Donations to An-Nabawiya Nursery School

school2 SebastienBeunA small nursery in the village of Fuoni, pronounced An – na – Ba – wee –yah, built in 2012 by Ms Asia Issa Jecha and Mr Hassan Mwinyi kombo as part of a women’s project.

The school is run by 6 local teachers who devote their time from 07:30 in the morning to 12:00pm, five days a week, in order to help educate the young local children. The school initially had 93 students and now have at least 100 local children who attend the nursery for free. The nursery building is also used from 19:00 to 20:00 for private tuition classes; these are held by different teachers.

teaching3-SebastienBeunThe children learn English, Maths, Science, Swahili, Arabic, Art and Religious Studies. Art in Tanzania have been involved with the nursery since 2014 and have provided a total number of 10 volunteers who have helped teach the children and also assisted the local teachers, by, for example, providing them with one to one English lessons.

The first day we visited the nursery was to deliver four benches that were kindly donated by a former Swedish volunteer; altogether there are four classrooms, however, all four of the benches were placed in one classroom. The aim is to fill all four classrooms with these little benches so that all of the children can benefit and enjoy learning in a comfortable environment. All the children wanted to sit on them and were extremely excited and happy with the generous donation.

When we went to visit the nursery again, we spoke to the head teacher, Mrs Latifa Mahfoudh, a stunning and pleasant woman who you could see loved working with the children and had always had a passion for teaching; we sat down and had a long chat at about the nursery and what her ambitions were for the nursery and its students.

Latifa pointed out some of the improvements to the actual building that needed to be carried out; a new roof was needed as the current one leaked, new windows were needed as well as a more stable and safer wall/fence around the parameters of the school with a gate, in order to keep the children safe and protected. Two of the classrooms were not plastered so it was impossible to provide a more pleasant environment for the children to learn in, as you can see from the pictures, the classrooms were dark and unpleasant, even with the sun blazing outside. The nursery also needed to build new toilets for the little boys and girls to use.

As well as the children’s facilities, Latifa showed us her own office, which really does need some attention, it would help her to have a proper carpet that covered all of the floor, new stable chairs and shelves so that when volunteers or guests come, they too can use the office and have a pleasant and clean workspace to work in, without feeling your chair is going to giveaway any second! Latifa would also like to go on computer courses and get computer for her office to make her work easier.

Upon our return, three volunteers, Louise Proctor, Claire Manning and Elizabeth Drey flew out to Zanzibar from Ireland and brought with them a very generous donation of over £4000 for the nursery; with their help and local workers, building work has now commenced, with a new roof and plastering. The work on the wall/fence will be started next, and then the new windows will be fitted. The donations will also help to build new toilets for the little boys and girls. A further £3296 has been donated by Whitney Harris-Linton from Michigan (£77 put towards the roof), Melissa Wolsley from Findlay, Australia (donated £99 for a black board to be fitted in the classroom) £2600 and £520 have also been donated from more kind donators. The money given will be used to finish renovating the school and any money left over will be used on a new project in Madale, Dar-Es-Salam, subject to the donors consent.

kiswahili sebastienIf 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, it certainly is a fantastic project and the children and staff are simply delightful to be around.

If you do wish to teach at the school, we would recommend spending more than two weeks, as this will enable you to build a much better rapport with the children and staff, allowing them to put into practice what you teach and you will be able to witness the difference that your presence can make in their lives and futures.

 

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

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.

Weekend Safari trip organized by Art in Tanzania

Going on safari in Tanzania if you visit Africa is almost as compulsory required as a trip to Zanzibar. So a group of three already well settled in interns decided to go on a weekend safari provided by the organization. The preparation and arrangement of the trip was well organized. One week before we were registered by a Team leader for the journey. The payment was due to three days before we were leaving on Friday. The short briefing two day before we left hold by our actual safari guide was pretty informative and helpful in terms of what to pack or activity related questions. On Friday after the breakfast we left in our safari jeep to our first stop our accommodation for the first night. On the way to the place we passed the park entrance next to several animals and hers of impalas, monkeys, giraffes and elephants. After the first night we started early at half past seven to our game drive at the Mikumi National Park where we had the chance to spot buffaloes, zebras, hippos and a variety of many more species. In the evening we drove to the second station in the rainforest, to the Udzungwa Mountains National Park. At this park we had the chance to see numerous primates and a big amount of other plants and animals during our hike to the waterfalls as the park has also been dubbed the African Galapagos for its vast variety of endemic species. In the afternoon we went on the way back to Madale at Wazo hill. Summing up for all of us it was a quite pleasant weekend trip organized and conducted by Art in Tanzania.

 

The first Montessori kindergarten in a Tanzanian government school

The kindergarten in Korongoni primary school in Moshi has improved a lot during the last year. I interviewed the main kindergarten teacher Clara, in the beginning of August 2014.

Clara is a qualified primary school teacher for children in standard three to seven and for children with special needs. However, due to the shortage of teachers in Korongoni primary school she was asked to take over the teaching in the kindergarten in 2010.

