I had a wonderful week at site again. I’m full-fledged teaching now and its been wonderful. I have 2 streams: Form 3 A (the science stream) and Form 3 B (the business stream). My A’s are incredibly quick. On the second class, I started teaching they just seemed bored so I asked them if I was going too slow and they said yes. Wow. Was not expecting that. Luckily, I could speed it up quite easily and then I gave them a homework assignment. Yep. They better not be bored anymore.
I feel incredibly lucky to be given the school, mkuu and students that I was. The school has a really good rate of students that pass the NECTA (their final examination…which is actually going on now), which is over 50%. My mkuu is SO mellow and generous. I only see him get mad in rare but justified situations and he’s been nothing less than incredibly patient and helpful with me. This week in fact, he sat me down and asked me how things were going and if I’d found a counterpart yet. Making time like this was really surprising since he’s incredibly busy. As for the students, they’ve been continually surprising me with how different things are here than in internship teaching. And so far it’s been all for the better. First, they pay so much better attention in class and listen much quicker (especially when I tell them to listen!) than I was expecting. I think that they are used to a pretty high level of discipline, especially from the volunteer before me. She’s a bit more serious than me. I came in with a game face, but since they’ve been so cooperative, I’ve been a lot more personable. Since I can have fun with them, class is a lot more fun. And the students love to laugh. It’s wonderful. Additionally, their English is better than I was expecting. I get so caught up in speaking Kiswahili and I forget that I NEED to use English when teaching because it will really benefit them . If there is a tough concept, I will try to explain it in both languages, or if I’m just getting blank blank stares with I ask a question. Additionally, I can already see numerous students who are very motivated and I can’t wait to get a chance to work more closely with them, if not this year, the next. I’d like to start some type of after school club as well. There are computers at our school too that no one uses except for the secretary and that’s another idea for the future…starting a computer lab class.
Another highlight of my week was passing through the village. If I walk directly home, it takes me about 30-40 minutes. This day it took me two hours because I walked through the vill instead of around it. I’ve gotten to know some of the mama’s there really well already and it’s just wonderful. Okay, lemme explain. An African “mama” is literally just that, a mother. She’s married and has kids. But she’s so much more. She sells things, either fruits/veggies, or baked goods like chapati and maandazi, or she runs a duka (lil shop). But, in addition to this, she is super helpful and friendly, especially to foreigners such as me : ), and she knows her way around the village incredibly well. And, most substantially, she LOVES to talk. Like so much. So, on my way home on I stopped at the hardware shop where I’ve been before. I met this mama there named Rosemary but when I returned again, her husband was running it. Luckily, that day, she had returned and she was especially happy to see me because she’d heard from her husband that I’d asked about her and remembered her name and she was SO happy. She was currently a bit sick, but recovering. So, we chatted it up and then I discovered that she had a daughter that was about my age and knew English really well. She went and fetched her daughter and I found out that she was studying business in Dodoma and had visited Norway for a month on a school trip. She invited me in but I said “Baadaye” (Later) and then bought some peanuts. They are 100/=Tsh for a lil scoop (which is like, oh, 5 cents) and I made sure to tell the mama how I like how she always give me extra big scoops but her husband just does little ones. She was so amused and said that she knew how to do good business. So cute. I continued on my way and ran into a piki driver that I know who is super nice. Eventually, I reached the main hub of my vill and I stopped in to greet one of the teacher’s wives who owns a duka there. She’d just returned from a trip and I gave her some banana bread that I’d baked. She invited me over to her house on Saturday which was super nice but I told me that I was going to Katesh. Then, I swung by the duka next door that is owned by my mkuu (headmaster) and where is son, who is either my age or slightly younger than me, works. This kid is hilarious. His name is Mgaya and he’s similar to all the vijana (Tanzanian version of a teenager) with his slang and swagger, but he is also incredibly nice and personable…not as cocky as most of them are…and he reminded me that I’d told him I’d help him with his English if he helps me with my Kiswahili. Since I didn’t have to be home for anything, I whipped out a pencil and paper and our first lesson was slang. It was awesome. While there, I kept hearing a rustling that I thought was a mouse or something but, when I finally asked, he showed me this beautiful little pet bird that he kept in this homemade cardboard cage. It was so cute. I asked if he was selling, and apparently not. : ) About a half an hour later, I left and passed by my mama that sells me tomatoes and onions. Her name is Mary and she’s SUPER sassy and I love it. I attempted to tell her how much I loved her attitude and she died laughing. It was so amusing. I gave her a loaf of the banana bread too. She looked quite pleased. Finally, I swung by the duka where I get eggs and the mama that runs it, I can’t remember her name unfortunately, wasn’t there at the moment, her daughter was. Her daughter is a doll and incredibly sweet. She went to get her mom and the mama came out with the biggest smile on her face. It was great. I asked her about her family and her day and her house and all those other greetings. Her teenage son was also there too acting like a lil obedient punk, it was cute. Last week, her and her husband, who is actually good friends with my mkuu, invited me over for lunch that Sat. Of course, I was in Katesh, so I couldn’t go, but I told her that the next weekend that I’m home, I will come. That family is so nice. So, after buying eggs and more tomatoes, I finally reached home. Good good day. It’s tiring but also super rewarding. It is days like these that I’m so happy to be at Mulbadaw and have these people around me.