“Mzungu wetu!” and other adventures

Yesterday, we spent the last day working on new teaching techniques and planning for strategies to address the needs of the individual children. In the morning, Sarah had some other work to do, but dropped me off early at the café to start working. I took advantage of their breakfast and had French toast and bacon. Note the tomato as part of the breakfast. This is reflective of the British influence on Tanzania and breakfast choice.  Of course, there is Kilimanjaro coffee.

Union breakfast of french toast and bacon

Today we went to the school to see the classroom teacher doing tuition, or extra instruction, for children during the vacation. The teachers can choose to teach students from their class and other classes during the vacation or after school during the school year. The parents do have to pay for the service. Also, it is extra help and the teachers encourage the parents of children the teachers are concerned about are to send their children, but if they don’t want to or can’t afford it the children simply don’t come.  In addition, some of the children at the school for tuition are doing very well in school, but their parents want to pay to send them for extra help to make sure they have every possibility to learn. Therefore, the students are mixed in age usually grade 1-3 together and in their abilities ranging for children still learning to read, write, and do math to children who are excelling in their classes.

Tuition lasts from 8-11am. There is some instruction throughout the day, but in general they do a lot of exercises copied off the board. Then, the teacher collects all the notebooks and corrects them.

Checking the notebooks

After tuition, a mother of one of students that we are concerned about came to school and we had a conversation with her. We discovered that the child lives with other relatives and not the mother, so we went into the neighboring village to find the house. After a rough ride on some dirt roads, we found the house and were welcomed by the family. Unfortunately, the primary caregiver for the child was not there and we had to plan to come back next week to meet with that person. The family was so happy to see us and the young girl was there. While they had a very modest home, they welcomed us and set out stools for use to sit on to talk in the little dirt courtyard between the three structures. The girl was so happy when we entered the gate that she started shouting “Mzungu yetu! Mzungu yetu!” and gave Sarah and I each big hugs. It means “our white person! Our white person!” She was very cute.

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