Our week got off to a productive start with the education team embracing the local culture – taking a day off in recognition of the national public holiday ‘Nane Nane’ (Farmers’ Day). After a “well-deserved” rest, the team split into two: one going to the schools to learn more about the problems students are facing, and the other exploring opportunities to expand the reach of the Think Big Challenge through collaboration with BRAC, the largest NGO in the world. Following our meeting with BRAC, the education team were happy to welcome a select number of girls not in formal education to participate in our competition.
Mid-week, the planning for the upcoming Saturday workshop was underway. Organising 4 hours worth of activities for 50 participants (around 35 students and 15 girls from BRAC) was no mean feet. Despite the occasional power-cut causing the team to go on a quest for a working plug socket, the workshop was ready. Students arrived on Saturday eager to take on the problems they faced at school. After 2 problem-solving-filled hours, stomachs were rumbling and the biggest pot of wali maharage I’ve ever seen was ready to be devoured (wali maharage = the local delicacy – beans and rice). Students were fuelled up and ready to design their solutions to problems ranging from gender and religious segregation, to drug abuse. Back in their schools and communities, the participants will take the first steps in carrying out their plan for implementing initiatives.
Back at Ardhi University, CDI’s home in Dar es Salaam, the education team crashed at the ‘multi-purpose’ canteen after a hard day’s work. At different points of the day, the canteen (pictured left) transforms from its standard dining area into a ready-made office space lined with laptops and multiple four-way plugs all plugged into one power socket (no blowing of the fuse … yet). The CDI family are not, however, the only residents of the canteen. Malcolm, Backspace and her three illegitimate children (Undo, Undid, and Undone), and the infamous Cliveisha roam the canteen, providing endless entertainment and drama for the volunteers. To clarify, these are residents of the feline variety. Malcolm can often be seen owning his rightful place as king of the canteen, looking as gorgeous as ever (pictured below). The real drama happens at night when Cliveisha frequently plots a takeover of the canteen. Fear not – Backspace with a strong right paw never fails to redress the balance … but I digress.
The week ended with an impressive performance from the education team in CDI’s very own Olympics. The Olympic spirit was definitely present with team Kundunchi displaying over-enthusiastic hand slapping and encouragement across multiple events. The education team had a successful games, coming away with a medal tally of 2 golds, 2 silvers and a bronze. Training for the next Olympics is underway …
Written by Ollie Preston – Volunteer on the Education Project.