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It's not often that an undergraduate gets to carry out his or her own research study from concept all the way to finished product. CIEE Tanzania gives all students this chance. Through an intense research methodology course, students first choose a topic related to community development that they are passionate about. They then learn how to do qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods research. In this course they also learn about ethics, giving back to the research community, and how to write a complete research proposal, including a full literature review and all surveys, interview guides, and focus-group discussion guides they need.

This is where most research methodology courses stop. Here, the students go out into a village homestay for a month and actually conduct their research! They are assigned a Tanzanian research assistant and do everything outlined in their research proposal. 

What an experience!

Here are the titles of some of the final papers/video documentaries submitted by our intrepid students:

  • Gender Inequality and Child Well-being in the Village of Ikaning'ombe
  • The Use of Wild Edible Plants in the Village of Ikaning'ombe, Tanzania
  • Cross-generational Perceptions of Child Marriage in Rural Tanzania
  • Tanzanian Mental Health Policies and Implementation in Igoda Village
  • Folklore Traditions in Ihanu Village
  • Albinism Perceptions in Ihanu Village
  • Aspirations of Orphans versus Non-orphans in the Mufindi District of Tanzania
  • Investigating the Perceptions of Poverty in Ikanga, Tanzania
  • Water Access, Use, and Quality in Relation to Health in the Village of Ikanga
  • Microfinance and Female Empowerment in Rural Tanzania
  • The Daily Life of a Tanzanian Woman: an Ethnography in Luhindo, Tanzania
  • Women's Views of Education: Barriers and Facilitators to Girls' Participation in Secondary School
  • Land Inheritance in Ikanga
  • Barriers and Facilitators to Pediatric HIV Care
  • Perceptions of Criminal Justice in Rural Tanzania

And this is only a tiny selection of the dozens of projects our students have carried out!

As you can see, these studies run across multiple disciplines. Whatever you are studying and are passionate about, you can come up with a research project that will let you dive deep into your discipline.

Here are some pictures from the field to whet your appetite for research in rural Tanzania:






The jewel of our program here in Tanzania is the month-long rural homestay. Our students stay with Tanzanian families in villages located a few hours from the city. They learn to fetch water, cook traditional Hehe food, carry firewood, farm with a hand hoe, play with children, and much, much more. Along with participating in daily life and volunteering for a local non-profit, they also complete a self-designed research project looking at some aspect of development.

Here are some pictures from our latest village stay:



Hike to the Dawn of Mankind

Last weekend we went on a hike to some rock paintings located only 20 minutes from our study center. Experts estimate that they were painted 40,000 years ago. For some of our students it was the first time in local transportation called a daladala. The fare to anywhere in the city is 400 shillings (about 20 cents).



After a 20-minute daladala ride, we started the short hike to the rock. A few curious kids followed us all the way up.






When we got to the top, our guide explained that researchers think the drawings could be up to 40,000 years old. He also told us that they originally thought the pigment was made from animal blood and tree sap, but they recently found that it is actually a naturally occurring red mineral. 








We then hiked a little higher to get a 360-degree view of Iringa and then down. 









What a day!


Guest Post from a Student


Some lessons I have learned in Tanzania  (aka what I’ve mostly learned in the village of Kidete)…

Hello everyone! My name is Delina (Dee) Auciello and I am one of the five girls from the United States who studied abroad in Tanzania this fall semester of 2016. I have done so many incredible things and learned so many incredible lessons here in Tanzania. Everyday brought a new challenges, but also new things to make me smile and laugh about. This is one of the last blog posts on my actual study abroad blog that I wanted to share! (You should check it out:


I wanted to share with everyone a few of these many lessons that I have learned in Tanzania, but mainly in my one month homestay in the rural village of Kidete in the Mufindi District of the Iringa Region in Tanzania. SO without further ado, here we go!!!

