Thoughts from the teaching staff

What a difference a silcoatian makes! We have exceeded everything that we aimed to acheive- a hardship garden triple its size, full of banana trees, onions, cassava, papaya plants and vertical gardens. A brand new library including floor, plastering, painting and decorating as well as moving in all the renovated furniture and books. A special needs classroom with a tv and DVD player, the gardens safely enclosed with barbed wire and 3 brand new ovens built and ready to use. As teachers we are immensely proud of our students who have thrown themselves into these projects heart and soul. It hasn't been easy- we have slept on thin pellets on classroom floors, 10 in the girls, 8 in the boys. We have been woken up every school morning by children arriving, eager to talk or play with us. We shared two squat toilets with the teachers (no basins or Norris or flush). Our showers were 6 jugs of water in a washing up bowl- many of the us felt we were getting a tan until we eventually had a proper shower and found it was just ingrained red dirt. As well as doing our building and gardening work we have had to do jobs throughout the day- filling the water buckets was a long and constant job carrying smaller buckets from the tap or the well; cooking the evening meal for everyone (no pressure there then!) Over a fire which we first had to build; cleaning the toilets; washing up in cold water for the whole team three tines a day; cleaning the dorms and organising evening entertainment for those who could actually manage to stay awake longer than. We should also mention that night falls at 7 and we have no electricity in our rooms. Not to mention the heat- even the tanzanians are saying it is very hot for this time of year. Our students did all this with no complaints and with a positive and cheerful attitude. Another challenge they faced were the bugs- the spiders (some quite large!), the beetles, the large white grass hoppers which managed to get everywhere, the huge hornets and the scorpions (the girls being braver than most of the boys). The food was also challenging at times- some of us never want to see rice and plain beans again. Our students have risen to every challenge and have all learnt new skills, some physical, some social. The work that silcoates students have done will make enormous difference to the educational experience of the pupils at Sinai school babati. The importance of our work was really brought home to us at our leaving ceremony from the school where the teachers had organised a real feast to which the education officer for the region was invited, a very important lady. Dina, the headteacher of the sinai, proudly showed the education officer all thaat we had acheived. This lady said that the school was an example for others and that pupils with special educational needs from the region would be able to be taught there from now on. We couldn't have achieved all this without the support of everyone at silcoates school. Thank you for coming to events or for buying buns or for your contributions in whatever way. A huge thank you to inspire worldwide and jess and jack who have worked tirelessly to make sure that our trip has been safe and successful. Jess and jack have cheerfully guided us, kept spirits high when they were flagging (thank you so much for the chip butties half way through) and have always been there when someone needed medical assistance or someone to talk to, as well as being great fundis (builders). Thanks also to julian, founder of the Livingstone Tanzania trust who has done so much of help schools in this area and educate people in a sustainable way. Yohana from the Livingstone Tanzania trust accompanied us and was a tireless worker and transalator. Grace came as a volunteer from LTT, leaving behind her 3 year old little girl to do so. She also deserves our thanks, in particular for teaching us all to wash out clothes so that the dirt actually came out! Part of our night time routine is to listen to the blog and then jack reads our the messages from the folks back home- these have proven to be a boost for the whole team. Every morning after breakfast and washing up and before work the site manager for the day would lead the while team, including the fundis and some pupils in stretches to help us limber up before a day of hard physical labour. Students and staff have had very little time in which to so their own thing. Almost every waking moment has been accounted for with jobs and hard work. We leave tanzania feeling sad to leave our new friends behind but safe in the knowledge that we have made a considerable difference. We have changed lives and our lives have also been changed. Thank you for your support, Anand, Jon, Dan and Sandra #proudtobesilcoatian 

There's more on the Silcoates blog HERE
Beth, Silcoates, Tanzania ®
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