Only three days after I arrived, I attended a wedding for one of our security guards – it was in a Maasai village. Next there was a family gathering for another worker – our farm manager, and very sadly last week one of the house mothers who lived on the project, suddenly died. She had been sick, but none of the tests indicated her life was in danger. So I have also been to her funeral here in Arusha, and then I drove to attend her burial in Tanga. We were told it was a five hour trip, but we found out it was a seven and half hour trip. It was very long, hot and stressful, driving down. Some roads were OK, but others had pot holes ranging from medium to enormous – one was almost two feet deep. One of the things here is the courtesy extended to everyone. The family knew we were coming so waited for us to arrive before beginning the ceremony.
Where I work in the Kesho Leo school is a 15 minute walk from home, and I do that at least once every day. Basically I have to walk everywhere when I stay in the local area, so I am doing plenty of walking. I find that I like working with the little children a lot more than I expected. I am especially happy to be working with the teachers, Regina and Lucy. They are lovely teachers. The children at Kesho Leo come from both the local community, and the families living in the project. They all have beautiful smiling faces, and are so happy and generally well behaved. I feel that I am in the right place to help the school.
The “mamas” who live here are all very nice. Part of their agreement is to help in the pre-school, so there is a roster for two mamas to be at the school every day. It’s a monthly roster which is sensible, as they can be involved for a long time and understand what the teachers are doing. I learned the mamas’ names first, then the teachers, but learning all the children – twenty in total, plus learning the names of the 43 children in pre-school will take me much longer. Added to that is learning Kiswahili. I am on my way, but with so many things bombarding my memory, I am allowing myself the luxury of not trying to learn too much Kiswahili all at once.
Jenny is a teacher from Brisbane working at Kesho Leo with the support of Palms Australia, Foodwatershelter and AusAID. This is an excerpt from a bigger letter, available here.