Launceston Church Grammar School trip to Tarime
14 days into our visit to Tanzania and there is much to report. After two weeks of Diana bargaining on the border, our shipping container has finally arrived and today was spent unpacking and sorting through all of the goods we packed up in Tassie, whilst a large group of locals looked on. We were able to provide Dr Winani’s hospital with some resources and are looking forward to distributing all of the school supplies next week.
Whilst waiting for the container to arrive we have occupied ourselves for the last 2 weeks with visits to schools and cuddling small children. The larger children take great delight in thrashing us at football but are very patient with our developing Swahili.
At the schools, we have tried our hands at teaching maths, science, English, music, art and sport and have had to adapt to classes of sometimes up to 30 kids, with more filtering in throughout the lesson to stand inquisitively at the back or join in the games of football. Although most of the students are lucky if they possess any physical learning materials and the majority of the classrooms are little more than large mud-brick structures open to the elements with a few chairs and a painted blackboard, all who attend the schools are incredibly eager to learn and it has been such a rewarding experience to stand in front of such attentive and enthusiastic classes. The teachers have also been overjoyed to have us, enjoying a much needed break from their extensive teaching schedules, with the ratio at the Sombanyasoko primary school being 850 students to 3 teachers.
The local lingo has been put to good use in the markets and while we can’t locate anything resembling basil we were rather excited to find Cadbury’s Drinking Chocolate and Blackcurrant Fanta for those who aren’t downing the national beverage – Coke.
A highlight so far has been our tour of the Serengeti. It was wonderful to see such abundance. Zebra numbers are up, if anyone’s asking. Disinterested hippos and an eccentric Spanish host were real treats and although we didn’t spot a leopard (pronounced leo-pard) we now know how pairs of sneakers come to be hanging from power lines.
As of yet we have not been plagued by many tropical afflictions, apart from vehicle breakdowns (largely in the Serengeti, conveniently encircled by lions), two out of four busted toilets in our living quarters, daily electricity black-outs (due to the thunderstorms and torrential rain that happen most evenings), the traumatic moment when we ran out of powdered milk, and of course the two-week-long debacle with the container. Unfortunately corruption is rife, though we have discovered that most of us will work for two lolly snakes apiece.
Over the coming week we look forward to more school visits, the handing out of the much needed educational materials, planting trees at the resource centre to commemorate our visit, and a short stay in Zanzibar before the long long flight back to Australia. Although our time in this beautiful country is quickly drawing to a close, it will be impossible to forget the time we have spent here, the difference we have made, the people we have encountered and the hearts we have touched and been touched by in return. It will be hard to say that we have not been changed by our experiences here and it is certain that Tanzania and the Tarime community will always continue to hold a special place in our hearts.