After a quick breakfast and briefing the whole education project headed to an international education conference at the University of Dar es Salaam. Accidentally taking the scenic route, our bajaji driver deposited us at conference just in time for the opening address.
Name tags were handed out and no sooner had I put mine on than I was mistaken for an education expert by a roving reporter. Never underestimate the power of a lanyard. A spontaneous interview ensued before Sophie and Robbie decided to get in on the action.
After a quick lunch and some productive networking we got back into some passing bajajis, setting off for our first meeting with the teachers at Salma Kikwete school. After the moderately terrifying bajaji ride through the lunchtime Tanzanian traffic, we arrived at the school feeling somewhat apprehensive. It is at these times that you can’t help but reflect critically upon the initiative. Questions such as ‘what are we doing here?’, ‘do we actually have anything to offer?’ ‘do they want us to be here?’ can’t help but circulate. However, while these thoughts aren’t particularly conducive to calming nerves, it does really make you consider what our role is, what we have to offer, and also what we have to learn.
After gathering the courage to enter the school we chatted informally to the teachers, practicing our Swahili with mixed outcomes – Robbie managing to confuse the words ‘welcome’ and ‘to destroy’. Despite these early stumbles a very productive session followed, with discussion ranging from the impact (both positive and negative) of CDI last year, to the plan for the coming two months. Leaving the school several hours later we felt like we had made some really genuine progress, connections had been made and a plan put in place.
The progress of our meeting was forgotten fairly quickly however, as we ran around the surrounding neighbourhood in a desperate search for squat loos and food. After enjoying the local delicacy (chips mayai, which is essentially a chip omelette), we returned home after a long but productive day.