Wiki Mbili: New Kids In School

Mambo! We had a very eventful second week. The Monday after the workshop concluded, we met up with our professor, Mary Raber, and Ewald Tesha of Asante Africa. Together, we drove around the Kilimanjaro area to visit all of the schools we would be attending later in the week.  Unfortunately we still couldn’t cut a break from being jammed together as Tesha’s car only had enough seats for five people, so Tesha and Mary got to sit very comfortably in the front while the four of us where packed into the rear like sardines. Tesha first took us to the district offices, where we had to get approval from the higher-ups in the education system to work in the schools. Upon receiving that we visited the first school: Nkwamakuu Primary School. Nkwamakuu has Standard 1-7 students, which is about equivalent to 1st through 7th grade in the American education system. We met with the headmaster, had Chai (a sort of breakfast), and toured the school. Before we left, the teachers gathered all of the students in the yard and then sang welcome songs and introduced themselves.  After we introduced ourselves to them (which included Andrew doing a backflip) we packed back into the car and left for Orkolili Secondary School.  At Orkolili we were given a brief tour of the school by Mama Mcha, the founder of the school. The school is unique because it not only teaches academics but also vocational skills such as culinary, electronics, and auto repair skills. This allows students to be well prepared for life after secondary school, whether they get a job or go to university. After a short visit at Orkolili, we all went to Moshi, which is the second town we will staying at in about two weeks. We were able to meet with the organizations we will be working with while we are there. We first stopped at Amani’s Children Home, which houses homeless children and tries to reunite the children with their family members, if possible. After a short visit there, we visited the Old Moshi Hotel, which is the hostel we will be staying at while in Moshi. They will also be organizing the work we will be doing there. After returning back to Boma, we decided how we would be splitting up for the week, since we had planned to send two team members to Nkwamakuu Primary School and two team members to Orkolili Secondary School.  We decided that splitting up would allow us to spend more quality time at both of the schools.

 

Nkwamakuu Primary School

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Andrew and Lauren spent Tuesday through Friday at Nkwamakuu. On Monday we had discussed with the teachers that they would like us to teach some math, science, and English classes at the school. We agreed that on Tuesday, we would observe some classes to get an idea of what the students were learning and what the teaching style was at the school. However, we soon realized that the school had something else in mind (we would also quickly learn that this would become a common theme throughout the week). As soon as we arrived on Tuesday, the teachers asked us which classes we were teaching. We responded by asking if we could observe the class first, and they agreed. But, we are pretty sure that they did not entirely understand because they still proceeded to set up the Standard 3 (3rd grade) class for us to teach. Luckily, this is something we had kind of prepared for. Prior to traveling, one of the projects that we had identified was a way to make math classes more fun for the students, since many Tanzanian classes are heavily lecture based. We decided that one way we could do this is by playing some math games with cards. We brought several decks of cards over to Tanzania and were able to introduce the game that morning. With the Standard 3 students, we worked on basic subtraction and addition skills. The game is kind of like war, where games are played with two students and one deck of cards. Each student flips over a card and then the students add or subtract the numbers on the cards. Both the students and teachers responded very positively to the game. The students said that they had fun playing the game, while the teachers said it helped the students learn math skills quickly. We ended up showing the math game to Standard 4 and Standard 5 students also, but instead of addition and subtraction we did multiplication and fractions. Along with math, we also taught some science classes. In science, we played Jeopardy with the students. Although none of the students had heard of the game before, they overall seemed to really enjoy a new teaching method (and also really liked the candy we gave to them for participating).

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Additionally, on Tuesday, we asked the headmaster if there were any water, sanitation, or hygiene related problems at the school. The headmaster then walked us over to one of the hand washing stations, which consisted of a bucket with a twist nozzle. He explained that these current stations were unsanitary because the students have to touch the dirty nozzle to close it after they wash their hands. We then agreed that we could work on a project together to create a more sanitary system. After some research and discussion with the headmaster and teachers, we designed a Tippy Tap system that was modified to meet the school’s needs. As shown in the video below, the design allows the children to wash their hands by simply stepping on a wooden lever, so they do not have to touch anything after they wash their hands. It took a couple days to buy the materials, including some metal bars that the hardware store employee cut with just a simple handsaw, which still baffles us. On Friday, we were able to build the three stations and test them with the children. In this upcoming week, we still need to test the stations more and gather feedback to ensure that they will be used effectively by the children, and then we will adjust accordingly.

One of the biggest challenges at Nkwamakuu is the language barrier. Most of the students (and teachers) only speak Swahili. Luckily, we had a translator with us, however, we struggled sometimes to communicate with the students. Although the language barrier has been difficult, it has been a good way for us to learn a lot of new words in Swahili (especially lots of new math words!). Also, in our free time at the school, we had lots of fun playing Simon says and soccer with the kids, as well as pretending to be lions eating each other (which the kids found oddly entertaining).

