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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


CIEE Tanzania – Extreme Makeover Edition

If you’ve been snooping around our website, you may have noticed that our Tanzania program is changing.  As Resident Director, and one of the masterminds behind our new program design – I can’t tell you how excited I am to introduce you to our new program.

First of all, why are we changing?  Over the semesters we've noticed that the Tanzania program attracts a certain caliber of student - those who want to make positive changes in the world. Our new program allows students to take on academic coursework and to get their hands and feet dirty in the name of service.

So, without further ado … here is an introductory snapshot of the new and improved CIEE Tanzania program!

Where are we going?

1Iringa is located in the Southern Highlands, about 500KM Southwest of Dar es Salaam, and is conveniently situation between two game parks (Mikumi and Ruaha).  It’s more of a small town than a big city, having a population of around 120,000 compared to Dar’s 4million!  The weather in Iringa is mild, and as an added bonus it is a beautiful region.


Where You'll Study3

Students will undertake seven weeks of intensive coursework at the University of Iringa; a small, private university located on the outskirts of Iringa Town.  All participants will be required to take Kiswahili, Field Research Seminar, and Managing Community Development Programs – plus an additional two elective courses.  Check out the full course selection here:

Applying Classroom Learning to the Project Area

The seven-week intensive academic component is designed to arm students with relevant theoretical frameworks which will continually be explored during your four-week rural stay.   During the mandatory rural stay component not only will academic study and intensive Kiswahili lessons continue – but students will work directly with a community-based NGO where you will critically examine topics surrounding current health, social welfare, community-based development, and program management issues in theory and practice.  

 Where is the Rural Stay?

 About a three to four hour drive from Iringa town (depending on the season) on some serious bush roads, you’ll find yourself winding through some pretty spectacular chai fields..


... eventually the project area comes into view …

What Sort of Projects Make up the Project Area?

Also known as, what kind of things might you find yourself working on??  Here are just a few of the initiatives going on …

One of my favorites is the sewing school, Threads of Hope.


Here, young ladies and gentlemen are funding their way through school, becoming skilled and innovative tailors, and gaining business sense.

Each student is assigned a sewing machine to use as their own while they go through the tailoring program; upon successful completion of the program each student is gifted that machine so they can start their own business. What a great idea!

Care and Treatment Center


The project area includes a clinic which designates two days a week to CTC day (care and treatment) for people living with HIV.  Students will assist in patient registration, recording the distribution of medicines, and going on home visits to check on community members who have a positive HIV status, but who may be too sick to make it to the clinic for treatment. 

Igoda Children's Village

A series of six houses broken down by age group, the Children’s Village is a safe haven for orphans and vulnerable children from 0-18 years.  The Children’s Village duplicates regular village life in which young residents take on the same day to day responsibilities of their peers in the village – instilling in them a sense of community and responsibility, making their eventual transition back into the outlying community as smooth as possible. 12a


As I mentioned above, this is not an extensive list of projects going on at the NGO – but just a few that you may find yourself involved with during your four weeks in the village. 

Where Will You Live while you're in the village???

The NGO takes on many many international students and volunteers across a variety of sectors and fields of study; and will be providing CIEE students with group housing – like this one….



We are very excited about our partnership with the University of Iringa and the Foxes' NGO. Please contact Iris Michaud with any programmatic questions:

For more information on Foxes NGO, check out their FB page:

And their Youtube page:





Interning for-credit

Students who study with CIEE in Tanzania have the option to enroll in our for-credit internship program.  Doing an internship for-credit means that students will be assigned to one of our partner organizations where they will complete at least 130 contact hours at their respective internship sites, and they will attend a supplemental research-based course (facilitated by the Resident Director).  As a requirement of this course, students will complete an original research paper that will be based on either their specific internship site, or the sector to which the student has been assigned (health, education, development, etc..)

As RD, I have been making a concerted effort to sniff out new and engaging internship sites for our students, and this semester I dare say we have the most stellar internship program to date.

Have a read below to see who our students are working with this Spring...

Muhimbili National Hospital; Children’s Cancer Ward (Tumaini La Maisha: Hope for Life)

Muhimbili National Hospital is one of two cancer treatment facilities in the entire country, and this is our second semester interning with Muhimbili’s “Tumaini La Maisha” project. The Irish-run,Tumaini La Maisha was established in 2011 and is the first and only NGO dedicated to improving the wellbeing of children with cancer in Tanzania by providing non-clinical services such as a school, a play therapy program, and a family support program.

