Now into my 7th week in Tanzania I can say that I have got stuck into the beginning of my work here. I have made 3 visits to Lyamungo Sinde Primary School and look forward to a good working relationship with the pupils of Standard 4.
My plan is to connect Standard 4 pupils here with Class 3 pupils in Roxwell Primary in Essex. This is going to prove difficult because the Tanzanian pupils are by and large older than their academic peers in the UK. Also, there are twice as many Tanzanian pupils as there are in Roxwell Class 3! I’m sure we can work something out though, perhaps by allowing the Roxwell pupils to adopt 2 Tanzanian friends. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
I’ve had my first introduction to the village elders here – a very formal occasion and a necessary requirement for any foreign visitor. The Tanzanian people stand on formality and it is important for a visitor who intends to work within the community to follow the accepted social protocols. I also made my first faux pas week before last! Speaking of protocols, I attended my meeting at the school to introduce a new Art project to the pupils. Having finished my intended goal, I left. However I should also have greeted the pastor as a courtesy as well as my mother-in-law, also as a courtesy! How dare I come into the village without following social etiquette! I made up for it last week though with my agreement to meet the village elders, so all is well now.
One of the problems I have found during these visits is that the 2 computers I supplied, one to the pastor and one to the school both have a hardware fault and according to the pastor, they both died at the same time. I’m suspecting a fault in the electrical supply to the village as the damage is to the main board of the computers. Electricity is a scarce commodity at the best of times and is very often cobbled together by local amateurs. I suspect a voltage spike went through the system and frazzled the motherboards. Oh well – the hazards of African infrastructure!
Over the next few weeks I will have to also attend the other primary schools as a matter of course and to demonstrate no favouritism for any one school. I will leave the secondary schools until next year, I think. The primaries will keep me busy for the foreseeable future. More soon.