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Orkolili Secondary School

Orkalili

Jennifer and Ian spent their first week (Tuesday through Friday) at Orkolili Secondary School. The structure of the school is very similar to a typical high school in the United States, with four main class groups, called Forms. Going into Tuesday, Jennifer and Ian were unsure of what the week at Orkolili would entail but they were looking forward to the possibilities that laid before them. Upon arriving on Tuesday, they met up with their main contact, a teacher by the name of Joe, who proceeded to explain a little bit about what they would be doing before taking them around to each of the classes to introduce themselves (stating their names, ages, and what they are studying at Michigan Tech). Each classroom has about 37-58 students since each classroom houses one form, except for Form 4f, which is housed in two classrooms, making each class size about 37-38. In the Form 3 class, Joe asked the students to assign Jennifer and Ian Swahili names. Ian was named Mushi (Moo-she) and Jennifer was named Manka (Mah-n-kah). Throughout the week, they switched between their U.S. names and their new names, many students and teachers just called them Mushi and Manka. they quickly grew accustomed to responding when their new names were called.

Throughout the week, Jennifer and Ian taught a few classes. their teaching, though slightly unconventional, seemed to work. they started out their teaching adventure with English to Form 2, with the topic of “How to Properly Answer a Telephone Call”. At first, they thought this would be simple, but it proved to actually be quiet challenging, since Jennifer and Ian soon realized that they did not usually make phone calls and, when they did, usually did not use proper answering techniques. They did their best and Ian taught the class to say “WASSUP” when answering a close friend’s phone call. Tuesday afternoon was spent presenting their areas of study to each Form 4 class. Ian discussed Engineering in General along with his specialty of Material Engineering, trying to build up enthusiasm within the students. Jennifer discussed Psychology and the jobs that are available. The first Form 4 class seemed to be interested in knowing about Jennifer and Ian, whereas the second Form 4 class spend their entire time asking questions about science and engineering, allowing Ian to excitedly explain many concepts to them. Since Jennifer did not get a chance to present on Psychology, she got an entire class period to present on Thursday. On Wednesday, they observed a Form 4 math lesson and Ian taught Trigonometric Functions to Form 3. The students responded very well and enjoyed Ian’s lesson so much, that he was asked to teach again on Thursday. He decided to continue onto Trigonometric Inverse Functions on Thursday and, again, the students seemed to enjoy his lesson. Thursday afternoon, Ian taught Chemistry to a Form 4 class and, again, the students enjoyed it so much that he was asked to teach the introduction to Organic Chemistry on Friday morning, which was also a very good lesson. Though Jennifer did not do much teaching, she got to watch the lessons and how Ian’s excitement of the subjects was passed on to the students.

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On Fridays, Orkolili ends classes around 12 pm and has various activities in the afternoon. At 12, the students break off into different classrooms, according to their religious background, to have a worship service. Jennifer and Ian were asked to join/observe one of these groups and they both obliged. The students sang songs of praise, said prayers, and were lead in devotion by a pastor (probably) or leader. The lesson they got to hear, and slightly understand thanks to a helpful student, was on Ruth 1:1-18. It was a really cool experience, hearing all the different groups in the classrooms singing and watching the group they were sitting in singing songs of praise. The religious services were followed by a short break, and then the students broke into different clubs until lunchtime. After lunch, all the students gather at the sports fields near campus to participate in different sports. They have basketball, football (soccer), and song and dance circle. While Ian ran off to play football on the Form 1-3’s team against Form 4, Jennifer walked around with a few of the girls and took pictures of some of the activities. Though Ian got exhausted and cut up from playing, he had some fun playing with the kids. Jennifer got a chance to talk to the girls about the sports that they liked and learn some more Swahili. It was nice to get to know some of the students.
Jennifer and Ian had a few struggles to overcome during their week at Orkolili, the biggest being the language barrier. Even though Orkolili pushes the students to speak English, they still had to make sure they spoke slowly and emphasized certain words to ensure that they were understood. The smaller struggles were being asked to prepare for a class within an hour and then teaching, since they both have limited experience in teaching, they both picked it up quickly though and Ian’s enthusiasm spilled into the classroom igniting the students interest in their studies.

 

Weekly Blooper Reel

Andrew: After being dropped off by the bus when returning from Nkwamakuu, Andrew and Lauren were berated by dozens of bajaji drivers trying to give them rides. While Andrew was turning around to tell them “Hapana Asante” (No thank you), he was nearly hit by a bus, which wasn’t following the traffic laws (but then again, neither does any vehicle here…at all).

Lauren: After apparently not learning from her mistake from last week (responding with “Si”), Lauren responded to a student on Wednesday by saying, “Bien.” Again Lauren, that is SPANISH, not Swahili.

Jennifer: On the very first day of teaching at Orkolili, Jennifer had already received a marriage proposal, which wasn’t asked in the way you would expect either. She was specifically asked how many cows would be enough to have her hand in marriage (Ian was secretly jealous, and also wondering the same thing).

Ian: After an already exhausting day of teaching on Friday, Ian was asked to play a 90 minute game of soccer. Yeah, that did not go well. He obtained several cuts and bruises, which he mistakenly thought could be cleaned with Lysol wipes (you know, the wipes you use to completely disinfect kitchen counter tops…and that have a big warning label saying “Do not put on skin”).

All: While waiting in downtown Boma for our Bajaji driver George (who is our hero) to pick us up, we witnessed probably the funniest thing we have experienced this trip. A bus was pulling into the parking lot when it suddenly stopped, causing the motorcycle behind it to suddenly stop as well. The motorcyclist became frustrated, and although he didn’t have a horn, that didn’t stop him from releasing his anger out onto the bus driver by yelling, “BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP” with the funniest angry face. We (especially Andrew) cannot stop mimicking it and laughing constantly.

 

Asante Sana (thank you very much) for reading our blog! Check it again sometime next week when we have wifi to upload our week 3 post!


