Settling in!

Friday 23rd Jan. Well we have finished our first full week of volunteer work. We are positioned and a pre-primary school called Meru view. It got its name as its located at the foot of Mt Meru, which is the fifth largest mountain in Africa.
The school is very basic. It was set up by a local man called Ba Ba Juma four years ago, who decided that enough was enough. He wanted somewhere for the little orphans who were been looked after by various friends and relatives in the village to have somewhere to go to learn basic English and creative skills. So with this goal in mind he went about and built a basic three classroom school along side his house.
Funds for this project were limited for him since he way paying for it himself and the government didn’t want to hear from him. But at the moment he has three local women who act as teachers. They have good basic English grammer and they get the job done. Currently there are 26 kids at the school, ranging from 3 to 7 years of age.
Most of them are orphans with the exception of one or two.

So that’s where myself and Florence have and will be positioned for the month we’ll be in Arusha. We are in the process of teaching them simple English grammer. The classes are segregated according to their ability so as to allow each child the chance to learn at the correct level. Most of them however know a lot of grammer already, which shows that the system there, however basic, is in fact successful.

So with half of the money in which we raised before we left Ireland, we will be able to really make a big difference to this little school. We aim to buy them better materials for the school, learning aids, footballs, and maybe some new clothes for each child there.
The owner, Ba Ba Juma is a really good man. In a country where corruption is saturated everywhere, its good to see that there are men who like Ba Ba Juma are not money orientated. He has done everything there himself and has provided a safe heaven for hundreds of children over the past four years. We are delighted to be working alongside someone who has done so much for so little in return.

The other news during the week was the huge fatal accident on the outskirts of the town on wedensday afternoon. A four vehicle collision saw over 20, yes 20 people killed! It happened on the road in which we travel daily to the school. From what we heard, a bus full with passengers hit a truck in which the breaks had failed on a bridge. Another two cars were involved and resulted in all four vehicles smashing over the barriers on the bridge and down the 50+ foot drop onto the rocks beneath. It was horrific to see the bus after it had been lifted up by a crane. It was crushed to half its size. 20 were definitely confirmed dead as a result and many more critically injured.
As I already said, its mayhem on the roads in Tanzania. In the week and a half that we’ve been here, we’ve already come across three accidents! Seemingly they are so frequent that its become second nature around these parts.

We’ve started to pick up bits and pieces of Swahili!! Swahili is the first language in Tanzania, followed by English. So one of the teachers at the school has been giving us basis Swahili phrases which is a big help when trying to explain to the kids something we want them to learn in class. It would be nice after the three months to have the ability to converse in Swahili for a minute or two, but I’m not holding my breath!

We have the weekends to ourselves, so that will give us the chance to do a bit of sightseeing, tours etc.. We’ve nothing planned for this weekend as of yet so maybe tomorrow(Saturday) we’ll go into town and organize a tour for Sunday.

So until the next update folks….