Friday, April 19, 2013

Rudisha Foundation School Visits - Day 3 & 4

After visiting 5 schools in two days we had made plans to visit one school on the 20th and then one on the 21st before I left Moshi.  If you missed the last two posts I invite you to do a little catching up with Day 1 and Day 2 blogs. 

Joel and Nancy Mmary began school January 2014, thanks to kind donations from residents in Nova Scotia, Canada. We had already arranged that Martha and Josie would visit the last two schools two weeks after I left. Joel (13 yrs) and Nancy (14 yrs) attend different schools, in quite different locations!

On the Wednesday, March 21st, Martha and I walked to Joel’s school, Mwereni Integrated School for the Blind and Non-Blind.  Joel is in class 7A and attends class with 62 students.  The school also has classes for the blind and albino, whose eyesight is often poor.  His school was about a 25 minute walk from the house in Majengo, up a few hills, through the beautiful fields where friendly locals live and work.  We asked children on their way home for lunch for the last few directions, there were many roads that twisted and turned to reach the school.  We met with a staff member at the gate of the school who invited us in and took us to meet the head teacher.  Joel was on his lunch break and had just finished eating, the headmaster sent a student to find Joel.  While we waited Martha helped me interpret some of the school rules that were posted on the side of the building.

Joel came to meet Martha and me and took us to see his classmates of 7A. He showed me his work books and I noticed the marks were very good; his teacher let us know he was doing very well and is one of the top in his class.

While we were walking around the grounds I noticed that the school has a buddy system in place for the blind students, age was not a factor nor was the color of the skin.  It was nice to see the albino children happy and feeling safe and accepted.  I sadly learned of cruel behaviors that take place in Tanzania with albinos.  As I’m keeping this a happy piece I will leave it up to you to do your own research on the topic.  On the way out we met with an older gentleman, the IT teacher for the blind students, he himself was blind. We explained the purpose of our visit and Martha spoke a few words in Swahili with him.  He was so grateful for what we and the sponsors are doing for the children of Moshi. 

The next day, March 21st, we left around 9:00 am to head to Nancy’s school. Just a short drive to a long dirt road, all uphill, into the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro we went.  On our way up the hills to the school we stopped to pick up Seledina, Nancy and Joel’s mother, she was joining us for the visit.  We passed by many locals tending to their crops which were coming up quite nicely now that the rains had started.  7 km up the hill (which Nancy walks everyday)  we arrived at Mbokomu Secondary School. Nancy attends Form 2 which is equivalent to grade 10 in North America. Her class consists of 108 students, 62 girls and 46 boys.  The school is spread out in two locations, the second location just a 100 yards up the hill.  Form 2 and 4 (grade 10 &12) are the first location and form 1 & 3 (9 & 11) are at the second location.  

The entire school was writing an exam when we arrived. As the classes are so large some of the students were lined up outside of the class for the testing period, one was Nancy.  She was finished her exam but stat quietly until the time was up.  This was the rule for the entire school; no one gets up until the test has been dismissed.

The school’s head teacher gave us a tour of the school while the students finished their exam. As I walked around I thought of all of the schools in Nova Scotia that have recently been deemed “unfit learning facilities”. Sound structures unnecessarily being demolished and super sized schools being built in their place. The facilities and supplies that the students in Moshi learn from are much less than those of Canadian schools, however the material they are learning is what is important, and this is equivalent. These young adults are happy and enjoy attending school and are working very hard.

Science Labratory
I spoke with both mamas who were making lunch in the kitchen; they kindly let me take some pictures of them at work, chapatis, beans and cabbage were on the menu for the day. 

We made our way to see the other classes who were now finished the exam. Excitement was in the air as the students were busy in discussion about how they all did on the exam and were checking their notes together. It reminded me of the days of high school were we’d convene after the test to check to see who answered what to each question.  

The head teacher pointed out the school bell as we arrived back at Nancy’s class, they were now finished the exam.  I met with Nancy and took a few photos and expressed some words of encouragement to her, she thanked me for helping find funds for her school fees.  We said our good byes and headed back down the mountain. 

This concluded my visits to the schools for this trip to Moshi. In July I will make a short visit to Moshi to drop off a computer to Langoni School.  I am hoping to have more than one computer to drop off to them.  Also, I will visit the children  again in October to follow up with all of them and see how they have progressed. It will give me the opportunity to learn if they will be moving on to the next grade for 2014, something I am positive will happen!

