Dinners and Encyclopedias! (Ann)

Safari English Club arranges school dinners for 190 children every day for 4 days a week so that they can stay for after school classes. This is how you organise it, Zanzibar style!  First you go to the our of town market and find the wholesale shop. You negotiate the cost of 7 “packets” of rice, each of which contain 65kg of grain. Then you purchase 100kg of beans. Four strong men haul the bags onto the top of the local bus (dalla dalla) and the English teacher hops in to accompany everything back to the village. Then the bus stops outside the deputy head master’s house and the grains are put into safe storage. Here’s the total cost for 16 school lunches (enough for a month of teaching):

7 packets of rice @ 56,500 TZS                395,500
100 kg of beans                                          240,000
Cook and assistants                                   144,000

Total                                 779,500 TZS       (£242)

So a school dinner costs about 8p a day per child. The cost of firewood is covered by the school and the parents contribute 2,000TZS (about 60p) a month to pay for coconuts and spices.  Much of the cost is kindly covered by CoCo’s Foundation but we are raising funds to pay for the balance...so do come to our fund-raising lunch at the end of April!

We've had some extra help from two UK volunteers, Suzie and Ros.  They’ve been very helpful in giving individual attention to the students, encouraging their reading, dictionary and study skills. The students really benefit from one-on-one time that teachers aren’t able to give in school classes that average 60 pupils. In Safari English Club we have up to 30 students in a class, but with mixed ability it can be quite a challenge to teach.  However, we’re all now heading home and handing over to Andrew and Reneé who are staying until the start of Ramadan in May. 

We had a fantastic gift from the International School of Zanzibar. They donated children’s encyclopedias and a range of colourful reference books. It was incredible to hand out one book per child and to see their delight in looking at them. The school doesn’t have this type of text books and the teachers only have black and white notes. So the lesson must have been an explosion of colour and images for the students. We went round the class talking about the pictures that particularly captured the imagination –  hot topics were fish, the coral reef, doctors and injections and flags of the world. One of the local teachers was fascinated by a drawing of 18th Century French Courtiers and asked if that’s what we wear to get married!

We’ve had 2 weeks teaching 190 students rather than 60.  We  spent 4 weeks with the local teachers working out how the after school club would be structured and we decided to focus on English, maths and general studies/subject revision. Initially the teachers are reluctant to use some of the resources so we’re working on building confidence in this area over the coming weeks. One teacher, Issa, is co-ordinating the project.  His role is to  track attendance, deal with persistent absence, monitor results of weekly tests and to allocate resources such as the Kio Kits, encyclopedias and dictionaries. He’s set up two tracking documents on a laptop that was kindly been donated to our project. Issa is the best at speaking English and is keen to make the  project work. He’s the only teacher with a degree and the results he achieves in teaching science are significantly better than the other teachers. However, as one of the youngest teachers, he initially had to overcome some resentment from the older teachers that he was the one selected to run the project.