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Part 1: Arriving in Arusha, Tanzania

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Our first taste of Tanzania was through the dirty windows of an old 20-odd seater bus, that hurtled along the dusty, bumpy roads giving us sneak peaks of the landscape from the almost full moon shining down from a clear sky.

The RATA team arrived late at the guest house in Arusha after a long day (18hrs) of transit and travel up across Africa, from Cape Town. We were weary, exhausted and shattered, minus 4 bags lost in flight luggage but determined to get through! Once greeted with bowls of steaming hot rice and bean stew, for dinner from the hosts, we wolfed down our meals, hungrier than we realised we really were!

A slight change of plan meant that we had a rest day, a day to recover, to check out the Arusha Joshua School and enjoy the warm African afternoon sun that we were all looking forward to.

On Sunday, we walked up the scorched dirt road to Joshua School, with Bex, a previous RATA groupie who has been living in Magugu for the last few months. She took us on a tour of the school, where we saw the classrooms, the new recently built classrooms and wandered over the cracked earth fields that swamped the school yard. The little things stood out to us- a playground made of half an old rusted bus, with a metal slide tied on with fraying rope; a school “bell” consisting of a tin lid hanging from a pole in the middle of the cracked field; classrooms filled with crafts, posters, whiteboards and finally, the village that surrounded the school with villagers coming and going, doing their daily life activities- riding bikes, collecting water whilst talking on their smartphones, walking home from Church and even just tending to their animals or homes.

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Our visit ended with a fantastic lunch hosted by Lynda and Wendy, where we got a chance to get briefed on the week ahead and ask questions. The teachers were excited and felt prepared, knowing who they were going to be paired up with to pass on their teaching skills and knowledge.

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