The first years were tough. Clara was the only teacher for two groups of more than 30 children, aged four to six years. She had almost no teaching materials; only a piece of chalk and one book for each subject. The desks were too big for the children and there were a lot of holes in the classroom floor.

Korongoni kindergarten before and after

The kindergarten building before and after

Clara was kept very busy throughout the whole day. She was teaching, preparing and serving porridge and washing the dishes before the next group of children arrived. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much time between the two groups which meant no break for the teacher. The sizes of the classes were too big for one teacher to handle and Clara felt that she had to play too many different roles. In addition to the teacher’s role she was sometimes acting like a police and sometimes like a grandma. Repeatedly she felt overwhelmed during and after work and experienced headaches. At the time she was not looking forward to her work days.

In 2013 Marissa, an Art in Tanzania volunteer came to the kindergarten. Marissa and Clara became good friends and Clara started to tell Marissa her dreams on how to improve the kindergarten. Together they created a plan, and Clara and representatives from Art in Tanzania researched prices for the budget. Back in the UK, Marissa with the help of GAGA-UK, raised funds which made making all of the improvements possible. In July 2013, Korongoni primary was able to open the first Montessori government kindergarten in Tanzania. Now the building has been renovated, proper desks, chairs and teaching materials purchased and another teacher, Mary, has been hired.

Korongoni kindergarten before and after 2

The class room before and after

Clara is now extremely happy and says that her dream came true. Nowadays she likes going to work and is very happy that Mary is there to help. Clara also tells that the teachers from standard 1 are very pleased with the children coming from her kindergarten as they already know the basics of reading, writing and counting. The reputation of the kindergarten has spread and many parents want a place for their kids there. Unfortunately, it is not possible to take everyone as then the group sizes would grow too big. At the moment the morning class has 32 children and the afternoon class 35.

Clara says that this kind of improvement is not too expensive and that others could do it too. Her wish for the future is that more people would understand how important it is to educate children when they are very young. Clara would especially want to continue emphasising the teaching of the basics (reading, writing and counting) after kindergarten, in classes 1 and 2.

Volunteers are wanted and needed for teaching English in both the kindergarten and the primary classes in Korongoni. Clara suggests that the volunteers could use different methods (games and play) in teaching and she is convinced that the kids will benefit from the volunteers’ teaching.

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Clara, Marissa and Mary

Text by Hanna-Mari Pulli

Experiences and thoughts about volunteering in Moshi

Millie, Melissa and Selin volunteering in Moshi

Millie, Melissa and Selin volunteering in Moshi

Millie, Melissa and Selin have been volunteering in Moshi in June and July 2014. We wanted to know which projects girls have been participating and what kind volunteer work they have been doing in their projects. We also asked the girls about their expectations on volunteer work as well as about their experiences in Tanzania.

Millie from Britain spent 4 weeks in Moshi. She worked in two different projects during her stay. In the mornings she worked at Chemi Chemi Nursery School helping and teaching the children. In the afternoons she worked at Neema’s Nursery School and Daycare’s project teaching English for teenagers and young adults.

She says that she finds volunteer work very helpful, especially when one is able to teach the things one knows to others as well. “Volunteer work gives learning experiences to both sides and I think that volunteers can get as much of it as the people they are helping”, she says.

Even thought she felt that she couldn’t do as much as she would’ve liked to do to help people, she says that it is important to feel that one can make a difference at least to some. And she really did. Millie told us that the best experience for her was when the girls who she tough English to, invited her to their homes. That made her feel she had done something right and that her work was really worth something to others.

Two Swedish girls, Melissa and Selin, were volunteering in Moshi for 2 weeks. Melissa was volunteering at the same Chemi Chemi Nursery School as Millie did. Selin volunteered at Sango Women Group & Nursery School where she was working with young widows. She tough them basics of business management, counting and financing. She also told them what kind of things they should consider and what they should do if they wanted to start their own business. She studies business management in Sweden which made the teaching easier for her.

We asked also Selin and Melissa about their expectations and they told us that they didn’t really know beforehand what to expect. They knew about the economical problems but still the reality was bit of a shock to them. Even thought there seemed to be lack of many things, they were impressed about the caring and sharing atmosphere people have and how happy people are with so little resources. It is something totally different than in the western world. “It is amazing how much love for example the children have for each other”, they say.

Melissa and Selin both think that volunteering is definitely worth experiencing. It is something one should do in order to truly experience a new culture because it brings you closer to the culture and people than any tourist trip ever would. They say that volunteering shouldn’t be thought as a vacation because you need to have general interest in helping in order to volunteer with full commitment. They also think that teaching as a volunteer work is an important way of helping others. “Education is the key and the most important way of helping. Also donations are needed but they become so much more valuable with the help in making a proper plan on how to use the money given”, girls underline.

Girls were interviewed and the article was written by two volunteers who have been working in Moshi May-July 2014.