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!