Students who intern with this program often work with TLM's school program (tutoring long-term ward residents in math and English), as well as working with the younger children through play therapy. Our student who interned here in the Fall semester wrote an excellent paper on the case of Cancer in Tanzania.  This paper has been circulated to Tumaini's project managers, and to our Spring semester students who are interning with this project.

TUmainiTanzania Breast Cancer Foundation

This is CIEE’s first semester interning with the Breast Cancer Foundation.  We became linked with this organzation late last semester when one of our students who was interning with the Muhimbili project sought out the founder of the Breast Cancer Foundation to complete her required research paper for the for-credit internship class.  The Foundation is in desperate need of volunteers and we are very happy to be working with them this semester. This worked out particularly perfect this semester as the student who has been placed here expressed a specific interest in Breast Cancer.  He and the Founder are extremely happy to have connected with one another.


Ghomme Girls’ Secondary Boarding School

This is CIEE’s first semester interning with Ghomme Secondary; and this is a site that was discovered by an incoming student this semester. Sarah was put in touch with the founder of this school through a connection of hers back home. The school’s founder, Mr Malangalila has been working in Education through the World Bank for nearly 20 years. Malangalila started this school several years ago and is happy to have Sarah interning here. It is our goal to have Sarah implement an after school mentorship program in which older students work with their younger counterparts in an effort encourage the younger students to reach their full potential.


Wonder Workshop

This is our third semester interning with The Wonder Workshop (formerly Wonder Welders). The Wonder Workshop is a creative organization in Dar Es Salaam creating hip recycled art. It employs 42 Tanzanian men and women, the majority of whom live with a physical disability. Disabilities are common in Tanzania and many affected persons are forced to beg on the streets to survive; institutions and organizations which offer employment to people with disabilities are still very rare in Tanzania. These skilled artisans create a large variety of welded art (from safari animals to abstract art) using scrap metal, a wide range of stationaries made from sundried recycled paper, beautiful jewelry from recycled glass and bottles, soap and candles from natural oils, household items from used bottles as well as wooden toys from reclaimed and left over Tanzanian wood. The Wonder Workshop is very well known in Dar and throughout Tanzania.

CIEE students work with Wonder Workshop artisans to improve their English so that they can speak with the many guests who come through the workshop. There are numerous work stations and processes involved with creating these products, and many guests go on tours of the facilities to see how these items are made. It is the wish of the workshop employees to have the ability to explain their work to their visitors (some of whom are quite important!)



Veternary Primary School

 Veternary is an ongoing internship site, one which usually proves to be one of the more challenging sites we have – this is because of the commute involved with reaching this site.  Veternary is technically not that far from the campus, but when it comes to taking public transportation and fighting traffic, students find that they must start their trip very early.

Students who intern here either co-teach with a veteran teacher, or are assigned their own class to run.  This also proves to be an interesting site when it comes to the for-credit internship research project as Veternary is a living, breathing example of the overcrowding of Tanzania’s public school system.

 (pictured below)

  1. CIEE students get a tour of the primary school grounds. CIEE’s second semester student, Ife Madzimoyo joined us on this trip as she interned at Veternary last semester. This was a wonderful opportunity for her to come back and greet her former students.
  2. Poking our head into one of the classrooms, we are enthusiastically greeted by a group of excited children.

P1120078 - Copy

P1120080 - Copy


We're very excited this semester to see how these experiences shape up for our students, and for those whom we aim to serve.

Remember, if you are considering our program and you wish to do an internship for-credit, you must receive prior approval from your home university.  If you are unable to do the internship for-credit, I am happy to connect you to other volunteer and community engagement activities - afterall, I'm a dirty hippie at heart.


this post was brought to you by CIEE Tanzania's barefoot Resident Director, Jenny Venecek



"Mikono" is the Swahili word for 'hands' ... and this past weekend CIEE TZ students got their mikono dirty with our favorite Bibi (grandmother). Bibi is very large and ancient Kenyan-born woman living in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania with her extended family in a home that she clearly reigns over. Bibi's home is a glimpse of traditional communal living and a taste of village life in a big city.