Wiki Moja: New Experiences and New Friends

Very First Experiences

Four days in and our experience has already been incredible.  We arrived in Boma on the fourth (after a full 24 hours of travel) and have been crazy busy since the second we stepped off the plane.  After being held up at the airport for three hours, we met our host, John, who took us back to house for the night.  There we were treated to dinner and had our first experience with the culture.  John’s home is very nice and John has taken great care to help our adjustment as much as possible.  We woke the next morning and had our first Chai, a meal that acts as breakfast here in Tanzania.  We took a bajaji (see below) to a local hotel to meet our second contact, Joel, who works for the Asante Africa Foundation. We will be working with them for our first 3 weeks here.

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Joel led us on a bus ride to the nearby town of Arusha where the Asante offices were based. After receiving an orientation from the staff, Joel took us to a local market. At the market we were able to buy local cloths and art. It was all a bit overwhelming at first, especially since we know very little of the language (Swahili) and were attempting to barter in the local currency (Shillings). After the market, Joel helped us get our Tanzanian phone set up and then sent us back on the bus to Boma.

 

Tarangire Safari

The next day we met up with our professor who is here for a couple days and went on a safari. It was an amazing experience! We had to wake up at 5 am, which was not the most enjoyable, but it was definitely worth it. We drove three hours to the Tarangire National Park and spent most of the day there, driving around with our guide. We saw tons of animals, including elephants, lions, impalas, zebras, warthogs, vervet monkeys, baboons, wildebeests, ostriches, a hippo, and others. We also saw some cheetahs, at first from a safe distance with the rest of the safari vehicles. Then, our tour guide asked us if we would like to get closer to the cheetahs. We responded that it was okay, we were comfortable where we were. However, he may have misinterpreted, as he drove us within 5 feet of the cheetahs, where no other vehicles dared to go. After a short visit with them and some pictures, we went on our way. We took all sorts of pictures and then headed back to our homestay.

One struggle of many this week was navigating our driver back to our homestay in the dark. We had only been driven there one time in the daylight, so we were very unsure of how to direct the driver. We managed to get two of the turns correct, and then lost our confidence in where to go. Luckily, our driver was very resourceful and was able to talk to a random person in a nearby shop and call John, so he could direct our driver to get us home. We’ve learned to be adaptable, flexible, and how to navigate through challenges as they come. As each day goes by, we become more confident and independent and know we will be comfortable here soon.

Team pic elephant

Workshop With Asante Africa

This weekend, we worked with a leadership team from Asante Africa, a foundation that empowers youth in Tanzania with educational opportunities and leadership skills. We met with Erna Grasz (the founder of Asante), Ewald Tesha (the local program manager), and twelve youth leaders, all of whom were extremely friendly and welcoming. Along with our professor, we assisted in conducting a workshop that focused on teaching the youth the process of Human Centered Design (HCD). HCD is a tool that focuses on solving problems effectively, by working in teams to research, brainstorm, and prototype new solutions. We split up into four groups, each working through the stages of HCD on a real problem in their community. The solutions that we came up with involved sharing leadership skills with local entrepreneurs and persuading secondary students to pursue STEM and teaching careers. By the end of the workshop, we had all learned a lot more about how to solve community problems with design thinking. We especially learned that it might take a few iterations of the process to narrow a solution down to a workable plan of action. Additionally, we learned A LOT more Swahili from the new friends we made!

TZ group pic

End of Week Reflection

Even though we are very sleep deprived and a little dehydrated (we found a place that sells water now, so don’t worry), we have very much enjoyed our first week. We are learning more and more about the cultural norms, the language, and daily life in Tanzania. We have also reflected more on the projects that we will be working on in the schools, which we will start in this upcoming week. So please check this blog again next week to learn about our progress!

 

Funny (and maybe embarrassing) moments of the week:

Andrew: Our Bajaji driver explained that even though he was the same age as Andrew, Andrew was much bigger than he was. He then attributed this to the fact that Andrew “probably ate a lot more than he did,” basically calling him fat (in a jokingly way…we hope).

Lauren: When we went to the local shop to get water, the vendor (who did not speak any English) asked us if we wanted bottled water. Lauren initially responded with “Yes.” When this was met with confusion, she realized that she was speaking English, so she then responded with “Si” (Yes in Spanish, not Swahili).

Ian: When we were going through the market in Arusha, the vendors were very, very, very adamant that we buy something from their shops. Like VERY adamant. And Ian ended up paying a lot more than he should have after the first ten minutes of “looking around.” He got a pretty nice elephant shirt.

Jennifer: Jennifer has been absolutely ruthless in her funny backhanded compliments to the rest of the group (Just kidding Jennifer…maybe).


Travelling with the Tanzamaniacs

Hujambo (Hello)! We are the 2018 Global Leadership team that is travelling to Tanzania to work on projects relating to education, water, health, and safety. We will embark on this exciting adventure on July 3rd and will spend three weeks in Boma Ng’ombe followed by two weeks in Moshi, both of which are cities near Mount Kilimanjaro. To give you an idea of how interesting (or uninteresting) we are, here is some general information about us:

 

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Ian Johnson

idjohnso@mtu.edu

Ian is a third year Materials Science & Engineering student at Michigan Tech. He hails from Bloomington, Indiana, a mid-sized college town in southern Indiana. He has two younger sisters with whom he’s spent countless adventures with and an odd ecclection of pets. Growing up, Ian always had a love for science and the outdoors, which eventually drove him to Michigan Tech to pursue a career in engineering. He is involved in the Materials United professional society as well as the Advanced Metalworks Enterprise in order to further his education. Outside of his studies, Ian enjoys hiking with the Outdoor Venture Crew and participating in recreational college sports such as broomball and soccer.

