Al – Quwiyyi Islamic School

A private Islamic school in the village of Fuoni, named after the founder’s, Mr Hakeem Abdullah, families tribe name in Mafia, pronounced Al Qu-wee.

The school was opened on Monday 13th January 2014 after four months of preparations. The school has 24 classes, providing nursery to secondary education to approximately 600 local students.

Art in Tanzania has been working with Al – Quwiyyi since 2015 sending volunteers to teach the children Maths, English and Science or to simply assist teachers in a range of subjects and look after the children in the classroom.

School days are Monday to Friday 07:00 to 13:00 – lunch is at 13:00. From 14:00 to 22:30 the school operates Madrassa classes for approximately 250 students. Any volunteers, who can deliver or assist in teaching Arabic, Quran, Tajweed and Fiqh will be most welcomed. The school would ideally like volunteers to stay longer than two weeks to teach, to enable the volunteers to build a great rapport with the children and staff.

If volunteers are here for a short stay or did not want to teach, they can choose to assist with cooking lunch or assist in the school’s stationary and snack shop

The founder of the school, Mr Abdullah, has an ambitious plan to build a boarding school with a Masjid, female and male hostel plus accommodation for workers in the near future, he is currently liaising with officials for a suitable plot of land. Support with this project would be welcomed from international organisations to help make his vision a reality. You can contact the school directly at alquwiyyi@hotmail.com.

If you would like to volunteer at the nursery or donate; your time, skills, money, toys, stationary or school equipment, do contact Edward Busungu at Art in Tanzania and get involved, this is a fantastic school with friendly students with great ambitions and dreams you can be a part of.

Please note that this is an Islamic school so if you do wish to volunteer be mindful of the way you dress, wearing modest clothing, by way of covering your arms, legs and your hair, would be appreciated by all the staff.

Uzi Island needs environmental interns and volunteers

Road to Uzi

Road to Uzi

Uzi is a small island in the south of Zanzibar’s main island, Unguja. The road to Uzi is called Nyeker road; manmade using rocks and stones with at least four types of mangroves on either side. The road to Uzi resembles the partition of the River Nile in the story of Moses; simply mesmerising. The road has been built slowly over 50 years. It started off as a small lane for walking; this was then made wider for the use of bicycles, then for cows and finally it was made even wider for the use of motor vehicles.

The drive to Uzi Island is very beautiful, but very bumpy, if you suffer from motion sickness, be sure to sit at the front of the vehicle or make yourself as comfortable as possible.

Our informative and helpful guide, Isshaka, met us at a resting point, made with the help of volunteers for when the tide comes in. The water can rise up to two metres when there is a full moon. When the tide is high you can goDSC03795 fishing. The land in Zanzibar is so fertile we were able to plant four mangrove seeds each, Twenty (Edward) steps from the resting point, on the right, which fulfilled a personal ambition to plant trees that will definitely grow.

The town to Uzi and has been there for around 10 years along with three wells on the Island that provide drinking water. A Dala Dala, number 334, from Uzi to Stone town takes around one hour.

Uzi baskets made by women's group

Uzi baskets made by women’s group

The main sources of income for the Island are from fishing, farming and carpenter work. There are also woman groups on the island and the woman craft their own fruit baskets that Art in Tanzania export to Finland and also sell on EBay for around 25 Dollars.

Within the mangroves, women from the villages have placed plastic bottles across the water in order to collect two types of seaweed, they use plastic boats to collect these when the tide is high; 100 of these plastic boats were donated by a friend of Isshaka. The seaweed is then made into soaps and sold in order to provide income to the villagers.

helloIsshaka went to school in Uzi then to Ston etown to study further. Isshaka is very passionate about wanting to make a difference and help people live a better life in Uzi. Isshaka does 2 radio broadcasts throughout the week; one where he brings awareness of environmental issues on Uzi Island and what others can do to help, and another broadcast called Sunset Zanzibar, where he talks about tourism and the importance to the island and how tourism can help the island develop.

Uzi grows many fruits such as Mangoes, Oranges, Guava, Yams and Cassava. Alrge Baobab trees also grow in Uzi; the villages used to cut these down, however Isshaka has been campaigning to keep these trees in order to house bee boxes that provide honey to the locals; honey season is September to October. The Baobab fruit when mixed with water and sugar is a good source of Vitamin C.

Biogas from biowaste

Biogas from biowaste

The Island really needs creative interns and volunteers passionate about the environment and sustainable development. Also people that can help the women create innovative arts and crafts in order to sell and help provide an income for many households on Uzi Island.

