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Tyler Goodwin's Blog

What Drives Us Towards the Unknown?   (published in Tanzania)

February 2, 2015 by   Comments(0)

What pulls us forward?

What is it that makes us want to walk into a world enshrouded by such uncertainty?

What is it about the unknown that is so tempting?


Blurred lines.

No expectations.



Possibility for connection. The kind that seemed laced in a heavy dusting of necessity.

A strong dose of self discovery waiting to unfold.

Experience, the unknown unraveling to reveal the truths we knew yet were afraid to believe.


Scared. Unsure. Nervous. Yet forward we march, straight into the mist that lies ahead.


Confident. Energized. Determined. In this place we thrive.

Senses heightened.

Curiosity peeked.

Desire aroused.


The unknown becomes known.

Every time without fail it happens.

The dust settles and we realize we are home.


We realize who we have been all along.

What was becomes perhaps a tad unknown.


We jump yet again.

To learn.

To rediscover.

To live fully at the edge of what could be, at the edge of what was, at the edges of ourselves.

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What Drives Us Towards the Unknown?
What Drives Us Towards the Unknown?

Top 10 Succulent Treats of Tanzania... Warning This Will Make you Hungry   (published in Tanzania)

January 20, 2015 by   Comments(0)

Local African ingredients are fused together with Indian and Middle Eastern flavors to create the typical tastes of Tanzanian cuisine. With tantalizing street food, as well as a plethora of national dishes, we promise you won’t go hungry while volunteering!

1. Samosas and Chapatti: With a large Middle Eastern population the popularity of foods, such as samosas and chapatti, has grown in Tanzania. Samosas are typically filled with seasoned beef and then fried in a light pastry shell. Chapatti is a large flat bread similar to Roti. 

2. Ugali: The mainstay of Tanzanian cuisine, not particularly tasty on its own, this food is all about the experience. Eaten with ones hands Ugali is used as a spoon to pick up and soak up the other parts of the meal. Made of cornmeal, cassava, or millet it is a starchy mainstay of almost every dining experience.

3. Nyama Choma (Grilled Meat): This is Tanzania at it’s most succulent. BBQ meat found at both restaurants and street side. Skewered kabob style and roasted to perfection in big juicy hunks. It would be hard to leave Tanzania without trying the BBQ that dots almost every street corner.

4. Pilau: A rice dish chock full of spices and typically prepared with meat. Originally from West India it is now extremely popular in Tanzania and is most often served at weddings and special events.

5. Chipsi Mayai: Resembling a frittata this unhealthy late night option will most likely quickly become a favorite. The idea is simple, French fries are backed in eggs creating a solid circular form perfect for slathering in ketchup!

6. Ndizi Kaanga (Fried Bananas): Roasting on small charcoal stoves, fried bananas are an irresistible street side snack. Perfectly cooked with a sweet, warm, and tender middle this roasted delicacy should not be passed up. 

7. Coconut Bean Soup: A thick creamy soup made by combining coconut milk with red kidney beans. The result is a tasty meal perfect for vegetarians. We typically have many vegetarians and vegans who volunteer with Projects Abroad and all have found that it is both easy and enjoyable to eat while still sticking to their dietary needs.

8. Tanzanian Cucumber Salad: Light and refreshing this salad is made of cucumbers, tomatoes, cilantro and carrots all chopped together and marinated in a simple vinaigrette. A small medley of ingredients surprisingly bursting with complex flavors.

9. Chai Tea: A delicious black tea seasoned with cardamom and ginger. This is a typical morning beverage enjoyed piping hot from street side vendors.

10. Stoney Tangawizi: A ginger based soda, light on carbonation. This is a fantastic option for a pool side beverage on a hot day!

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Top 10 Succulent Treats of Tanzania... Warning This Will Make you Hungry
Top 10 Succulent Treats of Tanzania... Warning This Will Make you Hungry

What To Pack For Tanzania   (published in Tanzania)

January 15, 2015 by   Comments(0)

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One suitcase does not warrant much space when packing for such a grand adventure! Coming to Tanzania and volunteering makes one wonder what they need in order to be both appropriate and comfortable. In general a good rule to follow is to make sure that your knees and shoulders are always covered! 

Of course, the clothing you pack does depends slightly on your placement and whether you will be in Dar Es Salaam or Arusha. Here we help you clarify what you should pack to make the most of your experience.

Care and Teaching: You will want long skirts or pants and shirts that are generally covered up. It is ok to wear short sleeved shirts especially in Dar Es Salaam where it can get very hot. In terms of shoes you will want something comfortable that can get dirty, you will often be outside with the children, where mud is a common occurrence. In general think about looking covered and respectable, but also don’t bring anything that you are too attached too!

