Media intern signing off

Hi, this is Paavo writing.

I’ve been working for Art in Tanzania these past 8 weeks as a media intern. As this is my last day on the job, I thought it would be a good opportunity to tell what’s been going on, and how I hope media programmes of Art in Tanzania will go on after I’m gone back home.

It’s not been the busiest time for programmes, these few months just before the summer. So what better time to redefine our social media strategy and emphasize various programmes. My work has been mostly related to letting you, the public know what Art in Tanzania has to offer. I’ve been posting descriptions of various programmes to Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and other social media platforms day after day.

Now new interns have arrived and programmes for summer can start full swing. I’ve taken care of not letting any of our platformsdry out, so now new media interns have great possiblities to keep us posted on what goes on day in and day out within our NGO. There’s a lot of super interesting things happening, not the least of which is our programme provided by the Swiss Embassy grant for music, which allows media interns to photograph and record amazing Tanzanian artists as they are writing and performing music that goes against the very big problem of corruption.

I do also hope I’m leaving things a little better off than it was. I’ve created a new Facebook page for the Environmental supplies Art in Tanzania provides for the locals, so more solar-powered and renewable technology could find its way to new users. I also hope my visiting, photographing and publicizing of various programmes, especially in Education, will encourage new inters to take the chance for an internship of a lifetime and come here to help rural communities in need.

Even though the rain season went on a bit longer than many of us hoped, life has been sunny and peaceful here. I got a chance to visit the beautiful island of Zanzibar, as well as have the unforgettable experience of going to a safari in Mikumi and see all the famed animals up close. I would advise interns to take part in the many extracurricular activities Art in Tanzania has to offer.

It’s been a wonderful time that I’ll surely remember the rest of my days. I hope the interns working in AIT after me will have as much of a blast as I have.

Peace out!

Local Public School in Tanzania (Dar es Salaam)

Hi!

This is Hikaru. I am an internship student of Art in Tanzania.

Last week, I was given opportunities to visit local public schools. “There are normally about 900 students and 40-50 teachers in a school during academic semesters”, says a president of one of the schools. In Tanzania, there are two major kinds of academic curriculum; national academic curriculum and European academic curriculum. Most public schools follow the national one which provides exams before every medium and long vacations. The time I went the schools was very end of an exam season before long summer vacations, so there were not much students there, compared to regular days. That means that the holiday classes, which are charged by intern/ volunteer students, are coming soon at Art in Tanzania! Team leaders are busy for organizing now. Holiday times we arrange holiday classes for those behind the studies together with the schools. Holiday classes are also important for those students coming from poor families who cannot afford to have any family holiday programs.

 

We are always welcome who are interested into teaching, supporting, or communicating with local kids! Details are available at web site of Art in Tanzania; http://www.artintanzania.org/

 

During the visitation, I was reminded of memories of my school life when I was their age. The kids at the schools are very well behaved and energetic. Even though I did not understand what they were saying, I understood how they hang out, play, or chat each other are just same as other schools I saw in other nations, Japan, USA, or France. However that, Tanzanian school system is different from others.

 

Here in Tanzania, if they cannot pass exams, they have to repeat one more academic period for taking exams to move up to next classes. At the schools, some are relaxed about their exams and enjoyed to play around with peers. Some look a bit stressed from studying for coming exams especially at secondary schools. I was told that some people are given up their education after they failed because they are embarrassed to remain same class with younger peers.

 

Tanzanian government spends more efforts for the education system. The number of schools, students, and teachers, and the quality of them are being improved constantly.

 

Thank Twiga Primary and Secondary School, Taguja Primary and Secondary School, Poani Primary School, and Kondo Secondary School for giving me good opportunities.

YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWrFy1zaG8c&feature=youtu.be

Take a walk in Stone Town

We follow our tour guide, Elvis, through a maze of narrow alleyways of small businesses, hotels and residential spaces with locals, tourists (and vespas!) in what used to be the capital of Zanzibar. You’ll see how these African streets embrace cultures from the Arabs, Indians and Europeans through design. It is no surprise that Stone Town is an UNESCO World Heritage site. The buildings, made from Zanzibar’s coral stone, are ornately decorated with beautiful carved timber doors. You’ll find two styles of doors, Arab (square tops) and Indian (arched tops), both a symbol of protection and security but also a door into Zanzibar’s history.

