The course combines travel with visits to development projects in two cities, living in a rural village, and teaching in an English language enrichment program in rural secondary schools.
These Roots Run Deep
In the summer of 2013 our focus on development issues broadened to include a topic of great concern to Tanzanians in the communities where we lived and worked: Climate Change. Beginning with our first safari into the semi-arid savannah of Tarangire Wildlife Reserve we observed how drought was affecting the migration of game and the livelihood of Maasai pastoralists. In the coffee growing communities of Rongai farmers told us how their crop patterns and farming techniques had shifted for the worse as a result of global warming and deforestation.
A Global Partnership: The Wheaton Tree Nursery
Our local host coordinators, Justin Sianga Mkenda and Justin Moshi had the inspiration to apply to the local district council for a plot of land to build a tree nursery. They had two goals in mind: to begin the reforestation process in the farming communities of Kilimanjaro and to educate young people about the dangers of global warming and the need for conservation. They dedicated the nursery in Wheaton’s name in appreciation for the teaching assistance that Wheaton students have provided to students in their rural secondary schools.
How Can Wheaton Students Help?
Toward the end of our teaching program we were taken on a surprise journey for the dedication of the nursery. We learned about local concerns with deforestation and the different varieties of trees that were being raised in the nursery and what they could contribute to conservation efforts in the district. We were also taught how to care for and transplant seedlings.
The next day we traveled for a site visit to a neighboring region where we learned about the development challenges facing resettled Maasai pastoralists in the conservation corridor of Lerang’wa. At the end of our visit we planted trees in a newly established health clinic for maternal and infant care.
Our local coordinators plan to continue their tree planting efforts until we return in the summer of 2014, with the goal planting 100, 000 trees this year. To continue with these efforts and to expand into writing and presenting a teaching module in the schools, they hope to raise funds as well as awareness beyond their community. They asked us to please spread the word and, with that in mind, the 2013 program participants created the digital story, “These Roots Run Deep.” We plan to incorporate a conservation component into our teaching plans for the 2014 program.
These Roots Run Deep, produced by Donna Kerner and Lauren Slingluff with the production support of Megan Wheaton-Book, Michelle Monti, Nana Asare, Samantha Barnett, Lual Charles, Maye Emlein, Sara Franke, Leslie Gould, Kim Hurst, Bianca Inannitti, Rebecca Kerner, Shirley Ngai, Sara Stribbling, Victoria Walker, Kelsey White and Margaret Yurgielewicz.
Letters of Hope, directed by Donna Kerner and Patrick Rashleigh with the Production support of Alana Broderick, Margaux Charpentier, Leslie Cieslik, Austin Davidson, Emily DeWet, Dashawn Ealey, Quinn Harris, Caitlin Hawkins, Jenifer Irving, Remy Jones, Jessica Karevicius, Becky Kerner, Kathryn MacDonald, Shane Nichols, Olanna Nissim, Julia Parmakian, Viviana Quinones, Katherine Ullrich, Michelle Van Akin, Ashley Wich, and Wenwen Zhang was published in November 2011 in Cura: A Literary Magazine of Art and Action, Casa (Issue 1).