Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Another thought provoking day

Here is a mark of the calibre of kids I have on the trip ... we have had no wifi for a day and a half and on our return today suddenly there was wifi ... weak but there ... they all immediately reached for their phones but I asked if they would mind waiting until I'd got yesterdays blog posted and without a murmur they just switched off and waited ... remarkable in this digital age ...

Busy day today ... breakfast included Andas, the doughnut-like breakfast we had in Dar, but lighter and fluffier and very nice ... again we were there for the bus at 8.00 ... some improvement on yesterday because it was only 15 minutes later than expected ... and off we went to the nursery ...

The kids really enjoyed working and playing with the three and four year olds and really didn't want to leave ... in fact the boys were enjoying playing with the Duplo so much that at one point they were so enthralled with building their tower they hadn't noticed the two little boys they were supposed to be working with had lost interest and were playing with the cars :-) I'm pretty sure Oli T and Oli W were two of the three but I'll have to heck the camera to be sure. Kathryn is doing a great job at the nursery and there are big plans for how it will develop slowly over the next few years. 

Then it was off the Dodoma school ... this school built by the British before independence is the oldest and largest government school in the region ... over 1400 students including 400 a level students ... it is also very successful with part of that being down to them taking the best students around (selection to a degree) and being established for so long so expectation is high on entry ... they have more teachers and more money including some serious investment from south Korea in two computer rooms with all the kit since I last visited ... Umonga really are the paupers in comparison and it's no wonder the students make better progress at Dodoma. There is also a stronger under current of anti-white ... still barely discernible but stronger at Dodoma school. The differences elsewhere are huge e.g. students learn English and always speak English but they also learn Mandarin, French and Swahili! 

Four successful lessons taught at Dodoma school and lunch there ... we then headed back to Umonga for the gate painting! It was a bit hot but again they all worked as a team and got the gate painted in no time ... black today and we will add colours tomorrow ... the two flags of the uk and Tanzania with the name of the school between them and also some of the railings above painted in the colours of the two countries ... the design sounds good but we'll wait and see how it looks once we have finished. Some of the kids got more paint on themselves than the gate and trying to get it off their hands afterwards was a nightmare until the second master (deputy head) arrived with paraffin and soap ... the two added together shifted enamel paint like nothing else would ... hopefully it will dry successfully over night for the next colourful coats tomorrow ... the gate and finishing the wall around the school were part of our gifts to the school, as is painting it.

And so to the main market in Dodoma which is under cover ... definitely an experience I wanted the students to have ... all the produce from cooked tiny whitebait and slabs of meat to bell peppers and rice and myriad of spices piled high ... I wanted to buy Rose (headteacher) lots of rice and white bait which are a real treat for her and her family as they are expensive compared to their normal fare with enough to last a good few meals ... so we toured the market which was as great as I expected ... atmospheric, dark and slightly foreboding but exciting and entrepreneurial ...

Next stop our usual mini-market to stock up on Pringles (sigh!) but also lots of local produce ... George even venturing to buy a local delicacy whose name is Visheti Sukari Nazi! it's basically sweet pastry with cardamom and some yeast so it's 'grown' a little bit and is then deep fried ... producing a very solid sweet piece of pastry ... good work for your back teeth but hard to bite a lump off ... 

Back to the four points for swims and relaxation before a tea of ... you guessed it ... chicken ... very nice going with sliced potato, a cucumber, tomato and onion salad with some vinegrette (Greek salad or close to it) and pasta ... with water melon to finish.

The task for this evening is to write two songs to sing at the celebration tomorrow (and maybe choreograph a dance) as we know they will sing and dance to us ... so far the writing has been to Adeles Hello which is a bit slow and dirge like but they can use the Swahili word habari as part of their new lyrics ... anyway I'm encouraging them to also do an upbeat number ... we'll see what they come up with ... I'll update this later ...

Update 10.15: Well I have to say that they have hit upon a winner ... they had two songs they worked lyrics to as I said earlier and although the lyrics to both were excellent one was easier tune-wise (is that a word?) and more upbeat so I think they have made the right decision to go with that one ... we practised a couple of times tonight but they have agreed to be up earlier in the morning to give it another couple of run throughs ... here are the words of the song:

To the tune of call me maybe Carly ray Joesph 

We came from Bridgnorth endowed
We came, we looked and we found 
So many smiles around
And now we want to stay

We have had plenty of fun
Such a shame that we're done
You made us feel so welcome 
And now we want to stay

Your kindness showing 
Grinning teeth smiles glowing 
We came here not knowing 
Now you've taught us so much lately

Hey, we just met you
And we all love you 
So Asante sane
We will miss you

Loved working with you
It was our pleasure 
So Asante sane
We will miss you

George 'are we together?' (Typical thing said by Tanzanian teacher 20 times every lesson)


I'll have video evidence of how well it went and will post it once we get back to better wifi ... have a good evening, Mr L


  1. What a brilliant song - they'll love it!! Can't wait to see the video :-) Good luck with the painting tomorrow. In the UK we are bracing ourselves for Storm Doris which is promising to be quite punishing with strong winds and lots and lots of rain for the next 24 hours. Xx

  2. Great keeping up with your blogs!!! We are eagerly awaiting the next!! Keep up the good work, sounds like you are all having a fantastic time!!! Can't wait for this miming Joshua Hall!!!!

  3. I eagerly await the posts, I have shared the link with family members across the World who are also keen to hear what Anna and the group are doing on the trip. Hope the song goes down well.

  4. Can't wait to see the video!! Storm Doris has struck good and proper today causing chaos and loss of power all day for us. Temperature has dropped considerably so you guys are really going to feel the chill when you get back as I have been watching your weather and it looks like the lowest it has been is 89degrees even with the rain ☀️ ☀️☀️☀️