Arab and Indian merchants, through the spice and slave trade, constructed Stone Town in the 19th century. Before then the Portuguese came and built a fort to protect their settlements in the 16th century. During the tour you will see the slave chambers in the former slave market site – now a museum recording the slave trade with a poignant sculpture outside the building by the artist Clara Sornos titled ‘memory of the slave’.

The old fort is now a centre for arts and culture showcasing events and performances. Look for the post on the International Film Festival. Near the fort you’ll pass Forodhani Gardens, which holds an evening food market all year round – here you should try the Zanzibar pizza and see it made right in front of you. You will also pass the House of Wonders – wonders because it was the first building in Africa to have an elevator! It is now closed due to building repair. The building used to be taller but it got destroyed in the world’s shortest war that lasted less than an hour, between two brothers…you might want to ask your tour guide about that one.

Along the tour you’ll see local markets selling all sorts including fruits, vegetables, spices. Look for the post on the spice tour.

One little known fact of Zanzibar is that it’s the birthplace of Freddie Mercury; you can look for Mercury House to find out more.

The narrow streets of Stone Town fall dark come nightfall, so walk in groups if you decide to stay out late. Be carful and vigilant, it is a very busy environment, especially around sunset, if you are female, you may attract unwanted attention.

Stone Town is the perfect place to buy gifts for family and friends, eat lunch – try 6 degrees for a seaview (a sit down restaurant at tourist prices with one hour free wifi) or Lukmaans near the former slave market (a budget buffet at local prices) and ask for Salim for a great service. If you want to see the sun set go grab a juice at Sunset bar, be sure to go a little early before the best seats are taken, or go to the Floating Restaurant and watch it from the pier.

EVOLVET project

Participation of Art in Tanzania at the first transnational training for facilitators of EVOLVET

Art in Tanzania is always showing efforts of creating new collaborations with other organizations, whether local or international. This month from June 19th to June 25th the first transnational training for facilitators of EVOLVET which stands for European Volunteer Coordinators Vocation Education and Training is taking place in Vienna, Austria. Art in Tanzania is now part of the EVOLVET project which is co‐funded by the European Commission through IMG_20160520_092342771_HDRthe Erasmus+ programme. Kari Kohonen, the head of Art in Tanzania, is participating at the first training in Vienna. EVOLVET is a two-year long partnership of the Erasmus+ programme that was organized by CONGDCA. This is an organization from Spain and is additionally supported by several institutions, namely LVIA from Italy (www.lvia.it), Fund for Intercultural Education from Poland (www.miedzykulturowa.org.pl), Pista Mágica – Associação from Portugal (www.pista‐magica.pt) , Platforma dobrovolnickych centier a organizacii from Slovakia (www.dobrovolnickecentra.sk), Südwind Agentur from Austria (www.suedwind‐agentur.at) and of course Art in Tanzania Ry. Art in Tanzania was founded in Finland, but is mainly active in Tanzania. The emphasis of this training will be on the first meeting, which will involve exchanges of different experiences and will elaborate on materials prepared during previous months. As one of the main aims will be on the process of the implementation of the next phases of this project. This is made possible through the staff conducting workshops that mix formal and non-formal methodologies as a method of bringing together different perspectives and creating interesting discussions and exchanges between the numerous organizations.

If you want to support the project, feel free to leave a like:

EVOLVET on Facebook

For more information about the project check out the website:

Official website of the EVOLVET project

sepievolveteramus plus

 

A typical day in Madale Village

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It has been brought to my attention that the people who know me best don’t know anything about my daily life with Art in Tanzania. I can’t really say that’s an accident because trying to describe the amazing experiences as they happen is particularly hard. But what’s especially difficult is trying to sum up all the fantastic people that you meet or how incredibly hot the weather is or just how insanely, wonderful life is like in Africa.

However, today I’m going to try. I’m going try, in the best way I can, what a typical day is like in the place that I now call home – A typical day in Madale Village.

If you are not woken by our onsite (not so scary) guard dogs Marski or Big Mama doing theNamnlös twilight bark, then the neighbour’s cows might just do the job and if not that, a morning cockerel will definitely do the trick. At about 7.30am most of the house is awake. You will hear the morning buckets of water being filled, the pitta patter of feet and the bamboo doors creaking open. As we awake from our hot sweaty night’s sleep – and my gosh are they hot.

