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Flag of Tanzania  ,
Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Today, started off the usual way, up at 6:30, ready to leave on our bikes by 7:30. The bike ride was pretty interesting… It's a little over 3 miles one way, and the terrain isn’t the flattest. So I had to get a little bit used to riding on the mud/rocks. Yet, it was really fun to ride through the village and greet all the people in the morning. Then, right when we arrived to the schools, the kids came running over and took our bikes from us and put them away. We then went to the teachers lounge and got ready for the day. I was pretty nervous to teach my lesson but also very excited. I didn’t teach until second period to I watched one of the girls on the trip with me teacher her lesson. Then, it was my turn.

I started off my introducing my name and having them repeat it."Rudia, Miss Barbara” In Swahili, they do not pronounce R’s the way that we do so it comes out Miss Balabala. I could not help but giggle, and make them say it again. Needless to say, this has also become my nickname around here, another to add to the list! I am teaching out of a text book, so I had them open to the page and follow along to a story I was going to read to them. I read the story, and then asked if they had any questions, "swali?” They all basically just looked at me…. SO I moved on to vocab. I wrote the words on the board, explained them and had them say the words out loud. Then they were to complete an exercise in their textbooks.

It is very difficult to know if I am getting through to the students or not. In the schools here they do a lot of rote learning, aka repeat after me. So many times they will just repeat what I am saying, so I don’t know if they are understanding what I am saying or just repeating what they heard. It is also hard with the language barrier. I want them to understand the concept, so it is hard for me to help them with that because they barely understand what I am saying. So, it can be frustrating at times because I want to teach them to the best of my ability.

It is also difficult because of the amount of students and the lack of resources. There are about 60 kids in the class and they share about 5 books. So each task takes a long time for them to complete. I didn’t get through the entire lesson today, so I am going to be continuing it tomorrow. I also did a lot of grading today. I graded their English exercises and math problems, which was A LOT of grading, but I was glad to have something to do. Overall, I would say today was better than yesterday and I’m sure it will continue to get better.

During the kids break, we taught the students some American songs, such as, “itsy bitsy spider, head shoulders knees and toes, and the Macarena”. They loved it. The Macarena was the favorite. We had to do it over and over for them. It was so worth it to see them smile and laugh (even it was at us). It was funny to see them in a circle around us again. Break time is becoming one of my favorite times of the day, because I just love interacting with them in the fun atmosphere.

As I teach a lesson, I have noticed I get a “lesson” taught to me as well. Today, was how gracious and service oriented Tanzanian’s are. Example, throughout the entire day we noticed all the students kept moving our bikes, and we couldn’t figure out why. Then we realized, every time our bikes were in the sun, the students moved them so they wouldn’t burn us when we got back on. Even though it was such a simple action, for them to think to do that for us was just so gracious. It’s kind of hard to explain what I was feeling when I realized what they were doing but I just realize more and more that these people have so little yet they never think of themselves first. Wow.

I have been back here for awhile now, the bike ride home was just a little bit hot (lolsarcasm) so we came back and jumped in the water for a bit. Then we had class for about two hours. We have a little break then it will be dinner time and back to homework, Wahoo!!

Anyways, this is experience is still as amazing as ever, which I will probably say everyday haha. Can’t wait to share more stories!

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sistaaa from anothaa mothaa on

sounds like a wonderful time and yay for you getting to teach. You should try to teach them to say " something really funny but i just woke up so i can't think of something really funny" be back later with a really funny thing.

Schmam on

I think you should take a page out of Aunt Ellen's book and teach the children to say "Balabala is my favorite teacher"! lol <3 you

Elzbells on

Barbara...I am so enjoying your blogs. It is so neat to see you pick up on how gracious these people are with so little. What a lesson for all of us! I know the kids are loving you and even if they cannot pick up on your language...I know you set a wonderful example that they can follow!! Did I miss Pictures though? Don't seem to see them? xxoo

Grammy on

Your blogs are just wonderful! How do you find the time; your days sound so full. I check several times a day to see whether there is anything new from Barbara. My love and prayers.

Krome on

Your blog is amazing! I can hear to telling all of these stories like you were here in person. You are doing a great job! I can't wait to see pictures. It sounds like you are super busy, so thanks for sharing all of your experiences. Love you Balabala!!

Zvilleschifs on

tears....happy ones....love it when a loved one is so touched by others grace. ok - picturespicturespictures...which now I realize my imagination will have to suffice until you bring the picture card home - since your days are too action packed to worry about picturespicturespictures! XXOOXX!

skeeters on

I think in all fairness to NCAA Division 1 Colleges, you could teach them Go Gators!

May the Good Lord and his entire host of Angels, bless YOU, your fellow teachers and of course, those Lovely Children, as you go about bringing LOVE into their lives!

I Love YOU this much <................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................>


Simon Attwell on

Dear Barbara

I have been following your blog and cant tell you how lovely it is to read about all the adventures you are having out there!! My name is Simon and I am the son of Steve and Cathy(Fish Eagle Point). I am here in the Uk and really really miss home, the friendly wonderful tanzanian people and the suprises that africa gives every day! I cant wait to show my sister who lives here with me your blog as she gets home in an hour. I do hope you don't mind me following your blog but it gives me such a sense of happiness that I read it over and over.

The villiage children are amazing and special and are not spoilt by the pressures of the outside world as they are so remote and cut off. My dad (Steve) has been telling me about you guys and says he is thrilled that a wonderful bunch like you are there as it is has a big impact on their young lives.

If you read this please give my dad my Love!!

All the best and God Bless

ps: Give the kids my Salaam's - they will remember me as Seeeemoooniii

abcallen on

Wow Barbara, what an experience! Love to read about your enthusiasm and the enthusiasm the kids have for you. They must think you are an angel from far away... and they are correct. Soak it all up

Biggest "Air Conditioner" j.k. I mean Fan. on

I can see the pictures in your writing...no need to post. I love to hear about how the kids are reacting with you and you with the kids. It could be a movie. More, more, we want more....

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