Thursday, 7 April 2011

Buguruni school

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.....


  1. Fabulous informative post Charlotte we really enjoyed reading it, you may be drinking tea before you arrive home!!

    Speak soon
    Bye for now
    Love Mum xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  2. mmmmmm I love chai (well the twinings version anyway). Miss Hadley, if you are brave enough to get on a flight to Africa I think you can be brave enough to taste a bit of tea. What's the rest of the food like? Are you missing lettuce yet? Are you going to be super skinny for the wedding?

    It's so interesting reading your posts Charlie - wish I was out there with you.
    Keep safe xxxx

  3. hey charlie, been round marys house and jim didnt even know you had gone, lol the baby has taken over his brain!! nice to read about the school, u can put all the pictures up when you get back, even though our computer probably isnt much faster than urs!
    mucho loves, beck

  4. Hi Charlie,yea, don't worry too much about the photos,just keep the words flowing, fascinating, I check every day, and make sure Harry and Jo know when there is a new one. I was with Rod yesterday with his speech therapist & Jen, he's made quite good progress, and is quite a bit easier to understand, which is great for him too. I'll give him a call shortly to tell him your new post is up.
    Big hugs from us all here

  5. Hi Charlie
    What an awesome thing for you to be doing. I will be waiting with baited breath for each new post. Lots of love Kath

  6. Wow Charlie sounds amazing, couldn't believe it when you said that you'd been there a month already. Time has flown by! Sounds like a big challenge too hun - but I'm sure a bit of a test is right up your street! Also it will make it all worth it to know that you actually made a difference.
    I was thinking of you a lot earlier this week as I had a very embarassing incident on a bus which only you would have appreciated. I think easily matches your cycling into a lampost wearing a tiara moment. I will maybe email you the story later to keep you entertained.
    Keep up the good work sweetie. You're amazing!
    Faye x

  7. Wow, your first month has gone by so fast Charlie! It's great to hear all about the school and what you've been doing. Such a shame to hear that they're nervous of using skipping ropes in case they have to replace them! Makes you realise how much we take things for granted in the UK... Maybe you could teach them some non-equipment based games, for example 'Knee Wars' or the old-faithful 'Name Game', not to mention the classic 'Zip, Zap, Boing'! ;-)
    (TAEDS comes to Tanzania..)

    I was interested to read in an earlier post that you're learning a bit of Swahili! I learnt a Christian Swahili song when I was out in South Africa last summer, called Mambo Sawa Sawa (Things are really better) or something like that! Can't wait to learn a bit of Tanzanian sign language from you when you get back too..

    Take care in the heat and with all those mossies around!
    Lots of love
    Ruth xxxx

  8. Charlie Bird, if anyone can accomplish this mission it will be you! Yet another post that brings a tear to my eye. It sounds amazing out there and you are obviously doing an amazing job. I believe in you and I know everyone else from Newbs does too. So proud of you!