simmering down, a reflection on week seven by Leilani Doktor

“So next July when you come, we can do more projects like this?” Well, jeez we won’t be here next week, much less next July. As our last week of teaching boils down, the overwhelming feeling is out of control. No more lesson plans, no more out there ideas becoming afterschool activities, no more of our usual ‘hakuna matata routine’. Even as the most concrete form of our work—the final exhibition—comes together, our control over what we’ve set out to teach here for 7 weeks falls apart. We have no control over what people here take from our moments together, but in some ways that’s the beauty of teaching. You have no idea of what wonderful things could come out of your time spent.

photo: Students illustrate the word “doctor” in a visual alphabet about occupations.

So yes this may be our last Alphabet project with Class 3, and we may never get to do another Best Part of Me project with Meru students ever again, but who knows –there is always that possibility that some of us will be back here doing more LTP projects next July.

photo: Grace listens to a student’s story.

As the adrenaline rush from our brief Safari encounter with lions, elephants, and baboons, simmers down and we settle into those last moments in the classroom with our kids, we can’t help feeling the mounting anxiety that any goodbye brings. But we can also take pride in the enormous feeling of satisfaction that comes from knowing that we accomplished what we set out to do, and we did it well. I can take hope from the fact that the students are asking and expecting for more LTP, and I hope that they never stop expressing themselves.

photo: an aerial self-portrait

On Sunday we had our final LTP workshop with the Sakina Scholars, a program that provides scholarships to primary school students so that they may continue onto secondary school. Anneliese had worked with these students, who happened to be about the same age as us Duke students, for several years now and challenged us to come up with a fun and complex lesson plan. We decided to focus on the student’s personal knowledge by creating a ‘Book of Wisdom’. We spent our Sunday reflecting in the sun and sharing past events that changed us and then compiled these lessons and illustrative photographs into a book intended for future mentees. We laughed, we cried, but most of all we all were able to participate in an LTP project that empowered every participant, and we could not have asked for more.

photo: “The danger of drugs”

Over this week, I cannot help but relish every moment we have together whether it is the snorts of laughter while we sing “In the Jungle” Acapella style during car rides, our nearly religious reverence for chapatti, or our groggy and grumpy faces as we drag ourselves from our afternoon cat naps to our afterschool programs.

photo: Kyle and I strip pumpkin leaves.

We have finished our time as teachers in Tanzania and now it is time to tie up loose ends, its just too bad we didn’t get our cooking lesson until our last weekend here.

photo: Mama Mirambo teaches us how to make chapatti.

photo: The Sakina Scholars.

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