By the time we make it down the rickety stairs…(did I tell you that our Bamboo huts are up on the roof? Well they are, and we have the most spectacular view over Dar and it’s particularly special at sunrise and sunset!)…our surrogate Mother – Mama Neema and her fellow Dadas (sisters) have prepared breakfast. With a hot flask of water waiting, a cup of coffee is always the first thing on my mind! It’s safe to say that I have got a love for coffee whilst being here – my English tea days are officially over! Omelette, fruit and toast are next on my plate and into my tummy. As a group we all slowly awake from our zombie states with the help from one the ‘three musketeers’ (our resident kittens) and begin planning our day ahead.

By about 8.30am John or George one of our lovely bar men, will open up shop and be ready to feed us cold water or my personal favourite mango juice. But more often than not – we all quickly approach them to pay off our beer tabs from the night before!!

9.00aNamnlös2m. Well realistically it’s about 9.30am because we now all run on the laid back African time; we all disperse to our different projects. Whether that’s heading to the
nursery or secondary schools to teach, going to help in the hospital or orphanage or working here in the office we all begin our days’ work! We must remember to say good morning to our tiniest of neighbours who can be heard shouting in the distance with their little voices ‘HELLO, MZUNGU HELLO!!

 9.30am-1.00pm(ish) From here I usually begin work out on the balcony. Note to self: ALWAYS wear sun cream…remember what happen on day one – the words red and tomato spring to mind.

I count myself very lucky when I sit up here. The 40-degree heat is somewhat diminished due to the small sea breeze and I have the most extraordinary of views. Between the rainbow of different coloured roofs and the surprisingly green vegetation we can see the Twiga cement factory on the horizon. This might sound ugly…and don’t get me wrong it is; until you learn Madale’s exciting fact! This factory is where Willy Wonka lives!! Okay I know he is not real, but the factory was the inspiration behind that ‘little unknown author’ (cough cough 200 million copies sold worldwide) Roald Dahl’s novel ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! Once you know that it’s hard not to be creative here, and screenwriting becomes somewhat easier.

1.00pm The thought of lunch quickly creeps into my mind especially with the heat. I wonder down to the bar and grab myself a soda with the rest of the office crew. It’s safe to say that I think I might have to go to ‘soda anonymous’ when I return home…in fact I think we might all have too, as we have developed a slight soda addiction whilst being here!

We then have a few options for lunch we can stay at the house where Mama Neema can prepare lunch for you for 3,000 TSH. Or we can make the long trek into town and act like youths hanging around the local shopping mall and have lunch there. But more often than not, we venture across the road and for 1,000 TSH, which is equivalent to about 40p, we can have a giant local lunch of Ugali and beans. This is basically a corn flower mix that you roll into a ball and dip! It’s so good! But be sure to wash your hand after, as you will have half of it stuck to every crevice and under every nail by the time you’re done.

2.00pm. High Ho, High ho back to work we go! Fingers crossed the power hasn’t died or heavy rain hasn’t engulfed our room. ‘Bless the rains down in Africa’ – is now on repeat since we have now entered the rainy season.

In the afternoon we normally continue on something different than in the morning. Here I spend some time organising the two projects I have set up. The first is the Brian Project which you have probably already herd about but if not check out this short video:

Get Brian to School Short Film

The second, we have just started working towards, which is to help our friend Johnny (a Namnlös5gardener at AIT) begin his education towards university. As I write this I can hear the faint whooshing of his blade as his cuts away at the grass below! (Ah that reminds me, we could do with some more grass for our dry toilet….yes our bamboo rooms are eco lodges so no flushing toilets here!)

Around this time, I can also being do some editing, taking photographs or filming, so all in all a pretty perfect way to spend an afternoon!

4.00pm (this can be anytime from about 3.30 to 4.30) some small voices can be heard making their way up stairs – ‘TEACHER, TEACHER!’ This is our afternoon alarm for the start of our English class for some of the little learners of Madale. Here Emma and I teach basic English to a small and ever changing number of children. We have been doing numbers, their ABC’s and even colours.

 

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African proverb: knowledge is the only treasure you can give entirely without running short of it.

Trying to keep them all still and their attention focused is not easy to say the least and is very exhausting. But seeing them make just a tiny bit of progress makes it all worth it!

