My fellow DukeEngagers and I spent a week working at various private schools in Arusha. The four schools: Shalom, Swifts, St. Margaret’s, and Tetra, were the same schools where we held our teacher workshops. I spent the week collaborating at Swifts Primary School, along with my partner, Marissa. Hidden by lush greens, Swifts’ location provides tranquility essential to education. In fact, at the end of the school day, it was hard to believe a thirty-second drive led us back to the perpetual hustle of Arusha. In addition to its quaint campus, Swifts’ small school size allows for a close-knit community.
Monday morning, Marissa and I were welcomed with open arms, and by the end of the day, we felt like part of the community. Since Swifts is such a small school, we managed to work with every Standard (except Standard seven, who were busy with testing), even the nursery school! For Standards one, two, three and five, we did vocabulary projects ranging from “the five senses” for Standard one, to a “history alphabet” for standard five. Anne and Nick (who assisted us for two of the five days) helped Standard four document science experiments; and together, the four of us spent time with the nursery school, teaching them how to “read” photographs, which for the “baby class” consisted mostly of identifying colors and objects. While all of these classes were phenomenal to work with, the highlight of our time at Swifts was using film cameras with Standard six. According to Katie and Elena, our class was the first in LTP-Tanzania history to use film. Regardless of this milestone, it was the children who made the project incredible. While our first attempt left us with only three out of six rolls of film, the children’s enthusiasm outweighed our, and presumably their, disappointment. However, after seeing three rolls of fantastic photos, which ranged from backyard landscapes to images of family and friends, Marissa decided we should leave even more cameras at the school so the entire class could have the opportunity to have a successful experience with taking the film cameras home. When we return to Arusha after our week at Mandaka Teachers’ College, Marissa and I will spend the rest of the week with Standard six- sending film to be developed, and hopefully, compile the “community” project. It will be an exciting three days!