Wiki Tano: Kwa Heri na Asante Tanzania!

It’s hard to believe how fast our time in Tanzania has gone! In some ways it feels like we just got here (our bartering skills have at least improved a little since our arrival, especially for Ian, who could only get better after that first day in Arusha), yet we are also all looking forward to what comes next (home for some, Europe for others). Our last week has definitely been bitter sweet. We hope you enjoy our last blog post and we thank you for following along on our journey!
We spent the majority of our last week working at Amani’s Children’s Home. On Monday, we all went to Amani’s in the morning. When we arrived, there was a large staff meeting going, which meant we got to spend the morning getting to know the children at the home more. The kids at the home are all so extremely sweet that would never guess some of the challenges they have encountered in their lives. We met many of the kids in the yard, where they were practicing their acrobatics skills. Although all of us tried our acrobatic skills, some had more success than others (aka Andrew, with his gymnastics background). While Andrew continued to show the kids new moves, Lauren and Ian joined in on another soccer game (and got out-played and out-ran), and Jennifer had fun talking with some of the girls.
After the staff meeting was over, we got to work on our project. As explained in our last post, the project we were working on was to create a data metrics display board, with the capability of displaying real time statistics of the organization (number of children rescued in a month or year, number of children reunified with their family, etc.). On Friday last week, we had come up with two potential methods of accomplishing this task. The first was to use Microsoft exclusively, however the problem with this was that Amani is currently transferring their database from Microsoft Excel to another software. Our intent with this plan was to bring the project back to Michigan Tech to get some help from some computer science students, but this would have taken more time and would have possibly led to more work required for the Amani staff. The second option was to use a software that has the compatibility to work with both excel and the database software they are working with. On Monday, we proposed both of these options to the Executive Director of Amani’s, Meindert Schapp. We also showed him a prototype PowerPoint in order to make sure that we were on the right track. After showing him the options, he decided that it would be best to use the more advanced software. Now that we knew how they wanted us to proceed, we were able to get to work on actually implementing the project. As Lauren and Ian got to work on that in the afternoon, Andrew and Jennifer went to the technical college (yes, we still had to be at two places at once again). Last week, we agreed with the principal that we would be assisting in a computer class. However, when we got to the college, we were informed that the computer teacher was not at the college that day, so the computer class was cancelled. Luckily, we were prepared for this outcome (after being in the schools in Boma for three weeks, we had picked up on a few things). We asked the principal which other class we could assist with, and he pointed us to the math class. However, when we got to that class, it turned out that the math teacher wasn’t there either (unfortunately, we were not as prepared for this second setback). We ended up just spending 15 minutes just asking the students questions on what math topics they knew so that we could better prepare for the physics lecture on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, we all headed to Amani’s and continued to work on the PowerPoint. We spent the morning getting more familiar with the software we would be using and working on a project proposal to keep Amani’s informed on the work we were doing. At this point, the main challenge was that we hadn’t yet received the statistics or data we needed to display on the PowerPoint (Amani’s was working on compiling this information for us). This meant that we had some extra downtime in the afternoon, so we got to spend some more time playing with the kids. Andrew continued to make new friends by impressing all the kids (and everyone else) with his backflip skills. He was also able to assist in the kids’ acrobatics class with a coach that comes in weekly. Lauren and Ian spent some time losing to the kids in arm and thumb wrestling (while also being laughed at for having small muscles). Ian also learned how to play tag (and was again outran). While everyone else was playing with the kids, Jennifer had the opportunity to talk with one of the counselors about cultural phycological differences between the US and Tanzania.

