbocci has just finished her second term of teaching at Olukolo school in Namibia. As she graded exams, she took a minute to reflect on the impact that she is making and the value and realities of life abroad.     We came to Namibia for adventure. We wanted to challenge ourselves, to stretch ourselves, to step out of our comfort zones. We came for the personal journey of self-discovery and we came in hope that this year abroad would help us uncover a bit more about ourselves and the path we would like to follow in life.   Ultimately though, we came to Namibia to make an impact.   Though my fellow volunteers and I have different backgrounds,…