Kathy Brick, from Melbourne, is three months into a placement with Edmund Rice Sinon School in Arusha, Tanzania. As with schools in Australia, ERSS is valued for providing a well-rounded education to its students. Kathy is contributing through her work helping students transition into an English language learning environment.
I have now been here in Arusha for three months. This period has included plenty of new experiences and lots of learning. One pleasing aspect has been that the area of emotional literacy is being addressed. Sengku, our student counsellor, presented three workshops to the students aimed at assisting the students with identifying their emotions and giving them strategies for dealing with negative emotions such as anger, fear, stress, lack of self-esteem, sadness and depression. He included meditative-type strategies and different types of physical contact (such as touching the head, shoulder, crown) that someone could use to help another.
As part of a theme on sustainability we recently visited a nearby project called “Food Water Shelter” which was started by volunteers who had previously been at Edmund Rice. It is a multi-faceted project aimed at giving food, water and shelter to some women and their children and eventually to orphans. These orphans will be cared for by the mothers who are living there. There is also kindergarten for children of pre-school age. English lessons are provided for the local community. The aim is for the project to become fully self-sustainable. There are water tanks, environmentally friendly toilets (the waste from which is used for fertiliser after appropriate time for decomposing), cows, a vegetable garden, a fish pond etc. The ideas will increase crop production, as well as being environmentally friendly, are simple and can be adopted by nearby farmers. An impressive project!
On a light note, at the end of term we had a “house competition’ where students from each house sang two songs each. This year blue house won, and after they were announced the winners I was rather amused to see one of my students wearing a blue t-shirt (over the yellow t-shirt he originally had on, because he is actually in yellow house) dancing and celebrating with the winning team. I guess if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!