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Wednesday was a busy for everyone. In the morning, Andrew and Lauren headed off to the technical college for the last time to lecture in an Engineering Science class. That day they taught physics, specifically the topic of work and energy. Physics proved to be a much easier subject to teach than technical drawing (if you ever find yourself teaching a college level class in Tanzania, stick to subjects that are math based). The kids even asked for homework at the end of class (we could learn something from their enthusiasm about receiving homework). While Andrew and Lauren were teaching, Jennifer and Ian went to Amani’s and continued to work on the project. Andrew and Lauren then joined them at Amani’s in the afternoon. That afternoon, Ian and Lauren went with an Amani IT employee to local shops to look at monitors for the project. They looked at two different types of monitors, one with a computer integrated into the monitor and one that was just basically a TV screen. They decided that the monitor with the computer would be the most cost-effective option while also best serving the needs of the project. Once back at Amani’s, they shared what they had found and made a plan to buy the monitor in the upcoming days.
On Thursday and Friday, we continued working on the PowerPoint while also testing our graphic design skills. Thursday morning, we received some of the statistics and we were able to start finalizing some of the slides. We quickly learned that designing PowerPoint slides that are visually appealing is a lot easier said than done (keep in mind 3 of the 4 of us are engineering students so we really have no idea what shapes and colors look good together). On Friday after tea, Ian and Lauren headed back to the shop to buy the monitor. This proved to be a much bigger challenge than we had anticipated (we had never missed set prices so much in our lives, except for maybe when Ian ended up with his elephant shirt. See blog 1). The story of the price of the monitor is one for another day, but it was not our favorite Tanzanian experience to say the least. We did get the monitor though and brought it back to Amani’s to get to work on setting it up. Unfortunately, the IT employee only works half days on Friday so we weren’t able to get the PowerPoint software on the monitor but we are excited to see pictures of the working monitor when it is all up and running. After finalizing the initial version of the PowerPoint, we had a short goodbye ceremony with the kids and the staff of Amani.

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During our final weekend in Tanzania, we learned how to make Tanzanian Guacamole (apparently Mexico isn’t the only country with amazing Guac) and Chipati (a Tanzanian bread), which proved to be much more challenging than we anticipated, as it took us almost two hours to make. Although after tasting our food, we all agreed that it was definitely worth this amount of effort, as well as some minor skin burns. We also visited Msamaria children’s center, where we gave at least twenty piggy back rides—each. After this visit, we then made it to the airport (surprisingly without losing any luggage) and said our final goodbyes to this amazing country.

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Final Blooper Reel (and other humorous and slightly painful events)
1. It was fitting that our very last interaction with the kids at Amani was them pointing at our hand sanitizer bottles attached to our backpacks and asking, “What’s this?” (We got asked this question by anyone, of any age, and at anytime during this trip)
2. Ian died again, although this time it was Lauren’s fault (since she introduced all of us to a flu, which Ian couldn’t shake for the last two weeks of the trip)
3. When some of the children would try to talk to us in English, they would ask us, “My name is?”. It was very cute. Although to be fair, we probably made that exact same mistake when we tried to talk to them in Swahili.
4. We (intentionally) forgot to mention in the second blog that Lauren, Andrew, and their translator, Sadick, all technically hitch-hiked back to downtown Boma from Nkwamakuu Primary School during one of the days when busses weren’t running. (We chose to wait to disclose this blooper to not scare our parents. Sorry Mom and Dad.)
5. Apparently contact lenses are not only uncommon, but completely unheard of here. We learned this the hard way when Andrew started touching his eyeball to take out his contacts one day, which immediately caused mass confusion and concern from everyone at Nkwamakuu.
6. People in Tanzania still haven’t gotten painstakingly sick of those late 90’s boybands by now like the U.S. has, which is something we learned after listening to “Queen of my Heart” by Westlife for four entire hours on repeat while waiting at our favorite restaurant (and source of free wifi) in Boma.
7. The children LOVE touching the hair of wazungu (white foreigners), and will even rub their faces against our arms to feel our arm hair.

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Finally, we would like to thank you all for taking the time to attempt to comprehend our incoherent blog posts each week. Our trip has been overall amazing and we feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to spend 5 weeks in Tanzania. We hope you enjoyed reading about our (mis)adventures and welcome you to make any comments you would like to share with us!
Asante sana na kwa heri!
(Thank you very much and goodbye!)


Wiki Nne: Meet the Newest Bajaji Drivers

Mambo vipi! Over the past week, the Tanzamaniacs had a mixture of good-byes and hellos.