Here bibi's mikono show us how to get milk from a coconut in order to make coconut riceMikonoBibi and her posse of robust women are kind enough to welcome CIEE students into her home each semester so that we can learn from them in both language and culture - and in the process we prepare a huge traditional Swahili feast together...and subsequently eat ourselves into a food coma.

...with Bibi's guidance, Lydia and Jin Bo learn how to roll out chapati...Picture1

everybody pitches in...











...and working side by side with Bibi's family, things get busy...P1120038

When students aren't lending an mkono, they are busy making a spectacle of themselves with the crowd of curious children... P1120037

P1110948 - Copy


Sarah gets amkia'd (greeted) by our favorite little one, Nasra...













...and of course, you can't be welcomed into someone's home without being offered chai ....P1110980

We remain humbly grateful to Bibi and her extended family each semester as they continue to show us true Tanzanian hospitality. This is always a favorite cultural activity for our students - and one in which students see first hand that while Tanzania may be patriarchal, it truly is the women who are the backbone of this society.

 Watching Bibi orchestrate this show from her chair, while her daughters work diligently under her command is a sight to behold; and one that time after time demands our respect. 

Asante sana Bibi, na asanteni sana wadada ... tunawashukuru kila mara tunapofika kwenu. Mbarikiwe mpaka tunaonana tena.


this post was brought to you by CIEE TZ's friendly Resident Directory, Jenny Venecek


Getting ready!

IMG_0322 - CopyAnxiously awaiting / preparing for our incoming students.  The next chapter begins, 20 January 2013.  Stay tuned....


CIEE Tanzania - going off the beaten path

Here at CIEE Tanzania we take our students on safari each semester, and this RD is making it a point to explore the lesser known, equally beautiful, and less (humanly) populated parks than those found on the popular circuits.

Tanzania has twelve national parks, and seven game reserves; the most well-known being those in the Northern Circuit (Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, and Kilimanjaro National Park).  The majority of safari goers coming to Tanzania plan their trips in the popular Northern Circuit where they can choose their own adventure from rugged camps to luxury hotels and hot air balloons over the park. 

While the Northern Parks are unquestionably beautiful, they are also very popular and thus heavily populated with seemingly more Land Rovers than animals - safari guides communicate to each other with walkie talkies and you can find yourself chasing herds of Toyotas in search of simba. 

TrafficSerengeti in the high season

We at CIEE TZ have just returned from a beautiful safari in Tanzania’s Ruaha National Park. Next to Serengeti National Park, Ruaha takes the title of being the largest National Park in Tanzania It covers a massive area of 23,000km² and is located in Southwest Tanzania.

Ruaha Map

To reach the park one must take a scenic, but bumpy, dirt road from Iringa town for about an hour or so before arriving at the gate.

1The road to Ruaha...

Ruaha is considered one of Tanzania's wildest national parks and as it is one of the lesser visited in the country, it remains isolated, peaceful and unspoilt in its wilderness.

The parks gets its name from the Great Ruaha River (the main park feature) which rises in the swamps to the south and sweeps north and eastward through the park. Its deep pools, gorges and swirling rapids make for excellent fishing. The River features a large number of hippos and crocodiles. 

2Hippos in the water, a crocodile on the sand bank, and some giraffes in the distance

Ruaha is also famous for its abundance of elephants (which we saw plenty of!) – having the highest population of any East African National park.

3Ran into these straight out of the gate

We managed to see everything on this trip, and we were free to explore the vast wilderness at our own pace while getting very up close and personal with the animals. 

What we didn’t see on this trip were herds of Land Rovers. 


Enjoy these pictures from our trip… and get inspired to come visit! ...and in the meantime find more information on Tanzania’s National Parks at the TZ parks official website:

 P1110309 - Copy

CIEE students checking out twiga (giraffe) 

P1110294 - Copy 4 P1110396 - Copy - CopyCIEE Student getting freakishly close to Mr Simba


532116_10200231930060758_1219504000_nNo Safari is complete without a beautiful African sunset


As always this post was brought to you by CIEE TZ's friendly Resident Director - Jenny Venecek (and her assistant Mtega)59165_10200231926940680_200892384_n




CIEE Tanzania’s Newest Addition – Internshiply Speaking

Ask anyone who knows even a little bit about Sub Saharan Africa what the biggest public health crisis in the region are and the first answers you will hear will undoubtedly be HIV (and the opportunistic infections that go along with it) and Malaria.  These public health issues are serious and persistent – they are also popular in the funding world. When it comes to HIV and Malaria funding in Tanzania, pockets are deep. 