 

Jennifer (2)

Jennifer McDonald

jrmcdona@mtu.edu

Jennifer just finished her third year as a psychology student at Michigan Tech. She is from Cannon Falls, Minnesota, a small country town that sits in Southeastern Minnesota. She is the youngest of two children, one older brother, and a proud aunt to one nephew. On campus, she participates in two organizations: Huskies Pep Band and Ducks Unlimited, a organization that supports the conservation and restoration of Wetlands in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Off campus, she is involved in Lutheran Collegians Campus Ministry and attends Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church. Jennifer enjoys hiking, broomball, soccer, snowmobiling, skiing, and hunting with her father and brother. When not outside or in school, Jennifer enjoys reading, writing, and playing the piano and trumpet. She is looking forward to the new adventures that are ahead of her with her travels to Tanzania.

 

Andrew

Andrew Miscimarra

ajmiscim@mtu.edu

Andrew just finished his second year as a civil engineering student. He is from Hinsdale, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, and he has two younger brothers. On campus, he is involved in Outdoor Venture Crew, Engineers Without Borders, and St. Al’s Catholic Church. For the past two summers, he has enjoyed working as a day-camp counselor to a group of thirty elementary school children. Additionally, he loves hiking, skiing, sledding, and has been a gymnast for 13 years. After graduating, he plans on serving in the U.S. Peace Corps and becoming a water and sanitation specialist. He is very excited to work with his astonishing teammates in Tanzania this summer!

 

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Lauren Sandy

lasandy@mtu.edu

Lauren just finished her third year studying biomedical engineering. She is from a small town called Somerset, WI and has one younger brother. At Michigan Tech Lauren is involved in the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and the Michigan Tech Women’s Soccer Club, along with the Pavlis Honors College. She enjoys volunteering, especially doing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) outreach and has been an assistant youth soccer coach for the past few summers. In her free time, Lauren enjoys snowboarding, exploring the outdoors, playing broomball, and traveling. After going to graduate school, Lauren hopes to go into the medical device industry working as an engineer.

 

 

Where We Are Traveling

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Tanzania is a country on the eastern side of Africa that is famous for Mount Kilimanjaro, which, according to the 1980’s rock band Toto, “rises like Olympus above the Serengeti.” We will actually be working in two towns that are right next to Kilimanjaro, so we will have a great view to share with you all! For the first three weeks, we will be working with three schools in the town, Boma Ng’ombe. Our last two weeks will be spent working with a children’s home and school in the town, Moshi.

 

What We Will Be Doing

In Boma, we will be working with the three schools on various projects relating to education, mental health, and hygiene. We will all be working on each project together, with one team member taking the lead. Lauren and Ian will lead the educational projects, which will include teaching STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) lessons and piloting a math competition program for the students. Jennifer will lead the mental health project, which will include presenting information on testing anxiety, career choices, and the importance of education. Andrew will lead the hygiene project, which will include filtering the water at one of the schools, as well as teaching the children proper hygiene techniques.

 

We are very excited (and a little nervous) about our trip, and we look forward to sharing our adventures with you all on this weekly blog!

Tutaonana Baadaye (See you later)!


The Adventure Concludes

Hello everybody!

We have departed Tanzania after 5 weeks of incredible cultural immersion and sustainable project development. The experience of traveling to a foreign country and working with the people is something that we will never forget.  We learned so much from all of the Tanzanians we met along the way and we hope that you got to learn something from us.

Asante Africa, Tesha, Joe, Mama Mcha, Mama Faraha, Mama Cecilia, thank you for welcoming us into your homes and schools in Boma. We enjoyed the time we spent working, playing and dancing with your students.

Eva and the Foot2Afrika foundation, thank you for hosting us for our time in Moshi, and for providing us the opportunity to work with the administration and youth of Tumona Secondary School and KITAYOSCE. (As a side note, the food at the hostel was amazing!)

We are so tired, and happy to be going back to our families, but at the same time sad to be leaving the places we’ve called home in Africa for the last 5 weeks.

Asante sana, thanks for going on this adventure with us through our blog posts, and we hope you all had great summers (or winters, if you’re in Tanzania!)

Team Tanzania, signing off

On the Rocks
On the rocks
Waterfall
Waterfall
Climbing Kili
Climbing Kili
Footbal!!!
Football!!!

Elephants!

A pride of 15 lions
A pride of 15 lions
Baby Hippo with Mama
Baby hippo with Mama
Mt. Kilimanjaro
Mt. Kilimanjaro
Class 6 after science, and talking about the US
Primary school Class 6 after science and talking about the US

 


Week Five: Wrapping Things Up

Hello all,

We have almost reached the end of our international experience here in Tanzania, and the pace certainly hasn’t slowed down. Read about our continuing adventures below:

We closed out our time at Tumona Secondary School this week. We continued working on some computer skills with the students, as well as physics lessons in topics such as Archimedes’ Principal of Buoyancy, work, energy, and power. Beyond our lessons, we also spent some time talking with the teachers. On Wednesday, we did a short Q&A session with the teachers on computers, including how to clean off viruses with Windows Defender, and afterwards we were invited to tour the town with some of them the next day. On our walk on Thursday, we spent the afternoon learning about them and their views of us and Americans in general, and had a bit of dialog back and forth about some of the finer points that were brought up. It was a very good way to close out our time spent at Tumona.

