Grand, Grateful, and Glorious

Week three of Global Immersion Studies is upon us, and our students are moving on to new homestays, countries and adventures. For our seniors traveling in Tanzania, this transition is full of emotions. For many of them, this is their fourth GIS trip, and while we still have several days remaining, moving on from a community you’ve spent two weeks with is trying. Olivia shared in the group’s journal, “My favorite part of everyday is prayer time and how the music and light floods the room. I don’t want to leave!” The community that has shared its music and light with our students is the Janada Bachelor Foundation for Children (JBFC). Their mission statement reads, “JBFC’s  four-pronged strategy includes providing a safe home for girls, quality primary, secondary, and vocational education to both boys and girls, access to health care, and rural economic development through the JBFC farm.” (JBFC) While this leg of the Tanzania GIS journey has focused on acts of service through harvesting vegetables, teaching reading lessons, and sharing meals, we get the feeling that JBFC is, in turn, giving our students countless life lessons.

Estelle contributed to the group journal by giving thanks:

“I have received so much gratitude from my group and the girls here at JBFC. They have showed me gratitude on a completely different level. The girls have showed me how to be grateful for the things we are privileged to have and to not dwell on the things we don’t have. I am grateful to Steamboat Mountain School for teaching me a different type of education that will prepare me for human, face to face, interactions in the future.”

We know these lessons stick with our students for years after their global experiences, as a recent alumna commented, “This type of program is more valuable than just hours and hours in a classroom. How else can we learn that we are all truly ONE?” We hope that these experiences create a more whole student, a student who is not just a citizen of a country but of the world. Lessons like this can be grand or they can simple.

Althea, a senior on her third GIS trip, reflected in a recent journal entry on a moment of skill sharing in which she participated with the girls of JBFC. “Previously on GIS we might have taken a cooking class, but I never expected to teach a cooking class. This Sunday, I got to teach some of the girls how to make hand pies. And, yesterday they taught our group how to make Chapati. Chapati is something of a Tanzanian tortilla that can go well with most anything. Cooking has helped me to form connections with the girls and even feel a bit more at home here.”

The goal of these trips is to provide a global perspective for our students. A perspective founded in participation with foreign cultures through religious, political, cultural, historical, and recreational experiences. Before we sign off we’ll share some of Margi’s words about our seniors:

Our team is shining. Nate brings joy and laughter, Mason thoughtful contemplation and curious inquiry about the values and techniques used at JBFC, both within their educational system and permaculture. Althea shares her sincerity and dedication to teaching and learning.

Art, wisdom, smiles, and communion are shared by both Ashley and Lilly. Olivia is almost saintly as the small children gather around her to be in her presence. Estelle quietly leads the way towards respect and appreciation while Gabe connects, smiles, and creates space to be playful. Andrew remains strong and engages in everything thrown his way. He is showing a great level of character, necessary for maintaining a positive attitude for this intense interpersonal experience. We, as a group, are grand, grateful, and attuned to this glorious place, its people, and our connection to this experience.

Travel on Penguins! We look forward to more stories in a few days.