Saturday, 6 October 2012

Exams beckon

Friday October 6th

Next Monday Form IV start their National Examinations for two weeks and will then leave school, so as this was to be their last assembly I decided to take a video of them singing the national song Tanzania, Tanzania.  This is not the national anthem but expresses their love for their country and is often used instead, I understand.  I was to be disappointed though as Form IV were preparing the examination room for the exams and many of the other students were involved in chores around the place so the turn-out is rather sparse.  I did take a short video of it anyway and will try to upload this overnight with my special Tsh200 offer providing there are no more power cuts.

We had electricity at school all day so, although I was not timetabled to teach, I was busy with the computers and progressed well.  As I said earlier, the language barrier is a lot more noticeable when working with only two students and it can be quite exhausting by the end of a half hour session with two students if neither has good English.  They are progressing well though, and are now able to load their work, correct and edit it and save it again in a special Form III folder.  Such a pity that they are unable to see a hard copy of their efforts but a printer is a long way away, if in the picture at all.

When not taking students I had teachers wanting to learn with Mr Mmari wanting to set up a Yahoo email address and Mr Zachary wanting to use Excel.  I can’t remember if I said, but the school does have an Internet connection as payment for allowing a local company to put another receiver on their land.  The reception is intermittent and the cables keep dropping out and breaking connection but I did have to suggest to Hillaly when he was, once again, called to get it working again, that ‘This Is Tanzania’ was possibly not a good acronym to replace T.I.A.

My Swahili progresses although it is very much classroom based.  Once the students have started work on the exercises I tend to walk round asking each one “Ngumu, Rahisi” (Difficult, Easy) and then spend time with the ones who admit problems.  I impressed myself yesterday when one of the Form I students, with little understanding of English, was stuck, and I recited the eight times table in Swahili.   My pictorial method of learning words continues and those of a certain age might not be surprised that my image of an exercise book is one covered with a picture of a cross-eyed lion (the Swahili is ‘daftari’).  I have no notion of verbs or tenses but just learn the sentences I need – “Kusanya daftari Jumatatu Asubuhi” – “Collect the books Monday morning”.  I must admit though that, as many of the Swahili words like wiki (week) and hospitali (hospital) consist of adding a vowel to the end of the English words, I caught myself the other day talking about the ‘spacie bar’.  It might very well be correct as the words that tend to be like this are the ones that have their origins in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

A weekend without the need for a trip to Tanga.  Bliss.


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