Mud, Glorious Mud!

This week, I very excitedly returned to Moshi to volunteer at the Toa Nafasi Project. In my role as an educational consultant, I am focused on fine-tuning the use of the assessment and teacher training on this trip. During my trip, I will conduct fidelity checks on the assessment that they use for the students and hold two half-day trainings to top up the teachers’ skills.  Following the training, teachers will have opportunities to practice their skills and receive coaching and mentoring during the remainder of my time to support their use of the strategies. I will also be working the head teacher of the group to support her in providing coaching and mentoring on the strategies to her teachers when I leave.

It has been two years since I have been back and I want to see how the teachers administer the assessment to ensure that they are administering it with fidelity. During the trainings, I will teach some new strategies for reading, writing, and math and reinforce the strategies the teachers are already using in the intervention.

For my new readers or to remind readers, the Toa Nafasi Project has several components, but the key component is the pull-out small groups conducted during the school day to teach and reinforce basic concepts children are learning in their grade 1 classroom in reading, writing, and math. Below is the model used in Toa Nafasi and the small groups represent a Tier 2 intervention for these students.

 RTI Toa Pic

Some things in the project have not changed in the last two years. The children are still eager to participate in the Toa Nafasi Project small groups and the teachers are still doing a wonderful job supporting the children.


But, the project has now expanded to a total of four schools. The growth has been phenomenal and has necessitated hiring more teachers for a total of 12. They are all wonderful and eager to support these young learners to be successful in the classroom. Two of the new schools are close to Msaranga, but one school is a bit of a walk, especially in the current muddy conditions. We are nearing the end of the rainy season, but yesterday it still rained and had rained all night, the night before. We walked the two miles to the school and back, slipping and sliding a bit. This map shows one way of our journey.


Sarah and I had dressed for muddy hiking, but our head teacher made the walk easily in her very professional skirt and flats. I was impressed. IMG_2739



On the way, we saw several examples of people who had given up on wheeled transport, including this gentleman with his bike.


The walk was very beautiful and took me into parts of the village that I had never seen.


I am certainly glad that I made my decision to bring my boots, but they will need a well-deserved bath.

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