More like home…
Visitation Day (for boarding students)
The last Saturday of every month is Visitation Day at Tumaini so around 9 or 10AM, parents begin arriving to learn of their child’s progress. In preparation for this day, the children take monthly assessment exams so that results are waiting for the parents upon their visit. The children will head out to a day of fun with their parents/guardians in order to share a meal and purchase any necessities. To celebrate this fun day, Barb and I, along with a Shalom staff member, took the Tumaini 8 to lunch at a local restaurant. The children we so well behaved and gracious for the special meal. Happy Days, the pub where we dined, has a television so the boys especially enjoyed the treat of watching some of a football match after enjoying their meal.
(TOP)Charles, Shedrack, Agness and Me (BOTTOM) Eliya
Barb and some of the kids
Glory and Glory
Fine Artz Gallery
There is a lovely oasis I have mentioned in previous posts called Fine ArTz Gallery. I normally spend my Sundays there, catching up on email and just enjoying the beautiful landscape of Tanzania. Started just a few short years ago by an American woman, the gallery is in the process of expanding so as to accommodate more of a cafe area. Ashley, the owner, grows all of the vegetables at the gallery so the food is deliciously fresh and tasty!
The gallery features Tanzanian artists are are amazing. I recently purchased a beautiful piece by one of my favorite artists there, Chilonga. Here’s a photo of it. Gorgeous!
Walking home for the weekend with the Tumaini Children
Scouts lining up to greet us!
Rose V., one of our sponsored students as well as Charles (not pictured here) partake in the Scouts. They parade around school and go on field trips.
Dear Pen Pal
For the past few weeks I have been working with the older classes on letter writing. Because Tumaini is part of a program called Opportunity Education, we will be having some of the children write to Pen Pals at the sister school in the US.Not only have I enjoyed teaching the children how to write letters, so too have I loved reading their letters! After spending two class periods with each of the class 4, 5 and 6 students, all of the children had a very good grasp of what it is they’d be telling/asking their Pen Pal.
As I spent about five days correcting the 100-120 letters, I was constantly amused and entertained with some of the following letters: (below are just some excerpts)
“Dear Pen Pal,
‘Jambo! Jambo sana!’ I love making new friends and I want to know more about you…”
“Dear Pen Pal,
I have some questions to educate you: what is a balanced diet? Can you name three types of letters?”
What kinds of animals are in your country? We have domestic and wild animals. Domestic animals include: cats, dogs, camels etc.”
In Tanzania, we have many National Parks. In these parks, there are animals like lions, rhinos,
buffalo and leopards. Do you have lions in your National Parks?”
Doe a deer, a female deer, ray, a drop of golden sun…
The older children recently learned solfege so have been solfege-ing songs they know well. Recently, I entered the classroom and taught them the beloved “Doe a deer, a female deer…” song from THE SOUND OF MUSIC. With the teacher looking on, I had the children line up in the front of the class taking turns with each of the various solfege parts. The first time around, not thinking, I had some of the boys at the “Tea a drink with jam and bread” part. The result: hysterics throughout the classroom. The second time around we had it down so the boys sang the lower part. Even then, one of the boys showcased his baritone voice, singing nearly an octave lower than the rest.
JOS volunteer, Barbara arrived on 19 September to spend 10 days working at Tumaini. Last year Barb was in Tanzania and helped to paint murals at Shalom so we put her to work again with a paint brush. With just a blank wall and some major excitement (and some help from Tumaini teachers), we completed the solar system, a colour star and rainbow. Though at first they were a little uneasy with partaking in the fun, the teachers joined and helped to complete the masterpieces. I warned some of them that if they just stand watching, before long I’d put them to work. Sure enough, within about ten minutes, I had four of them tracing stars, painting stars and filling in some wording about the planets. Needless to say, they all had a ball and have asked to continue helping.
The children too were more than excited for the new murals on the walls. During break times (mid-morning tea and lunch), scores of children would hover behind Barb and me, reading the planet names and planet facts as well as asking us questions. The young children, those in the pre-primary tract who range in age from 3-6, were especially inquisitive. The second day of painting, we learned just how curious this little ones were as there were finger prints/finger painting masterpieces on the walls surrounding the solar system. Within about thirty minutes of this discovery, one of the teachers created large signs to warn the children from touching the paint.
Because Barb has already departed and more murals are still needed, I have enlisted the help of some teachers and children to complete the project. The older girls especially are hoping to paint some flowers and other fun art on the outside wall of their dormitory. Stay tuned for future updates with photos on this!
(Head Teacher Mr. Allan helping and some children watching)
(Barb cleaning up the planets!)
The beautiful rainbow, drawn by Mr. Jimmy, painted by Barb and Mr. Emmanuel
Life as a local
On the 7th of every month, Karatu has a huge outdoor market where you can buy anything from vegetables to pots and pans, clothing and even goats! Last year, I drove by the market once and unfortunately this year I have yet to make it there. There’s always November 7 I suppose! Anyway, as I walked from wok into town to meet a friend, I met two young girls from a local secondary school. As we chatted, they told me about their schooling and even invited me to their graduation in 2012. Before we parted ways, they gave me a piece of the sugar cane they were enjoying! I was so grateful for their thoughtfulness but had to admit to them I had never eaten it. As they showed me the proper way to just break off each piece with my teeth, they were in hysterics as I tried to mimic them.
After they turned kulia (right) to the market and I kushoto (left) into town, I realized I still had quite a bit of the sugar left to enjoy. I must admit, it was a bit of a funny feeling as I tore each piece off, chewed it to get the sugar juice out and then finally spit out the rest. I definitely felt like more a local as I recalled seeing countless people do the same over the past four visits I have had in Tanzania. I think the locals were all a bit amused too, as I received more looks than normal!
Once I got to the Post Office, the meeting place with my friend, I plopped on a rock and sat to enjoy more of the sugar cane. I enjoyed sitting there for the fifteen minutes in the evening, just watching life go by; market goers were headed to make some purchases as well as those who had already found what they wanted. Many children/teens passed with their family members and more times than not, they stole a glance over their shoulder to have a look at the mzungu on the rock with the sugar cane! And, more often than not, it was two or three glances. By the second, I smiled and said “Mambo!” or another friendly greeting. The smiles and laughter from them was matched by mine! It was great!
Bridget (my neighbor and friend) met me and we ventured into the market to purchase mchicha (vegetables traditionally made with ugali) as well as some household needs, before heading home to make some ugali! That’s right, Bridget taught me to make ugali! It was super fab..and NOT that hard! You just mix the flour with water and heat it. Once it bubbles/boils, you continue to stir it and add more flour if needed. Leave it over the heat to thicken and VOILA! you’ve got yourself some ugali. Needless to say, another fun adventure! The teachers especially got a kick out of my Thursday night dinner as I shared with them on Friday morning my culinary skills! Fantastic. (Didn’t take any photos, sorry! I know I will be making more soon, so I will post later)
All you need is love
I am delighted to tell you I have decided to extend my stay! Rather than departing next Tuesday, October 12, I will be departing in December(yay!). Parent’s Day, the end of the year celebration at Tumaini, is on November 27 so I wanted to be sure to be here for the special day. The children will be singing songs, performing skits/poems etc to showcase their knowledge. It will be a fantastic day and I am looking forward to it! I will be certain to post photos from the momentous occasion!
Tumaini School Director, Modest Bayo and me