I continue to pray for donations which will help fund all of the children for school fees for the coming years.  Should you wish to learn more about how you can help children in Moshi, TZ - please send me an email at or 

You can also visit Sponsorship page to view each child and their photos - For even more photos check our YouTube video of the Rudisha Foundation School Visits.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Rudisha Foundation School Visits - Day 2

March 19th we had made plans to visit Noel at his school and then head to Julianna’s school.  Both schools are located just outside of Moshi near the village of Maili Sita.

Noels’ mother Hilda, Martha, Josephine and I drove to Noel’s school for noon. When we arrived at Stella Maris Primary school the children had just finished class and were playing in the playground area. As we pulled into the school yard they came running to say hi. I stepped out of the vehicle and some of the children immediately took my hand and started walking towards the school.  They noticed my camera and were excited to get in the pictures.

We had a quick tour of the school and met with Noel’s kindergarten teachers.  They let us know that he was doing great and on par with the rest of the students.  We took a few pictures and then drove Noel and his mother home before we made our way to visit Julianna. We had a quick visit with Noels family; his younger brother who is three years old was sick and their older brother Barraka was at home taking care. Martha had brought bottle of bubbles for the younger kids and showed them how to make bubbles, they enjoyed their new toy.  Noel then showed me his school work; ABC’s and numbers with lots of red check marks, he’s doing great!

Our next stop was to visit Julieth (Julianna) Costatine.  Since arriving in Moshi I had learned of an unfortunate situation for both her and her brother, Lucas Costatine.  When they first were introduced to the sponsorship program they were under the care of their aunt, as both of their parents have left the earth.  An unexpected event took place and their aunt had to move to Dar es Salam for work.  Both children have gone with different family members and for the time being no longer share the same home. I hope one day they will be reunited and live in the same home. 

Juliana’s school is nestled in between the many banana fields. At ten years old she had never attended school so she has started primary school and attends grade 1.  The head teacher had advised Martha when she enrolled Julianna that she would need to do extra work to catch up to her age group.  Julianna stays after class and does plenty of homework every evening.   We arrived at Msingi Narumu Primary School and were greeted by over a hundred students who were out on their break.  

A young girl helped us and led us to meet with the teachers.  Juliana’s classes were finished for the day but we had this planned as we were meeting her and her guardian Christina at her house a few roads away.  The teachers let us know that Julianna was very dedicated to catching up and has been staying after class and attending Saturday classes for extra time.  She gave us a tour of the school and we then made our way to visit Julianna.

Christina welcomed us into her home and had prepared an African meal of green bananas and kuku (chicken).  Christina, a retired teacher herself, shared with us that Julianna is a very hard worker.  She rises at 4am and does chores such as scrubbing the chicken coup, prepares her own breakfast and gets ready and heads to school for 7am.  Julianna was shy but enjoyed taking some pictures and showing me her school work.  I told her that she was doing very well and that it makes me happy to see how hard she is trying. I gave her a lot of encouragement to keep up the great work. 

We explained that Martha would be visiting Lucas at his school in a weeks’ time. Christina expressed her deep gratitude for what we and the sponsors are doing for both Julianna and Lucas and shared this lovely card with us, it was a great way to end the visits for the day.

In case you missed the last post from Rudisha Foundation's School Visits please check out the blog Rudisha Foundation School Visits - Day 1 or watch the great footage from the school visits on our YouTube Video of RudishaFoundation School visits.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Rudisha Foundation School Visits - Day 1

During my stay in Moshi I had the opportunity to visit seven schools in four days. For those who are not aware, Moses, Martha Msuya and I have started the Rudisha Foundation, which sponsors children in Moshi, Tanzania. Without donations and sponsorship these children are unable to attend school due to lack of funds for tuition fees. Unlike Canadian schools their education is not free.  

Over the next few blogs I share with you my experiences which taught me so much about being happy and grateful for what you have. On the 18th of March we visited three schools, it was a day of holding back tears to say the least! 

