Thursday, December 20, 2012



As I get ready to depart for Tanzania, I am studying the language of Swahili (pronounced Kiswahili in Tanzania). In order to practice and get to know the language, I will occasionally include some of the language in my blog.

'Hamjambo' is how you greet two or more people. It translates to how are you? To greet only one person, you would say 'Hujambo!'

An appropriate response to this greeting would be 'Sijambo' for I am fine. You could also say 'Hatujambo' which means we are fine.

If you are greeting someone of higher status, which I will probably me doing a lot, you would say 'Shikamoo' and they would reply 'Marahaba'. There are no perfect translations for this exchange in English, which sometimes makes learning a language more difficult.

Although the language still sounds and feels so foreign to me, I am hoping my immersion in the Tanzanian culture will help me feel more familiar with the Kiswahili language.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Yesterday, December 15th, I graduated from Bloomsburg University. I graduated Cum Laude with my degree in Secondary Education- English. For four and a half years, I diligently worked towards earning this degree in order to achieve my dream of becoming a WorldTeach volunteer. Now, not only have I been accepted into an amazing program, with whom I will travel to Tanzania with in January 2013, but I have also become the first member of my family to earn a college degree, and I did it with honors. 

For any graduate (of high school, college, grad school, etc...), I believe this quote sums up the real definition of success. Many people believe a person's success is measured by how society recognizes him or her. However, I advocate that personal success can only be determined by that individual. Don't set your goals to appease the many voices of others, set them to please your own heart. No amount of societal success can compare in value to one's own self-happiness. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Newtown, Connecticut

As someone who has put all my heart into education, my sincere prayers go out to the victimized families of Connecticut. Above all else, schools are meant to be a safe haven for children, and today that trust was broken.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

What's a Bibi?

Bibi is Swahili for 'Miss'. During one of my last days with my 7th graders, I gave them a Swahili mini lesson. With this lesson, students wrote Swahi-lish (Swahili -English) letters to my future students in Tanzania. One of the translations I gave my students was Bibi Nemec for Miss Nemec. During those final days together, I was constantly referred to as Bibi Nemec or just Bibi. Most of my farewell letters were addressed to my newfound alias, as if Miss Nemec was already a name of the past for them.

However, this fun nickname symbolized much more. It was a right of passage for me, their student teacher. We agreed it was easier for us to separate knowing I was leaving to become a part of a greater cause. "Bibi" symbolized the part of me that they had to share with the world, the part that would come back and then share the world with them. "Bibi" was their 7th grade way of reminding me that there are students in Tanzania, Africa waiting for a Bibi to come and change their lives.