You Have to Laugh at Yourself… If there is anything I have learned in Tanzania it is that you have to laugh at yourself. I have made so many mistakes here, so many slip ups, that if I did not learn this along the way it would have been easy to shut this place out. This country is so different, in some of the most amazing ways, but you have to be able to just accept that you are going to make mistakes and laugh about them. From the very first day in Dar when we bought coconuts outside the window of our rafiki roller- I mispronounced the end of the word “kunywa” which means “to drink.” I was trying to the tell the man outside the window “I’m drinking a coconut WOO!” I was so excited and so ready to start speaking Swahili. Little did I know until after I had said “Ninakunwa nazi” instead of “Kunywa.” I told the man that I was pooping coconuts(except like the curse word of poop HAHA). In the village especially this is so very important — my mama here laughs at me all of the time because I think I am doing things right, but I’m really not. We eat everything with our right hand here and its really hard sometimes to eat Ugali or fish with your hands— my mama legit has to open my fish and take the bones out for me every. single. time. we eat fish— she sits next to me and helps me eat— she doesn’t even do this for my four year old host brother!! Of course whenever she is doing this she has tears in her eyes from laughing at me. She has helped me to learn to laugh at myself too, and I think that this has my time in the village to be such a growing experience. If you can’t laugh at yourself then it is going to be hard to really immerse yourself in the culture. I have learned that it is not easy to fully live within another culture— I am going to make mistakes, and that is okay.  Just yesterday the girls and I along with RDO, Justin and Paulo planned a big event at the NGO for World AIDS Day. To give back to the community the girls in the program and I had to present preliminary results of our research COMPLETELY IN SWAHILI. Yes, you heard me right. I was so stressed out and nervous, it took me three hours to write a 6 minute speech. I got up there and my hand would not stop shaking (and I usually like public speaking so this was weird for me). After I finished I thought it went really well! JOKES ON YOU DEE. After I had finished Justin told me that I pronounced ONE LETTER incorrectly in the word “kikundi” which means focus group. I had said “kikundu.” So instead of saying “I had focus group discussions” I accidentally said “I had BUTTCRACK discussions.” YEP. IN FRONT OF 100 TANZANIANS. At first I was a bit upset but then I thought to myself, this is hilarious. Only I would say something like that in Swahili. The village has taught me that if you can’t laugh at yourself along your journey it becomes really easy to be down on yourself and disheartened— just giggle at life and get back in there. You are doing fine.


You have to be open… Oh man, life. You have to be open. Expectations- they dictate our experiences completely. Of course, expectations are a good thing to have a lot of the time, but when you are entering a completely new environment, like the village or when you are traveling and entering different cultures you have to learn to have none. I am flashing back to high school right now, when I would talk about my mission trips to my friends and family. I would always say  “I enter into these experiences with no expectations!!” However, on this trip I learned that sometimes this was not always true for me. For the entirety of the semester leading up to the village I had been thinking about it every single day. I was nervous, I was scared and I had so many expectations. What if my family did not like me? What if I am just not made out for this kind of immersion? … These thoughts loomed in my mind on a daily basis.

 This made me feel sick inside. These expectations. I was scaring myself before I had even gone and given this simple lifestyle a chance. I remember laying in my bed on the very first night  in my homestay and telling myself “I am here. And this is SO different than I expected.”

That was when I realized I had SO many expectations for the village, and this is what was scaring me. That first night I decided and  told myself that this needed to stop— if I was going to jump straight into this experience I needed to let all of those things go and just be open. The village experience for me, opened my eyes up to so many beautiful and challenging situations, people, customs and traditions, and foods. But I tried everything. Every time my mama said she was going to do something I said I was going to do it too (which I kind of feel bad about because I definitely slowed her down)— but I was open and this was important. You have to let go of your expectations if you want to welcome new lessons into your life. This was one of the most beautiful things I learned in Kidete.

Something short: Patience- Have patience. It is hard sometimes being in a completely different culture — you have to have patience in so many situations. Take deep breaths and take it all in. This is so important. The saying I heard the most on this trip was “KARIBU TANZANIA” mainly from Paulo and Justin. Things happen unexpectedly ALL OF THE TIME in Tanzania. We have had power outages for 10 hours the day before our big Research Proposals were due (and of course all of our laptops were dead or had low battery). We did not have any water for the two days before we left for the village, aka impossible to do laundry and ALL of my clothes were so so dirty. It has rained (and I mean POURED) during the day I planned my community giving back (a mural- which does not work well in the rain). Things go unexpectedly all of time, in Tanzania and in life. You have to learn to roll with the punches, have patience and just enjoy the moment you are in.