Rudisha Foundation
Mr. Mlinga, Amanda, Martha
Hasani Rashidi is nine years old and attends Langoni Primary School. His school was the first on our agenda for the Rudisha Foundation school visits.  Martha, Abasi (Hasani's older brother) and I  arrived at the school to met with the head teacher, Mr. Mlinga.  He was more than happy to show us around the school and have us pop into Hasani's classroom. I greeted the children in Kiswahili as I snapped my photos along they way, they all  loved getting in the photos!

Langoni School covers grades 1-7 and has a total attendance of 859 students.  There are 60 students in Hasani's grade two class, and one teacher!  The school covers all standard subjects taught in Kiswahili and English is offered as a daily class as well. We were happy to hear that Hasani is doing very well in class, he is dedicated to his work and most thankful for his opportunity to be in school.  They were hard at work when we arrived so I tried to cause as little disruption as possible with my camera and questions. His teacher was delighted to fill us in on his work and behavior.  I had the chance to look over his workbooks and saw many red check marks for a job well done. 

During our tour of the school Mr. Mlinga expressed his gratitude for what Rudisha Foundation is doing for children in Moshi. He asked me if I knew of any volunteers that would be willing to come to Langoni School.  Their doors are always open to those who are looking to give back while at the same time experience a new country. 

As we continued talking he also expressed the schools current goal, to incorporate IT classes into the school.  To do so they would need computers and volunteers to teach their teachers how to operate the computers and to also help them in designing an IT curriculum.  As my back ground is in teaching computers I knew there was some way I could try and help out. Besides finding funds for children's school fees, Rudisha Foundation is now on the look out for laptops for Langoni School. Our goal is to eventually have enough computers to help all of the schools our children attend, but for now we will start with Langoni Primary School.  To date, we have had one generous donation from Megan Matheson Hamilton and Dance Nova Scotia. The email has been sent to Mr. Mlinga to let him know of the good news.  It would be great to have five more computers, one for each grade!  I will take the laptops to Langoni school and give the teachers a "computer 101" course and will also create curriculum and lessons so the children can learn as well. 

We made our way from Langoni school to Mt. Kilimanjaro Foundation Kindergarten to visit Ally Rashidi, Hasani's and Abasi's younger brother. Ally will soon be six years old and attends school with over 200 other five and six year olds.

His class of 55 students and two teachers was a buzzing classroom, they were learning their phonics for the day, English sound "og".  Ally was a bit shy, as most five year old would be, but thanked me for helping so he could go to school. His friendly teachers let me know that he was doing very well with his lessons.

The children were so excited to give me a thumbs up and say "poa"  (cool in Kiswahili). They attend class from 8:00am until 3:00pm and cover math, English, Swahili, music, manners and discipline and arts and crafts.  The children sang us a lovely song and did a little dance for us.

All of the children loved having their pictures taken and then checking the display screen to see what the pictures looked like, we had a fun time! 

The last stop of our day was to visit Elizabeth Mamuya, this little five year old has lots of spunk now that she gets to experience school. She had been over visiting at Martha's house two days prior and was showing me how well she can write her ABC's and the new words she has learned in English. She was excited that we were going to visit her at her new school and see her with all her new friends. 

Elizabeth attends Moshi Catholic Day Care Centre. In 1985 the centre started with 50 kindergarten students and now have a total of 250.  There are 107 students in her class, and if you can believe it just one teacher.  They cover English, math, art, science, games, religion and music.  I was filled with joy seeing how happy the children are in a classroom with limited supplies. 

Sister Martha was very welcoming and happy for what we are doing with the Rudisha Foundation.  She is responsible for the direction of the daycare centre and ensures that all of the children are well looked after and are learning everyday. 

The cost for Hasani's school is only $20 Canadian dollars a year, as is Ally's school. Both Hasani and Ally were enrolled into local Kiswahili schools.  Elizabeth's English speaking school is $200 Canadian a year. We would love for all children sponsored by the Rudisha Foundation to attend English speaking schools, with your support we can help make this happen. 

To learn more please visit TemboTours Sponsorship page or contact me for details in how you can help make a difference in a child's life. 100 % of your donations go directly to the child, there are no program fees and we ensure every cent you donate goes towards the child's education.

Please enjoy our video of the visits to the schools and keep watching for the next blog on our visit to Noel's and Julieth's (Julianna) school. I won't keep you waiting too long!