Part 4: Library #2 and teaching in Arusha
The next stop for RATA was back to Arusha to work at Joshua School. Our team of NZ teachers went to observe and work with some of the school’s teachers, working alongside them to bring new skills, planning and other interactive ideas for the students. There’s a different atmosphere at this school, a real sense of community and family. The kids are like little magnets of happiness, running over immediately to give us knee high hugs and little choruses of “Good morning teacher!”, with great big white smiles, grinning from ear to ear. It’s the kind of interaction that immediately softens your heart, making you want to reach out and do whatever you can to help these kids improve their education.
The school yard is relatively bare, dry cracked land with tufts of straw-like grass, dusty ochre coloured sand/dirt; a couple of old rusty soccer goal posts, just a little bit wonky yet well-loved and an old ute cab with a metal slide tied on with rope, makes the playground for the younger kids. The children are happy, friendly and eager to learn, excited to find out that we are here working on the library too.
The library here is a pre-existing one, which needs some serious TLC and intense sorting out for the new boxes of books that were sent over in the container. This library is a building structure built between two containers, with old cartoon safari murals painted on the walls, giving a sense of life into the room.
We tackled the dusty library in the damp morning heat- it actually started to rain on the first day of work, drying out shortly after each burst of rain. The rain barely lasts in short bursts, bringing a warm earthy smell as it patters on the ground. The sun usually breaks through the morning clouds and beats the warm African heat down onto us.
Don, the Ozzie handyman was working on finishing some custom built shelves, a process that had been delayed as powercuts are so common – about 80% of the time there is no power. Don’s shelving from limited resources has been fantastic and he worked hard to get them finished in time for us. Our task was to sort the myriad of boxes of books, categorising all the different kinds into piles that we can transfer onto shelves when they are ready. Older, tattered and neglected books that were left in the library get sorted, for repair or into stack to give away a pre-loved book to each child later.
The weather is cooler here in Arusha, around 26-30C, and a lot easier to work during the middle of the day, compared to Magugu, where it’s easily around 33-35C. The school provides students and teachers lunch, ugali (maize meal) mash with beans and boiled cabbage/spinach, or rice and beans. It’s great to sit and eat with everyone, chatting and mingling with the teachers, talking in English and our broken, limited Swahili.
Learn some Swahili with us!
Hello = Jambo
Hello to many people = Mambo
Thank you = Asante (“ah-sarn-tay”)
How are you? = Habari Yako
I am fine = Sijambo or Nzuri (“in-zoo-ree”)
No = Hapana
Yes = Ndio (“in-dee-oh”)
OK = Sawa
Sorry = Pole (“poh-lay”)
Slowly = Pole Pole
Food = Chakula
Friend = Rafiki