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African Adventures
an article by Michelle Kizner

Summer 2006 was full of adventures, but the greatest was volunteering in Tanzania (East Africa). I had the opportunity to go to Arusha Tanzania with the Arusha Project, a nonprofit organization with which I got involved through UCSD. There, I worked with another volunteer named Barbara at the Tumaini Positive Test Club. Tumaini is a community-based organization, started by Richard Daud as a soccer club for HIV positive people to fight the stigma connected with virus. It has grown to over 100 members and a choir and weekly support group.

Barbara and I went on home visits; taught English twice a week (teaching to adults who want to learn is amazingly fun) and I learned how hard English is (I still cannot explain the verb “to do”). We also developed a website for the club (

I met amazing people like Richard, who barely escaped death from AIDs himself, but became the fouder of the club. I met Anna, Tumaini's treasurer and mother of eight, including two orphans who lost their parents to AIDS. My favorite memory is a day I spent with them where I played with the kids, cooked, and spent the night next to Anna and her youngest son, Pius. Anna's house was one of the better I saw: with electricity, ceiling tiles in one room, a spicket and wood-burning stove outside, and three beds. Compare this to a man's house that I saw on a home visit, which had a sheet for a door, a small room with chairs and a bedroom for which the door was only slightly taller than the man was while sitting. This man was sick from advanced AIDS, but could not afford treatment—the government only provides ARVs to advanced AIDS patients with a T cell count below 200 but no assistance for infections caused by AIDS.

The days were overwhelming; I learned something new everyday. The most important thing I learned was to be grateful - grateful that English is my first language, and is spoken most everywhere; for shopping carts; sugar; good infrastructure; my mother.


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Have you lived in an international community?, Can you share the experience with us?

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This report was posted on November 18, 2006.