It is hard to write everything that we have done in the past couple of days or so, but I will give it a try. More pictures are to follow, which is an easier way to give people a description of the beauty of this wonderful country.
We visited a mosquito net factory, where they manufacture roughly one million nets per day. This is to fight malaria, which is rampant in Africa - a preventable and treatable disease. The nets are sold to companies, institutions, and stores throughout Africa. If a women is pregnant, or if a family has children under the age of five, they are able to receive a voucher from their doctor and purchase a net for a reduced price. The A-Z factory employs around 6000 employees, which is great for the local community.
We are here in Tanzania to learn about their education system and how we can help bridge the gap between U.S. and Tanzania. We visited a few community schools. Without writing a novel about the Tanzanian education system - which is quite fascinating, but in the interest of time and continuing to keep everyone interested in my blog, I will keep it short :). Basically, community schools have been built in the last 15 or so years as a response to educate Tanzanians in rural and remote areas. The funding comes from both the government (providing teachers, some materials, etc.) with the rest of the funds coming from the community (student fees, upkeep, finishing the construction of buildings, cooking meals, materials, etc.). The problem is that they built a plethora of schools throughout Tanzania, but the funding is lacking - the government has not been able to fund what they intended to do, so the rest lies with the community. The philosophy behind the new system is valid - building more schools as an effort to help nationalize the country - but it is taking time for Tanzanians to adjust to the new system and to find resources (both monetary and physical labor).
The teachers at the schools we have visited are fascinated with counseling. I had a great discussion with a teacher today who is looking for ideas and resources to help advocate for counseling for the country. The UGA professor who is our guide on this trip plans to meet with me after the trip to discuss writing a grant for a service learning initiative - to work in Tanzania for a year working with local schools, teachers, adminstrators, and politicians. What an opportunity for Lynn and me!
All for now.....Kwaheri