One of IST's Pioneer Teachers Shares Her Story

A picture of Gloria and Geneva girls

Gloria Mawji started at the International School of Tanganyika in November of 1963 and has seen the school and the community grow around her. 

When the school first opened its doors, Mawji remembers it as being truly international, something that has held true to this day.

“There were Indian, American and Canadian teachers [just to name a few] it was nice,” Mawji said. “You got to know a lot of people there who were from different [places].”

The same held true for the children who also represented diverse backgrounds.

“We had so many nationalities,” Mawji said. “It was truly international.” 

Originally, Mawji came to Tanzania to get married, but a job with IST made her truly proud to call this her home. 

“[It was] marvelous, I loved it,” Mawji said. “The kids were lovely and the classes were small.” 

As a teacher, Mawji was a jack of all trades, she specialized in Latin and Geography, but also had to cover all other subjects. 

“We had marvelous modern American Latin books for teaching Latin and they were marvelous and the kids loved them,” Mawji said. “I loved it.”

Dar es Salaam in the ‘60s

When Mawji first arrived in Dar es Salaam, she was ecstatic. 

“I loved it, I got there late on a November night when it’s just starting to get extremely hot and humid, and when I woke up in the morning, I thought I am never going to be able to live here it’s so hot, but I’m still here,” Mawji said with a laugh. 

But temperature aside, she truly fell in love with the community. Dar es Salaam, although it’s greatly different now, used to look like a little colonial town. 

“It was a small town with nice, old buildings,” Mawji said. “It was such a sweet, little town.” 

The town, lined with historical, architecturally-breathtaking buildings made for a quaint existence, and the roads, according to Mawji only added to the quietness.

“There were hardly any cars, the only ones were ancient ones,” Mawji said. “They just sort of chugged along.”  

Although she and her husband had to leave Tanzania for work reasons and move to Canada in 1967, they took the first opportunity to get back to Dar es Salaam once there was a job prospect on the table in 1982. 

The International School of Tanganyika  in the ‘80s to Now

Mawji was beyond excited to rejoin IST as a teacher and this time it wasn’t just her coming back, her two children - aged 13 and 9 - both enrolled in the school.  

After the 15 years away, the school - and the city - had changed drastically. 

“It was quite different because it had expanded quite a bit, and a [few years after I came back] a secondary campus [was built].”

Through her years of teaching at IST and being an avid part of the school community, Mawji looks back at her time with extreme delight. 

“It was very friendly because it was such a  small community, we all got to know each other and it was nice, just a very pleasant place to be.”

And for the woman who originally said she’d never be able to live in Tanzania because of its dreadful heat, she’s come to love the place she proudly calls home.

“I miss it like mad when I leave,” Mawji said. “It’s always exciting to go back.”

Mwaji’s pride is mirrored in the IST alumni association. Did you attend or work at IST and want to connect with fellow alumni? You are not alone! There is a whole community of IST alumni who are connecting over their time at the school. Want to join the network? Click here

A picture with a link to the IST alumni network

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