You have to have faith that it will get done…. Another thing that I learned in Tanzania is that no matter what everything gets done. One of the Peace Corps Volunteers in Iringa, Lauren, came to talk to the girls and I told about her experiences a few months ago. She told us that her catchphrase about Tanzania is “Somehow.” Somehow everything works out, somehow everything gets done. It’ll get done somehow. This is a lesson that I have learned in Tanzania that I think reflects back into life as well. I stress a little more than the average person about school work, about getting everything I need to get done completed— about pretty much everything. Tanzania has taught me that SOMEHOW it will all get done— just keep the faith. In the village, when people did not show up to my focus group discussions on time I was so nervous— but I had to learn to accept that nothing starts on time in Tanzania— my focus groups would always a little late (by a little I mean like 30-45 minutes late). Yet, somehow everyone showed up — somehow all of my focus groups went really great. SOMEHOW - there is no need to stress about everything on your plate. There were days in the village when I had to survey 9 people, write applications for positions at my university back home or for internships, on top of homework and analyzing my research— somehow it all got down. Have faith and keep pushing forward, it'll all get done somehow.

Pole pole pole pole…. Slowly, slowly, slowly. slowly. In Tanz I hiked Kilimanjaro and “pole pole” was the saying on the mountain— you have to go slowly slowly because “haraka haraka hyena baraka” Hurry hurry brings no blessings. This is not only true on Mount Kilimanjaro (you don’t want to get Altitude sickness and have to stop your adventure) but throughout Tanzania as a whole and life. Not to sound cliche but it really is about the journey rather than the destination. On Kili, I spent 5 days trekking to the Roof of Africa — getting to the top was incredible but because of altitude you can only stay up there for 5-10 minutes— the journey on the way up was where I made my friends and where I learned so much about myself— the end was a plus, a great accomplishment, but it was the journey that meant the most, being able to go all that way. In Tanzania everyone goes slowly, walking or not— they don’t rush here. Which is a big change for me coming from New York and a culture where being busy is oftentimes glorified. People here are busy, but they go slow— if they see a friend on the road they always stop (aka why nothing starts on time here in Tanz), but they really care about community and networks and relationships here. Everyone in the village knows everyone and their mother (and their mothers mothers mother haha literally) and it is because they take the time to stop and ask more then just how are you. They ask- how is your home, how is your family, how are you right now, how is your work— and they truly care about your responses and listen. An average Tanzanian conversation on the street starts with 10 different greetings. I have found that in the village going slowly allows you to interact and connect with so many people. Going slowly led me to meet bibis (grandmas- my favorite ladies) as I would walk down the road everyday. These bibis welcomed me into their homes— I was able to (try my best to) converse with them in Swahili. I met so many people in the village going slowly. Go slow, talk to people, take the time to actually ask people how they are doing instead of just the “hey how are you” while you are walking by quickly. Life isn’t a rush, who knows you might meet some pretty incredible individuals (hopefully bibis) along the way.

Don’t be afraid to go off on your own/FOMO (Fear. Of. Missing. Out) - In Tanzania there are only 4 other girls in my program other than myself. Because of this, we are always together and have become so very close. When it came to spring break here, I really wanted to hike Mount Kilimanjaro but the four other girls were all planning on going to Zanzibar. I knew that if I didn’t hike Kili I would look back at my study abroad experience and regret not doing it completely, but I also did not want the other girls to get super close in Zanzibar and then feel left out when we returned. I took a lot of time to think for myself— Kili scared me and it was super expensive, but I could not stop watching videos of peoples journeys on the mountain- I knew I had to do this. It was hard getting on a bus at 6am and traveling for 16 hours by myself to Moshi when no one spoke English, and then not showering for 6 days or being able to talk to anyone- but I do not regret this decision one bit. All of the girls had SO much fun in Zanzibar, but if anything, we became even closer when we returned. I have learned to never let FOMO dictate my decisions and aspirations. Also, isolation. The village is isolation (kind of)— I think that this is what scared me most about the village, I had just spent 24/7 with the girls and now we would be separated in homestays (with the closest person being  30-40 minute walk away) in different villages. This terrified me. But the village isolation, although challenging at times was exactly what I think I needed to delve into the experience— to go out and meet people on my own and to not be afraid of it. To make friends in the village and to become a part of the family. I experienced isolation from the girls in my program, but my family and my village sure did not let me experience isolation. I always had someone by my side— whether it was my host brothers or sister, my cousins, my bibi, or just individuals that I met by walking aorund. I realized that I only experienced isolation from what I had been comfortable with, and this led me to experience community in a whole new way. Isolation (from comfortability) is sometimes a good thing for you to build relationships and to truly be where your feet are.


