Friday, January 31, 2014

“Teaching these passionate people is like feeding hungry birds.” — Karen (Mama Africa) Wiggins

The seminar is finally over.  Karen put weeks of work into preparing for it and into preparing the tools and materials to give to each school.  She did it in spite of the pain she is in every day because it is so important and the pain would be there anyway.  She says it is just a minor inconvenience.  In the picture at the right, she is demonstrating how until the child is ready to learn, it is like pouring water into a stoppered container.  Everyone understood as this is key to breaking the old rote method of shouting out line by line of whatever the teacher said.  Karen is introducing the concept of learning centers, imagination, and play as teaching techniques.  The participants got to do them themselves and loved them.  Of course, we planned for five schools and a sixth showed up but then two of the schools we originally planned to have did not come, so it was all okay.  Then, on the last day, one of the schools that hadn’t come showed up thinking it started that day.  This is Africa where word of mouth communication frequently breaks down.  It all worked out in the end, and we will have another seminar for two schools later this year.  John is in Mwanza at the dentist and Karen is resting.  The ten scholarship students at Bunda Teachers College came by today to get their tuition for the second semester.  Six of them will be graduating in May and four will be continuing next year.  Sadly, this project which has graduated almost forty, poor, Christian teachers may be ending next year.  The church in Arkansas that has been supplying all the funds has a new pastor with different mission priorities, but we knew that could happen.  It only costs $250 per student per year to provide everything: room and board, supplies, tuition, medical help—everything.  This is an appeal to any church or group to help us raise the funds to continue this wonderful project.  We can afford to pay for the last four to finish next year, but with no new funding that will be the end of what has been the best bang for the educational buck here in Tanzania.  We pray that someone or some group will embrace this great venture, and we thank so profusely, all those who have given in the past.  The smiles on the faces of these students, who without help, could never have gone to college has made my day.
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