We love hearing from Safari English Club students as they grow up…as they move away from Unguja Ukuu to pursue their studies they have access to the internet and write to us. We’re very proud of Salama, who was one of the students who inspired us to start Safari English. During our first few days at Safari English Club she requisitioned our Swahili/English phrase book and asked to borrow it overnight. The next day she returned having learnt all the expressions in the “Getting to know you” section and asked Caroline and me about ourselves, including “Do you like social dancing?” We were so impressed by her hard work and initiative. The photo on the left was taken in December 2015 and the one on the right shows her recently starting at University where she is one of only 8 students studying Librarianship.
Also growing up is Orla who visited Zanzibar with her family in 2016 as a 12 year old and met students from Safari English Club who were the same age as her made a lasting impression. She particularly remembers the girls asking her which day she does her washing! Now aged 15, she and her family have decided to go back to Zanzibar and run an Immersion Camp for 32 children from Standard VI. So Orla, her family and friends are busy raising money to fund accommodation, food and transport. Orla’s father is a member of Ipswich Rotary Club, so he’s an experienced fund-raiser and Orla’s mother is a teacher, who’s learnt the art of baking cakes to help with fund-raising.
Volunteer Chloe came up with the idea of the Immersion Camps that are conducted entirely in English and have a high ratio of native English speakers to students. This year the camp will include some other important topics such as maths, science and IT. The students really benefit from the intensive attention, the opportunity to put their English into practice and have fun broadening their horizons. Their daily lives don’t give them time to “just be children” as they have long walks to and from school, responsibilities in looking after younger siblings, making money and finding ways to supplement their meagre food. (For example when I asked how many students “go hunting” all the boys said they have catapults so they can catch birds and eat them.).
As part of the preparation for going to Zanzibar, Orla, her parents (Paul and Karen) and friend Betty met up with Carole who ran the most recent Immersion Camp. Like Carole, The planning involved reviewing past exam papers. The students are expected to sit the majority of their exams in English and there was much consternation at the way some of the exams are phrased. A great advantage is that Orla’s mother Karen is a teacher and her father has travelled overland from North Africa to South Africa. They have a love cemented in Africa having got married in the Masai Mara!.
Three new volunteers (Rosie and Anna from Suffolk, recommended by Paul from Ipswich Orwell Rotary Club) and Rubina (from Canada) who have just started with Safari English Club. They arrived at the end of Ramadan and are just finding their feet. Standby for more reports as they get dug in! Rosie and Anna are on their gap year before heading to university in October and Rubina is very experienced in working with young people through the YMCA and as a training co-ordinator through the Royal Canadian Air Force.
A big thank you to all for helping the children in Unguja Ukuu.