Main Idea: Naturalistic Fallacy
July 24, 1966
I have made the sporadic decision to study abroad and teach African children how to read, write, and speak English. This idea came to me by my professor in class. He stated that we could make the decision to join him on an exhibition to Tanzania, Africa to teach younger children English and Math. It will be a four week long trip. Truly, I am frightened the children won’t like me, understand me, or even talk to me. But, I figured maybe if I help others, maybe I will find myself and who I truly am.
July 27, 1966
It is final. I have signed all papers, filed all my information, and I am ready to go on my Tanzanian trek. A group of 13, including myself and my professor, will travel to Tanzania in a little over a month. I figured journaling about my experience would be a helpful idea that way I can keep all of my memories fresh from this experience. My folks aren’t as enthusiastic about this trip as I am. They are afraid the Tanzanians are dangerous and could harm me because I am a white woman. They’ve never been able to see the world like I have. Their eyes are open, but their minds are always closed.
July 30, 1966
My group and I have been learning key Swahili words. Mostly “hello”, “goodbye”, “thank you”, “good job”, the alphabet, and numbers. We are also learning how to say different animal’s names in Swahili because the wildlife can be very dangerous out there. The more I learn and prep myself for this experience, the more anxious I get.
August 26, 1966
I have been so bombarded with school and studying for my trip that I’ve had little time to journal. We leave for Tanzania in four days. My nerves are pilling high! We have had two students drop from our class because they were too scared to leave the States. So, we currently have 11 in our group now. We got to choose a roommate for when we get to move into our little huts. Rosie and I are roommates. Rosie is a quiet, but very brilliant young lady. When she speaks, her words melt your heart and want her to continue talking forever because they somehow bring you comfort and remind you of home. She’s the sweetest individual I’ve ever met.
August 30, 1966
I am currently writing in my journal at the airport. This will be my first time on a plane! The hustle and bustle of this international airport is so active. We will first take a plane to Amsterdam. Once we get to Amsterdam, we are taking another plane to Arusha. After we get to Arusha, we have to drive ten hours to Tanga. Tanga is the place where we will be teaching our children and staying. It will surely be a long, enduring travel, but I’m already so thankful for this experience.
September 2, 1966
We are finally in Tanga resting after the long travels. We’ve seen so many sites, and I feel like I’ve already traveled the world. We are all exhausted from the traveling, and we haven’t had much sleep. Rosie is passed out asleep next to me. When we made it to our village, we were welcomed by many screaming, excited children who chased our bus until we stopped. They all welcomed us by feeling our hair and our clothes. They thought we were royalty. Tomorrow we will start our classes. Already, I can tell there will be a huge language barrier.
September 3, 1966
I am on my break after my first class. I’ve never been more frustrated in my life. Most of the talking I did was with hand movements and gestures. It is very difficult talking to these children when they know little English and when I know little Swahili.
Once again, I am on a break after classes. I have noticed that some of my pens, pencils, paper, and my watch is missing. I told my professor about the missing items, and he is going to tell the elder. The elder is practically the mayor of the village. I am not looking to get the thief into trouble, I just want my belongings back.
They discovered my belongings in a 17 year old’s hut. The elder has called for a meeting with the entire village this evening and no one knows why. Today I taught simple math basics and some beginning English words. They are starting to understand my absurd hands gestures as a form of sign language. Maybe I am getting used to this stuff!
I am unable to un-see what I saw at the village meeting. I continue to tell myself “its okay things are different here”, but I can’t believe it went to this extent. The elder brought the whole village in for a meeting and asked the young man who stole my belongings to come forward in front of the village. He did. The elder commanded the young man to get on his knees in front of the village. He did. The elder whipped the young man four times, for my four belongings that went missing. How can humans act like this towards one another? He returned my items, so why should he be punished? Apparently if you steal here, it’s the lowest action a human being can do. In America, you would receive an apologetic, sincere question of forgiveness. In Tanga, you watch your thief be whipped in front of the village. I’ve been crying for the past two hours. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.