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The week started off well with a trip to the Chemka hot springs. Our favorite bajaji driver (and our favorite person in general), George, drove us part of the way to the springs. Halfway to the springs, on some very sketchy roads, George pulled over and asked Andrew if he wanted to drive. Andrew half jokingly-half nervously said yes, which then prompted George to get out of the vehicle and switch seats with Andrew. After four or five jump starts, and the direct quote from George: “I value my life, mon,” Andrew was finally able to get the bajaji going. After driving for about 5 minutes, George asked if anyone else wanted to drive, which prompted Ian to excitedly yell, “Ummmm YES!” (since his dream is now to become a Bijaji driver). So then Ian drove the bajaji (much better than Andrew did), followed by Lauren (who was as bad as Andrew, if not worse), then Jennifer (who drove the best out of the group). Also, it might be noteworthy to mention that the bajaji was a manual transmission, so all group members can now say that they drove a stick-shift bajaji before they ever drove a stick-shift car. The hot springs turned out to be more like lukewarm springs, but the group did not mind since it was the first warm water they had felt in three weeks (since bucket showers apparently only comes in the cold setting).  Upon entering the springs, the group was swarmed by hordes of flesh-eating fish, making them very uncomfortable (except for Jennifer who seemed to enjoy the madness and insists on calling them merely “kiss nibbles” (we’re not sure how she hasn’t been voted off the island yet)). Ian almost died jumping off a 30 ft tree, while Andrew nearly broke his leg after attempting a double backflip off of the rope swing.  Lauren and Jennifer exercised basic common sense and didn’t come close to dying (in reality, no one actually almost died and the team enjoyed the day swimming in the springs, relaxing, and jumping off of trees).

The work week began much like the ones before, with Lauren and Andrew traveling to Orkolili Secondary School and Ian and Jennifer attempting to travel to Nkwamakuu Primary School. On Monday, Lauren and Andrew taught English to the Form 2 and 3 classes. Due to a minor accident (check out Jennifer’s bloopers), Ian and Jennifer did not make it to Nkwamakuu on Monday, meaning they had to finish up some teaching on Tuesday.
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Tuesday was a crazy day for both set of school teams. The day started with Ian and Jennifer teaching Standard 7 at Nkwamakuu. They led the class in multi-subject Jeopardy (covering the subjects of English, Swahili, Math, and Science) and followed that game up with a round of Math Bingo. They said their goodbyes at Nkwamakuu at the end of this class, which ran late, and hurried off to their next destination that day, Orkolili. There, they were meeting up with Andrew and Lauren to help teach a final lesson of English to Form 1 students followed by leading an HCD workshop with Form 4. Lauren and Jennifer led the workshop for the Form 4 girls and Ian and Andrew led the workshop for the Form 4 boys. Each group tackled different problems as they worked through the 5 Phases of HCD. After the classes, the team said their goodbyes at Orkolili.

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Wednesday was the start of a new adventure for the Tanzamaniacs as they left their home of 3 weeks (Boma Ng’ombe) to go to their new home (Old Moshi Hostel) for their remaining 2 weeks in Moshi. Surprisingly, none of them lost their luggage during the travel and they were even able to fit (barely) all their luggage in one car. It was a good thing that three of the team members are fun-sized (Thanks for the leg-room, Ian). They were all excited to have a day of rest on Wednesday, arriving around 10:30 am. Eva welcomed them to her Hostel and they were instructed to tell Gideon (who also works at the hostel) when they were ready for a tour of the town. They left around 1:30 pm to walk to downtown Moshi, about a half hour walk from the Hostel. Gideon showed them the way to downtown and pointed out a couple of the restaurants that they might enjoy, but there was only one thing that the entire team was looking for… Pizza. It had been 3 weeks since anyone had gotten to eat any cheese and the team had started googling the nearest pizza place during week 2. Lauren asked Gideon if he knew of any good places and he led the way to a restaurant by the name of Indo-Italiano. To say the the team was  excited when they saw that the menu listed about 26 different pizzas would be an understatement. They ended up settling for a four-cheese pizza and cheesy bread (and swearing to come back for more). After pizza, Gideon showed the team where the market place was and then where to go to catch a bus back to the Hostel. Once on the bus, it was the team’s responsibility to make sure that the bus stopped where they needed it to (Gideon had a laugh at the team’s confusion. Very funny, Gideon). This may or may not have caused some flashbacks to being abandoned on day two by their professor. (Very funny, Mary). The team also learned that just like the busses in Boma, people were crammed together like sardines. Good to see some things never change.