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20705931_1430869857008185_1793509035_oContinuing our work at KITAYOSCE this last week, we worked more with the youth on their football skills, and especially stressed teamwork and communication, both on and off the football pitch. As the kids got more comfortable working with us, the games and scrimmages got a lot more laid back and enjoyable. KITAYOSCE, in addition to working with youth to develop their skills, also have a young adult team, and are a feeder for some of the Tanzanian professional teams. As such, they are always looking for ways to improve their online image, as well as their football skills. To this end, we were able to leave one of the KITAYOSCE executive board members with two action cameras, as well as instructions on how to use them. They will be able to use the cameras to capture game film for later review, as well as make promotional videos for their Facebook page. We know they will be well used!DSCN2270

To cap off our final weekend in Tanzania, the team, accompanied by ‘the Germans’ also staying at the Foot2Afrika hostel, traveled to visit the Marangu gate one more time at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro. We then went to visit the Kilasiya Falls, where we waded in the gentle, cold rapids as well as climbed through the rocks and took photos. Next on our itinerary for the day was to visit the Chagga Caves. The caves were created by the Chagga tribe of northern Tanzania about 200 years ago to protect themselves from the Maasai, an enemy tribe. Although very cramped, these caves/tunnels housed many people, and the team had the opportunity to learn a lot about the history of the two native Tanzanian tribes during the tour. Overall, it was a great way to cap off our adventures in Tanzania; we will definitely have plenty of stories and pictures to share with our family and friends upon our return to the States!

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Once again, thank you for reading, and please feel free to comment on and share the post!

Team Tanzania


Week Four: From Boma to Moshi; A Change of Pace & More Wildlife

Hello everybody!

We have just reached the beginning of our final week here in Tanzania, and are looking forward to continuing our projects for these last seven days. The previous week has been a change of scenery, as we moved from Boma to Moshi and began working with Foot2Afrika, Tumona Secondary School and KITAYOSCE. To keep you all up to date, we’ve summarized some of our projects and adventures here in Moshi thus far below:

overlooking the caldera

One of the education topics that the Tumona headmaster had requested we work on with the kids at the secondary school was basic physics concepts, since they currently do not have a physics teacher at the school. So far, we have worked with the Form One students and introduced mechanical forces and the units and equations related to that topic. With the Form Two students, we worked on pressure (specifically atmospheric pressure) and began to introduce work and energy. One of the best examples we came up with relating the topics we were covering to the kids’ lives was when we were talking about atmospheric pressure and how it changes with elevation: we solved for the pressure difference between the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro and down here in Moshi. We were reminded of this concept a few weeks ago when we were climbing down the mountain and our empty water bottles started deflating!

Physics lesson

The other subject we have been teaching at Tumona is computer skills. After ridding the school’s computers of numerous viruses, likely caused by unsafe internet use, we started teaching the students about computer basics, such as the physical components of the PC and a few simple applications such as File Explorer. Some more classes that we are planning to teach include how to use SD cards, how to explore the internet safely and how to search for and get rid of any viruses that may have been downloaded accidentally. This will hopefully reduce the amount of viruses that take up residence on the laptops in the future.

After school, we have also been working with KITAYOSCE in the evenings. KITAYOSCE stands for KIlimanjaro TAlented YOuth Sports CEnter (find them on Facebook here), and is a local organization dedicated to helping underprivileged youth discover their potential as football athletes. In recent years, some of the youth in the program have gone on to play professionally for national Tanzanian teams, and KITAYOSCE’s older athletes recently brought home the East African Cup. The team has been working primarily with the 17-and-under age group, helping coach them through their drills and practices, as well as guiding them towards better teamwork and communication. Last Friday, we held a nutrition seminar, and (with the help of a translator) talked to the youth about proper nutrition and fluid intake guidelines, centered around preparing for a large workout or big football game. On Wednesday, all the kids had an after-school program, so the team went with Ellie (the director of KITAYOSCE) to a local football matchup between the two powerhouse clubs in Moshi. It was very interesting to see the different culture of sports-viewing in Tanzania; they are very passionate about their favorite football clubs! The team looks forward to continuing to work with KITAYOSCE throughout this upcoming week.Warming Up

Wrapping up the first week in Moshi, the team traveled to the village of Mto wa Mbu to partake in a walking safari of the local culture. Mto wa Mbu is about a five hour drive from Moshi. The name literally translates to “River of Mosquitos”, and even in the non-rainy season, there were plenty of them. During the walking safari of the village, we saw many different local homes made of sticks, mud, and banana leaves. The main crop growing in this region is 27 different varieties of bananas, all serving different purposes. We had the opportunity to try red bananas, which taste very similar to the ones we are used to back in the States. We also witnessed the wood carving of the Makonde tribe and the beautiful paintings of the Chaga tribe. The following day, the team traveled another hour to explore the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and had the pleasure of participating in a game drive. A game drive is a term used to describe what Westerners would call a safari. The beautiful landscape as well as the abundance of animals within the caldera (collapsed volcano) was stunning. We were able to see lions, hippos, hyenas, jackals, wildebeest, zebras, cape buffalo, and many more species of large mammals and birds in abundance. Overall, this was an amazing experience that no picture can fully describe. It is definitely something to put on a bucket list!

