Saturday, February 12, 2011

Repeat Volunteer Reflects on Time in Tanzania!

Tanzania Voluteer Pam recently wrote a wonderful story about her Ipalamwa service program experience for her company newsletter. In the coming weeks, we will share this reflection with you in all its glory (lots of lovely photos and everything!) but for the time being, we thought we would give you a sneak peek!!

Thank you for taking the time to share you story, Pam!!


My Third Annual 3-week Volunteer Vacation with Global Volunteers

Each year of volunteering with Global Volunteers in Ipalamwa, Tanzania is a new adventure and safari (is Kiswahili for journey). It’s not just the physical journey of getting and being there, it’s more of a mental and spiritual journey; learning more about the Tanzanian people, resources, politics and culture, as well as learning more about myself. This year led to the adventurous idea of retiring on my own mountain in the Iringa Region of Tanzania running a kindergarten and orphanage, which is an ongoing email discussion with my rafiki (friend) and Global Volunteers Country Leader, Edward. This year’s safari is best described in the following topics and photos.

Ipalamwa Secondary School Form 4 Graduation

Our host for the 3-week volunteer project is the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT) Iringa Deices, who has had a partnership with Global Volunteers for over 25 years and who owns and manages 7 Secondary Boarding Schools along with thousands of church congregations in the Iringa Region of Tanzania. I visit the Ipalamwa Village and ELCT Ipalamwa Secondary School, which has only 4 Forms or grades instead of their traditional 6. Here’s a little background - Tanzania secondary school consists of Forms 1-6 with official government exams held at Form 2, 4, and 6 and based on the exam scores the government determines whether a student continues to the next Form and what schools they can attend. Thus, the students at Ipalamwa Secondary School graduate at Form 4 and then wait at home from October thru January to be told if they will go on to Form 5 and whether they can go to a Government School or a Private School, such as the other ELCT Iringa Deices school in Pommern.

This year I had the honor and privilege to attend the Ipalamwa Secondary School Form 4 Graduation. It meant the world to me and to a number of the students whom I taught and befriended the previous 2 years.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Team Journal ~ Heading Back to Dar via Iringa!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Quote for the Day: “You can’t have everything and you’ll get over it.”

It started out like any other school day, a good breakfast, Edward joining us and making sure we would be ready to leave by 1:00 p.m. It seems impossible that we’re on our way home.

This morning at the secondary school Don I taught Prosper and Headmaster Shadracki how to use the new calculators. Katie and Don III each had a good morning being in classes that they enjoyed. I stopped by my room and it was junked up again and I had to push benches and desks around to make it useable. I then went to the classroom next door and asked for 10 students to come with me for Conversational English. We practiced writing friendly letters and notes and ended the class by singing:

“Make new friends,
But keep the old,
One is silver,
And the other gold.”

It was then time for Staff Tea, which is a delightful tradition, and I think we will all miss the camaraderie, chai, and sweet fried dough. I taught them “Make New Friends” and we sang it through several times and then with Don III’s help as a round.

Mickey sewed on the Mission House veranda with Tumaini. Four bags were finished and three were sold, maybe the fourth as well.

Connie went to the Catholic Nursery Scool. The teacher sat in the courtyard leaving Connie with 43 tiny tots that were tired of counting from 1 to 10, Connie’s only Swahili. The children spent the hour and a half running around, mimicking her sometimes.

Nesia, (Mama Toni), prepared a very fine last luncheon for us with chapaties, rice, beans, greens, pork and fresh mango.

The trip to Iringa took 2 hours. The weather was warm and sunny. We are staying at the Mlandege Lutheran Guest House. We were told there was no running water. I wanted to cry. I was so looking forward to a warm shower before I got into my clean sheets. (The generator just went off, Connie brought me a powerful little light so I could finish typing but the bugs were drawn by the light and are swarming all over me.)

Continued: We shopped, rested and waited for Edward to appear with Bud Philbrook, President of Global Volunteers, and the Bishop of Iringa, Bishop Dr. Owdenburg Moses Mdegella. They finally arrived about 7:30. Bud spoke about Global Volunteers' mission and that the UN has 12 interventions. Global Volunteers helps with all 12 services, but not at one site. He said the essential services covered Hunger, Health and IQ. He told us that it was 23 years ago that the Bishop had the dream of a secondary school in Pomerini. He was on the first team to help the Bishop begin planning to make his dream come true. It was a pleasure to meet both of them. We finally had dinner.

The water came on so I had a cool shower. Then the generator went off, only to come on sometime in the middle of the night.

The manager of this Lutheran guest house is a very capable and nice man. He brought lights when the generator went off and walked me to my bedroom with the computer.

I am still impressed by the kindness of the people I have met on this trip.
My cup runs over.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Team Journal ~ February 3

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thought for the Day: "Do not let what you can’t do interfere with what you can." ~ Coach Wooden

Written by: Volunteer Don III

The day dawned brightly and freshly after the steady, all night downpour. The red clay paths to both the primary and secondary schools were relatively hard packed and free of mud. A crew of older students and workers busily hoisted the roof trusses on the new kitchen, while teetering on makeshift scaffolding. All seemed to be very happy pounding enormous nails or merely standing around.

Don Juan I continued teaching use of the donated calculators to Mr. Sedock’s Form IV B and A classes, assisted by Don III and Mr. Sedock. The students were quite enthusiastic and all were able to arrive at the correct answers to problems posed. Don Marshall later worked in the computer lab and arranged for a prerecorded chemistry “magic show” at 8 PM in the student dining hall.

Don III reviewed mathematical Relations and introduced mathematical Functions to Form III A and B classes. It was very difficult to determine how much the students already knew. They had apparently had no teacher this semester, but appeared familiar with some of the material. ‘Will continue to try to establish a baseline for a regular instructor. When attention seriously lagged, a little harmonica music seemed to reenergize the class. Mr. Sedock is attempting to have the academic schedule rearranged to allow him teach both Form IV and Form III math, as he is the only teacher presently qualified to teach these subjects. The present schedule has both Form classes taught at the same time. When Don mentioned his home state of California, many students wanted to know about Arnold Schwarzenager. They were surprised to know that he spoke no English when he first came to the USA.

We had a really nice traditional African meal (lunch) prepared by Merina and offered by the primary school staff today. It was so nice to know everyone by name. Engera and Donald (Head Mistress and Second Master) both impressed us with their English in welcoming and thanking us. Enock gave a blessing.

Carol: Yea! I finally have a room to teach in and don’t have to move furniture in the teachers’ lounge. At the end of my first period, students did the “Hokey Pokey”. At the end of second period, we started making up a story.

A group of Global Volunteers returned to the primary school later and continued teaching English to the primary school teachers.

Mickey focused on the sewing classes for 10 to 12 year old girls. She later conducted sewing classes for some of the teachers, using the electric sewing machine at the Mission House, powered by a small generator shared with the clinic. The latter group made several beautiful tote bags, using local, colorful material.

A crew of secondary school teachers, students and technicians started surveying for new water lines in front of the Mission House.

Katie only taught one class today, but spent a lot of time talking with teachers about the educational system. She practiced English with some students and later helped some local villagers with computer skills.

In addition to accompanying the Global Volunteers in their various forays, Edward took photos of students and GVers in action in classrooms, of the new kitchen roof raising efforts and of the survey team at the Mission House.