1 July 2007
A website I just learned that existed: www.zukri.org It is the website for the local organization we are working through in Bagamoyo. It has pictures of where we’re living, our directors (Douglas and Kristin), pictures of the sites we are working at, etc. Our site is called the African Childcare Center. Since I can’t upload any pictures, I thought some might be interested in more information…
Book I’m reading that I would totally recommend!!: The Color Purple (Alice Walker)
Book I’d like to read once I’m back: The White Masai
It is hard to believe we are already into July! The girls and I were talking about it being the 4th of July this week….seems crazy! I don’t think we’ll be shooting off any fireworks in Bagamoyo J, but I’m sure we’ll find something fun to do…
This last week, we have been finishing up the school. I feel like we are on the TLC’s “While You Were Out”. The kids have all been gone these two weeks, and even the director was gone this week in Zambia. He pretty much just left us with the keys and some paint! The school looks sooo much better! We cleaned and organized all of the supplies in the supply room. We re-painted the three classrooms, and added some artwork. We had some of the artists from SeaView (the art gallery in town that Robbi is working with) come in and paint African animals, musical instruments, a Tanzanian flag, different outdoor scenes….It looks so good! We also painted the alphabet, numbers, etc. You can kind of tell which part the real artists did ;-) We also finished up curriculum this week, which felt good to do. We designed the curriculum into themes for each month: Shapes / Colors, Greetings / Introductions, Family, etc. We are going to have incoming volunteers work together on a theme for the month they are here, and also review themes from past months. We typed up a bunch of activities, songs, games, teaching strategies that we thought would work well with each theme, at least as a starting point for them. We are also going to put these themes up on the website for this school, so that incoming volunteers will be more aware of the theme they’ll be teaching. We’re hoping that they’ll be more able to bring some applicable supplies with them that will work with their theme, since they’ll be more aware of what they’ll be teaching. That is the plan anyway J
This past week, we also visited a local high school in Bagamoyo. It was really interesting. It is a boarding school, so there are dorms in addition to the regular classrooms. We talked to the headmaster, second master, and academic director as soon as we got there! They were very curious at first I think, trying to figure out our ‘aim’ for being there. Hehe. We felt a little silly. We just explained that we were all teachers in the United States, and were curious how the high schools here compared to those at home. We also brought some supplies for them…some things that we had found in cleaning our pre-school that were a lot more useful for a high school. They were sweet and gracious in talking with us, and making us feel welcome. They had a teacher bring us around to a few classrooms and show us around. The time we came, the students were all in the middle of their ‘religious studies’ class. They basically just choose the religion that they practice, and go to a classroom and do praise and worship (or whatever the practices are of that religion). We heard some Christian hymns being sung, so we wandered into those classrooms. It was so wonderful! We all got a little emotional, just listening to the powerful voices of the students, and seeing the love that they had for Jesus. It was very moving. This school is one that has about 1000 students, from all over Tanzania. The students pay a fee to go there ($70 per year). If they are not able to afford it, some students are on scholarship from the government. The school was ¾ males, and ¼ females. They students were all wearing uniforms, and were very well-behaved. It made me happy to see such a quality education in Tanzania, especially in such a small village as Bagamoyo. It made me wonder, though, where the students like ours (from the pre-school) would go, those that for sure could not afford it, and will probably also not be able to get a scholarship. We will have to visit a non-boarding school, and see how that compares.
I also did a little bit of tutoring this past week. In the afternoons, we tutored some girls that our director normally tutors, but since he was out on holiday, we took over. I even got to teach them math!! It was a blast…We worked with positive and negative numbers, and then adding the integers. I think they got it J
On Thursday and Friday, a few new volunteers came to the house….A mother and daughter from Connecticut, and two sisters from North Carolina. They all seem great! Now that it is all people from the United States, we will surely have to celebrate on the 4th!
This past weekend, we went on a safari!!!! We booked a short one with a tour company that was recommended to us from past volunteers. They were very reasonable, as far as safaris go! Our guide, Peter, picked us up in Bagamoyo at 7am on Saturday, and drove us to Mukumi National Park, about a 5-hour drive west. He was very knowledgeable…He was a Tanzanian man who had a degree in Wildlife Management…Ryan, made me think of you, starting out in that field….A safari guide…A little different from the job market in the States for wildlife management majors, huh? J It was just like the safari I imagined….A dark green land rover, with a big, open top so that we can stand up in the jeep and look at the animals in the open air. We spent all day Saturday and half of Sunday in the Park, and saw so many animals!! We saw elephants (a young one even snorted at us!...I guess humans are their only predator, and Peter said is the only animal that has ever tried to attack the jeep!..crazy), some giraffe (we almost hit one on the road, coming back last night!...sooo weird), zebras, baboons, impala, hippos, crocodile, jackal, warthog, more, and a wide variety of really bright birds. There are over 400 different species of birds in the park. We were trying to find lions. I guess lions were a hot commodity for all the safari-goers this weekend. We’d meet a jeep on the path, and their guide would say, “Simba? (lions?)” We’d reply “Hapana (no)”. It was a great trip! I was surprised how many animals we saw in only 2 days. We also saw a beautiful sunset and sunrise in the African wilderness. What a dream….
Now, we’re back in Bagamoyo, and I am having a hard time believing that our time here is already half over. It has gone so quickly, and I’m sure the last two weeks will go even faster, being that the kids will be back from holiday. I feel really blessed to have met such wonderful people so far, and to be experiencing everything that I am with such great women. I am really appreciating the other girls. Shayna, Crystal, Lynn, and Robbi are all great Christian women, and are great, loving people to be around. We had a really great discussion on our way back tonight about our walks with Christ, and how we’ve gotten to where we are now. I really felt God in our discussion on the way home. I have really felt God many times since I’ve been here. I’ve noticed the joy that Africans have so many different times. We were all saying on the ride home how moved we were in watching the students at the school praising God. We feel like we see so many sad parts of Africa, but they still seem to have so much joy. Shayna said that on a different missions trip that she had been on, she noticed this similar thing. She said that the people there were actually praying for the United States, because they feared that we thought we were already in our heaven (on earth). It struck me…Maybe these people have so much joy because they are hopeful of the life to come, and know all that they have to look forward to. Pretty wonderful to think about. Again, I feel blessed to be experiencing all that I am.