Pride of 15 Lions

Hippo

Thank you all for reading, and please feel free to share and comment; we will answer any questions you have!

Team Tanzania 2017


Week Three: Wrapping up in Boma & More Adventures

Hello everybody!

We are continuing to have a great time in Tanzania, and have just finished week three of our adventure. Below is a quick overview of what we’ve been up to, both during the week and during our more leisurely weekends:

During our final week in Boma, our team began wrapping up different projects at the three schools with which we were working. Many of the projects included classroom instruction in some form as well as useful teaching tools for the teachers to utilize in the classroom. At Orkolili Secondary school, we guided the students in finishing their science fair projects. We also worked with teachers in getting the students more involved in the classroom. This included instructing various activities that encouraged leadership within small groups and well as encouragement to speak up when something is not understood.  During our time at Orkolili, we had been working with the workshop instructors on finding helpful teaching methods regarding anything mechanical, focusing on engines. Two instructional videos were provided and contact information was exchanged so that we could assist the instructors with any questions they might have and to organize for the next cohort. At Nkwamakuu and Kilingi Primary Schools, we had wrapped up our teaching of math and science with the students. Through our instruction, we encouraged volunteering to answer questions as well as a lot of ‘repetition for effect’ practice. We finished up at each school by having some of the students dance in a video that will be produced by our entire Pavlis cohort (details to come). All in all, the schools were very gracious and many mutual learning experiences were had during our time in Boma.

On Wednesday, the team assisted the students and teachers at Orkolili with their final preparations for the science fair on Thursday. The automatic bell, mentioned in the last blog post, needed the most physical work still, and the team was able to help guide the students to find solutions to the various mechanical issues that were occurring. The students were very good at the coding for the microcomputer used to control the bell, and everything fell into place quite quickly. The cellulose project was essentially finished, and the main task for Wednesday was to nail down the presentation of the project. The team listened to the students present, asked questions, and then gave constructive feedback on where they could improve and what they were doing well so far. The team also became aware of a third project, a small greenhouse made from recycled plastic and glass bottles. This project was almost entirely completed by a couple of student aspiring to be engineers, and the team was very impressed with their level of preparation. It was an added benefit that they were able to use recycled materials to build the greenhouse; this was something we were told the judges were going to be looking for. We did not accompany the students and teachers to the fair the next day, but we heard it went well overall. Apparently, the automatic bell was a huge hit, and even ended up on a local TV channel! The students and the whole school should be proud of what they accomplished.

Several times throughout this week we got to experience the joy of the kids we were working with. On Monday, we traveled up to Kilingi Primary school, and when we jumped out of the van we found ourselves in a sea of little kids very interested in becoming our friends. Several students were holding our hands or trying to get close enough to do so. It was a very reassuring way to start the week since at that time we were unsure what effect we were having on the kids. On Thursday and Friday, we brought soccer balls to the two primary schools and the kids had a blast with them during their breaks. On Friday, we arrived at Nkwamakuu with Tesha right as the kids were on break, so we pumped up the balls and set up for a great game. All the kids were so excited to get to play with the new equipment, there wasn’t a kid at the school not smiling at some point during the break. Even the kids on the sidelines were having some fun taking pictures with Phillip and Peter when they weren’t playing. We also did some short video clips with the schools for the PHC Dancing Across The World video project, and even got some students at Nkwamakuu to do the clapping for the Michigan Tech Fight Song with us. Although we have encountered many challenges and setbacks thus far, the kids are making it worth all the effort in the end.

On Sunday, we traveled an hour by bajaji to the Chemka Hot Springs. The Chemka springs are natural pools of warm water produced by a local spring. Being that the water comes from a spring, the water was clear and we were able to see the bottom of the pool in most locations, even though it was quite deep throughout. This is a typical tourist location where many people come to enjoy a refreshing swim in the hot, gently flowing current. Our team spent our time lounging in the water, swimming and swinging off the rope swing. We also got to enjoy a local delicacy called chips maiyai. Chips maiyai are made from cooking french fries, or chips, into eggs making an omelet-like meal. Some of us ate this with nyamachoma on top, which is a type of grilled meat (usually goat).

That’s all we have for now! As always, we have included a few of our favorite pictures from the week below. Thanks for reading, and feel free to share this blog with your friends and anyone that is interested!

Thank you,

Team Tanzania

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The Adventure Continues: A Week of Teaching and Exploration

Hello everybody! We’ve completed two full weeks here in Tanzania, and it’s hard to believe we’re approaching the halfway point of our journey. Here is a quick summary of what we’ve been up to:

On Monday, we traveled to Moshi with Tesha, Mary, and Lorelle where we met with Foot2Afrika, the organization we will be staying with and working the most closely with when we move our operation to Moshi for the last two weeks of our trip. They informed us that we will be working with another local school in Moshi as well as helping coach Foot2Afrika’s new youth soccer program. After meeting with Foot2Afrika, we met with representatives from the Amani’s Children Home. Here we learned about Amani’s mission and how they operate, in addition to receiving a tour of their facility. They also laid out some possible future projects such as a child database system and a monitor system to display relevant metrics about the children’s home in the waiting area. After discussing all these topics, the team had time to play soccer with the children.

