Hujambo from Tanzania! This week, the Tanzania Tree Huggers finished up our time at Nkwamakuu primary school and attended a STEM conference. On Thursday and Friday, we continued to work in classrooms on English and math activities that seemed to be real hits along with observing classes in order to continue to learn about the methods of teaching that are currently in use at Nkwamakuu.
On Saturday, we hit the town and took a bus to Arusha to do some shopping and have lunch. We met up with Charles from Asante Africa and he showed us their offices before we headed to a Maasai market. After we picked up a few things, we wandered around downtown before stopping for lunch at a local restaurant. It was cool getting to experience such a big city after having been living in tiny Boma Ng’ombe for so long at this point.
We spent Sunday resting up while Sam was recovering from being sick before heading into school on Monday and Tuesday to finish up teaching, observing, and handing over information that Andrew from the 2018 Tanzamaniacs team had worked on during the year to go with his tippy-tap hand washing stations. The posters he made were in both Swahili and English with instructions on how best to wash your hands and the reasons to do so.
It was so hard to say good-bye to everyone at Nkwamakuu that last day. We were given about 3 rounds of hugs and a million rounds of patty cake before we took off for the final time. It was an incredible experience getting to be at their school and we appreciated the hospitality we were given each and every day.
Wednesday was a special day for us because we were able to go with Orkolili secondary school to the Nelson Mandela Institute near Arusha for their annual STEM conference and science fair during Nelson Mandela week. The event was focused on encouraging girls to go into STEM fields as a career and to make it seem more approachable to them. We listened to a variety of speakers such as the ambassador to Tanzania from South Africa, current graduate students doing research and pursuing their degrees as the Nelson Mandela Institute, and faculty there sharing everything from their stories to tips and tricks for doing well in STEM classes. While the girls were all working on the final activity, we got the chance to tour some of their labs with a current masters student. We were able to meet others doing research into reusing charcoal, trying to produce disease resistant bananas, removing fluoride from water, using artificial intelligence to tell whether tomato plants were suffering from diseases, and more.
Week three was another great one! We can’t wait to see what will be in store for us week four!