My Next Adventure in Tanzania


In January I’ll be moving to Africa. Mto Wa Mbu, Tanzania, to be specific.

Yes, I’m moving somewhere I can’t even pronounce. But I couldn’t be more excited.

Okay…I’m not gonna lie, I’m a little nervous. But it’s definitely like 90% excited, 10% nervous.

I’ve always said I like change, so this should be right up my alley.

Where I’ll Be Working

I have a 1-year contract with the Red Sweater Project, a non-profit organization that collaborates with communities to bring education to children who wouldn’t receive it otherwise.

Most children in Tanzania attend primary school. It’s free, unlike secondary school, which is too expensive to be within reach. Instead older children stay home and work, losing hope that they can achieve any other option. Girls are married off at 14 and start having babies. They grow up thinking they’re not smart enough, or good enough to do anything else.

The Red Sweater Project’s goal is to overcome these hurdles. They have built two schools that makes going to school affordable. And they not only teach children basic subjects like reading and math, but also the idea they can be anything they want to be; and that girls are just as smart and valued as boys.

From what I have heard, these children are extremely grateful to learn. And because most of them haven’t been more than a couple miles outside their village, there are so many things they are being exposed to for the very first time. That is the part I’m excited about. To see the kids be exposed to new thoughts and ideas and to see pictures of things they may have not have known existed.

Watch this video to see more:

Red Sweater Project Building Momentum 2012


What I’ll be doing

I’ll be working as the Office Manager at one of the schools. This role will be “a little bit of everything.” Operations, finances, marketing, administration, working with donors and volunteers, and I’m sure lending a hand for any multitude of things that come up when running a school in a rural village. Oh, no electricity today?

Where I’ll Be Living

The organization has a house where we’ll live. From what I’ve been told, it’s a real house, and nice by local standards. I really have no idea what to expect, but I do know there will be a real shower and western toilets—so that’s a bonus!

It’s Only October, What Now?

I have about a month left at my current job in San Diego. I let them know far in advance, which I was a little nervous about, but has worked out. It has also been a challenge to stay focused. Typically when you put in your resignation, usually you only have 2-3 weeks, so naturally people start checking out pretty quickly. In this case, I still had three months; so checking out wasn’t an option. So far I’ve managed to maintain the same work ethic-but there have been days where I needed to dig deep to do it.

My last day is on November 8, and then I have three weeks to pack up my stuff and enjoy my last days in San Diego. My stuff will go into storage, and I’ll go to Dallas to spend some time with friends & family for the holidays.

After Christmas, I’ll head abroad to spend a couple weeks traveling somewhere before I start work. Destination unknown, but will be choosing somewhere that isn’t freezing in January, and have relatively easy access to Tanzania. Options will be limited.

 2014 Travel

After taking a hiatus from traveling, I am eager to get back out there. A benefit of working at a school is school holidays! While you’ll get plenty of information on Tanzania next year, I also want to bring you guys some great stories and travel tips from other destinations. Where? I’m not sure yet. But with Tanzania as a base, I will likely be headed to some less traveled locations. In addition, since I already have lots of travel experience under my belt, I’ll revisit some of my past experiences. I’ll let you know what it was like to do my first long-term solo trip. How I initially took a sabbatical, what lessons I learned, and how I’ll apply those to how I’ll travel in the future. Hopefully you can learn a little from my experience.


Have you ever worked in a rural third world country? How was your experience? Feel free to share some advice and tidbits on a few things you didn’t expect!




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11 Responses to My Next Adventure in Tanzania

  1. Therie February 5, 2017 at 10:48 pm #

    This must have been a life-changing experience, Denise. Thanks for sharing :)

  2. AbduL March 18, 2015 at 12:11 am #

    Plz come back to Tanzania !!

  3. Anty January 16, 2015 at 1:41 pm #

    How refreshing to read your post Denise. I am sure this experience will make you a completely a different person, a better person. Welcome to Mtowambu. Those kids are so lucky to have an opportunity to just share your knowledge.

    Good Lucky.

  4. Frank November 23, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    It’ll be a great experience Denise – when I was young we moved to Zambia for a couple of years when my dad decided to take a contract with the Canadian International Development Agency. Was a life changing experience and something I’ll never forgot. It might not always be easy but I’ll sure you’ll find that you come out of it a changed person.
    Frank (bbqboy)

    • Denise Diamond November 23, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

      Wow, changing schools when you’re young is always tough but I bet going all the way to Zambia quite the change for you when you were young! But I’m sure an incredible one looking back, and probably led to you wanting to travel so much as an adult. Yes, I think I have realistic expectations that it won’t necessarily be easy, but a great learning opportunity!

  5. Ashley Hubbard November 13, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    This sounds amazing! Africa is one of the places I want to get to sooner rather than later. I look forward to reading your posts about your time there :)

    • Denise Diamond November 14, 2013 at 8:45 am #

      This will be my first time to Africa too, so I’m excited! Africa is such a huge place it’s a little overwhelming, but I’m looking forward to the adventure!

  6. Joshua October 17, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

    Kudos for your courage Denise. Enjoy your life and take in all the moments it brings. You will never look back and regret these kinds of decision. They make up the things you will remember at the end. Hope you visit us again somewhere along your journey.

    • Denise Diamond October 20, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

      Thank you so much Josh! I’m sure that knowing people like you have fed into my travel inspirations. I would love to cross paths again along the way, had so much fun with you two!

  7. Corey Bryant October 16, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

    I think what you are doing is spectacular! I’ve learned that a lot of people talk about doing great things such as this, but only a handful ever follow through – not that they wouldn’t, but it takes guts and a dedication that is rare. I hope you love every minute of it!

    “You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.”

    - Maya Angelou

    • Denise Diamond October 16, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

      Thank you Corey for the kinds words, it made me smile!

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