Many of you will be familiar with a ‘Snow Day’. Here we have mud days. It is raining every night and the soil is such that it is very sticky and slippery. The ruts in the road become overpowering and take your car on it’s own course, but you have to keep going or you will be literally ‘sunk’. Deo is a great driver and can get us out of our road, however you have to hold onto your seat because it’s quite a rough ride. I think he would make a good winter driver although he may end you up on the wrong side of the road as people here often drive on whichever side has the best conditions.
Walking is also treacherous and your shoes hold the muck like nothing I’ve seen. Anna went to school yesterday with plastic bags over her shoes. She says the mud won’t stick to the plastic.
Because of the weather, we had a disappointing turnout at the workshop. Only 4 teacher attended ho bwever the 4 were keen to learn and they had a good session.
Chemistry teachers were conducting an experiment to determine the energy contained in kerosene fuel. They massed the fuel before and after heating a beaker of water. They determined the heat used to heat by measuring the temperature change and related it back to the mass difference.
Biology teachers were testing exhaled breath vs. air in the room for CO2. The apparatus was constructed from straws. It delivers exhaled breath into the lime-water of one flask and above the lime-water in the other flask. The lime-water is an indicator for CO2. As the concentration of CO2 increases the lime-water becomes more opaque and milky. It shows that the body converts oxygen in the air to CO2.
Physics teachers were using the meter bridge to determine the resistance of a wire. I learned something new. I learned that a bent wire has more resistance than a straight wire. As shown in the photo, the bottom wire has a resistance around 1 ohm more than the straight wire. We tested it with an ohmmeter.
This experiment is rather sensitive and requires consistency and thought. It also requires a fair amount of analysis.
Good workshop….bad turnout. What can you do?
You might remember Tumaini Chacha. He was the boy who took the suitcase of science apparatus to Mara region to spread the word of science to students there. He was one of the first scholarship recipients from DST. This allowed him to pay of his secondary school dept and proceed to University. He has been very resourceful and innovative in finding money for school fees since then. He has now graduated with a diploma as a Medical Officer. Tumaini has started a business providing medical testing and information.
Here is an excerpt from his recent email….
“Personally I thank you much since in one way or another you supported me much and now I’m even able to pay a school fees for my young brothers and sisters. Currently I have taken them to Private schools,
Two are in form six and two are in form four for this year, so is something to thank God and all of you who put their hands on my studies.
I am very proud of Tumaini’s success story and the small part that Do Science played in his road.
I’ve recently retired (February) and am heading back to Tanzania on Wednesday, this time for a 6 month stay. I’m looking forward to attending the April workshop for Do Science, seeing the teachers in person and getting some authentic, first hand feedback.
There were 19 teachers at the January workshop last week. I see the Biology teachers working with the new heart models that I purchased recently. Some said they had received information from the Head Teachers and others not.
Today is the first day of my retirement. I will be heading over in April and staying until October which will give me a proper chance to do some assessments on the program.
Yesterday I heard that a violent storm swept through our neighbourhood. It lasted only one hour but came with strong winds and a LOT of rain. The brick wall on one side of my property was blown down and several banana and other kinds of trees were broken.
Other people in the neighbourhood lost walls as well as parts of their roofs. There is a Water Church near us that is held in a large tent. It was totally blown away. This is very rare and very isolated as in Moshi town it didn’t even rain at all.
So it’s the 7th year for Do Science and it looks like we will continue with the workshops and I look forward to being there and being more involved personally.
I see a number of people visiting my site and I apologize for not having any updates for you. I recently was in Moshi for Christmas and let me tell you it was HOT, HOT, HOT.
I was mostly resting and celebrating Christmas with my family there but did meet with Do Science Leaders and with Municipal Council. We are still facing a communication problem and can’t be sure whether the Head Teachers have received the DST information. This makes planning very difficult. The workshops are labour intensive for the leaders and if they can’t rely on attendance then it can be discouraging.
