I’ve been thinking for a while now that I need to make a post but I seem to have so many ideas and at the same time none at all so I’ve been conflicted about what to do. Finally last week I finished what I believe has been my best/most successful project and that in and of itself called for a posting. We will get to that a little later but first something else!
A while back a took a trip and never posted about it I figure now is as good a time as ever so those pictures will also be included in this post.
Around Thanksgiving a friend from my region and I took a little trip to Kigoma to trek with the chimpanzees. For those of you who don’t know where or what the significance of Kigoma is, it is located on the western side of Tanzania sharing Lake Tanganyika with the DRC and its significances is that it is where Jane Goodall did extensive reach with chimps, specifically those we went to trek with. It was an amazing experience to be walking right along side of them (or even to have them following along behind from time to time unbeknownst to us) and to hear them call to each other! The trek was short enough for a couple hours but fulfilling enough that we only stayed in the park the day we trekked, then headed back home to next day. It was a short but worth while trip. There are a couple of videos that I’ve uploaded on Facebook that I couldn’t upload here if you’d like to check those out as well.
Now on to the good stuff!
A while back I wrote a blog about finishing the bathrooms at the secondary school, which was all true. For a while all I had left was to finish painting the mural, but I left out a major and may I say vital aspect of the project that was also not yet complete: education. When we attempted to do education at the primary school it didn’t quite go as planned and left me with a little PTSD thinking about having to do the education again for the secondary school students. Although, this time things were different. First, I had a leg up in the since that I had already been working closely and consistently with students in the environmental club so they were already used to seeing me and we’re okay with my crazy ways of teaching (and also my even crazier Swahili). Second, and truly the most important piece of this whole things, I was not doing this alone, as I had the club teacher by my side the whole time. We work great together as a team because he does the lectures and I get to do all the fun stuff like show kids activities to help explain the boring lecture by being hands on! When I told him my idea about giving the environmental club students education about various bathroom and water topics and then having them teach the rest of the school he was 100% on board.
The following week, with the help of Elypendo, we educated the club members on 6 different topics: 1) the importance of taking care of the water on our Earth, 2) the importance of water for human beings, 3) various ways to clean water and proper storage of clean water, 4) germ transmission and the various treatable sickeness you can get from not washing your hands, 5) how to build a tippy tap and the proper way to wash your hands, and finally 6) how to properly use and clean their new restrooms. After we completed the education with the club members they then were asked to volunteer for the various topics and teach the rest of the students at the school, it ended up being a complete success! The kids that taught were so excited and confident during their teach backs and the kids who were learning were asking so many great questions. At the end of the day we came together and discussed what was taught that day and every student was able to talk about something they learned, such a happy day for me! Later that day the teacher surprised me by suggesting that we take the kids in the club to the primary school and have them teach the younger students as well, obviously I was overjoyed with this idea so we made a plan. This last Monday we went to the primary school and again the students surprised me with their overwhelming confidence when it came to teaching the other students; seriously though they killed it. One of the kids actually asked me if we would be going to the other primary schools around the ward because they wanted to continue teaching other kids! Again, you can imagine my excitement hearing that the kids were now willingly volunteering to not only participate but were now suggesting other places we should go to teach!
This project has brought me so much closer to these kids and they’ve finally gotten comfortable enough around me that they are asking me the craziest things and inviting me to all their game days and even personal home events.
We’re now about 4 and a half weeks out from me leaving my village and closing this chapter of my life and as each day ends it feels a little more real; everyday I get a little bit closer to these people that I will soon be departing from. I’ve already said this a million time and I’ll probably say it a million more, but where did 2 years go; how did 27 months turn into 27 days?