Lecturer in Kinesiology
Marissa: What exactly is this organization?
Karie Orendorff: It’s called Teaching in Tanzania. I take students from the University of Rhode Island, actually any university is welcome to come, but it’s for the kids here because that’s where I teach. We go over to Africa, to Tanzania, and work with the school called the Maasai Joy Children’s Center.
Marissa: What is the purpose of Teaching in Tanzania?
Karie Orendorff: Well, originally it was to get education students out of their comfort zone. I wanted my students to understand that [if] you have a teaching credential, you can go anywhere in the world. It really went from helping educators to helping anyone who wants to help. We do a lot of fundraisers to offset the cost of the trip, because the trip is $4,800, and that covers everything: airfare, food [and] they do a one or two-day safari. We do show up with lots and lots of school equipment and sports equipment. Over the last three years, we’ve taken 3,350 pounds worth of luggage over there.
The school didn’t have a playground, which I think is just heartbreaking. So, last year, we saved some of the money that was raised to help build a playground and we also received a grant for that. We bought the equipment over in Africa and then dug up all of the holes and put all the equipment in. We had leftover money from that to help start building two new classrooms, so it’s kind of nice. Because when you think of the kids going to school in chicken coops, they literally go to school in chicken coops.
Marissa: How many years have you taken this trip with students?
Karie Orendorff: This will be my fourth year, so we’ve done it for the past three summers. It’s a great trip. I’m very proud of the students that go. Their lives are changed forever. So, you know, it’s a great trip.
Marissa: How long do you stay when you go over?
Karie Orendorff: I would love to be able to stay for longer, but I can’t. The students take time off of their summer, and that means they have to take time off of work. So having to pay for the trip and then having to take time away from what would actually help pay is tough. So we go and we work for a week. We’re usually gone, from start to finish, about 12 days.
Marissa: Is there a cutoff date for fundraising and can just anyone donate if they write a check?
Karie Orendorff: I take check donations at any point. The check has to be made out to the University of Rhode Island, and the memo [should be made out] to Teaching in Tanzania. If you want it to go towards this year, try and have the check in by June 24. If you can’t make that date it can always go towards next year.
Marissa: What dates are you going this year?
Karie Orendorff: We leave July 1 and get back July 13.