Silver Spring student teaching at secondary school in Tanzania -- Gazette.Net


Mariel Shilling of Silver Spring is nearly done with a six-week trip to Zanzibar, Tanzania, through America’s Unofficial Ambassadors program.

After taking a seminar on Tanzania last spring at Washington College in Chestertown, Md., Shilling saw the need for massive improvement in the public education system, she wrote in an email interview. That inspired her to go to Tanzania to teach at the government-run Forodhani Secondary School.

“I believe that teachers have a special ability to touch a child’s life,” she wrote. “I hope that during my time here I am able to touch my [students’] lives and inspire them to continue with their education and follow their dreams and I hope that they they will touch my life as well.”

Shilling said she chose the America’s Unofficial Ambassadors program because “I think their mission to break down cultural barriers between Americans and Muslims is very important,” she wrote.

Shilling is keeping a blog of her experiences, including her recent bout with a mysterious illness, at

She arrived in Tanzania on May 25 and is scheduled to stay through July 7.