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Zachary Daigle's Story

Zachary Daigle works on a photo shoot for a mini-venture project in Tanzania

During my photography studies at the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC), I never anticipated the opportunity to return to Africa. I can vividly recall the day when my fellow classmates and I stumbled upon the NSCC International opportunities while gathered in the studio. Having already spent a considerable amount of time outside of Canada during my career with the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), I did not expect to be chosen as a candidate for any of the projects I initially applied for with NSCC International. I had set my sights on exploring Europe, so it came as quite a surprise when Tanzania was offered to me. I jokingly remarked to my family and old work friends that Africa seemed determined to pull me back.

This journey presented a chance for both learners and teachers to embark on their first African experience, while for me, it felt like a return to a home I had left behind in 2017. I have tried to convey to everyone the vibrancy and liveliness of Africa, but it is only through firsthand experience that one can truly grasp its essence. This trip was an opportunity for me to immerse myself in a new part of Africa and to travel without the context of being a part of the CAF.

Whenever I visit different regions of Africa, the initial encounter with the airport's distinct smell and the warmth of the air always remains vivid in my memory. This trip was no exception, except this time, our group was joyfully greeted with songs and dances by the students, staff, and NSCC faculty who were already at the Vocational Education and Training Authority (VETA).

My time at VETA spanned two bustling weeks, during which I embarked on mini adventures with my Tanzanian counterpart. We explored various cultural sites such as the Ee-yeiyo Cultural Preservation to meet Mama Pallangyo, Tengeru Cultural Tourism, Nanofilter, Markets, Shanga Centre, the Maasai tribe, and even participated in an essential cultural activity that contributes to Tanzania's economic growth—a safari at Lake Manyara. Each of these adventures showcased the entrepreneurial spirit of individuals running companies that support their country's progress.

One of my primary reasons for being there was to engage in a mini-entrepreneurial venture alongside my Tanzanian peers. Initially, we harbored lofty ambitions, but the overhead costs would have outweighed our potential profit. Thus, we realigned our plan and decided to sell porridge in the mornings and offer portrait sessions in the afternoons. This adjustment led to the success of our profitable business, demonstrating to the students that they can achieve anything with determination and the strength of teamwork. On a personal note, one student named Peter proved to be an outstanding photography assistant—I would gladly have him by my side any day.

Overall, this experience rekindled forgotten memories and emotions within me, while simultaneously providing an educational trip where I represented NSCC rather than the CAF. Not only did this journey enrich my personal recollections, but it also enhanced my photography portfolio. Prior to this trip, I had limited experience in capturing environmental portraits with a flash, but now I feel more confident in this area thanks to the invaluable lessons learned during my time in Tanzania.