Read a book, man. When I was little I was a book worm— I spent all of my time in the library with my mom. When it came to high school and college, however, I have so many assignments and so much to read that I stopped reading for myself, completely. Tanzania has taught me to read books— for myself. It helped me to find my love of reading again. This experience in Tanzania has been full of VERY. LONG. rafiki roller rides (our bus/dala dala). All of these rides to places far away could be spent sleeping— but I found myself reading books (shoutout to our mini CIEE library). Like The Secret Life of Bees oh my goodness, incredible (READ IT PEOPLE). It helped me to find my love of literature, I felt like I was in tenth grade English class with my favorite teacher Mr. Madama again. Remember while you are out there adventure to slow down and read a book— it will help you to see the place that you are in with new eyes, a new perspective. Trust me. (Reading books are also great if you are experiencing some culture shock!)

Enjoy the other culture, but also keep up with your own- This is also something that is so important. Enjoy and immerse yourself in the culture you are experiencing, but do not forget to also keep in touch with your family back home. They love you, support you, and are missing you dearly. Sometimes this will make you feel homesick, but other times it is nice to just vent to the people who are always thinking about you. Talk. to. your. family. and. friends. I would have not been able to make it through this semester and the village without them back home supporting me and messaging me and checking up on me everyday.

Also, my so incredibly thankful. My host family (shoutout to the Lutambi’s!!!) WERE INCREDIBLE. They were there for me whenever I needed them, they showed me so much love, and continue to message me and call me everyday. They will make leaving this country very hard.


And… for one of the greatest lessons I have learned in Tanzania:

KARIBU SANA: Welcome, welcome, you are always welcome… If there is anything I have learned in the village it is that you are always welcome. Whether it be Bibi or my Mama — my Baba or my brother Petro— or any random person I encounter, I am always told “Karibu nyumbani” or “Karibu tena!!” “Welcome/come to my home… Welcome back again” I hear this so many times a day. The community here in Tanzania and especially in the village is beautiful— it is a kind of community I have never experienced before. It is a new level of friendliness, love and compassion. Tanzania has welcomed me, it has treated me so well. I have been able to call this place my home, I cannot wait to return again so very soon.


I am so very thankful for this experience, through the challenges, the laughs, the many tears, the fuji (chaos in Swahili), the friendships, the diseases, the many hours at the clinic, the homework, the research, but most importantly the love— upendo. I thank this country, my friends, Justin and Paulo, my professors, my homestay family, and the village of Kidete for a kind of love that I have never experienced before.

Asante sana.

Deelightfully thankful for this experience,

Dee :)

The pictures above are of my host family, my host my little cousin Angel, and my host brother Adam :)


Basket Weaving

The Hehe ethnic group in Iringa is famous for its woven baskets. Women use dry reeds to weave beautiful baskets that are used as containers for everything imaginable. Some baskets are woven so tightly that they are used to drink the locally brewed beer.

Our students spent an afternoon in the heartland of the Hehe people, the village of Kalenga, where they learned how to weave these distinctive baskets.







Orientation in Dar es Salaam

Here are some pictures of our Fall 2014 orientation in Dar.

Paulo teaching Survival Swahili on the beach:


Our diligent students:


Eating lunch:


Sunrise on the last morning before the drive to Iringa:



Long time....

Let's get this blog going again!!!

Starting with the ineffable Paulo, our tireless program coordinator.



Change is in the air ... AGAIN!

