Karibu, Msaranga! and the mountain

Today was my first day at the Msaranga Primary School. As expected based on the wonderful Tanzanian hospitality, I was given a very warm welcome and spent the day observing the standard 1 (grade 1) class and getting to know the teacher in the class, the assistant, and the other teacher who is working with the Toa Nafasi Project. The day started for the morning group children at 8am and goes until 11:30, with the break for chai (tea) from 10:00-10:30 and then the afternoon group is there from 11:30-2:30 with a break for a small lunch in the afternoon. Today, the students had math, literacy (Swahili), and English.

Tomorrow, we will start the assessment part of our project. We will be assessing all the children in standard 1 and looking at the trends in curricular achievement after about six months of grade 1 and then looking for any children who we are concerned might need more assistance in school or tutoring or a referral to other professionals. We have the school’s permission to do the basic assessment and then will work with parents to discuss concerns. It is a big group of children with about 75 in each class (morning and afternoon), but this is fairly standard in Tanzania.  We had hoped to have a little more time, but because their vacation is coming up in a few weeks, we need to get started right away.

After school, we ran a lot of errands, including getting me my own modem and picking up the extra supplies we need for the assessment. Going to the school was the first highlight of the day. Getting a modem was really nice. But, the second great highlight was my run this afternoon. I started running up toward the International School Moshi and then was going to loop back and right before I got to the school I was able to have a perfect view of the whole mountain, yes Mt. Kilimanjaro. I could see all the snow on the top, which is actually quite a bit at the moment because it is the end of the rainy season and going into the coldest season of the year. I ran a loop and on my way back toward the house I could see the mountain again and again ran a little farer toward the ISM to get that one last view. It was amazing and so awesome to see. I definitely plan to climb the mountain sometime soon, but not this trip. I want to try and be at the summit because I am just in awe of the mountain.

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