After the restful day of Wednesday, the Tanzamaniacs were thrown back into work on Thursday. They started their day traveling to a local Technical College, where they met the principal and introduced themselves. Upon hearing that three out of the four students were studying engineering, the principal proceeded to ask them which classes they would be teaching. Feeling a little overwhelmed and unsure how to say no, they felt as though their plates got loaded with things to do. Initially, they were going to be lecturing two classes a day (we weren’t sure when we had been granted the honor of being a professor but we all agreed we probably were deserving of a pay raise). Lauren and Ian landed on only teaching Technical Drawing for Level 2 on Friday and then discussed with the principal that it would be better to only have them teach two classes the next week. Their second location for the day was at Amani Children’s Home, a refuge for street children found in the area. They got a tour of the facility and a run down of what the home does before enjoying lunch with the students. After lunch, they sat down with Rebecca, Communication Manager, for Amani, and discussed the projects that Amani’s hoped the team could complete while here. One project was to work on creating a welcome display board for the front entrance. They wanted the board to show a slideshow, on a automatic loop, that gave statistics, photos, and videos of things happening at the home. Some of the features they wanted was for it to be automatically updated when they updated their own database. Amani’s hope is to have it up by October 2018, but the team was unsure if this was doable in the short amount of time they are spending there. They expressed that they could get Amani’s a prototype to test and then take back the information to get help from some students at Michigan Tech. After the meeting, everyone got to go meet the children currently at the home. Andrew wowed a group of kids by doing flips in the yard, Ian and Lauren joined in on a small football match, and Jennifer sat to watch, allowing kids to come to her to talk.

On Friday, Lauren and Ian set off to teach Technical Drawing for Level 2 at the Technical College in the morning and Andrew and Jennifer set off to start working on the project at Amani’s. Teaching at the college was definitely the most challenging teaching assignment the team had encountered, especially since they were teaching technical drawing, a topic they had not thought about in two or three years. The lesson went just as well as you would expect a college-level class taught by two (barely) college-age students to go (so much for that pay raise).  By the end of the lecture, the only thing more incomplete than the students notebooks was their understanding of the topic. By the time Ian and Lauren joined Andrew and Jennifer, Andrew had discovered how to PowerPoint to update whenever he updated a spreadsheet on Excel. By the end of the day, the team had figured out how to start up the Raspberry Pi and had created a very simple prototype of a looping PowerPoint presentation with database compatibility.


Saturday was a day of adventure for everyone. Upon asking Eva, she set up a trip to the base of Mount Kilimanjaro that involved visiting the entrance to the Kilimanjaro National Park, a waterfall, a Chagga (tribal) cave, and learning how to make coffee. Their first stop was the starting point for hiking up Kilimanjaro, where they got to learn some history about the mountain and take photos. Since they did not have permits, they were not allowed to go on any of the trails. From there, they headed to Kilasiya waterfalls, where they got a guided tour down to the falls. After climbing down into a ravine, they reached a river where they could view the waterfall from a distance. Thinking this was the end of the hike, they took pictures and got ready to head back up. However, instead of the hike being over, it was really just beginning. They all took off their shoes and were lead one by one across the river with the guide as an anchor (in the US it would be breaking probably at least about 100 safety rules). After making it across the river, they climbed barefoot over boulders to reach the bottom of the waterfall, which pictures just don’t do justice.
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After the waterfalls, the group was taken to a Chagga cave, where they also learned how to make coffee from raw coffee beans. The cave was a guided tour, starting with a brief history of why the caves were created. Since Mount Kilimanjaro produces an atmosphere great for growing many crops, many nomadic tribes tried to claim the area. The Chagga Tribe and Masai Tribe often competed for the land, so the Chagga Tribe created caves to protect themselves from the Masai. The caves had three main parts: the opening, where the Chagga would defend themselves against the Masai, the mortuary, where they would discard of the Masai’s bodies, and the living quarters, where the families would go when the Masai came. The cave was a series of tunnels, dug out using rocks, wood, and mammal bones. The entrance went down into the earth and led to a small indent where the Chagga guard would wait for the Masai to enter. The Masai would usually enter in two groups, the first group would be large and often would hit their heads on the low ceilings of the tunnel and the second group would be small and often crawled through the tunnel. The Chagga, using a weapon appropriately called the skull crusher, would hit the invading Masai over the head. Those bodies would then be taken to the mortuary, where the Chagga would dismember the bodies at nights, throwing the pieces into the river below to be washed away in the darkness so civilians wouldn’t see (we’re not sure why after explaining this they handed us the weapons they used to use to perform these actions). When it was a small group invading, the Chagga would use another weapon to capture the Masai and would keep the group as slaves. Our guide led us through the tunnels, explaining what would happen in each area before leading us back up. Once out of the tunnels, the guide took the tour group to a Chagga hut and explained how it was set up, with the husband having his own bed and the wife sleeping next to the children. Half of the hut had a place for goats or other livestock to stay and they also built overhead storage areas, much like an loft in a barn. After finishing with the history of the Chagga, the tour guided led a lesson in the process of coffee making, starting with how the beans were de-shelled, roasted, pounded into powder, and boiled. The team got to taste some of the coffee in the end.

