St. Ignatius High School in Chamwino, Tanzania

Photo Credit: St Ignatius High School

Photo Credit: St Ignatius High School

Whenever we step outside of our comfort zone it can be difficult, but some experiences truly challenge us more than others.  The community of Chamwino invited us into their community, school, and lives and even though we had some struggles and cultural misunderstandings in the moment, we all came together as one community to accomplish our common goal.  Living in Chamwino as the community members and our new friends live helped us to understand more about the everyday life struggles that we may not normally have the privilege to experience.  Below is a glimpse into our trip…

“A group of Students from St. Ignatius High School set out from Dodoma on a two hour drive to one of the ancient districts of Tanzania home to the remote community of Chamwino where Chamwino Secondary School is located.  Tanzania predominantly speaks Swahili though English language is taught and used in most schools throughout the country.

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The St. Ignatius students were joined by students from a high school in Dodoma named St. Peter Claver.  These students not only volunteered to help with the work of building the basketball court but also help the American students through cultural exchange activities.  We had lots of help building the court with more students from St.Peter Claver school helping with the work in addition to the initial students that had camped with us at Chamwino secondary school.

The team kicked off the work pushing really hard and in the next three days we were done pouring the entire court with just hoop system left to put up.  Everyone completed the works and handed over the court to the school administration officially and then we all had sometime for some basketball and to teach the community how to play. We had lots of help from the teachers, community members who provided us with buckets, labor,  and water that helped to build a strong bond between all of us.  The boys worked so hard and tirelessly each day all throughout the week.

Photo credit: St Ignatius High School

Photo credit: St Ignatius High School

I will always miss those boys who are not only fun to be around but so hardworking and so respectful to each other and everybody else. They pushed even when some felt unwell and they connected with the community so easily. It was amazing seeing them interact with everyone and this is what makes Courts for Kids trips such a powerful experience, unique to each project that I have been a part of.

We left the community of Chamwino after 7 days of hard work and making friends and wished we would have stayed a lot longer just to share the game of basketball with them. I know we shall one day play again on the same court.  Thanks boys form St. Ignatius and hope that we can all work together again in the future.”

– Sam Obol, Courts for Kids’ Africa Representative.

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“Through the generosity of the Mamas, I learned how giving even a poor, struggling community can be. Despite difficulties in always having clean water and food for themselves, we were greatly welcomed and well served by the Chamwino community; it made me reconsider how generous I can be.” – Matt W.

“This trip changed me because I now really appreciate everything that God has blessed me with.  I now appreciate the family I have and sometimes take for granted who they are to me.  I appreciate not having to go through the struggle of living paycheck to paycheck or value that water has for some people.  When I go home I will change my attitude of what I want to what I need.” – John V.

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“I have been overly sheltered in the USA.  I am aware of the fact that there are people who have to walk far distances for water, but I never fully grasped how hard that was until I actually had to do it for myself.” – Sam E.

“[The most difficult part about going home is] leaving behind a new family.  The guys I worked with became my brothers and the mamas who cooked for us felt like my own mother.  The kids in Chamwino also became like siblings to me just playing around.” – Brian H.

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The ‘Mamas’ greeting the students with a song.

“We clearly had a large amount of work to do but every single member of the team ‘Clatius’ (St Ignatius + St Peter Claver) was eager to help with a passion and purpose.  …Working with the students from St Peter Claver they have become like brothers to me, although we only were working for 3 days we put our love, care, and hard work into a task that we took on together.” – Ethan F.