During week 2, we got more in-depth with our teaching at both primary schools as well as the secondary school. At the primary schools (Nkwamakuu and Kilingi), we taught 6th and 7th grade math and science. The math topics that we covered included exponents, radicals, factoring/factor trees and algebra. The science topics included circuits, renewable energy, simple machines, the skeletal and muscular systems, and other various systems in the body. The feeling of teaching younger students and seeing them solve problems correctly is very rewarding. Teaching also gives us a greater respect for all teachers. It is a very mentally and physically draining job, especially teaching younger children. You must teach them the basic school subjects, but you are also acting as a role model for them. We have also been working with Orkolili Secondary School. We have been working alongside the students by helping them with various projects for their science fair. We also taught physics and chemistry lessons in Form 2 (sophomores). Putting our Pavlis-learned skills to good use, we were brought into a classroom of Form 1 students (freshman) and told to teach whatever we wanted to. We decided to engage the kids in some leadership games and activities. They really seemed to enjoy what they learned through these activities, and we eventually began discussing the differences and similarities between cultures. It brought us closer together in a world where we physically lived so far away.

As mentioned, during our visit to Orkolili Secondary School last Friday, we assisted the students and teachers in brainstorming and prototyping different projects for their upcoming science fair. Last year, they took first place overall in the fair with their explanation and demonstration of how to make usable paper from maize by-products. This year, the ideas ranged from automatic bells and gate openers, to robotic cars, to biology-chemistry crossover projects. The students decided to focus on two different projects: a micro-computer-controlled automatic bell to signal class changes, lunch time, etc., and a project demonstrating and explaining the uses of the extraction of nanocellulose from maize fibers. The automatic bell got off to a great start: the students were very handy in the workshop for the mechanical portion of the design, and had great ideas for how all the mechanisms would work. There were a few hiccups with finding the correct driver for the micro-computer on their computer lab PCs, but it was eventually worked out. The only piece of equipment the nanocellulose project was missing was an ultrasonic homogenizer. A blender was substituted in its stead, and after a quick fix to a broken fuse, the students got to work boiling the maize fibers in sulfuric acid; the first step of the extraction process. All in all, it looks like the students will be well prepared to perform well at the fair this week, and we were glad we could assist!

Our adventures this past weekend led us to Mt. Kilimanjaro, which we had first gotten a glimpse of last Monday. The path we took never looked too challenging, except when we remembered that we were climbing to 9000 feet above sea level (the air was a little thin!). We walked through amazing rainforest and other interesting foliage for most of our journey; at lower altitudes, we were even sharing the path with some cute monkeys. Our guide Salym was awesome: a friend of Joe (the energetic English teacher at Orkolili Secondary school), who connected Salym with us for this excursion. Due to the usual cloud cover around the upper heights of Kilimanjaro, we were unfortunately unable to see the peak once we reached our destination of the first climber’s camp. We are grateful to have already seen it earlier in the week, when it wasn’t so cloudy. Several of us have commented that we will be coming back to Tanzania to climb the mountain in full.

An additional note to include: we have yet to encounter any injuries worth mentioning, and we hope to keep it that way (*fingers crossed*).

Thank you very much for reading and keeping up with our adventures! We will be sure to continue writing blog posts approximately weekly; we’re excited to see what excitement we encounter next!

Team Tanzania 2017

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Week Moja in Tanzania: Meeting new people, counting in Swahili and teaching STEM

Karibu sana!

The team has officially completed and survived their first full week in Tanzania, and have had an amazing time thus far. The people are amazing and always friendly, the food is delicious, pure and fresh, and the scenery is unreal. While it is certainly impossible to fully express in words our experiences so far in this overwhelmingly interesting country, we will do our best, with this blog post and more to come. Sawa sawa?

The morning after landing in this beautiful country we were introduced to the three partner schools of Asante Africa, the organization we are collaborating with for our first three weeks in Tanzania. Ewald Tesha, the director of programing for Asante, drove and introduced us to the mamas and teachers of the schools we will be working with. First up was Nkwamakuu Primary School: Mama Sisilia (headmistress of Nkwamakuu) talked with us about the challenges at the school, which included teaching Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), as well as the challenges associated with teaching large numbers of students in small classrooms.  After our introduction, we were presented with morning tea, and then we headed down the road towards Mt. Kilimanjaro to Kilingi Primary School to see Mama Faraha, and discussed very similar challenges. That afternoon we also met with the staff at Orkolili Secondary school and Mama Mcha. Overall the staff and teachers at all the schools were very excited to work with us, as we are with them!

Asante Africa and the Pavlis team did not waste any time getting down to business, and we started our work at Nkwamakuu the next day. We arrived a little after classes began, and were very quickly introduced to the Class VI (similar to US 6th grade) mathematics class. The lesson of the day was multiplying and dividing improper fractions. As Nkwamakuu is a primary school, all of the lessons are given in Swahili (the official language of Tanzania). As such, the team very quickly learned basic mathematical lingo in Swahili, as well as got much more confident in our Swahili numbers. The entire experience was very interesting and enlightening for us, as we got a glimpse into how the Tanzanian educational system worked. We did our best to make the lesson exciting and interactive, bringing volunteering students up to the blackboard to solve problems for their classmates, as well as giving everybody some individual problems to work on their own, as we walked around assisting where needed. After morning tea, we moved to the Class VII science class, and led a lengthy discussion on the basics of electricity and circuits diagrams, simple mechanical fixtures, solar, wind, hydroelectric and mechanical power, and the benefits of renewable energies in general. The teachers were present for this discussion, and were very interested in the various topics discussed. This was also great review for four engineering students! Since this class involved much more complicated language than the mathematics class, we were grateful for the help of our translators, Albin and Alexi. It was a very full day of teaching, but made us very excited to continue working at the schools in the coming weeks.