Greetings one and all....

Some wise people like to say that the only thing constant is change.  That certainly seems to be the case here at CIEE Tanzania.  In the five short years since we began out here, we've gone through a number of programmatic and staffing changes, all of which have strengthened our program and made us better at what we do!  And our newest staffing changes are no exception.

We are excited to announce that Mr Paulo Kateme has stepped up from his role as our language and cultural trainer to Program Coordinator (aka: the RD's right hand man).  Paulo has been with us for over two years as our multi-level language trainer and cultural expert and he is well into his first semester as Program Coordinator where he consistently proves that he truly is THE MAN! We love Paulo!

IMG_3017Mwalimu, Paulo

I am also excited to announce that I (Jenifa) will be stepping down as CIEE TZ's Resident Director as I embark on new and exciting adventures.  It has been an awesome ride working with so many incredible students, and making connections that will last a life time.  I am grateful for all of the work we have done together and am so proud of this new program that we created.  I plan to continue stalking this program from a distance to keep a close eye on how our new RD takes it to new heights!  

And so, without further ado .... Let us introduce our new Resident Director Justin Beckham (not to be confused with the OTHER Beckham).

Justin is based here in Iringa where he lives with his wife, Sarah and son Juma.  He has been living and working in Tanzania for the past 15 years, the past three in Iringa as a project manager and field coordinator for a Johns Hopkins University research study on the drivers of HIV/AIDs rates in the region. Justin hails from California but was himself a study abroad student in Zanzibar in 1999, and led a group of fellow undergraduates back to Tanzania in 2001. Thus began his study of Swahili, local histories, and his love for the country, leading to a BA in History and African Studies, followed by advanced degrees in history at Yale University and extensive research on the 1964 Zanzibar revolution on Pemba Island. Fluent in Swahili and now conversant in the local Iringa language of Hehe, he's passionate about language and cultural preservation as tools in development.

Justin’s recent work has taken him to every corner of the Iringa Region, and put him in contact with teachers and students at the University of Iringa as well as the dedicated staff at Foxes' NGO, CIEE’s host institution. All his varied work and travel experiences have well prepared Justin for Iringa's Resident Director position. He is excited to share Iringa's wonders, challenges, and opportunities with CIEE students.

JustinJumaJustin and his son, Juma

It is difficult to let go of my baby, but I can't imagine two more qualified leaders to take the helm.

Congratulations Paulo, and welcome Justin!


We've gone viral!


Excursions Excursions Excursions!

Since we've changed our program - so too have our excursions changed.  As our orientation is now one full week in Dar - we have a number of associated excursions on that end; in addition to the ones we have throughout the rest of the semester.  Here's what we got for ya...

Orientation Excursions

Mbudya Island is an uninhabited island in Tanzania, north of the country's (economic) capital city, Dar es Salaam and is one of the four islands of the Dar es Salaam Marine Reserve. The island is reachable by means of a 20 minute motorboat ride from the mainland. 

1229885_10151889583764252_1783024673_nBoat Ride to the Island


379333_10200591079799277_1619785581_nSwahili lesson on the Island

IMG_0384Post-Swahili lunch 

1240650_10151889554444252_1394950672_nPost-lunch kucheza time!

Dar es Salaam City Tour: This day trip includes tours of local craft markets, city center, the bustling fish market, the National Museum, and a visit to the Makumbusho Village Museum.

IMG_0141National Museum



1506048_10152968035601686_130896645_nFish Market



62374_10152968025671686_1857950798_nMakumbusho Village Museum

Cooking with Bibi: “Bibi” is Swahili for ‘grandmother.’ Each semester during orientation students are welcomed into Bibi’s home where she and her extended family teach students how to make a traditional Swahili meal.  We spend the day cooking with Bibi before sitting together for a family meal.




P1110980Chai time

P1070190The bounty

Bagamoyo: During orientation, students take an overnight trip to the historic coastal city of Bagamoyo.  The town was founded at the end of the 18th century and was the original capital of German colonized East Africa, was one of the most important trading ports along the East African coast (spices, ivory, and slaves), and is home to the first Catholic church of German Colonized East Africa. 