I’m also pondering ways to restructure the scholarship program. There are no school fees but there are still costs to going to school such as uniform, food for lunch and notebooks. I bought notebooks for a Form 1 student over the holidays and they needed 12 of them and the cost about $2 each. They are large counter books and they must have them. They don’t have enough textbooks for the class either. I hate to think of students going all day without food.
I am finishing up my semester here at Bell and am retiring at the end of the month. This will allow me to travel more freely and focus on other things. I’m very much looking forward to it. I don’t think I’ll be going again in Dec – Jan though due to the heat. Jun – Aug are very nice there.
That’s all for now. Thanks for visiting my site and Happy New Year to everyone.
Well a miracle has occurred. I finally have solved the problems with the DST website. I’ve created a brand new site. Many apologies for the delay.
Take a look….www.dosciencetanzania.org.
It’s August again and I’ve been back for 3 weeks. We had a workshop which was attended by 13 teachers but mostly from one school so I was feeling a little discouraged. I’ve been in to speak with the Education Officer of the Municipal Council and had an encouraging meeting with him. He is very familiar with Do Science and supports our efforts completely.
I learned that the money lacking from school fees IS being supplemented by the government but this year things are a bit disorganized since it is the first year of the new financial structure. He told me he will be meeting with the Head Teachers in August and that he will address the topic of Do Science and suggest that they schools should be planning for their teachers to attend in the 2017 year. This means that there is money in the budget and agreed that it was a great way for teachers to be fulfilling their requirement to continue to develop professionally. I am preparing a package for him to present to the schools including a poster and some reminder calendars.
I’ve been more organized this year with my scholarships and have them mostly completed. Although we had less money for scholarships this year we were able to give 17 awards since most only need money for food and not school fees. There are some that still have prior debts to pay and a few that are in college, where the fees are quite high. 2,250,000 tsh per year which is about $1500.
The weather is wonderful and the maize crop is ready for harvest. The town is growing up and I see new progress every time I come. The dust, however, is something that will never be resolved. I hope some day to pave my yard with stones.
Sorry for the hot summer you are having and for the awful things in the world that are happening. I feel very lucky.
I was excited to hear about the new governments plans to support education by reducing fees for students. Sadly this has now had a huge impact on our DST workshop for this month.
Yesterday only one teacher showed up for the session. Word has it that school budgets are suffering and not only is there no money to provide stipends for teachers to attend the workshops but some schools are short of money for lunches as well. Teachers are hesitant to spend their own money getting to the workshops only to turn around and improve the programs for the schools. Understandably they are a bit angry. Not sure how this may or may not affect their paycheques. I haven’t heard anything about that but I would not be surprised if this causes delays in being paid.
Hopefully this will all be resolved as the government becomes apprised of the implications of their new “no school fees” for students policy. Undoubtedly they will have to subsidize the schools for this new hole in their budgets.
I’ll need to ponder this a bit before deciding how to proceed.
(On a side note, January’s workshop was cancelled as Robert was sent way far out of town to help with a training program and Elizabeth’s mother died and she was attending to funeral arrangements and family business. All teachers were appropriately notified in advance….Condolences and support were sent to Elizabeth and her family on behalf of DST and Deo was able to help out by providing transportation to the funeral.)
I visited Moshi at Christmas and was pleased to host a small party for my present and former workshop leaders. We used our new outdoor brick bar-b-q to cook up some skewers of beef which we paired up with chips and salad. I had brought a fruit cake from home which was new to everyone. Not really sure if anyone liked it but they were all polite and Bertha served each person as is customary, going around and saying a nice thing about each one and offering them a bite of cake.
We discussed plans and set dates for the workshops in 2016. I am happy that Elizabeth and Robert agreed to continue to run them.
My friend Deo told me today that the newly elected President, John Magufuli has announced that tuition fees for government schools will be eliminated for students up to Form IV level beginning in January 2016.
Previously only elementary school up to standard 7 was free from tuition. That’s 4 years of high school education that will now be available to all Tanzanian children. Only A levels (Form V and VI) will have to pay tuition. This means that Do Science can concentrate on supporting student who plan to continue on to University.
There is reference to the new plan in this article.