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Week 4 (Nne, not Quatro, Lauren) Bloopers

Andrew

-At the hot springs, Andrew, a water resource engineering student, asked where the water came from.

-Couldn’t tell the difference between coffee and chocolate, and ingested way more caffeine than he had intended (as if Andrew needs even more energy).

Lauren

-Wanted to impress our bajaji driver by driving no-handed (she was actually stressed by the whole stick shift thing).  He was not impressed.

-Apparently thinks dogs and pigs are the same animals

-Forgot the first rule of Tanzania and contaminated her toothbrush (in her defense there was running water that day, an exciting moment for all)

Jennifer

-Sunday: While getting her bajaji driving lesson, thought running over some goats would give her a speed boost (she missed, so I guess we will never know)

-Monday morning: Deciding that the week hadn’t been difficult enough already (yet) proceeded to impale her knee on a fence post. Scaring Ian by almost passing out several times (*pole sana*).

Ian

-At the Chagga cave tour on Saturday, the tour guide asked where bananas came from, which Ian gave a very proud of answers “trees!”… not exactly the answer they were looking for.

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– Got hungry so they went to a pub.  There wasn’t any food there so they tried a restaurant.  Apparently restaurants in Tanzania only serve beer. Next week they’ll try a hotel. Stay tuned to find out if they will be able to successfully order a meal at a restaurant in the coming week.


Wiki Tatu: Switching things up

Poa! We have just finished our third week here in Tanzania, which has been full of adventures, challenges, and fun experiences. We now feel well adjusted to our daily life in Boma Ng’ombe and our work in the two schools. Also, we have an amazing view of Mount Kilimanjaro from Boma!

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Andrew and Lauren’s Week 3 Adventures:

On Monday, Andrew and Lauren had their last full project day at Nkwamakuu. The morning started with a new record number of people on the bus, with 25 stuffed into a van made for 14 (we’re always impressed by how many people they can pack). After arriving at the school, we worked some more on the handwashing stations and taught the headmaster of the school how to play the math games we had been playing with the students the previous week. We also taught him and our translator, Sadick, how to play Go Fish and learned a Tanzanian card game called Last Card, which is very similar to Uno. After playing some card games and Simon Says with the students, we had the chance to talk to the headmaster about potential projects for next year’s team. We discussed the challenges that the school faces and ways that our program can collaborate with the school to help work through some of those challenges.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, we switched schools with Ian and Jennifer and headed to Orkalili Secondary School. After arriving at 7:30 and doing some introductions with the students and receiving our nicknames (Lauren is Hayika and Andrew is Masawi), we jumped right into action and taught one of the Form 4 (12th grade) classes Organic Chemistry. This proved to be a challenging lecture, as Lauren had not done organic chemistry in three years (and only for one week in University Chemistry 2) and Andrew never had to learn organic chemistry (at least until now). Overall, it didn’t go too bad, the students are very bright and caught on quickly. Some even seemed to have already taught themselves the material on their own! After the chemistry lecture, we were given about a half hour to prepare to teach Form 1 (9th grade) math. They wanted us to play a math game with the students, so we decided to play Jeopardy. The activity went well, except it was a little difficult due to the class size at Orkolili. The Form 1 class had about 50 students in it. After teaching the two lectures, we thought our day was over and that we were going to spend the rest of the day preparing for the next day. However, shortly after finishing our lecture, we were surprised to learn that wasn’t the case, and that we would actually be traveling with some students to the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology. The university is about an hour from the town we are staying in and probably has the best campus lawn maintenance in all of Africa. At the university, the students were led through a short tech workshop with some college students visiting from South Korea. We helped the students come up with problems in their community that could be solved with different types of sensors, which was the primary technology that the South Koreans were presenting on. After the workshop, we discussed what we would be teaching the following day (Wednesday). The teachers told us that we could teach chemistry (as if we didn’t teach enough chemistry already) to the Form 2 class and if we could lead Form 3 through an activity that involved “balancing equations.” We assumed that this would be solving simple algebraic equations, but on Wednesday, we realized that they meant balancing chemical equations (yay, more chemistry). Despite this misunderstanding and our shared dread of teaching chemistry, both classes actually went really well. We were able to lead the students through several example problems, which the students were able to understand a lot better, especially after we walked around talking with them one on one. The experience felt very rewarding after seeing the students understand the material a lot more, especially after they thanked us several times.

