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Published: February 3rd 2015
FRIDAY, January 29, 2015
Bweranyange Girls Secondary School and Closing Meeting
Brighton arrived and we headed to Bweranyange Girls Secondary School about 50km from Kayanga. The road was bumpy and dusty, lined with children and women walking, sometimes goats or cows and men on bicycles with large loads of bananas or other produce. Christopher and I enjoyed seeing the countryside and the beautiful rolling hills that make up Karagwe. We arrived at BGSS and were met by Headmistress, Sophia. She greeted us and escorted us into the school where refreshments were prepared and set out. Although glad to see us, she scolded us for being late and informed me that my Swahili needed work. We agreed on both counts. Hoping for more of the excellent passion fruit and ground nuts we were offered, Brighton offered to visit the school more often.
Along with several staff, Sophia then took us on a tour of the campus. We visited some of the buildings I saw on our initial visit in 2008 and again with Steve (my husband) in 2010. The campus was about three times larger than when I last saw it with many more buildings and
much more landscaping. We had connected at the hotel in Kayanga, with Anita, Pastor Raymond and Inge, a small group from Sweden who were responsible for many upgrades, the curriculum and support in general. The site of the school remains beautiful with its overlook of the valley. We entered a science classroom where two groups of girls recited results of their science experiments and demonstrated their application of scientific principles. We then proceeded to the Assembly Hall where all 280 girls were gathered. We entered while the girls sang and greeted us. The music was happy and light.
Staff led introductions, music and an overview on Bweranyange Girls School. Christopher and I were introduced individually by Sophia. She explained each of our connections to Karagwe and to BGSS. She credited me with funding the first curriculum for the school back in 2010. Today, other supporters from various parts of the world, helped provide the full curriculum and an entire library of resources from Books for Africa. Christopher seemed especially pleased with the school atmosphere and reception.
When asked to say a few words I reminded the girls that they are more than just their academics. They are physical,
mental and spiritual beings. They have working brains and big hearts. They liked that. I also reminded them that each of them is a contributor - a donor. Each can be the 'first' to jump in and say "I'll help" or "I'll do it" or "You can count on me". No matter how big or small, each has a responsibility to be a part of the story. They liked that too. Christopher followed with an energizing speech about how each is the "future of Tanzania". Each girl can take what she has and what she knows and who she is, and use those things to participate in Tanzania's future. He then grabbed his pack and presented the Headmistress with some gifts from his own (previous) classroom. He gave rulers and colored pencils, and more colored pencils and more colored pencils and more colored pencils...and two cans of slate paint to create a chalkboard. Sophia, staff and girls loved it and were very grateful.
At the close, Sophia gave me a gift of a hand-made bag with a matching dress. Bright yellow and green in traditional patterns. I received it gladly. Christopher was a
The Asante Drum
hit as he received his gift of an embroidered Tanzanian shirt and made a surprised face that the girls roared over. He increased his expression and they increased their roar. They clapped and loved his response. He put the shirt on and modeled for the school. More applause and laughter. Brighton, too, received a gift and appreciated his new caftan. He joined Christopher and put it on. The girls clapped and cheered. Sophia closed the assembly thanking all. The girls sang as we left and boarded the van to "California" (overlook near BGSS).
If you ever get to Karagwe - be sure to visit "California" near Bweranyange. Stunning beauty.
We left for Kayanga, bringing Headmistress Sophia with us to be with her family over the weekend. It is common for school personnel to live in one community and work in another - staying Monday - Friday in the second community. Such is the case with Sophia. We arrived in Kayanga shortly after 4:00, just in time to clean up for the meeting with the Bishop at 4:30. CLOSING MEETING:
Our 4:30 meeting began at 5:30 when the bishop arrived with his team. Prior, we sat with Father Bijura, a member of the KARUCO Task Force and friend to ETI. He lived in the U.S. for six years and has an especially adept understanding of people and places. It was a great hour with him. The closing meeting focused on the water harvesting system that Christopher had planned out with John Wade and proposed to the KAD Team. The motto is "Waste No Drop
" and the idea is to begin immediately to plan, build and collect water for opening in October, 2016. Bishop and his team along with ETI and the KARUCO Task Force:
• set an opening date of October, 2016
• planned for an opening enrollment of 100
• agreed to build water tanks to harvest
and "Waste No Drop"
• agreed that any drilling first requires the Karagwe water resource planners (Walter and Eric) to locate water
• requested KAD (Brighton) to create a growth plan for KARUCO
• requested ETI to secure Books for Africa
The agreements went over well with many approvals all around. Toward the end, the bishop mentioned some side issues and ETI asked the KAD Team to focus on getting KARUCO up and running. ETI suggested some new funding sources to be explored. ETI requested that the KAD and KARUCO teams would put energy into the program, curriculum, faculty and student recruitment initiatives. Further, ETI requested that they take pains to ensure that Education is always top priority.
We adjourned and gathered in the Business Center Conference Room one last time to pray and enjoy a meal together. Naturally, Edina Henry and her staff prepared a wonderful spread with all the traditional dishes plus her special "American salad" of avocado and tomato. Bishop and Brighton presented Christopher and me with a beautiful drum that said "Asante" (thank you) and showed photos of the "Fixing of the Touchstones" ceremony. Beautiful!
We gladly received these and thanked everyone for their kind hospitality and open hearts with us. Everyone seemed tired and so farewell speeches were heartfelt but short. We adjourned and headed to our rooms. Goodnight Kayanga.
Take me to the Educate Tanzania website:www.educatetanzania.org
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