Karatu, Tanzania - October 2011
Volunteer Barbara from NY State
My first trip with Journeys of Solutions was in September 2009 and since then I’ve been back two more times: October 2010 and October 2011. I’ve spent time with the dedicated staff and beautiful children at Shalom Orphanage Centre and have painted murals with teachers and children alike at Tumaini Junior School. The magnetism of the country is the quiet strength and joy with which they approach their challenging daily life.
When I returned to Tumaini in October 2011, the primary grade children almost knocked me over as they swarmed up with their greetings. It was also wonderful to visit with Mr. and Mrs. Bayo again, the founders of Tumaini. I was able to spend a short time at Shalom visiting with the children and staff there.
At Tumaini, I toured the new classrooms as well as those I’ve seen on previous visits. During my 2010 visit, only one story of a three-story building was completed. I was happy to see the progress made—that an additional story was completed and a third begun. With the completion of the second story, more classrooms were created and the computer room was moved to create another needed boys’ dormitory. Further, the staff room was moved while the old staffroom became needed classroom space.
And of course, I was thrilled to see the murals I had worked on in 2010 were still vibrant and aiding the children!
Most of my time was spent with the sixteen children supported through Journeys of Solutions’ Child Sponsorship Program. This number was up from nine in 2010. I was also able to spend some time in Karatu town, going to market and meeting up with several individuals working for local nonprofits on the ground I have met on previous trips.
I brought donated school supplies to the children and when presenting the items to them, it was like Christmas Day with excitement! The children were so gracious, as they always are, and in that moment I thought, “That much gratitude for simple school supplies would not be a thing to see in our school children.”
Another project was letter writing with the children along with one of their teachers, Madam Christine. Madam Christine is also one of the matrons who lives at Tumaini full time and it is evident how much she cares for the children. Since Christine wanted the letter writing to be part of the children’s English Composition lessons, I was able to see glimpses of her teaching—she is strict, yet gentle and encouraging (not certain that my personal work would have earned an A). She and I were very proud of their hard work and no complaints about giving up their free time. The class discipline and respect is great.
I was thrilled to be received back to Karatu with such a warm welcome and am grateful to be part of Journeys of Solutions’ great work.