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18vHERVOICEvSEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019 forehead. The Americans found this very difficult and would often trade places every few hundred yards with their partners. Taking turns hauling their precious cargo, made the water walk much easier. One of the main things that surprised the students, was the lush beauty of the landscape. They were expecting the stereotypical arid desert. But Tanzania is bordered by three of the largest lakes on the continent, and home to a fifth of Africa’s largest mammals at national parks such as Lake Manyara Park. Approximately thirty eight percent of the country’s territory is dedicated to game preserves, conservation areas, and many national and marine parks. The Americans were treated to see this paradise for themselves when they went on a safari in the Tarangiri National Park. June is actually the winter season in Africa, and the safari guide told them to pray to see animals. He jokingly guaranteed that they’d see grass and trees. The prayers were well received and the tourists were rewarded with a veritable parade of animals. They saw the expected giraffes, monkeys, zebras and elephants, but they also encountered warthogs, dik-diks and komodo dragons among many others. The wildlife was happily abundant, and many of the animals had their babies in tow. A cheetah sighting was especially memorable, because they are typically nocturnal animals. The final night of the trip there was a huge shared dinner, with much laughter, singing and dancing by all. Saying good bye to their new Tanzanian friends was tearful. The Americans had been cared for so completely and kindly by the Arusha community right from the start. Kaiti felt it was very important to note that, “from the moment we stepped off that plane and onto that bus, every single person from Tanzania that was involved with the Me to We organization, said to us ‘We are going to take care of you like you are our family.’ They were all so extremely nice. I think the world could learn a lesson from the people of Tanzania Africa.” The other YHS girls were quick to agree and said that they felt safer walking alone at night in Tanzania than they would back at home, and that there was “zero negativity from the community.” All the Americans enjoyed the Tanzanian’s sense of humor and love of play. One of the students remarked to her parents, “They have so much less than us, but they are so happy!” The group knew that this was a trip of a lifetime and most likely they would never see their Tanzanian friends again. Fortunately, the memories and learning gained by everyone from both continents, will never be lost. The Yankton High School students expected an education from the service learning portion of the trip and lots of adventure, but came away with so much more. Kaiti repeats a message that’s been a constant: “You can learn a lot by being involved. It’s more than sight-seeing. We are engaging. We are participating. We are part of this community.” Grace Liebig’s mother expressed what many of the other parent’s must have felt when she thanked Kaiti profusely and said, “As a parent, I am so happy for them to have had the opportunity to travel. I would work as hard as I needed to, to make that happen again. It was such a great experience for them!” Kaiti Ladwig looks forward to participating in more trips in the future, and giving many more students the opportunity to receive a cultural education they could never duplicate in the classroom. n

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