Today was Day 1 of our first “camp” for the Kilimahewa teenagers – a Day of Learning for just about everyone involved. The day began on a rough note when rains – much desired on any other day – came. Rains complicate the long walk for Kilimahewa students as dirt paths morph into mud pits and small streams become impassable. Nevertheless by 9:30 camp was underway – 4 one-hour sessions of math games, English, computers and art and a great lunch of beans, corn and vegetables (makande) made by Mama Neema.
Professional teachers from Tanzania and the U.S. teamed up with U.S. volunteers and Tanzanian sponsored students to share lessons that would be both educational and fun. I have often thought that teaching in under-developed societies would be the best practicum for a teaching major. Without the bells, whistles, enhancement materials and resources found in U.S. schools and on the internet, the teacher has to muster all the creativity and ingenuity possible to bring the subject alive to the student. This is what happened today.
Not only did teachers test their own ability – so did the U.S. teenage volunteers and Tanzanian sponsored students. It was remarkable to watch as 14 and 15-year-old Tanzanian students sent by EdPowerment to quality boarding secondary schools took over teaching – with confidence and pride. Similarly, it was gratifying to see American young adults bridge language and cultural gaps to get their point across. To see both U.S. and Tanzanian students teaching math concepts, computer commands, English grammar and art activities to their friends and peers was to witness the real meaning of empowerment.
By 3:30, nearly 100 local teenagers left Kilimahewa for their long walk home – filled on this day with new thoughts, new experiences and we hope a renewed desire for learning.