DAY 7 - "Our School Could Use Some Books" - 2008


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Africa » Tanzania » West
January 9th 2008
Published: January 13th 2013EDIT THIS ENTRY

Girls of Bweranyange Girls of Bweranyange Girls of Bweranyange

(This photo will become the signature photo for Educate Tanzania in 2010. I lovingly refer to these people as "my girls".)
Today was the day that I realized that the girls school had been functioning with no curriculum and no books. Bweranyange was the brainchild of Pastor Jackson and supported by Bishop Bagonza, who initiated opening of the school three years ago. Currently, 120 girls attended but did not have the supplies to learn the material and meet the standards outlined in the Tanzanian curriculum. More about that later.

Kaye awakens us each morning with a knock on the door and a pleasant calling of our names. I hadn't heard any wild animals for a couple of nights but we did tell George about our 'simba' the first night. Breakfast at 7:30, and picked up Vincent. I had planned the reflection time so asked the students to think of an attribute of God (trustworthy, kind, etc) that they really appreciate, and then notice today where they see it expressed. Jason is sick with a cold so he and Tom stayed back. (When we returned they smelled a little 'malty' so perhaps found some medicine across the street.) The plan was to go to the girls' school and then scope out the second site (KARASECO) but time slipped away and we went
Bweranyange Girls Secondary SchoolBweranyange Girls Secondary SchoolBweranyange Girls Secondary School

Administration Building
to the Bweranyange site only.

I helped paint the boxes white with the shoddy paint we bought. First one - Kaye and I painted; second one Andre and I. We then turned the boxes upside-down on the school desks to dry. One room in the school was not yet complete or utulized and we used it to house some of the materials. I asked the engineering students about the project in general and they were excited about what it could mean for purifying water. They shared that they hoped to help people in this remote area to have access to clean water. They had requested information from the advisor for ESW (Engineers for a Sustainable World) and from previous design teams when ESW researched the pasteurizers. A previous team had traveled to Mali and built a pasteurizer for the purpose of providing potable water for an average family there. The team and advisor were happy to report the success with the results. (Note: I learned later that the solar powered pasteurizer has a design flaw that renders the technology useless.) I was told that the pasteurizer has a problem with the valve and is unable to purify water for
Opening the Solar PartsOpening the Solar PartsOpening the Solar Parts

Dr. Larson, UWRF, assembled and sent the parts
sustained periods of time. It is unsafe to use.) The students became quite animated as they shared about the senior design class at St Thomas and all the projects carried out by students.

Ate lunch of typical banana, rice, red sauce and Fanta. Sophia, the Headmistress, was gone to a meeting, so we had lunch with Sophia the matron. Her smile was wide and contagious. I invited her to share with me the needs of the school. She laughed and she said she would.

While Kaye and I worked on some frames, a young woman, Gloria, came to see us. We asked about her family and she said that her mom and dad were dead. She told us that she had no pen but that her friend gave her one. She was proud of her pen.

The engineers talked a lot about the tank. Size. Placement. I felt 'done' about 2:00 but we didn't leave the site until much later. Is the whole team needed every day? Each person's tasks are relatively narrow and could be completed by fewer persons. I am seeing that the Tanzanian hospitality is extravagant and that we are draining the resources more
Ann PaintsAnn PaintsAnn Paints

Building the solar panels
than need be. We eat several times at the site each day. The young boys are not shy about horsing down food. Poor Andrew doesn't care for potatoes much - so he is out of luck. Tom plays football for St. Thomas and I think I see him losing weight already. Still - the kindness of the local people is fun to be around but we need to consider that we are consuming rare resources. Ann is insistent that each person accompany and contribute on a daily basis with the project. The engineers perhaps had roles and it is perhaps important that each carry out theirs. As for me, thre is a vaguely defined role of accompanying and doing as asked, and trouble-shooting as needed.

One of the teachers came up to me and gave me a book list that included titles needed by her class. I asked why they do not have the books. She said because the resources are spent on tiny teacher salaries and on helping students comes to school. I asked if partners or Lutheran Churches help them and she said, 'Yes' but that they help with buildings and tuition scholarships. I will see what I can do with the list. It is standardized curriculum so the books must be specially purchased. Can you imagine a school in the U.S. that had no books? A private one no less.

The bishop said we could pay the workers on a daily basis and gave us amount suggestions. Kaye and I put each man's name on a sheet of paper and in our office (behind the truck) gave each man individually, his money. I didn't act quickly enough for one man who said, "Give me the money". Alrighty then! I thought. Then we all laughed.

Late getting back to Kayanga. Shower and dinner at 8:15. Read, wrote and slept.

*******************

Take me to the Educate Tanzania website.

http://educatetanzania.org


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