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Participant Stories: Danny presents about Tanzania

October 16, 2009


Daniel Laiser of Arusha, Tanzania, spent an hour presenting about his home country to a middle school class in Mount Vernon. Danny writes:

This day was fun and something I didn’t expect. It made me think and remember that I am in Iowa for a reason! It was so good… I would like my fellow and future YES students to be aware that these kids in schools need you. Meet them, talk to them, tell them about yourself. You will make friends…

Student: What is your favorite thing in Iowa, Danny?
Me: I like many things in Iowa. I can’t tell all.

Students: How long have you been in Africa?
Me: Since I was born in 1992.

Students: What languages do you speak besides English?
Me: I speak Swahili and Maasai and three of the local languages in Tanzania.

Students: What is a dog in Swahili?
Me: I am going to tell you many things, so let me go on, and I will answer your questions while I am talking. I have prepared some funny things to tell you starting with my country’s name…

-1Students: What is funny about that?
My country was first called TANGANYIKA and not TANZANIA… After her independence in 1961, she united with Zanzibar island.

Students: What happened?
Me: They mixed some letters from both Tanganyika and Zanzibar to get Tanzania.
Students: Wow! That is interesting!

Teacher: Can you tell us how many tribes you have in Tanzania?
Me: Sure. We have more than 120 tribes, and each one has its own language.

Students: Do you like America?

Me: Yeah! Here are some pictures of Tanzania: this is the map of Tanzania; this is a woman cooking Tanzanian food; and this is our highest mountain, KILIMAN…..
Oh Kilimanjaro! We have just been talking about it!

Students: We know JAMBO! Janbo is “hello.”
Me: Oh, you are so wonderful! How did you know?
Students: They just told us. They are now coming back from Kilimanjaro.

Me: I am going to show you a Maasai dress… this is my traditional dress. This is what we wear.
Journalist: When do you wear those clothes?
Me: We use these at home and on special occasions (like weddings), but we don’t use them in towns. These are pictures showing dressed Maasai guys.

-3Me: I can show you how we wear the clothes, but I must hurry because of time. (Taking my shuka) You tie this end and put it on your shoulder and put another piece like this, and put the big one around your body.
Students and teacher: Wow! You look very nice!

Teacher: Can I try?
Me: Yes, you can…

Students: Do you have houses in Tanzania?
Me (laughing): Yeah, we have big and small houses. The house appearance depends on where it is: town or village.

Students: We like your presentation Danny. Would you like to come to our school again?
Me: Sure! I am glad to meet you too! If you’d like me to come just let me know, right?

Students: Are you going to be paid for doing this?
Me: Oh no, I am volunteering to do this. I like to meet new people like you and learn new things.

Journalist: Who are you working with?
Me: I am with IRIS and with the YES Program.
Journalist: Wow! They did a very good job to bring you here. I think people are going to learn many things from you!
Me: I like to do this because it makes me be more comfortable and make friends. It also prepares me to be a good speaker in my future.

Students: Is Daniel your real name? Or just your American name?
Me: Sure, this is my name. I am Daniel Joseph Laiser.

Me: Thank you for listening to me. I am so excited to be with you!! I will come to visit you again sometime…
Students: We liked your speech Danny! We are not going to forget anything you told us: your country, government, cultural foods, tribes and your own story! We got this picture for you. This is Mount Kilimanjaro. It has our name and a thank-you note.

Students: How do you say “thank-you” in Swahili?

Students, Teacher & Journalist: ASHANTEEEE!!!!! ASHANTEE!!!
Me: Ashante…

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