Also at this time there are adults English lessons and a debate classes taking place all of which are being run by our volunteers – such busy bees we are!

6.00pm If we feel particularly active, I hasten to add this rare! A group of us go for a walk, I mean run…round the village. At this point the temperature is bearable

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Dying on our evening run!

and I have officially stopped sweating. It’s here that you can’t but feel part of the village. Everyone we pass says hello and I mean everyone. The local kids come and lend a helping hand to the slightly slower (struggling!!) members of what we have now coined the running club; and the smell of home cooking fills the air. The sun slowly drops and if we are lucky we might be treated with a lovely sunset!

But it isn’t a pretty sight when we return. Our bodies now have a layer of dust on top of a layer of sweat on top of dust; so because of this we all call dibs for the first shower!

However, this is not a simple activity in Madale. From here we must perform the art of having a bucket shower. The Do’s and Don’ts of a bucket shower…DON’T tip the whole bucket of water over you in one go, it will not wash all the shampoo out and
you will be left with an ice rink of water and the awkward situation of being soapy and needing more water. DO use the various inventions that have been created to wash one’s self. My particular favourite is the recycling of plastic bottle as an array of pouring devices.

Note to self: Remember to mosquito repellent up once showered…your dinner time is their dinner time too – do I need to take you back to day one again, miss mosquito-bitten-tomato?!

7.00pm – dinner! Now if it’s a Tuesday then you have to be quick of the mark as it is CHAPATTI! The house’s favourite. Once our plates are full (and covered in chilli sauce), it’s generally here that we have the biggest of laughs, as our ever growing family reminisces over our weekend of beach times, drinking far too much beer and partying later that we should have!

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Our wonderful substitute mamas

Dinner is usually followed by a house meeting – discussions to help me feel like a grown up with responsibilities.

Again, if it’s a Tuesday a sound that has become so familiar and so annoying that we can’t help but love it bellows. A horn! This horn comes from a computer and behind the computer is our own personal DJ (in fact just one of our team leaders). But this can only mean one thing – Konyagi Tuesday! (Konyagi is the local sprit here – best way to describe is like a sweeter gin!) We fill up our glasses and have a little party with all the team leaders and whoever else seems to turn up!

If we are lucky we might get some moves from our little replacement brother Kimi. Oh and by the way, all Africans can dance – all of them! Our mzungu moves seem somewhat awkward (BAD!) in comparison – picture Beyoncé next to Hugh Grant!

Once 10pm arrives we might make the sneaky trip up the road to Umoja Pub for some more beers and game or two of pool. Before coming home to bed!

Not all evenings are alcohol oriented (unless it’s the weekend) other evening activities are movies night, game night oh and SLEEP!

And there you have it a typical day in Madale.

Of course there are exceptions, you might be climbing Kilimanjaro, staying in Moshi, on safari or even in Zanzibar. But for most Madale life is how we spend 90% of our time and my god do we love it. But sadly my days in Madale are becoming numbered and I am finding it hard to accept. It has been incredible, eye opening, life changing, challenging and wonderfully exhausting. I keep asking myself can I just postpone my flight…again?

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The Madale crew

I never want to leave this village, I never want to leave the people here and I never want to leave Tanzania! The other morning, I felt my eyes filling with tears (those who know me, know this isn’t rare occurrence!) as I thought to myself, I don’t want my days to be anything but this! I love the heat, the community and how alive this place always feels. I have found that have rational hopes and fears here like ‘can I cross this road without dying?’ ‘Or will I survive climbing Kili? Compared to back home where I have stresses and worries about things I can’t name or point too, like have I wasted this day? How little am I seeing? Am I doing the right thing?

I want to be woken up by Big Mama, and eat chapatti and drink Konyagi on Tuesdays. I want to be teaching English and screenwriting whilst having the most awesome view! But damn it…too little money and the whole world left to see. There is just so much I am going to miss here but all good things have to come to an end and to put it simply…This is my love letter to Tanzania.

