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Volunteers sought for Tanzania trip

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 11:05 a.m. CDT

DeKALB – Every two years, DeKalb-based Tanzania Development Support leads volunteers to Tanzania to work on construction projects that help support development in Tanzanian communities. Opportunities are still available for volunteers to join the group on a two-week Work-Study Safari to Tanzania in July 2013.

This work-study group will join Northern Illinois University’s Tanzania Study Abroad students to help the Nyegina community construct its first library and community resource center, which will serve primary and secondary students and surrounding communities.

“The people directly benefiting from the work are right beside you working as hard as you are, and so obviously pleased that you are there,” said Tracey Swanson, a member of the 2009 group. “They want to get to know you and they fully appreciate that what you are doing together will make a big difference in their lives and in their community.”

In addition to the construction project, volunteers can attend seminars with local nongovernmental organizations working on various aspects of community development. These seminars are led by TDS President Dr. Kurt Thurmaier, an NIU professor of public administration.

“The TDS volunteers are given an optional reading list that provides background for meeting with the Tanzanian NGO leaders and enriches the seminar experience,” Thurmaier said. “The engagement of students, volunteers and local NGO leaders in fascinating discussions really helps give everyone involved a new view of our world and how it works under conditions of deep poverty.”

On one weekend of the program, the group will take an overnight safari in the Serengeti National Park during the Great Wildebeest Migration.

"I could never have imagined the awe I experienced in the Serengeti. I was speechless with wonder," said Barbara Eckblad, a volunteer with the group in July 2011. “In the Serengeti the animals depend on themselves for survival. They must protect themselves from predators while searching for prey. Being in the midst of the animals’ natural habitat is much different from seeing them at a zoo.”

This year’s volunteer group will depart from the US on July 4 and return on July 20. The cost of the work-study program is $1,500 plus an additional fundraiser challenge. The $1,500 fee includes the safari trip, meals, lodging and in-country transportation. The cost of international airfare is not included.

The deadline for signing up for this adventure is March 15. Additional information and an application form are available at www.tdsnfp.org in the Travel Programs section. Questions can also be directed to Brandi Smith at bsmith@tdsnfp.org or Thurmaier at kthur@tdsnfp.org.

Tanzania Volunteer Trip

Two-week work-study program to help a Tanzanian community build a library and community resource center. Volunteers can attend optional seminars about Tanzanian community development. The trip includes an overnight safari in the Serengeti National Park during the wildebeest migration.

Cost is $1,500, which does not include airfare to and from Tanzania. Registration deadline is March 15. For information or to register, visit www.tdsnfp.org or email bsmith@tdsnfp.org or kthur@tdsnfp.org.

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