Tonight for Tanzania


On Saturday evening, we were able to attend "Tonight for Tanzania." The event was organized by Charities and people in the Ottawa-Tanzanian community. It was a great opportunity to hear the thoughts and experiences for from volunteers of different charitable organizations.

The organizations that were present included the World University Service of Canada (WUSC), Canada World Education Fund (CWEF), Canada-Africa Community Health Alliance (CACHA), Breath of Life (BoL) -- (including Helping Children Thrive (HCT),  Helping Babies Breath (HBB))-- and Black History Ottawa (BHO).
Some of the highlights of the speakers presentation were:
  • Sarah Beanlands from BoL, spoke on the teams experiences during Summer2014. BoL focuses on medical improvements especially in child care. She brought up some valuable insights about challenges that charitable organizations face such as language barriers, differing teach styles and the lack of facilities. She mentioned that mothers may feel overwhealmed by the presence of many volunteers surrounding and focusing on them, therefore it is very important to prepare the participants and work with them on a more personal one-on-one basis. Furthermore, the involvement of the government and support from the local community will help the project be successful.
  • Antionette Strazza from CACHA spoke about her experiences in Tanzania, and how she feels motivated to visit over and over again. She made a powerful statement about how the West needs to stop characterizing Africa as a place of despair, and rather should view it as a place of diversity where each person has their own unique experiences. She spoke about how working with people in Tanzania created positivity in the community and provided a learning experience for the volunteers; these acts of positivity allow us to create meaningful relationships with those in Tanzania.
  • Charlotte Barthaza, a sponsored student from WUSC, spoke about her life experiences as a refugee in Tanzania. It was very valuable to hear her perspective about the Charity that helped her. She spoke about how she felt empowered to achieve her own goals; after she had been funded she had learned enough valuable skills to be able to start her own life without the help of a charity. She spoke about how a small amount of help can help change people's lives.
 In addition to hearing people speak about their experiences, we were able to see performances from the Shangaza ya African Ladies group, along with music from a Nancita Kapi (a pop musician from Congo) and poetry by Luoco St Fleur. There was also vendors from the Ottawa-Tanzanian community selling goods such as textiles, jewellery and honey. Finally we had the chance to try traditional Tanzanian food such as ugali, and cassava leaves.

Why This is Important:

It was a fun event and a great primer for our trip.It was fantastic to hear about Tanzania from people who have visited and lived there. Hearing their perspectives was a great source of primary research for our project.

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