Bagamoyo's history has been influenced by Indian and Arab traders, by the German colonial government and by Christian missionaries. The cities ruins and recorded history trace back to the 13th century, and the port city is most well known as being the final destination for the slave trade caravan who were forced onto ships at Bagamoyo’s coast.  The name “Bagamoyo” means to leave one’s heart – which is a reference to those Africans who were forced to leave their hearts here as they boarded cargo ships. 

Picture4Kaole Ruins                                                      First Catholic Church of German Colonized EAfrica

AndrielleThe site where African "rebels" were hanged by German Colonizers

OldfortOld Fort


CoastBagamoyo Coast


Program Excursions


Kalenga Village

Iringa was built during the 1890s by the German Army as a defensive base to be used against the Hehe uprising led by Chief Mkwawa. The fortress and headquarters of Chief Mkwawa was situated in the nearby village of Kalenga.  The Germans managed to attack the Hehe fortress at Kalenga in October 1894 and Chief Mkwawa successfully escaped and engaged in the German forces in guerrilla warfare for a number of years before he committed suicide.

In 1898, after nine years of harassing the Germans in a series of guerrilla skirmishes, Mkwawa was cornered by the German troops, and on realizing that he was about to be arrested, he committed suicide rather than being caught by the colonial German troops. As the German troops advanced, they found him dead and cut off his head which was sent to Germany, and repatriated back to the then Tanganyikan territory in 1954 during British colonialism. Mkwawa’s skull now forms one of the main exhibits in the Mkwawa Memorial Museum at nearby Kalenga village.

Picture5Mwalimu Paulo with Chief Mkwawa's skull

Isimila Stone Age Site: Is the oldest historical Stone Age tool site in Isimila village Iringa region Tanzania. The site located about 20 km from Iringa town along Iringa Mbeya road where tools stone artifacts and bones found in a dry bed that was once a shallow lake.

The stone tools used by ancient people during the early Stone Age period about 300,000 years ago , was discovered in 1951 with other fossil bones including those of related to the modern giraffe. Isimila stone age site preserves important evidence of early hominid activities dating back to over 60,000 ago; the nomadic hunters and collectors used the  shores of an ancient small lake as the place for hunting, though today the lake no longer exist.

The isimila museum presents the ethnographic historical and archeological material from southern highlands of Tanzania purposely to highlight people’s ingenuity as manifested by material culture showing the technological continuity and innovations.

Isimila central valley consists of a deep canyon characterized by imposing pinnacles and erosion towers creating an environment of extraordinary charm.

IMG_0885Isimila Stone Pillars



Picture7wandering along the riverbed

Ruaha National Park: Is the largest national park in Tanzania. It covers an area of about 13,000 square kilometres (5,000 sq mi). It is located in the middle of Tanzania about 130 kilometres (81 mi) from Iringa. The park is part of a more extensive ecosystem, which includes Rungwa Game Reserve, Usangu Game Reserve, and several other protected areas.

The name of the park is derived from the Great Ruaha River, which flows along its south-eastern margin and is the focus for game-viewing. The park can be reached by car via Iringa and there is an airstrip at Msembe, park headquarters.



Matema Beach / Lake Ngozi: Matema is a town in southwestern Tanzania which is primarily a fishing village with some agriculture. It is located on the northern tip of Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi) and is 90 kilometres (straight line distance) south-east of Mbeya

Matema Beach is a beautiful beach on the coast of Lake Nyasa located about 45 km from Kyela town.  This is where German missionaries established a hospital in the late nineteenth century that is still running today. Nearby attractions are the Nakyala ritual cave, Mwalalo falls, and the Lyulilo pottery market. 

Lake Ngozi is the second largest crater lake in Africa. The shimmering green waters of the Ngozi Crater Lake are backed by sloping emerald forests and lush vegetation. Natural waterfalls tumble from the crater rim and into deep and dark plunge pools beneath. Visitors can also trek across the nearby, naturally formed Kiwira Bridge, known locally as the Bridge of God. The air is scented with the sweet taste of wild bananas and the drifting dense leaves of the Rungwe Tea plantations close by.

MatemaMatema Beach

NgoziNgozi Crater Lake