Friday, August 22, 2008

Day 3

Greetings to All! Habari asubuhi[ How are you? Good Morning]
I had hoped to write sooner but jet lag, computer problems and a very busy schedule have delayed the start of my blog .My flights were uneventful and I had a full row for sleeping on the last flight from Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro. Eric Ng'Maryo, Miriam's husband, picked me up at the airport. I am staying at their home, Bustani House. It is alive with laughter and filled with their children, grandchildren and friends. Eric, who goes by "Babu" [grandfather in Swahili], is the only male in the home so he loved, respected ,teased and spoiled by his family. It is located in a spectacular setting surrounded by their farm land and I have a great view of Mt. Kilimanjaro from my bed room window. Even though we are near the equator,the nights are cool in the low 60's/high 50's on this high plateau between Kili [20,000'] and Mt. Meru[15,000']. The day starts with morning fog and the songs of the birds. Year round they have a 12 hour day. You tell time in Tanzania beginning with daybreak so 7 AM for us is 1 AM here. My trip to Siha overlaps with the last day of AA's first official volunteer, Aimee Fagent. She is a teacher from San Diego who has spent 2 1/2 weeks helping improve the local educators English language teaching skills. In Tanzania primary schools are taught in Swahili and the secondary schools are taught in English so the children have a difficult time when they move to the higher grades. She held daily sessions at the Teacher Resource Training Center for about 15 teachers. At the end of her stay, Aimee had them write letters to her fellow teachers in SD and hopefully they will become pen pals. Aimee's experience was both moving and rewarding. The teachers she worked with were eager to learn new skills and now they are excited to share them with the other teachers at their schools. Her program exemplifies the goals of AA: to have the benefits of the volunteer's work have a long term positive impact after the program is completed. The next goal is to have the volunteer truly enjoy him/herself and have a unique experience. When I arrived at Bustani House it was very apparent that strong bonds had been formed and that Aimee was one of the family. There were quite a few wet eyes when we took her to the airport for her trip home. The final of goal of AA is that the connection made between the volunteer and the community continue and that it expand to Aimee's friends and colleagues. Next year we would like to have a group of teachers return to Siha and continue the ground breaking work that she has begun.
Even though primary education is universal in Tanzania the funding is very limited .Each teacher will have up 100 students in his/her class. Many students have to share books and supplies. If anyone was interested in making a donation to these schools AA is set up to accept tax deductible contributions and ALL the money donated will go to the program that you designate. We will also let you know how the donated money is spent.
Kwa herini [Good bye]

P.S. The next blog will be about Miriam. She is an amazing person and the main reason we are able to do our programs in this community.

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