Archives—July 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!