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Intern Recounts experiences from West to East Africa


November 19, 2013


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With her internship officially over, Nene Ananaba took some time out of her schedule to share with us her experiences with ADEI, FTE and of course her once in a life time journey to Tanzania. Check out the interview below to hear her story.

FTE/ADEI: Growing up in Western Africa but studying for your Masters degree in Paris, France, you have a unique insight on the world. What was the biggest surprise that you met when you traveled to Tanzania for the first time?

I was definitely introduced to another new world perspective upon arrival into Tanzania. From when I was picked at the airport to the time I left, it felt like I was part of a really large family where everyone cared for one another and were very trusting. The students at KIITEC were warm and very receiving of me. On one occasion, I had gone out with a colleague to buy some vouchers for my phone and the seller owed me some change. Normally, I would wait for the seller to bring back my change, but my colleague said it was alright to leave and return for our change. I was uncomfortable all the way to our destination that I kept asking if the seller would really give us our change if we returned. I was surprised when after 30 minutes, I saw the seller at our destination with the change. I was quite amazed!

FTE/ADEI: You were at KIITEC during the recent graduation ceremony. Can you describe the atmosphere and general feelings amongst the graduates to us?

One word that would suit the occasion would be ELECTRIC. The graduates were so happy to have completed their 3 year studies and their internships. They were also excited at the prospect of independence. The parents on the other hand, were all smiles and it was clear they were very proud.

FTE/ADEI: What would you say was your biggest challenge while working in Arusha, Tanzania?

Since Kiswahili is the national language in Tanzania, moving around in Arusha was a bit difficult because I always had to have someone who would help me translate. This language barrier prevented me from carrying out some personal activities when I did not have anyone to accompany me. However, at KIITEC everyone speaks Kiswahili and English, and maybe other languages too, so it was a good experience to learn Kiswahili and still speak English when necessary at work.

FTE/ADEI: What will you take back with you from this internship experience when you return to complete your studies at Sciences Po in Paris?

For me, my experience in Tanzania has brought to the fore the difference in culture and the way of life but as well, the similarities that different parts of Africa share. Since my concentration at Sciences-po is Project Management and African Studies, my experience at ADEI/FTE/KIITEC has given me the relevant practical tools needed to partcipate in international development projects and it has given me a unique insight into the concept of ‘‘Sustainability’’.

FTE/ADEI: What has been the most rewarding part of your internship with FTE/ADEI?

Every part of my internship has been rewarding. Right from my stay in Geneva to my trip to Tanzania. I have met so many people that have enabled me to question some of my previous convictions and this has helped me both unlearn and learn.

FTE/ADEI: Any advice for future interns or volunteers traveling to Arusha with FTE/ADEI?

I encourage them to be very open-minded and ready to learn Kiswahili and the culture of the Tanzanian people. I find that accepting and learning about others enables better integration and socialization.