Micro-Finance, Journalism, and Human Rights: You will want to dress on the professional side for these projects. Dark slacks and fitted tops for a more business like setting will be best suited for these projects.

Building and Sports Projects: You will be getting dirty and you should think more about your comfort level. Shorts and t-shirts that you don’t mind getting incredibly messy, and most likely even discarding of when you are done, is what you want to add to your suitcase. 

Medical: You will be given a medical jacket from Projects Abroad that you will wear when you are volunteering. Underneath your coat you will be most comfortable in slacks or jeans and a loose breathing t-shirt. Shoes need to be plastic and closed toes. In addition volunteers will need to bring their own scrubs if they wish to observe in Theater. 

Dar Es Salaam: You will want to pack clothes for hotter weather as Dar is on the coast and at a lower altitude. You will also most likely want to bring lighter clothing for your off time such as shorts and t-shirts and possibly swimwear as the beach (and Zanzibar) are very close by!

Arusha: Weather in Arusha can vary dramatically in a single day. You will want to prepare for days that are hot and nights that warrant a light sweater and longer pants. Think layers and you will be fine! 

In addition you will be given a volunteer shirt from Projects Abroad when you arrive. This can be worn whenever it is seen fit!

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What To Pack For Tanzania
What To Pack For Tanzania

5 Stellar Moments From This Week in Arusha, Tanzania   (published in Tanzania)

January 9, 2015 by   Comments(1)

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1. Introducing Jackson Ilangali

We were so excited to welcome Jackson to our office this week. Jackson will be our new medical coordinator working alongside Georgina Tenga. He will be helping out with our various medical programs which include; midwifery, physical therapy, nursing, medicine, and dentistry.

2. Playgrounds and Mud

A visit to our Aston Vision school location, one of our care and teaching placements, gave us the chance to meet up with some of our fantastic volunteers and join them for a bit of fun! We made mud villages among the banana groves, slid down slides, and played tag with children much faster than ourselves!

3. A Table Full of Butter Chicken

We took over Khan’s Barbeque this week, one of our personal favorite Arusha establishments! Ordering up heaping plates of dal, curried mango, spicy carrot salads, and perfectly grilled chicken. New and old volunteers got to meet up, share stories from their weeks, and fill the streets with the echo of boisterous laughter.

4. Medical Volunteers Journey to Mkonoo

This weeks Medical Outreach was a huge success. All nine of our current volunteers showed up for the event and offered their talents. Their jobs included registration, medical consultations, and distribution of medications. In total they were able to hand out necessary medications to over 55 children and adults.

5. An Influx of New Volunteers

Now that the holidays have ended we have been flooded with new arrivals! Volunteers from France, America, England, Australia, Germany (and the list goes on) have been pouring into Arusha with talent to share, enthusiasm to give, and curiosity to guide them. 

As always looking forward to what next week will bring! 

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5 Stellar Moments From This Week in Arusha, Tanzania
5 Stellar Moments From This Week in Arusha, Tanzania

Exploring Arusha: The City and Surrounding Attractions   (published in Tanzania)

January 2, 2015 by   Comments(0)

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Resting in the cradle of mother earths finest creations, welcome to Arusha! Arusha herself is a bustling town rife with contrast, the kind of place where one can sip a coffee in a garden cafe one moment and then walk down the dusty roads behind woman balancing impressive amounts of cassava atop their heads the next. The kind of place where one of the best meals available, at Khan’s BBQ, is restaurant by night but auto repair shop by day. The kind of place where large highways break off into a mess of dusty back roads taking you quickly from one form of development into another, back roads framed by banana trees, small vegetable stands, and tiny one roomed sell-everything shops. Sprawling out around the base of stunning Mount Meru, and positioned snuggly among Tanzania (and even Africa’s) most incredible sights.

Out and About Past Arusha.... 

To the West: The Serengeti. This is classic Africa, the images of safaris and wild animals that one typically associates with this immensely diverse continent. Home to the largest mammal migration in the world this is where lions, giraffees, elephants, rhinos, zebras, and hippos roam. A staggering seventy large mammals in total call this area home. Also, calling this land home are the indigenous Maasai peoples, known for their colorful dress, elaborate jewelry, impeccable jumping skills, and more importantly their recent struggles to maintain rights to their original lands. Volunteers with Projects Abroad have the chance to work with this fascinating culture helping them maintain their rights, access to quality education, and way of life. 

To the East: Most volunteers fly into Kilimanjaro airport, the name quickly conjuring up the incredible vistas that await them. Planes land at the base of the mountain, meaning that on a clear day, Africa’s highest peak personally welcomes volunteers to Tanzania. Standing 5,895 meters tall Kilimanjaro is not just Africa’s highest peek but also the tallest free standing mountain in the world. Climbing to the top of the mountain is an incredible accomplishment. As the elevation rises expect to see views of Arusha and then Africa herself, on a clear day it is possible to see all the way down to the tip of the continent.

