It was with great sadness that we had to say goodbye to our Tanzanian friends today. It has been an emotional and heartwarming week which will stay with us forever and we are thankful that St Joseph’s have found such a wonderful link school in Changa.
So, after saying our goodbyes, we boarded a tiny 12 seater plane and hopped over to Zanzibar. It was a lovely flight despite the rain and the landing was surprisingly smooth.
It was with mixed emotions arriving at school today. Sadness about it being our final day in school but excitement for the activities planned.
We spend some time teaching two teachers how to play dominoes, guess who, connect 4 and snakes and ladders. We had a great time and our Tanzanian friends laughed a lot when someone landed on a snake.
After this we had to say goodbye to the teachers and children. The teachers loved the bags that you decorated for them. We were also given a rug for wiping your feet which the children made, a sarong and some coffee.
Late morning we went to the local market to buy food to cook with teachers from some of the other school. We had to bash the coconuts open and grind them using a special device. We then mixed it with water and squeeze it to create coconut cream. This was used to make the coconut rice. The left over coconut is used for washing or feeding the chickens. Before cooking the rice though, we had to pick out all of the bits that shouldn’t be in it. It took a very long time indeed. We also cooked some vegetable and pealed all the garlic before crushing it.
Another teacher and I helped to wash up. We certainly didn’t have a dishwasher. In fact, we didn’t even have a sink or taps. We had to use a bucket and a jug of water to rinse everything.
It has been very emotional leaving today and I hope that one day I can return to visit the wonderful children of Changa school.
At breakfast today we were joined by some very cheeky monkeys who wanted to sit with us at the table. I think they wanted the lovely fresh fruit we were eating. They were being so naughty that one of the hotel staff came out with a catapult to scare them away. The other way to frighten them off is to stand up quickly with your arms by your side (I will show you when we get back). Apparently, flapping your arms encourages them to come closer.
We were also joined by a family of mongoose who were being attacked by magpies. They’re a lot more reserved than the monkeys.
When we first arrived at school we had to wait for a little whist before doing anything as Stella, the head teacher, had to buy some electricity.
Finally, we were taken around the gardens to see the vegetable that the children are growing to eat. Sadly, their keyhole garden hasn’t worked well as the rain washed it away. However, the have planted another garden which they have named the St Joseph garden. This is doing very well as it is in a better part of the playground. Whist we were walking around, one of the older children was cutting vegetable down for us to eat for our lunch. He was using a very sharp knife, just like you do in forest school. When you look at the photos, you will see that they protect the planted areas using very spiky twigs. This is so that the children can’t eat what they are growing. They are very hungry so some will steal the crops. They would be punished for this.
Once we had walked around, we planted some trees. I planted an avocado tree and Mrs Ferrett a tree which they believe can cure or treat cancer. Stella was unsure of the name of this tree. Do we use any plants as medicine to help us when we’re hurt or poorly?
It was a real honour to be part of the tree planting because we know that they will feed the children eventually. We were also told that when they eat the fruits, they will remember us and our school. They are a sign of our growing friendship with Changa school.
This morning we also helped make the children’s uji (porridge). Some of you helped make some in forest school the last time Stella and William visited. We smelt like we had been in forest school once we had finished. Why do you think that is?
To make uji you will need a fire, an extremely large pot and an awful lot of water. You will also need a large bag of rice, a large bag of maize flour, a small bag of sugar, a small bag of salt and some butter.
First, the fire has to be made and then a massive pot is rested on the top. The water is boiled before adding the ingredients.
First the rice has to be washed and then added to the water. This is then stirred with a huge wooden spoon called a mwiko (mu-wee- ko). Next, mix the maize flour with water in a bucket. This mixture is added to the rice and stirred again and cooked for another 10 minutes before adding two handfuls of salt and then the sugar. It is then stirred again. Finally, the butter is added and stirred in.
The children pay 200 shillings for a cup of uji. This is about 7p.
It has rained a lot today. The school grounds became very flooded, very quickly. (It also dried up quickly too). We got soaked even though we were sat in the hut by the fire. Look carefully at the photos to see why we didn’t stay dry. When it rains though, they collect water in buckets to use later on. As well as this, they have two new tanks which they didn’t have when Mrs Langford and Mrs Ferrett came the first time. An ex pupil (who left in 1968) donated them along with some desks. He has a job in London but wants to help his old school. One tank collects water from the well. This is the one they use as it is cheaper. The other one is too expensive because they get charged for the water that comes in as it isn’t from their well.
With the ground being so soft, the children played a game with a dart like thing made out of paper and a pen, which they threw as far as possible in to the ground. Why wouldn’t they usually be able to play this game?
We had a meeting today with Stella about her climate change project. The children here have been planting trees. How can planting tree help tackle climate change?
