Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Tumaini Junior School

It is so good to be back at Tumaini Junior School!  This is the school where Brian Favorite, the Production Coordinator on this trip, four BECA students and I spent almost a month in 2013.  What an exceptional school this is! The school began with 17 students in the living room of Mr. Modest Bayo’s home in Karatu in 2004. It now has more than 900 students from preschool through Form 7 (British system – about the end of middle school), 44 teachers, and four dormitories. (The dorms have bunk beds, and many of them are triple deckers!)

Kamran (the producer on the 2016 Tumaini video), Nick, Brian and I went over to the school on Sunday afternoon so that Kamran and Nick could get a sense of the school before production began on Monday, and so that Brian and I wouldn’t have to wait a second longer to go back to Tumaini.  The school has added a fourth floor since we were here, and that floor contains both a computer laboratory and a library.

A teacher named Mr. Jimmy runs the computer lab. He remembered us and knew we were coming because Brian has kept up with him on Facebook. The computer lab has both Dell laptops and Google Chrome Books – probably about 40 computers.  It has been set up so children can use computers for writing, email and Khan Academy, but not for social media.

The library is a large room with many books. (OF COURSE, it could use more!)  Apparently, an elementary school in the U.S. closed and the school donated its books to Tumaini.  Then came the problem of shipping all of those books from the U.S. to Karatu. Someone affiliated with Pepsico was sending a shipment to Dar Es Salaam anyway, and he sent the books along, and then transported them to Karatu by truck from the port. Shelves have been built, and the library has become a welcoming place, with rugs, comfortable chairs, and more “serious” tables and chairs for schoolwork.

On Sunday afternoon, a large group of children was playing sports in the school yard. (Keep in mind that about 300 children board at the school.) Another group was watching a movie. The youngest children were taking naps when we arrived. We reacquainted ourselves with some of the teachers, including Mr. Jimmy, and Madame Christine, who is in charge of the youngest children. What a delight!

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