For volunteering at Uzi  you can contact  Art in Tanzania info (at) artintanzania.org

Zanzibar Film Festival – Safari ya Gwalu

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Image from google images

Every year Zanzibar holds an international film festival for one week, usually in July, showcasing talented local and international film directors work as well as music and art exhibitions in various locations around Zanzibar from the Old Fort to the Double Tree by Hilton, which is where we sat in a room to watch the two hour film, Safari ya Gwalu, written and directed by Daniel Magane, this was a film inspired by the Kenyan film called First Grader.

The film highlighted the struggles of, not only adult education, but also daily life in Tanzania for both the adults and children. It certainly captured the hearts of its small audience at the Double Tree, with spectators giving a round of applause and praise to the director and the main actor who played Gwalu, Salim Ahmad, who provided a question and answer session at the end.

The Director, Daniel, said that many people have said to him that, if they were able to go to school it would open up new opportunities for them and enable them to live a better life, this was the main inspiration for him to create this film and to emphasise that, even if you are older than the average child that attends school, it is never too late to seek an education and work towards living a better life.

Salim said the main reason he took up the role was the message of education and just how important it is to go to school, no matter what age you are. The message was that if someone really wants to go to school, they should just go to school, no matter what anyone else says.

This film was great at showing what life can be like living in Tanzania, if not in other parts of Africa too, it showed how important it is for the young to go to and stay in school and for those who never went or never finished school before, to go at whatever age they can and if they don’t think they have the courage to go, as Gwalu in the film says, bravery can make a man do things he never thought possible.

The Zanzibar Volunteer House

Volunteers can expect to share a house with others from all cultures and backgrounds. You will stay in dorms, eat breakfast together and perhaps do the same volunteering project or go explore Zanzibar together. An orientation will be given the day you arrive or the following day.

There can be social activities with the team leaders during the week depending on what is happening in Zanzibar and how busy everyone is, the team do meet for lunch, dinner or drinks where possible.

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Volunteers can look forward to a BBQ games night whilst staying at the accommodation. Edward, the team leader, was in his element rustling up a BBQ of Kingfish and Octopus. This was a quiet BBQ night with a feisty game of ‘Snatch’. You need to find this game and learn to play it to have a chance of beating the ‘King of Snatch’ aka Edward. The atmosphere varies depending on the size and dynamics of the volunteers. It was a pleasant evening against a backdrop of African music and good old banter.

Our tips for being out in Zanzibar, especially as female travellers:

  1. Bring a headscarf to put on your head or around your arms because the locals do appreciate this. It also serves as UV protection and mosquito barrier! We covered as much as possible and felt respected for doing so. We brought an umbrella with us to provide much needed shade when there was none.
  2. Bring mosquito repellent, mosquito after bite cream…you can get these over here, but best to be prepared. Also bring wet wipes, antibacterial hand gel because you will need these out and about.
  3. Buy a local SIM card with data as the house does not have internet-wifi
  4. The plug sockets are the same as in the UK (3 pronged), bring an international plug adapter
  5. Learn some essential Kiswahili words and phrases
Kiswahili English Response in Kiswahili English
Mambo Hello Poa Good
Karibu (singular) Karibuni (pr) Welcome Asante

Asante sana

Thank you

Thank you very much

Habari How are you Nzuri  Good

Helping the kids in Yusuf School

YusufFounded by Yusuf Kombo Juma, a father of six children, who witnessed the problems and challenges of education and set out on a mission to tackle the issue, he sold his own land and properties and got creative in raising money in order to fund his vision.

Yusuf started his school with just one nursery class with 30 local children in 2010, this then grew each year and now the school has two nursery classes and five secondary classes with 95 local children attending the school for 8000 TZS per month, the eldest students are aged 13. The school runs from 07:30 to 12:00/ 12:45 for the older students. There are seven local teachers. Yusuf is hoping to build another classroom for those older than this, but will need funds to build it.

donatedArt in Tanzania has been working with this school since 2011; they helped expand the school from one class room to what it is now, through Art in Tanzania two volunteers have helped out for three months, helping the students and the teachers also, a volunteer from the UK taught the teachers ways of teaching for two weeks which the teachers found very helpful. Yusuf said that good education brings in more students so volunteers are very much welcomed to help support in whichever way they can.

girl school-SebastienBeunChildren of all faiths attend the school and learn, Maths, English, Science, Swahili, Arabic and some learn about Islam. There will be opportunities to teach the children different languages, such as French and German if volunteers wished to do so. If you don’t want to teach you can simply provide help and support for the children and teachers, you could even set up clubs or different activities for the children, there is something for everyone.

In order to expand the school, Yusuf wishes to buy the plot of land next to the school building to create three new classes for the school. For this he requires 4 million TZS (approximately £1450) to buy the land, and then 3 million TZS (approximately £1060) to build one classroom.

