We work at the grassroots level throughout the Muslim World to counter violent extremism before it takes hold, to promote tolerance and understanding, and to foster better relations with the United States.
This post was written by Zeeshan Shad towards the end of his time volunteering as a teacher in Zanzibar.
The last 4 weeks have passed me by, I’ve really immersed myself in the culture of Zanzibar and have met so many interesting people that have taught me so much. I’ve given back some insights about America along the way, some of which people don’t believe. For example one of my first days teaching, one of my students asked me which tribe I came from and when I responded with the fact that I’m not in a tribe and that there are no tribes in America my students looked up at me in a state of shock. That’s just one of the many conversations I’ve had with people here that have ended in a similar fashion.
People here are so eager to hear about America and the way of life we have here, it’s almost to the point where they obsess over the fact that I’m from “Obama Land”. It has been really rewarding to share some of my stories about home and to get stories back about Zanzibar in return. It’s that kind of thing that really makes being a representative of America so rewarding. The people here are one of kind, every person that I’ve met has been so overly friendly and accepting. I can’t even begin to count the amount of times that I’ve been sitting somewhere at a table by myself and a family has walked up and sat with me and asked me things like where I’m from, what I’m doing here, if I personally know President Obama and if I’ll teach them English. Everybody has been so friendly and provided me with so much insight in to the way of life here. My placement at the Zanzibar Commercial School has been great so far, and the kids have been even better. Everyday I come in one or two students has a different question to ask me about America, which range from what my favorite food is to questions about my family and friends. I can’t wait to see what the next 2 weeks here has to offer!