Friday, June 29, 2007

Photos from the Shule...

The Lundamatwe Primary School Classrooms need glass for the windows because they are very dark! The current bathrooms are in bad shape and do not accomodate all the girls... The Ulonge Primary School... The unfinished classroom...they have the bricks but cannot afford the labor cost or the roof and windows. This is a house nearby, and is typical of the village houses. The school needs another 47 desks, but the glass windows here make a big difference!

29.06.07 Friday in Iringa

We hope you liked the pictures in the last post. We will be putting up some pictures of the two schools next. Today our group met with the Ulonge Primary School, the other primary school located in the Lundamatwe village area. This school is a newer school, just recently built in the last four years. The school ran out of money during building and only has classrooms for Standard One through Four. There is one unfinished classroom for Standard Five, which needs walls completed and a roof added if the fundi (carpenter) can be paid. The Ulonge school has 225 students, with one class of each grade. There are classes with nearly seventy students, and some smaller classes of about 45. We found out that the school only has fifteen textbooks per class. That means the english class for the Standard One has 68 students sharing fifteen textbooks. We are looking into ordering the needed books in town, which cost about $3.50 per book. Today I was able to provide the teachers with two teacher manuals that they did not have for teaching their classes. They were very appreciative. We will be sending teachers to their school to help teach classes in the mornings during the next few weeks. After our morning meeting, half the group went to hike back to the campsite, which is about a mile or so from the road. Elliot, Abbas and I spent about an hour walking toward town in hopes of finding a dala dala to drive us in. We were not very lucky, but eventually did get picked up by a large group headed for prayer services. We got to ride in the back of the pickup hearing the women and children sing a beautiful spiritual song... We made it to town FINALLY to be able to get some more textbooks and other supplies. We are pricing the supplies we need to see what Project Kesho can afford now and what we will need to fundraise for later. Please contact us if you are interested in helping us fund the classrooms' desks and shelving. We have a lot of timber to purchase and will pay local village carpenters to build the furniture. Email to: Please also let us know if you are enjoying our blog... ~Cathi

Photo Update!

Here are some photos... First, Matt and Lynn posing in London. Next, our baggage to bring to the village. Then, Cathi, Amie and Ian posing in London. Next, Amie and Matt at Addis in Dar during our first group dinner. Finally, the whole group together in the village (Abbas, Elliot, Cathi, Ian, Amie, Matt and Lynn).

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Karibu Iringa!

For our first day in Iringa, we had an early morning meeting with the headmaster and the English teachers at th school (shule). Cathi gave a brief presentation about Project Kesho and then the headmaster discussed the teaching methods of the schools in Tanzania and the local school's needs. We will be working to facilitate man power, funding and any other resources for the school needs through our organization with the help of the local community members. Here are some of the things we learned during our time with the teachers and headmaster: The school is currently serving nearly 1,100 students. There are 23 teachers. Most teachers of English have classes of approximately ninety students. Students are being rotated into the classrooms. (Think of having two classes of first graders, one waiting outside while another class is taught.) The school currently has bathroom facilities for the boys but less to accomodate the girls. The school has one classroom with a teacher desk, but the other classrooms have no place for teachers to put their lesson books or any supplies. The only instructional posters at the school are those that we purchased last year. The book to student ratio is one to approximately six children. Children can check out the pupil books to study at home and cannot keep them. They are reused again the next year. During the half of the year in Iringa when it is very cold and windy, teachers have to close over the wooden shutters to keep the classrooms warm...but there is no lighting in the classroom and wood shutters block all day light. The school would like to replace the wooden shutters with plexiglass or glass windows to allow the teachers and students to see during instruction. Our group has also learned that in the Lundamatwe village area, there are twenty different bore holes (for accessing clean water for drinking) but none of them work. Many are irrepairable, but some (including the one at the school) could be made operable by purchasing a pump for a little less than one thousand dollars. We will be working with the school and the village leadership to put together a plan for bathroom construction and teacher/student desk construction in the community. These projects will be undertaken as a whole group effort and the carpentry work done by community members. It is important that the community is invested in this work--and they are. After leaving our meeting, we rode the dala dala (imagine thirty people in the back of a volkswagon bus) to town. I actually sat on someone's lap... We will be purchasing textbooks and teacher manuals in town today so our group can begin preparing for classroom teaching next week. We will be leading the classroom in instruction and also working to observe and learn with the local teachers. Our team is FANTASTIC and can accomplish so much I think. It is big and important work...and an honor to be invited to take part in the education process at the local level. baadaye... ~cathi

Departures and Arrivals...

Greetings to all of Project Kesho's supporters! We have had an eventful and busy four days working our way from different places in the USA all the way to Iringa, Tanzania. Our group departed from three different cities to meet in JFK airport on Sunday afternoon. Three of us (Amie, Cathi and Ian) left Seattle on an early morning flight, clocking in our first six hours of plane travel. Matt left from South Carolina to fly out of Charlotte, NC to JFK the same morning and Lynn made her way to JFK by car. To provide some context, our group was responsible for transporting 15 luggage items to Tanzania, a formidable task in itself!! We managed to get everything checked into the airlines and waited for our flight from JFK to London's Heathrow airport. The flight was of course delayed, so we spent quite a bit of time waiting around in the airport. Matt wins the prize for the longest wait, having arrived at the JFK arport from Charlotte about three in the afternoon and not boarding the next plane until 8:30-9pm that night! We arrived in London and managed to take some time to stretch our legs in a stroll around between flights. It was Seattle weather in London, so at least three of us were right at home. We shard our first meal together and said "Cheers" to the work to come. Luckily, our plane from London left close to "on time" and we managed to make it to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania as scheduled. The plane landed at 7:30 am in Tanzania on Tuesday--which to us seemed like one long Sunday... Upon arrival we were able to secure our visa easily and then headed to baggage claim. In keeping with the tradition of my (Cathi) Africa travel, my bag of course did not arrive, nor did Lynn's. But in all 13 out of 15 bags is pretty succesful. We will maybe be getting our two bags sometime in the next week. This will explain why we seem to be wearing the same outfits in every picture! (In reality though, everyone else probably only has one more outfit than we do anyway...) We spent an overnight in Dar to take some tie for meeting with officials in the city and to wait for our Land Cruiser ride to Iringa. During our stay in Dar, our group shared a meal at ADDIS IN DAR, a fantastic Ethiopian restaurant. The restaurant graciously served us our meal at no cost as friends of Project Kesho. The next morning we loaded up our Cruiser to head out for Iringa. The drive from Dar to Iringa was on Wednesday, taking ten hours. We arrived in time to eat a dinner in the darknes of the Africa sky and head to bed. My next post will share what our first day in Iringa was like... Please share our blog with others...we would love to hear from you too. baadaye (later...) ~Cathi