Part 5: Equipping a future generation
As the end of the week grew closer, our time in Arusha was growing to a bittersweet close. In many ways, a little bit longer stay would be great, in others; many of us were looking forward to home and loved ones, as well as some home comforts.
Our teachers continued to observe and work alongside Joshua School Arusha’s fantastic teachers, giving them the extra confidence boost and support as needed. A team from Joshua School Magugu came up for the week, to further learn and collaborate with the Arusha teachers. Towards the end of the week, the General feedback was that the JSA teachers had picked up more than enough skills and some showing enough confidence to pass on RATA knowledge to their fellow teachers.
The library team were working hard setting up the room, and a slight delay on shelving meant that time could be allocated to decorate the library, with extra labels for sections, signs, posters and art on the walls to make the library look like a fun place to learn for the children. Every day, children would hang around the doorway of the library, peering into the dusty room, watching in anticipation as we stacked books. Every now and then, one or two would come in to have a closer look at all the goodies- the puzzles and the books; eagerly asking when they could read and play. It’s so refreshing to see a hunger for education, a true desire to want to know more and find out what lies between those pages and pages of books.
Before long, the library was finished, the teachers were trained and we were called to a school assembly, where all of the kids and staff were ready to thank us. Children filed into a large classroom, and were neatly seated on the floor, ready to sing us songs and present us with thank you speeches and cards. The atmosphere was buzzing, a lively hum of happy, excited school kids, itching to get up and sing for us! And sing they did- two songs in particular really moved us; the first, a brand new school song, “Joshua School”, a lively number created by the music teacher, that had only very recently been learned by the older students. The second, a powerful Rendition of an NZ Maori song, which took us all by surprise as the students did well with pronunciation and moves.
It was a moving finale to the week, all our hard work paying off tenfold, and a moment to reflect in the quiet schoolyard after the assembly felt rather final. Teachers came over to thank and compliment our work over the last week, proud of their new skills and new library. It’s rewarding in more ways than one to complete a library and a week of training. Knowing that you’ve helped and seeing that you’ve made a difference is worth every drop of sweat and every speck of dirt on your feet!
Equipping a future generation with knowledge is one of the most powerful things we can do together.