I have given up with photos for this post I am afraid, it took half and hour to try and upload two and it still didn't work, so after resisting the urge to throw my dongle out the window I thought I would just write a little bit and hope for more luck next time.
Buguruni School for the deaf is the only free school in Tanzania for deaf children and teenagers. There are about 240 children (boys and girls), approx. 150 boarders, with their ages ranging from 5 to 20. As some children start school later in their lives which may be because their parents didn't know about the school or they had to work on the farm for example, some classes will have kids aged 8 mixed with kids aged 11 - it looks very strange as you can imagine. All the children are deaf and use sign language as their main method of communication, late last year the majority of children got fitted with hearing aids, Judith (Mama Hamish) who is on the committee for the charity Tanzanear, is here to embed the use of hearings aids for both the children and teachers. They are slowly getting used to them and most seem to be very happy with wearing them.
A typical day starts off with chores then assembly, the do some 'exercises' I say this lightly as I feel it is far too hot to do any type of movement and the children seem to agree. They then go into their classrooms and lessons begin. At 10 it is chai (tea) break, the children get a cup of chai, which looks like very milky tea, I have yet to be brave enough to try it as I don't drink tea at home but I will give it a taste before I leave. They also get a bread roll, which is for the boarders the first bit of food they have eaten that day. (This is something that concerns us and we are trying to see if this is common in Tanzania)
Back to lessons with the younger children finishing earlier. Lunch is at 2pm which is normally ugli (not sure on spelling) or rice with beans, another cup of chai. The older children go back to school and finish at four. They currently do nothing after school apart from a Tuesday when the boys always play a big football match. I am hoping to work with the staff to change this and start a routine that they will hopefully enjoy doing and continue once we have gone. I have spent this first month trying to get to know the care staff, learn the routine and see what sort of the things the children enjoy doing. Of course I have been playing with the children too, stuck in the mud was exhausting in the African sun. I have learnt that change is difficult here and it took me a while to stop feeling overwhelmed by the task ahead and start to feel excited, even if I achieve something as simple as the skipping ropes being bought out once a week I will be happy. They are currently in a box locked away as everyone seems to be nervous of using them just in case they get broken and they won't be able to afford new ones. Mission accepted.....