From Michael Walker and Kate Wilson
On our fourth day in Tanzania it was a privilege to visit two schools whose English counterparts where members of the group.
The first visit was to Mshikamano, the school of Michael Walker, Headteacher of Ackworth Howard School. This is a new link that is to be established.
Upon arrival, as has become a custom of our visits, the school was extremely welcoming. Inspirational hospitality is a common thread and something to be commended.
The staff met with the team who introduced themselves in Swahili with the school being presented with gifts by Michael which were greatly received.
Following this, the children showcased their singing and dancing talents thanking Ackworth Howard for their gifts.
This school is extremely large and has 3500 children and 32 teachers. As a result of this, the school has had to split into two as they do not have enough classrooms. The great number of children was demonstarted by the boy in the picture, one of a hundred and ten in one class learning mathematics.
For lunch we travelled to a hostel who had prepared a tasty meal for us.
Our second visit was to Mugango Primary School. This is an established link and the second time Windmill C of E have sent a school representative to visit. The school has 669 children and 14 teachers and we were greeted warmly with singing from everyone even before we stepped off the bus.
When meeting with the staff, a teacher confidently read a school report to the group. He shared the successes of Mugango; demonstrating his pride in five days of food provision for every child and its positive impact on attendance. The village chairman asked the group what more they wanted from the link. Kate explained that Mugango had already done so much for Windmill; the link has broadened their horizons and developed the children’s global view in an incredibly personal way.
We were taken outside where the children performed a song to welcome and declare their friendship with their link schools of Windmill and Battyeford. This was incredibly moving for Kate and the rest of the group. To see Arthur brought to tears was a joyous occasion. His pride proves that the link is working. Gifts were exchanged by both schools to roars of joy and warm embraces between teachers.
The visit ended with fun, laughter and friendship as the children and teachers (including our group) took part in sack races.
Today epitomises the importance of strong links and sparks excitement for the potential of new ones.