After making uji, we visited the school next door who greeted us with some amazing singing and drumming. You may recognise one song.
Back at our school, a fashion show was put on for us to see the different types of clothing Tanzanians might wear at different stages in their lives. We then shared year 3’s poem and year 6’s song with some of the children. They are going to learn the poem on Swahili and Stella will film it.
After that we went to the fish markets and saw the fish coming in on the boats and being auctioned off.
Another jam packed day in school today. We were collected at 8:30 so the children had already been in school for 1 1/2 hours before we even arrived.
We have noticed that all the children have to write the date and learning objective just like you. They also earn the right to write in pen.
In standard 1, the children were learning to write numbers in words. We taught them 5 little ducks and 1,2,3,4,5. They loved making a quacking sound and we could even hear them leaving school quacking. It was very funny. We also gave them pictures of animals to draw and colour in. They found this very hard as they’re not used to doing it.
In standard 3 children were learning about language. They were being taught about tenses today but particularly future tense. The children were all very enthusiastic and engaged. We read Kuda’s story to this class because it linked with their learning about about tenses as he had written in past tense. We also played a game of bingo to practice numbers to 100 in English. They were extremely good already though.
After our morning snack, we taught standard 4 and 5 how to play quick cricket. The children don’t wear a PE kit so they wear their uniform. A lot of children don’t wear shoes either (some of them take them off as they wear flip-flops which are hard to run in, others only have one shoe) and none of them wear trainers. Some of the children found this hard so whilst Mrs Ferrett carried on, I took another group to play french cricket. Before long we weren’t needed as they picked up the rules quickly. One little boy came over to me and simply said ‘amazing!’ He had a massive grin on his face. We were told that they don’t have much time for sport so they all really enjoyed themselves. The children who understood the rules really helped the children who didn’t as well. Mrs Ferrett and I started to get a bit hot though as it was the middle of the day and the sun was blisteringly hot and there wasn’t much shade.
The children go home at 2:30 so we went back to the hotel. It is 12:30 with you then do lunch time. It gives us time to write to you though before going back out with our Tanzanian hosts in the evening.
Whist I was writing this email, someone rode past on the back of a bike holding a massive, old TV. I don’t know how they didn’t fall off the bike.
After emailing you yesterday, we went swimming. The monkeys came back and were being very cheeky. We also saw some massive birds which we don’t know the name of and some mongoose. Last night we were taken out for some street food which was tasty.
We’ve have had another busy day today but we haven’t spent much time in school, which is a shame.
We were collected after breakfast and very briefly visited another school to drop off some teachers. Their school has a much bigger football pitch than our school and they also had proper goal posts. The parents have to pay a small fee for this school though as they are taught in English. The exam they have to take has the same questions as the Swahili exam except it’s written in English. Why do you think that they have to sit the same questions but some children have learnt in English instead?
Once at Changa school, we attended a Swahili lesson where the children were learning the days of the week and months of the year. They were very enthusiastic and listened to everything they were being told. We then taught them in English.
After this, we ate morning snack made by some of the children. See the photo. What are the similarities and differences between what you’d eat at break time snack? (This food was only for the teachers).
We were quickly whisked away from school to go to a very long, important meeting with lots of schools and then the British Council who help pay for our link.
This meeting was held at West Malvern’s link school, Majani amapana . It is very different to Changa. They have a lot more space than Changa have. They have build some amazing gardens to grow fruit and vegetables. Can you name some from the photos? They also have more things to help the children learn than we have.
Look carefully at the photos. How have they recycled things to help them with their growing?
Before we left, the children sang a welcome song. One line I really loved and think that we should remember it at our school.
‘Wear decoration with smiling faces’.
The children here really do smile a lot.
We left school and went shopping for fabric before going to a taylor to be measured for some Tanzanian dresses. We will bring them to school to show you.
We were a bit late sending this to you so you may read this on Wednesday.
Finally, we got one of your questions wrong yesterday. The children actually start school at 7am and finish at 2:30. Stella, the head teacher, didn’t know how many ice lollies they eat a day.
Keep the questions coming though.
We travelled through the amazing countryside to Tanga with our Tanzania friends. Another 6 hours of travel!
Jambo from Tanzania.
It was lovely to be welcomed by Sella at Dar E Salaam airport after three long flights. ( we had an additional stop at Kilimanjaro as three airlines had joined together to fill one plane- great for the environment - and it meant we got a glimpse of the mighty mountain and a meant 29 hours travel from when we left Malvern.
Today made the long travel all worth while. What a treat once we had received our formal welcome at the regional education office.
Changa School welcomed us in true Changa style - singing, a a sea or happy smiling children.
It was lovely to see the staff were all still well and they have embraced our joint topic- ‘Is climate change real’.