From February 20-28, Ayla–by way of mutual acquaintances (and Minnesota’s connections to Scandinavia)–visited the school in Tanzania where I volunteered in 2014. Our organization Change it Forward-Tanzania as well as the leaders at Magulilwa Area Secondary School made arrangements for Ayla’s arrival.
The adventurous 20-year-old from Norway came to Magulilwa as part of her global trip to many parts of the world: China, Italy, and here in the US. In fact, she’s still on her journey as of this writing, on her way to Cuba. (Perhaps we’ll hear more about her other destinations in future weeks.)
For now, let’s see what (and how) she did in Tanzania, East Africa. The following is taken from her online journal and my interview with her.
My goal was to learn about a school like yours in this part of the world, Ayla told me as we visited at a coffeeshop in Minneapolis (pictured above).
“I got a feeling of how they lived, of some of the stories,” said Ayla.
On February 19 of this year, Ayla flew in to Dar es Salaam, and waiting for her at the airport was Magulilwa school’s librarian, Caroline.
The next day, they set off for Magulilwa.
“We went through the national park on the bus ride. I saw monkeys, antelopes, buffaloes, zebras, eagles and giraffes!” Ayla wrote in your journal.
After an 8-hour bus ride to Iringa, and then 45 more minutes by car, Ayla had arrived to Magulilwa Area Secondary School.
The following days, Caroline showed Ayla the school, village, and countryside.
One day they encountered the area primary school.
On another they explored the farming.
She also shared about dining.
Back at the school, Ayla spent time working with the students in an unexpected way.
“I had a self defense course with the kids,” she said to me at the coffeeshop. “I learned it in the scouts.”
A group of teenage boys attended, and afterward, she instructed them to help teach the rest of the students. (We’ll see if Ayla returns for follow-up instruction.)
Through all her interactions with our students and staff, Ayla was impressed by the hospitality, the way staff made her feel comfortable, and the students’ interest in her.
“They ask tons of questions,” she said.
Ayla said she did the best she could to answer questions about technology and her home country. She had just as many questions for them, though.
“They just seemed so happy to be there. They just loved this place,” said Ayla. “I thought it was so nice. People don’t usually love school. It was just so beautiful and all the people were kind and nice and friendly.”
When asked what her biggest takeaway was, Ayla said it was the opportunity for students at Magulilwa Area Secondary School and the attitude the students and staff embody.
“It gives them possibilities. Teachers are so interested in the students. People care about each other.”
Ayla is a 20-year-old Norwegian backpacker, currently running around the wold on the hunt for new adventures. She loves to learn new things and study new cultures. She’s Christian, and in her more normal life (when not eating donkey sandwiches in China and taking trains across Italy), she does dancing and karate. For any questions for Ayla or about Magulilwa school, please comment below.
And if you’d like to share your story on The Periphery, please email me at Brandon@ThePeriphery.com. We’d love to hear all about your adventure.