The rainy season has started. Apparently in October we see the short rains. I think someone forgot to tell Mother Nature this fact as it’s been raining since 5am. It’s now 3pm and there’s been no let up – and Tanzania knows how to do rain. Roads are looking like canals at the moment…
Today started badly so I should have been more prepared: I managed to let both the guard dogs escape as I was leaving this morning; the Mandazi lady failed to come into work and so I had to run around trying to find 15 buns at short notice; and it was raining. So, it shouldn’t have been a suprise when I arrived at the school to find not only were the posters not back but all the artwork the kids and I had done together had been torn from the walls, stamped on, screwed up and bits torn off… From what I can gather it was the older Deaf students, I don’t know why yet, but I’m also struggling with the teacher’s attitude to just leave it there on the floor in a heap. The classroom was a pigsty, filled with rubbish and mango stones and pieces of their work. Such a big sign to them as to how little is thought of them, their education and their potential.
So where they managed to find it in themselves to be totally fucking awesome today I have no idea but I can now proudly announce that EVERY SINGLE STUDENT in that classroom, recognises the words Blue, Red, Green, Yellow, can sign them and write them and sort random objects into the correct colour category. And wow they were so well behaved and interested and engaged and funny and just plain old marvellous…
The issue of the artwork was not left. I went to have a meeting with the Head Teacher and also the founder of the Deaf unit but this was cancelled due to an older Deaf boy beating a Deaf girl unconscious… I think of the state of the classrooms, the by rote lessons, 72 children in 2 rooms, no resources and it’s not hard to understand how aggression could be part of Bugando’s Deaf student community.
But that’s why I’m determined to continue. Hopefully with the financial support my project is receiving from friends, family and bloggers I can enable my students to feel proud of themselves and of what they’re learning and not accept as definitive the general attitude and dismissiveness displayed towards them.
So with that in mind, and in celebration of my fabulous students, I have included every single photo I took today so you don’t miss one single minute of it.
If you’d like to support the project, please go to http://www.justgiving.com/Kirsty-Lee1.