Published: November 13th 2011November 13th 2011
My first shopping trip after arriving in my new home, I could be in England!
This is coming from wonderful Tanzania, I am so sorry for the lack of blog posts recently, I have been busy, yes, busy.
After lacking any constructive focus for the last seven months, I decided to hook up with a small NGO for a few weeks. I have been very skeptical of volunteering and any organization that I was going to give my time and money to had to fulfill three basic criteria.
Firstly, I had to be confident that whatever I would be doing could not be done, better, by local people. So, for me working in an Orphanage would not have been right, as far as I am concerned children need long term and stable care that (in my opinion) can better be provided by local people.
Secondly, I had to be confident that whatever the organization was trying to achieve was sustainable and made a real difference.
Thirdly, I did not want to work for a huge organization, huge organizations tend to lose their way and more and more money get siphoned in to buying expensive 4x4 vehicles and salaries for Managing Directors.
What attracted me to this organization is
My only real exposure to African wildlife, I hope to have more.
that they provide adults with an education that they are simply unable to obtain in other ways, they will then, if possible, help them to obtain funding to start up a business and the skills required to run that business.
Can these skills be taught by local people, well yes, and that is the intention, the organization has only been running a couple of years but they already employ a couple of former students in a teaching capacity.
Lets be clear though, this is not a purely altruistic action on my part, I think it is good to be honest about such things. I will get satisfaction and cultural experiences that I would never get if I was here purely on a tourist basis. It also gives me an opportunity to put my bags down for a while, stop traveling and make some real friends.
This is going to be challenging on a whole load of different levels, not only will I be expected to teach a room full of people, and get results, after several months of living feral and nomadic, I am settling in to a house with five other people, and not just normal
A suburb in Moshi, the scourge of plastic continues to ruin the world. Usually they burn it but seem not to have for a while. Goats seem to like it though.
people either, but women.
As my dear Sister will testify, I am not very well house trained, so this is going to be tough. But as my dear Sister has also taught me, through much disciplining, I will simply have to learn and make an effort to become house trained.
I have been here a week now, and the teaching challenges are also great.
Until four weeks ago, most of these students had never even seen a Computer, so the knowledge base is low, this means that you are not only trying to teach what to do on a computer, but the entire concept of a computer. How do you explain to someone that the document they have created in a computer is a real and tangible thing, even though it is not physical and you can’t touch it.
And how do you explain this fiendishly difficult concept in Swahili? I have a translator called Rahim but I am confident that much is lost in translation due to the different structures of the two languages.
Most of the laptops we are using in class are creaky old relics, all with different versions of Windows, all
A Moshi market.
with various appearances. This makes showing a standard method difficult, because of the layout.
In addition to this, as most of the laptops are so old their batteries are useless, which is fine when you have electricity, but when there is a power cut, half the computers die. Not easy when you are mid way through trying to explain things.
So, its early days, but it is going well and I am enjoying it hugely, the students are simply the best people I have even had the privilege to get to know. I have been lucky enough to have met many wonderful people on my travels, but not had the opportunity to really get to know them. This time will allow for building proper relationships.
So, must go.
All my love, I hope you are all well.
There are more photos below