The following day, we joined Mary and Lorelle as they led a human centered design (HCD) workshop at Nkwamakuu Primary School. Teachers from both Nkwamakuu and Kilingi Primary Schools attended the workshop, as well as our translators. This workshop was similar to some of the Pavlis classes we had previously taken at Tech. It involved a lot of one-on-one communication and activities as well as small group collaboration. The desks were rearranged so that we worked in groups of 4 people or so. This eased conversation as well as promoted friendliness and brainstorming. The human centered design workshop is mainly designed to generate and refine ideas for solving human centered challenges. The brainstorming involves the use of many Post-It notes. The main goal is to brainstorm ideas on how to solve the problems and issues at hand. All the groups of teachers had the same problem that they were trying to solve: over-crowded classrooms. After generating ideas to solve that problem, they were given restrictions, such as not being able to build new classrooms. This forces you think outside of the box, and to come up with simpler and perhaps more sustainable ideas. This workshop was very beneficial for the teachers and for us as well.  It allowed our relationship to grow with the teachers and schools where we would be working for the next two and half weeks. The overall enthusiasm of the teachers and their willingness to learn makes us very hopeful for the chance of sustainable projects.

Over our first weekend in Tanzania, we went on two safaris. On Saturday, we went to Tarangire National Park, and on Sunday we went to Lake Manyara National Park. Tarangire is famous for the number of elephants within the park, and it did not disappoint. As well as seeing elephants in Tarangire, we also saw giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, gazelles, impalas, warthogs, water bucks, and even two cheetahs and two leopards. At Lake Manyara, we saw more elephants, warthogs, wildebeest, and zebras, in addition to baboons, hippos, water buffalo, blue monkeys and many kinds of birds.

The main form of transportation that we have used so far is the bajaji. A bajaji is a semi-enclosed three-wheeled motorbike with a bench seat in the back and a seat in the front for a driver (and a passenger). We have also used public transport, which can be any variety of different vehicles altered to maximize their capacity. Driving around Tanzania, we constantly see many different unique sights, such as the Maasai tribal people, various livestock and the beautiful Mt. Kilimanjaro.

We’ve included some of our favorite pictures from this last week below; enjoy!

We are very excited to continue working here in Tanzania, and will be putting out another blog post shortly; stay tuned… Feel free to share the link to this blog with family, friends and anybody else who might be interested!

Asante sana for reading!

Team Tanzania

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The Journey Begins

Pavlis Global Leadership Team Tanzania has made it to Chicago and is excited to share its adventures with all of you. To start our journey we would like to share a little bit about each of us with you.

Peter Beach
PBBeach@mtu.edu

Peter
Peter is entering his fourth year of studying biomedical engineering at Michigan Technological University. He grew up in Rochester, Minnesota, near the Mayo Clinic. He has an older brother, two older sisters, a younger brother, and is an uncle to ten nieces and nephews. He is involved with the Chemistry Learning Center, Student Entertainment Board and the Huskies Pep Band on campus, as well as the Pavlis Institute. He loves being outdoors, especially in the winter and enjoys skiing, sledding, cycling, hiking, and camping. After graduation, he hopes to work in the medical device industry, possibly in research and development.

Alex Davis
apdavis@mtu.edu

alex
Alex is a fourth-year Mechanical Engineering student at Michigan Technological University. He is from Wheaton, IL. He is the oldest of four children: one younger sister and two younger brothers. He has always had a love for anything outdoors including snowmobiling, dirt biking, snowboarding, hockey, water skiing, fishing, hunting, and hiking. Besides being involved with the Pavlis Institute at Michigan Tech, he is involved with the Clean Snowmobile Enterprise and the Roller Hockey team. He is looking forward to all of the experiences that these programs and Michigan Tech will bring him and he is very excited for a summer in Tanzania.

Sterling Korstad
sgkorsta@mtu.edu

Sterling
Sterling Korstad is a fourth-year Biomedical Engineering major at Michigan Tech. He is from West St. Paul, MN. At Tech, Sterling is a part of the Huskies Pep Band, where he is the Vice President, and he is also a part of the Student Entertainment Board where he serves as the President. Some of his hobbies include playing the saxophone, hockey, and video games, along with watching Netflix when he is not writing a lab report for his Bioinstrumentation class.

Phillip Wyman
pjwyman@mtu.edu

Phillip
Phillip is a Mechanical Engineering Technology student currently in his fourth year at Michigan Tech. He is originally from Hortonville Wisconsin, where he first developed a love for technical thinking, creativity, and a love of nature, all of which made Michigan Tech a perfect fit. On campus, Phillip is involved in concert choir, the tech theatre company (both as a performer and as a technician for the Rozsa Center), and is a member of Michigan Tech Sound & Lighting Services. Off campus Phillip is an active member at St. Albert the great Catholic University Parish where he serves as the music minister, as well as a Chapel Rat (a student living and working at the parish). He is also a member of the technical professional’s honor society Epsilon Pi Tau. Phillip can’t wait for the adventures that will happen this summer!