My Three Months in Tanzania

Back in November 2015, I have made a decision now I see is a life changing one: coming to Tanzania for a three-month internship. To be honest, before I came, I didn’t have a single idea about how Tanzania is like and how life would be in Tanzania, and I was a bit worried about cultural shock. But then it turns out that I adapt here very well for all the people are so welcoming and friendly and I have met many other volunteers and interns whom I could share things with. Only one thing which took me some times to get used to is the ‘pole pole’ culture here; no rush, no hurry. It is normal to wait for things to happen in Tanzania, which is very different from Hong Kong (where I come from), while that is a place which is always busy and fast. I was quite struggled with this, especially while working that you have to put more efforts to make things happen. But now, I have already got used to this culture, while life back in Hong Kong is already that busy, why not slowing down myself a bit and embracing the difference here. Just to be ‘Hakuna Matata’ (worries free), it is not only a song that sung in movie Lion King, but in fact it is the mentality here, enjoy your life and keep no worries!

 

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Hakuna Matata and enjoy Tanzania!!@Bagamoyo

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When I was on safari~

My main work in Art in Tanzania was mainly on marketing the Asian markets, managing the tourism documents and trip writing. Because of my work area, I even had chances to visit Zanzibar, join different tours and go on safaris; all these experiences have become the highlights of my time in Tanzania and made my stay here more incredible.

In Art in Tanzania, I had a lot of freedom on how to manage my work, in which had given me flexibility on my working scopes and hours. That’s why sometimes I decided to do my work later that day and go to visit the nursery and schools. I am glad that I did that as those visits have really opened my eyes and allowed me to know more about this country, especially in the education aspect. It also allowed me to get away from the office for a while to get some fresh air.

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High school visit which has given me a lot!!

The living condition in the volunteer compound is very basic, with only dry toilet and bucket water for daily use and washing. Although it sounds quite inconvenient with facilities like these, this volunteer compound is the pilot project to promote ecological building and living and share the environmental messages among the neighbourhood and I can be more environmentally responsible to this area during my study. Apart from the volunteers who are working here, there are some local people helping to manage the compound, Mama Neema the kitchen lady, John the gardener, John and George the bartenders, it was nice meeting them all and they were one important factor that has made me fall in love in this place.

While weekdays were all about work, weekends were the time that we could relax ourselves from work. Beaches are our favourite option to cool ourselves down from the heat here. We also had special activities, such as football games, movies, day-trips, house party, birthday party and many more.  Now I am on my last day here in Tanzania, three-month is not a long time, but it has definitely changed my perspective to this lovely country. A lot has happened and my eyes are widely opened. There were so much unknown before I came here, and now I have no regrets of spending my time here. Don’t let uncertainty and worry hold yourself back, make a move and you will find that you can achieve way more than you thought!

Machame Rainforest & Waterfall Trekking

Untitled.jpgThe trekking started at the Machame Gate, which is one of the starting points for climbing Kilimanjaro, the mountain with the highest summit in Africa. Right at the gate, we found a bunch of people who were ready to conquer this very mountain, good luck to them! Back to our trekking, Machame is the area where located at the south-western slope of Kilimanjaro, with the reputation of its mosaic landscape including valleys, rives, waterfalls and rainforests; it is also the home base of the Chagga tribe. The first 2.5 hour trekking was an easy trek and had presented us the tropical view of the area. The whole trekking was very informative with our guide Hilary showing us different kinds of plants. Even if you are not a plant lover, you will be amazed how diverse the vegetations are in this area. Along the way, we had met some local Chagga people and Hilary also taught us how to greet in a Chagga way.

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Grinding coffee while singing a local coffee song!

After lunch, we went to a local household to learn the local way to prepare a cup of coffee. The entire process was demonstrated in front of us, from harvesting to coffee bean roasting and grinding. They even invited us to join in the preparation. While tasting the coffee that we had prepared by ourselves, the house owner was sharing with us the local lifestyle and customs. After regaining energy from the coffee, we headed to another trekking to a waterfall. The route was not difficult and it took us about an hour to reach the waterfall.  We were provided time to swim in the waterfall and some of us even got to the top of the waterfall and jumped down, what a thing! When we got back to the house, some local food and local brews were already there waiting for us. This gave us a chance to enjoy the authentic local produce and experience the local taste. We were also taught the traditional way to drink the brew.

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Mt Kilimanjaro!!

Next day, we trekked to an old Chagga cave which the Chagga people used as a shelter during the wars.  Inside the cave, we heard the full story about the cave and some mysterious events that are claimed to be happened in the cave. Later, we helped with local people to collect banana leaves and feed the cows. The trip was ended with a stunning view of Mt Kilimanjaro on our way back to Moshi.