Lauren teaching evil chem

Ian and Jennifer’s Week 3 Adventures:

Ian and I had our “last day” at Orkolili on Monday, and the day was moderately uneventful. We missed our bus heading to Orkolili and had to take a Bijaji all the way out, which wasn’t all that bad. We got to the school just in time for the Monday morning activities. On Mondays, the students lined up by class and gender to sing national songs, honor the rising of the Tanzanian flag, and have the teachers give various announcements for the week. Mama Mcha gave us a chance to address the students also, we both thanked the students for being patient and kind to us as we taught them and wished them the best on their future studies. Once announcements were completed, the students went off to do another Monday morning activity, exams. During this time, Ian and I discussed the plans for the day and prepared our lessons. We taught a Human Centered Design crash course to Form 3, which, for as quickly put together and not having a whole lot of teaching time, it seemed to go very well. The students had plenty of problems they would like to address and even more ideas on how to address some of those problems. We asked them to choose an issue and work through defining the problem and brainstorming ideas on how they could fix it. Ian and I talked them through how they would then prototype and test their ideas. After finishing up with Form 3, we got the chance to teach Form 1 English. Since it we were teaching present tense, it went a little better than our attempt to teach Form 2 how to properly answer a phone call. The students were great as we worked through different examples, making our last teaching experience at Orkolili a good one.

Tuesday was the start of new adventures for Ian and I, instead of waking up at 6 am to catch a 7:10 am bus to Orkolili, we got to wake up at 7 am to meet up with Sadick at the bus stop at 8 am to head to Nkwamakuu.  Lucky for us, Lauren and Andrew had prepared the day’s activities for us, so all we had to do was implement them. We were given the task of teaching Standard 7, students who are similar in age to United States’ 7th graders. We first led a Jeopardy game reviewing different Science topics (First Aid, Excretion System, Hormone Systems, HIV/Aids, and Matter). Though the students struggled with a few of the questions, the majority were very easy for them to answer. After Jeopardy and Chai Break, Ian and I introduced a math game to Standard 7, the same one with the cards that Lauren and Andrew had introduced to many of the other grade levels the week before. We ran through addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. After going through many rounds of each, which the students breezed through easily, we used the cards to practice learning English numbers. The goal was to see how many cards a student could get through in a minute, the goal was at least 30. As Ian walked around from group of students to group of students, I just kneeled in front of the first row desk and started going from student to student. At first, the students went individually, getting to about 28 cards each time, but then they started working together and as a group got to about 30 cards. We were having a lot of fun, one student successfully naming 30 cards on his own. It was a lot of fun.

