Mapping Tanzania, a post by katie hyde and fran campos

Last fall Fran Campos and I led an LTP workshop for ten Standard 5 students at Arusha School, with the hope of preparing and inspiring our group to become student LTP leaders at their school. One of our projects involved the study and making of maps. We first looked at maps of Africa made hundreds of years ago by Europeans. We discussed how the drawing of these maps was based on limited and often inaccurate information and how the maps contained imagery representing myths about African landscapes, people and culture.

The end goal of our map project was for students to create a modern day map of their country with imagery representing real stories of individual lives in Tanzania.

Students first sketched detailed maps of their homes and then elaborated a written story about one particular memory associated with the map. For instance, Floriana wrote about the surprise she encountered the day she traveled alone, without her mother, to fetch water in the faraway well. Laureen’s map (below) referenced the spot ‘where we make stories.”

Next we asked students to circle any ‘feeling’ words or phrases that denoted emotions. Fran, an actor, led several theater exercises with the students and helped them transmit expressions and gestures related to their stories. 

Students chose a key moment or scene from their map stories and drew a plan for how to photograph that scene. David drew two people seated in chairs facing one another. He titled the sketch “encouraging” and above the figure on the right there’s a talk bubble that says “be brave.” Some students drew a single rectangular frame and others a story board containing a few frames. After shooting their photographs students wrote captions on the borders. 

Next, two volunteers climbed onto our table and drew an impressively thorough map of Tanzania on a large piece of paper. Once they’d finished, each student glued a few self-portrait images onto the map, placing their pictures in the region of his or her  family’s birthplace. Along the outer edges of Tanzania’s borders, students arranged their maps and written stories along with the images representing those stories.

Top row: Joshua, Betram, David, Emile, Adelina, Verena, Laureen. Bottom row: Gabriel, Mohamed, Floriana.

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