First Impressions of Tanzania – Guest Blog by Theresa, Thomasson (Intern)

Last month, The Small Things (TST) welcomed our newest intern, Theresa Thomasson, who will be TST’s Sponsorship Coordinator for the next 5 months. In this guest blog, Theresa highlights her first impressions of Tanzania and her experience with TST so far. We are extremely appreciative of Theresa’s hard work and dedication, and look forward to her journey with us.
Theresa Thomasson
Sponsorship Coordinator
Hey everyone!
My name is Theresa Thomasson and I am the Sponsorship Coordinator at TST. I have now lived here for a little over a month, and since some say that the first impression is the most important one, I thought I would share with you my first impressions of Tanzania. 
First I’d like to start off by telling you how I ended up at TST and in Tanzania. For a long time, a dream of mine has been to travel to Africa. So when I received the job offer, I grabbed it with appreciation and much enthusiasm! Naturally, I had romanticized the picture of life in Africa based on movies and my own image of the continent. I knew I wouldn’t live with gorillas in the jungle or lions in the desert; life is not quite like the Lion King now is it? Nevertheless, my expectations were quite different to how it really is over here. Arriving in Africa there were four things that struck me and made the biggest impression on me: 

1. No expectations can prepare you for the incredible country of Tanzania! 
2. The unbelievable nature and scenery that keeps baffling me every day. 
3. The tremendously friendly and welcoming people of Tanzania. 
4. The difference between my life experience in the western world, and life in Tanzania. 

Life here is busy yet uncomplicated and extremely rewarding. One of the most surprising aspects of moving to Africa was finding how positive everyone is. It is refreshing to find people who maintain optimism despite facing many daily challenges that many foreigners will never experience. 
One thing that has got me thinking, is the term ‘developed countries’ – developed according to whom? Is it more developed to build relationships to objects rather than people? (which is the way I sometimes think the Western world has become) My point is, I have found a place which seems to value things I value, and has a great deal of harmony in life. The people I have met in Tanzania seem to draw great happiness through their relationships to others in their families and communities. Now that’s something beautiful to talk about.
Theresa with Angel
What I have not yet quite adjusted to is the fact that I stand out so much, being a foreigner. Being a minority and receiving attention due to that is not something I am familiar with, and it is very interesting to experience not being part of the majority. I think it is an important experience for me and I am learning from it. In time I’m sure I will get used to the increased attention, as all of the local villagers I’ve met have been extremely inviting and welcoming. Their hospitality has exceeded my expectations, and I’m thrilled to be able to be a part of this community.
Another difference about life here in Tanzania is that the internet can be unreliable at times, which pretty much dictates our working hours. During the off hours, I like spending time with the kids at the orphanage and the Pilot House. Even if I’m having an off day, there is not a day in which those wonderful angels can’t cheer me up! The love is not only evident from the Mamas and volunteers, but also from the kids, who just love playing and cuddles.
Theresa with Diana
This internship is my first full-time employment, and I feel very lucky to have found such a wonderful workplace. The job is truly motivating, and even more so when we often see the results up close. Also, the room for potential creativity and openness to new ideas is something I find very encouraging and stimulating. These first weeks here in Nkoaranga, Tanzania, have been fantastic so far, and I look forward to the rest of my time here.
To learn more about Theresa’s work and TST’s Sponsorship Program, feel free to send Theresa an e-mail at [email protected] our visit our Sponsorship Page here