Asante kwa kutukaribisha
Written by Ruth Randall and Kate Morrison
This morning, the group headed off on a longer journey to one of our more rural link schools, Kinyariri. Kinyariri is the most deprived of the schools we have seen so far and the link school to Ruth from Southdale CE Junior School.
It was a very bumpy ride there along what can only be described as a bmx track. Due to the condition of the road, we couldn’t drive up to the school, but instead we were astounded to see the whole of the school running down to meet us. When we stepped down from the coach, we were surrounded by little faces and hands desperate to say, ‘Jambo.’ The children had made flags to welcome us which said, ‘Welcome friends!’ The children sang as we walked and when we reached the school we return the greeting singing a song created by Stephen, ‘Asante kwa kutukaribisha (thank you for your greeting),’ which delighted the children and staff alike. In the classroom, we had the opportunity to introduce ourselves in Swahili to the children and teachers. Ruth then exchanged gifts with the headteacher of the school both leaving and taking a little of our school’s love with us. The group then moved outside to the sound of the beat of drums. Ahead, the children were racing towards the sound under the shade of a tree. A spontaneous dance began which engulfed Ruth and Michael who danced with the children until they were all completely covered in red dust. The rest of the team had been visiting the school buildings which are in desperate need of renovation and completion. An example of this is a classroom which has no floor, no roof and houses a class of 160 nursery children in the baking African heat. The visit was both a privilege and a huge reminder of the importance of strengthening the link between Tanzania and schools from the Diocese of Leeds.
Later that afternoon, we started with a visit to Buhemba Primary School. The welcome was again overwhelming with children running to keep up with the bus, shouting “jambo!” with amazing, welcoming smiles on their faces. As soon as we stepped off the bus we were greeted with many “hamjambos” and children desperate to touch and hold our hands.
Kate was overwhelmed when one little girl with a beautiful smile on her face ran up to her and without giving it a second thought threw her arms around Kate, showing the overwhelming happiness we can bring to these children through our visits. A special moment which will last a lifetime.
Once we had made our way through the crowds of children who have so much love to give we visited the Headteachers office and took some time to look at the work displayed from their link schools Darrington and Normanton All Saints in England. They had clearly hung the banners and bunting up with pride to show their strong link.
Next we got the opportunity to explore the classrooms - again the gifts from the link schools in England were instantly visible on the walls and the numberline and alphabet were used as a resource to support the children’s learning.
It has been a particularly hot day today, so Arthur suggested the children’s performances took place in the classroom. Arthur’s concern for the children standing in the heat shows his big heart and the care he has for the children in his diocese.
Once the children had showcased their amazing talents of singing, dancing and drama we had the opportunity to hear from the Head Boy and Head Girl.
The 18 year old Head Boy gave a very moving speech about his life and the struggles he has faced but the adversity and courage he continues to show to reach his goals. He told us how he only started Primary school when he was 14 because before this he was living on the streets and didn’t enjoy education. It was only when the Tanzanian government introduced the law of all children going to school that he realised the importance of education and the way this could change his life and support him on his journey to become a soldier and protect his country.
This visit again proves how vital these links are, not only in supporting the education of children in Tanzania but also in educating our children and communities back in England.
We have so much to learn from these schools, the dedicated staff and the community spirit which surrounds them.
Those who have so little,have so much to give us.