28% of Tanzania’s National operating budget is supported by foreign aid – that’s $11.6trillion to you and me – and one third of that foreign aid is earmarked for HIV/AIDS initiatives. A quick Google search will provide you with all the information you could possibly want about the HIV epidemic in Tanzania – from funding cycles to popular initiatives.

But, just because HIV and Malaria are the popular kids, doesn’t mean there aren’t others furiously waving their hands for attention.

Trying to find statistical information on Cancer in Tanzania is a bit more convoluted. Cancer is not terribly high up on the funding food chain, most likely because it is not a communicable disease; however, that doesn’t mean that nothing is being done.

Tanzania is beginning to take cancer care seriously and NGOs are working with Tanzania's Health Ministry to expand cancer treatment across the country, raising awareness of signs that are often missed by doctors

I recently met the Director of Muhimbili Hospital’s Pediatric Oncology Ward and jumped at the chance to place students at this site as part of CIEE’s for-credit internship program.

The Irish-run “Tumaini La Maisha” (Hope for Life) was established in 2011 and is the first and only NGO dedicated to improving the wellbeing of children with cancer in Tanzania by providing non-clinical services such as a school, a play therapy program, and a family support program.

In its current state, there are 29 beds in the two existing cancer wards and there can be up 120 people living on the ward at any one time (that’s four people per bed).MuhimbiliwardDue to overcrowding and patient resources, Tumaini la Maishi is in the process of opening a long-stay house for children and their guardians who are unable to go home between treatments; whether because of health, distance, or financial constraints.

The long-stay “Ujasiri House” has 11 rooms which will accommodate 22 children and 22 guardians. The house has two classrooms, a creative play therapy room, and a program room for guardians where they will participate in incoming-generating activities.

While paint dries and permits are signed, the Tumaini program remains at the main ward which is where two of CIEE’s students spend their Tuesdays and Thursdays volunteering with Tumaini’s play therapy and school programs working directly with young patients, tutoring them in math and English.


P1100620Emma Botta and Tara Sullivan at play therapy

As part of CIEE’s for-credit internship program, student participants must complete an original research paper focusing on the sector to which they have been assigned. As previously mentioned, there isn’t an incredible amount of information flooding the world wide web about Cancer-related issues in Tanzania and I’m truly excited to have CIEE students contributing to the growing body of research, and even more excited to see how this shapes their academic and professional interests.  Stay tuned.......


This post was brought to you by your friendly CIEE-Tanzania Resident Director: Jenny Vencek


Northern Tanzania Excursion May 2010

During our spring semester multi-day excursion to Northern Tanzania, we visited the town of Arusha, Ngorongoro Crater and Lake Manyara National Park. It was a great opportunity to learn about the diversity of Tanzania's economy, people, cultures, landscapes and wildlife away from Dar es Salaam. At Ngorongoro Crater, we visited a Masai Manyatta, where the residents welcomed us all with song, dance, and warm hospitality. One of the CIEE students got to join the women of the village in one of the traditional Masai dances.


Makumbusho Village Museum Field Trip

Earlier in the semester as part of orientation and towards the end as part of our Language and Culture Practicum class, we visited the Makumbusho Village Museum here in Dar Es Salaam. The students carefully observed the variety of architecture in more than 40 model homes representing different ethnic groups from around Tanzania. It was a great way to learn about local culture, art, and social structures of the different communities. We rounded up our visit to the museum with a feast of traditional African foods from different parts of the mainland and enjoyed a show of traditional dances and acrobatics. It was a good mix of education and entertainment to calm down the stress of final exams on campus at the end of the semester.



Beautiful Tanzania - January 2010 Field Trip

IMG_5581 Tanzania is a beautiful country. For the CIEE program, we try to do a few strategic trips away from Dar Es Salaam to introduce the students to the diversity of this country -- its natural beauty and warm people. In January, we enjoyed a trip to the island of Zanzibar. In this photo, my CIEE students and I join local women in Paje Village to learn about the cultivation and harvesting of seaweed as a cash crop. The seaweed from Zanzibar is used in the production of high-end cosmetics (mostly exported to France and Switzerland) and some is exported to countries like Japan where it is considered a delicacy too!