To the South: One word, Zanzibar, an island of undeniable magic. A place where the intoxicatingly clear waters of the Indian ocean meet up with a town equally mesmerizing, a labyrinth of stone pathways and hidden market stalls. It’s the kind of place one comes for utter relaxation shrouded in an air of mystical fascination. A short flight from Arusha, Zanzibar is the kind of island paradise one dreams of on grey days back at home, simply waiting to be discovered in Arusha’s backyard.

To the North: Positioned only three hours for the Kenyan border and thus only five hours to the countries bustling capital of Narobi. Nairobi has a population of 3.1 million, a place for cultural sophistication, a fast paced atmosphere, and an authentic taste of Kenyan culture. Emerge from the skyscrapers to find  a plethora of breathtaking national parks including the Maasai Mara national reserve home to a whole bunch of orangutans! 

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Exploring Arusha: The City and Surrounding Attractions
Exploring Arusha: The City and Surrounding Attractions

Volunteering: The Holiday Season That Never Ends   (published in Tanzania)

December 23, 2014 by   Comments(0)

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The holiday season is upon us, a time when our attention shifts to connection. Connection fueled by generosity. A time when our focus shifts to some of humanity’s most innate core values.

Knowing the importance of both connection and generosity it is hard not to wonder why this is a once a year event? Why only once a year must we once again become cognizant of some of life’s most essential ingredients? Surely these are things that we should be practicing at all times! Clearly these are values that should guide us not just come December.

We are designed to crave connection; feeling seen, understanding and listening with empathetic ears, creating a dialogue that is genuine and beneficial to all involved is one of our most basic human needs.

The holiday’s are a wonderful opportunity to return to this realization, but how can we remember to connect on a more daily basis? Volunteering can help us take these values and once again infuse them into our daily lives. Instead of separating them and placing them into a category marked by holiday cheer and presents, we can embrace the ways in which mutual connection can actually fuel our souls.

Every time we listen to someone else’s story, every time we help a child understand a new concept, every time we give a family the correct medication for their children, every time we lay a new block for the construction of a school we are employing the power of connection. We are generous not because it is Christmas but because it fills us up to the tippy top with happiness. We reach out to others not to deliver presents but to create connection.

As volunteers we take the cheer of the holidays and employ it in our daily lives, practicing both generosity and connection until we understand the true gifts that we receive.

And ultimately when we leave our respective placements we take the lessons that we have learned and we bring them home. We act as though it is always December, because we realize how good December feels. We lose the tradition of gift giving, we lose the decorations, and the excessive music and we simply bask in the natural gifts that are the foundation for the holidays. We are more generous, we reach out without expectation, we listen with patience and understanding. Regardless of the date we act with generosity and we strive for genuine connection, because we understand how detrimental to humanity it is if we forget to. 

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Volunteering: The Holiday Season That Never Ends
Volunteering: The Holiday Season That Never Ends

Four Reasons Why Dropping Your Expectations Will Make You a More Effective Volunteer   (published in Tanzania)

December 18, 2014 by   Comments(0)

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Before embarking on an experience as monumental as volunteering in Tanzania it is hard not to play the ‘what will it be like game’. It is hard not to start concocting images of what kind of bed you will have at your homestay, what impact you will be able to make on the local community, and what kind of cultural connections you will form. It’s natural, it will happen, but expectations should be kept in check as a volunteer enters a large community and network that is already established. Here are four reasons why being open to whatever your experience may be will actually make you a better volunteer.

1. Being Ready to Help Out in Whatever Way is Most Needed

Walking in with expectations about what your role will be as a volunteer might hinder your ability to help out in the way that will most benefit the project. There are ways in which you may want to help, or ideas that you have about how your skills will be best used, yet at the end of the day your placement has a good sense of their needs and how you can make the biggest contribution.

2. Embracing the Culture, Not your Idea of the Culture

Expectations often times include imagining what the culture or community that you are living in will be like. By engaging with a culture through the lens that you have created you are likely to miss out on the essence of where you are actually living.

3. The Ability to Understand the Big Picture

Often times before leaving home it is easy to predict how your presence will have an impact on the project that you are joining. The reality is that one person, one volunteer, is only a part of the overall group. Each volunteer must strive to understand the goals of their placement, without overly projecting their own ideas of what success and progress mean.

4. Maintaining Realistic Goals

The role of each volunteer is incredibly important yet sometimes expectations can make you feel as though drastic changes are possible in short periods of time. The reality is not as simple, and while every little bit helps change still takes time. 

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Four Reasons Why Dropping Your Expectations Will Make You a More Effective Volunteer
Four Reasons Why Dropping Your Expectations Will Make You a More Effective Volunteer