Arusha Project


Tekua School
August 24, 2007, 7:36 am
Filed under: Abroad Program, Uncategorized

We arrived a little late today, the dala dalas were slow, and an entire classroom of students were waiting for us when we finally got there. The students, age 16 to 25, are members of Tekua, a school teaching secondary education along with art. This week, volunteers Andrew and Soniya started them on business letters, basically job application preparation. Most of the students came in with somewhat disjointed letters that needed varying levels of editing. They started with Dear Simba Safari, Dear Ngorongoro Park… some of them wanted to be tour guides, some to start a partnership to funnel clients to tour companies, some to be cooks. These children’s goals were for the most part tourism related, and many already had experience as drivers and such, however their command of the English language still needs some work.

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Next door to the class, eight students sat carving, painting, and beading. It’s the school’s income generating activity and a training ground for students who want to become artists. Their work is quite impressive and covers the walls of their studio, a nearby shop and the Arusha Project house as well.

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After finishing up the edits and a midday break, we were back in the classroom where one of the teachers had written “Money is better than education,” on the blackboard. The students numbered off into two teams to begin the debate. “Hello class,” the  boy said. “my name is Ramadhan, and I am pleased to propose the motion, money is better then education.” Each team sent up one representative at a time to argue their side, while a chairman was selected to keep score. Sadly, the pro-side definitely seemed to be winning.

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Pro: “Money is better than education because with money you can go wherever you want.”

Con: “But how can you control your money if you don’t have education?”

Pro: “you can hire someone who is educated. Education is just a way to get money so if you already have money, education is not needed.”

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The students applauded their representatives with enthusiasm. It almost seemed like they just wanted something to cheer for as the simple points made were no more than one-liners and lacked the complexity needed to make a thorough argument. Still, the ability of these young adults was more than I had seen in our other partner school and on the streets. Women and men alike stood in front of a class of 40 students without inhibitions to speak their side, and although the arguments favoring money were much more convincing than those of the opposition, it was merely a debate. The fact remains, these students were there to learn, they valued their education very much, and participating in a full on argument about the worth of knowledge was merely a competition, and winning, only a light-hearted desire.

-Kaia

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