Monday, 1 October 2012

Tanzanian school

Our next trip was to visit a local school.  I had brought with me some paper, pens and pencils to donate to the school.  I had no idea how large or small the school would be.  Once there we found out this school had 700 students and only 9 teachers!  It is mandatory for children to attend school from age 7 until 14.  At fourteen the children are tested and if they have good marks are able to go on to higher learning.  All children wear uniforms and the school provides both breakfast and lunch for the students using food aid donated by the US and Canada.  Some children have to walk up to 6 KM everyday just to attend school.  Hours were 8:30 until 4 pm Mon thru Fri.
This is the school library which also stores the food that is sent in by USAID and World Food Program.  While the Tanzanian government does supply some school books for the students it is not enough for all the students attending the school.  Most of the books in the library were English books donated by a Canadian organization.

The school kitchen, here 3 workers make a morning porridge and a lunch usually  consisting of Ugali and stew.  We were also told that some children are sent to school by their parents solely for the food program and that if that program were to disappear the children would not attend.
Water well for the school, there is a lock on the tap so it can not be used after school hours

One of the school building.  the school had about 4 separate building placed in a horseshoe patten.  The grounds were pretty clean considering there was a lot of pollution in the town.  It was obvious the school took pride in their school grounds

The students toilets.  One side for the girls and the other side for the boys.  There were no doors on these stalls.

Wide view of the school yard

Inside one of the classroom, where we had a impromptu Swahili lesson.  The desks are all donated by a US program.  Lessons taught were math, science, Swahili and English, and geography.   We were told school was off for the  month of April and December for Easter and Christmas.
Outside each of the building were science pictures which were labeled with English and Swahili words.  This one was of the heart.  Many of the classrooms we saw had broken windows or doors.  Up to 50 or 70 children would be in one class.

School play yard

Teachers office/lounge

I loved this sign:)!!

We met the head  master of the school along with one of the teachers who gave us a tour of the school.  They were kind enough to answer all of our questions.  They had never heard of Home schooling before and were very surprised that I taught my children and did not have a degree in teaching:). While they weren't too concerned with the socialization question usually common with people hearing about home schooling for the first time.  They were very curious how I test my children and even more surprised when I admitted I only did a end of year test and did not submit this information to the government.

It was very interesting to see what a Tanzanian school looked like and it was shocking to know my 2 children had more supplies in our home than the whole school with a population of 700 students.  If there was a cheaper way to send books to Tanzania I would love to clear out my bookshelves and send to them.  Instead my husband and I will be looking for other ways to help this school in the near future.


  1. It is great that the school is able to provide food for kids who might not eat, otherwise. I recently learned about Kwashiorkor, however, and hope that they are providing protein in the stew. Kwashiorkor is caused by too low of a ratio of protein to overall calorie ratio (at least as I understand it). It is what causes starving children to have distended bellies. It is a horrible disease that ravages the bodies of children in poverty-stricken countries, where they eat a lot of cheap starches.

  2. If they had more supplies would there be a place to store them? This school is really interesting. It seems a lot like a school on the plains when the United States was full of pioneers.

  3. WOW, 700 students and 9 teachers! Thanks for sharing your journey.

  4. That was a very interesting post. I would say we are deeply blessed. It is hard to imagine such poor circumstances. It is so sad thatthey don't have more resources. It is interesting that they wear uniforms. The worst was the restrooms. I have learned so much from these adventures. Our church sends humanitarian missinaries in to some of these areas. They help the villagers with getting wells put in for water. We have close friends that served in Africa and India. They have shared some amazing stories.
    Blessings and hugs!

  5. This was very neat to read. It makes you realize how well we really do have it. I may save this post the next time the kids are whining about "school" But seriously, if you guys come up with a way to help, please share. This would make a great project!