As I wrote a letter to my dear friend Jenna, I thought this instance is something I wish to share with not just her, but everyone. As a volunteer, one of our goals is to share and educate Americans about Tanzania, and vice versa. Being African American, I am finding something as simple as the color of my skin will be a great teaching tool here in Tanzania. Not only do I have the opportunity to educate many Tanzanians who don't understand the concept of an African American, but to also share this experience with many of my friends in the United States, who may not otherwise realize being “black” in Tanzania is not “easier.” My first encounter with this was upon arrival in Tanzania. At this point the only Kiswahili words I knew were yes and no. Therefore when approached by Tanzanians who assumed I was also Tanzanian, I was unable to communicate. At that point I didn't even know how to say I'm American, let alone I am learning Kiswhaili. During my first encounter with the issue of race, I was having a conversation with two people who were helping me learn simple swahili words and I informed them of America. What they were unable to grasp was that my roots, for as far as my family is able to trace is American. Unwilling to accept this as my race, they told me all “black people” come from Nigeria or Tanzania. Teaching moment number one. The next was unbelievably with Americans. Not only were they surprised to see an African American in Tanzania but assumed although I was with the entire group of Americans that I must be from Africa, but not Tanzania because “my English was pretty good.” Teaching moment number two. The next stemmed from what I imagine to be a common situation to come in the future. While I do look Tanzanian from the color of my skin, and that is my assumed race, “once I speak, it is clear I'm not.” As one Tanzanian has already told me, “I thought you were one of us until you started to talk.” From here he proceeded to tell me I made it to America during the slave trade, and then asked me about slavery. While these instances will be reoccuring, and slightly bothersome, I have learned that it is only ignorance that perpetuates things like this. Instead of taking offense, I will do my best to use these constant interactions as teaching moments, and as my Kiswahili increases, I will be able to do so. I'm putting up this blog just to showcase many challenges that I face are far beyond the rats, the sanitation, and even lack of water. While it is something so simple, it is such a great teaching moment. So many people, as I realized from also traveling to India in developed countries have rarely/never seen African Americans, and along with the projects we have come here to do as volunteers, I feel those of us of color have an additional cultural lesson of America in which we can provide to many who don't know.