Wednesday, Ian and I worked with Standard 7 again. Over the course of Tuesday night, I created a Jeopardy game that would help with learning English words, categories was Kalena (Calendar), Michezo (sports), Safari mnyama (Safari Animals), Shamba mnyama (Farm Animals), and Namba (numbers). We named it Unasemeja…? (How do you say…?) and ran it by asking the students how they would say specific words in English or Swahili, for example we would either ask “unasemeja mbuze kwa kiigereza?” and they would answer “goat” or “how do you say rhinoceros in Swahili?” and they would answer “kifaroo”. After finishing our game of Jeopardy, Ian and I decided to burn time until lunch by playing Pictionary with the students, which slowly turned into the students asking us to draw specific animals (like monkeys) and then rating who drew it better. Jennifer won most of the time. After lunch, Ian taught the students how to play kickball. We split the students into two teams, trying our best to make it equal boys and girls. Though we only spent about 30-40 minutes playing, the students seemed to be having a lot of fun after the initial confusion, even though the rules still were not completely clear to them. It was a good way to end our day on Wednesday.

The Whole Gang Together Again

Holding hands nkwamakuu andrews bad ideaPavlis flag nkwamakuu

On Thursday and Friday, all four of us got to spend our days going to the schools together. On Thursday, we all went to Nkwamakuu because the headmaster wanted us to have a chance to say our goodbyes as a group. We also finished the hand-washing stations after much testing and observation in the past week. We built some wooden ledges for bars of soap to be placed and made some adjustments to the ropes. Then, we taught the children how to wash their hands with the stations, how to refill the water jugs, and how to adjust the rope if needed. We also told them that they could always make improvements to the stations or build more in the future. After finishing up this work with the hand-washing stations, we were able to meet with all the teachers at the school to show them the games we had been teaching the students, get feedback on how the past two weeks had gone, and discuss future projects. The meeting went well, especially since the teachers seemed to be really interested in the games and gave us some good ideas for future teams. They then gave us some traditional Maasai cloths and showed us how to wear them, which we were all very thankful for.

Women at work

(Finished hand-washing station and Lauren and Jennifer proving that women can work)

On Friday, we all first went to Orkolili and then traveled to the Nelson Mandela University (the same one Lauren and Andrew had gone to earlier in the week) for a science fair. Orkolili had three student teams participating and we went to just see all the projects and the university (or at least that’s what we were supposed to have done). Within 10 minutes of our arrival at the science fair, a random man came up to us and asked if we were university students studying science.  We confirmed this and he proceeded to ask us what major we were pursuing.  Upon telling him he said something along the lines of “Perfect. We need judges.” and began handing us stacks of paper.  While we were still in a state of shock and confusion, he began going over the rubric for judging and which projects we were assigned to.  Each of us (besides Jennifer because she opted out on the condition of being a psych major) were assigned five projects to judge by looking, listening, and asking questions.  The fair lasted about two hours followed by a couple talks by university students and a brief lunch of rice, vegetables, and chopped up cow (think if someone skinned a cow, cut off the head and tail, and put the rest in a blender).  After lunch, the winners of the competition were announced, with the first place spot going to students who found a way to manufacture fertilizers and concrete strengtheners using hair waste from salons (which Ian, being a materials engineer, completely geeked out over).

Jennifer super tall

 

Week 3 Bloopers:

Ian and Jennifer: After Jennifer spent a long time sawing the wood for the soap holders, Ian saw an opportunity to make the job easier by stomping on a section of the wood to break it off. While still unaware that this section was the vital piece we needed to be attached, he felt very proud of his successful stomp…for about 2 seconds until he realized his mistake, which is when he started screaming and running away with his arms flailing. Jennifer then joked, “leave it to a man to ruin a woman’s hard work.”

(The poor, innocent piece of wood that Ian killed)
(The poor, innocent piece of wood that Ian killed)

Andrew: Andrew’s army knife broke slightly while building the wooden structures (yes, this simple little project proved difficult for all of us). The next day, Andrew decided that he should try fixing it by pressing down on the sharp side, which could only result in one outcome: accidentally cutting his finger (Don’t worry Mom, it’s not a bad cut).

Lauren: Lauren finally spent a whole week without speaking any Spanish. We are all very proud.

(Ian "blue-steeling" it up while Jennifer actually works...before the incident)
(Ian “blue-steeling” it up while Jennifer actually works…before the incident)

 

Again, thank you for reading our blog! This upcoming Wednesday, we will leave Boma Ng’ombe and spend our final week and a half in Moshi, so please check again next week to find out which one of us loses our luggage during the travel!


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.

New imagy

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!

 

Lauren (3)

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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thicc map 2

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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