DSC04539Yusuf also has an ambition to build a centre for children near the Yusuf school on a plot of land he already owns, this would provide shelter and education for orphans in need. To build around five rooms Yusuf would require around 9 million TZS (approximately £3200) the centre would then need, beds and other furnishings to provide for the children living in the centre.

Yusuf spoke about how some of the children come to school in really bad conditions; these children need support in many ways, not just teaching.

If you would like to volunteer at this school, or to donate, stationary, teaching material, desks, chairs, clothes for the children, bags or office equipment you time or money, get in touch with Edward Busungu at Art in Tanzania for more information.

 

Volunteer Interview – Karmen

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Karmen from Australia, age 36 who has an infectious laugh, loves travelling, meeting new people and shopping, has been volunteering at Al Qawiyyi School and Zanzibar Youth Alliance.

What have kind of activities have you been doing as a volunteer?

I have been assisting the teacher in different classes each week such as nursery, form 2 and standard 2 at school and I have been helping the womans group with cooking at the youth centre.

What made you volunteer with Arts in Tanzania? What has been the best part of being with Arts in Tanzania?

I wanted to volunteer because I am looking for a change career but have been unsure about what I want to move onto. The travel agent in Australia recommended real gap to volunteer through. The best part of being with Art In Tanzania has been meeting people in the house that I wouldn’t otherwise meet.

What have you liked about assisting in Al Quwiyyi School and Zanzibar Youth Alliance youth centre?

I’ve enjoyed the interaction with the children and learning Arabic and Swahili. I’ve also enjoyed learning about Ramadan and Eid. At the youth centre I’ve enjoyed learning to cook dishes I never knew how through the woman’s group. So much so I could open an African restaurant in Australia!

Has the experience changed you as a person?

Yes, it has made me more appreciative of what I have at home. Before I left I was thinking of going into social work and the experience has confirmed this.

What advice would give to volunteers wanting to teach-volunteer?

  1. Just do it
  2. It does take a few days for the children to open up so it makes a difference if you stay longer at the school. I planned to do 8 weeks, but you could do 4 weeks.
  3. Have a few resources such as educational games to help you in the classroom
  4. Be open to experiencing something different by exploring the Island after school and at the weekend to get the most out of your time.
  5. If you’re travelling alone it is better to stay in a volunteer house and if you’re female then be prepared to wear a headscarf and full dress in school and perhaps when you are out.

 

 

Spice Tour

Spice is an essential ingredient of Zanzibarian culture therefore a visit to Zanzibar is not complete without a (half day) spice tour. With the abolition of the slave trade, spices became a source of income for Zanzibar and it remains to be so, with the island being the biggest exporter of cloves.

Our guide and spice farmer, Mr Abeid, who inherited the spice farm from his late father, took us on a fragrant and delightful journey of exploration along his show farm, which is around 800 acres; he has his larger farm close by. Mr Abid was very informative and charmingly engaging as well as entertaining with the help of his assistant ”Maria”.

I love my spices and was still pleasantly surprised by how the spices were grown, how they were used and their benefits in cooking and for general health.

We started with the Annato plant; a natural orange-red colouring that comes from the seeds and is used in food, lipstick and the vermillion that Hindu’s use on their forehead (modelled by ‘Maria’).

Did you know that cloves actually grow on trees, and need to be dried for five days in the sun to be black in colour? Same with peppercorns, they grow on trees. Also interestingly the island has cacoa trees, but they import their chocolate and make coco powder for hot chocolate. However they export Zanzibar coffee to Arab countries, it’s a strong flavour.

We had Ylang Ylang flowers crushed into our hands, used many well known perfumes like Channel No 5. They have a small stall selling some of their own produce which is a must see, including Ylangi Ylangi oil.

There is one fruit, you will either love or loathe like marmite – the Durian aka the stink fruit. You might not want to be near one should it drop to the floor!

Lunch was provided, cooked by local women…this was the best food I’d tasted at the time of writing. You really need to go and experience it for yourself. We asked for a recipe (measurements all to taste!)

Pilau rice

In a pan fry a bit of cinnamon, black pepper, cumin, cardamom, then add crushed garlic and sliced onions – cook until brown.

Transfer this to a pressure cooker and add washed rice and quartered potatoes with water to cover the rice. This should take up to 30 minutes. You could leave it in the original pan and cook it on the hob or put it in a Moroccan tagine clay dish to cook in the oven.

Serve rice with Kingfish dry cooked in a mix of spices. We had side dishes of mixed vegetables cooked in coconut milk and a pinch of turmeric. Also a spicy tomato sauce cooked in coconut oil plus cassava leaves mixed with coconut milk to make a spinach dish. Delicious. We were served water and lemon grass tea to accompany our meal.