Thursday, June 23, 2016

Uru Secondary by: Jeremiah Thyen and Ramona Kuhn

“It’s already day four in Tanzania and I can’t believe it! It’s going by so fast!” -Ramona 

Today is the second day at The Uru Secondary school for the both of us but unfortunately Jared who came with us yesterday wasn’t feeling good so he stayed at the lodge. Instead of Jared, Quinton came along to bring our number up. Our group is the smallest compared to how many went to the other worksites; our group is a group of three students with Scott and Alisse. On our way to the first day we were informed that Cathedral hasn’t partnered with this particular school before, in fact working with a secondary school is a new add-on this year. Upon arriving, we walked into a misty courtyard area with vibrant green trees and hedges. While walking to sign in the Headmaster’s office, all the students poked their head out the window or stop and greet us good morning. We spent the whole three hours talking and interacting with many students ranging from thirteen to seventeen. We noticed a lot of differences in our cultures. For example we talked about what our parents and grandparents occupations and what they are aspiring to be. What we discovered was that the newer the generation, the more they wanted to improve their occupation. Another topic we talked about was what they liked to do in their free time. It ranged from futball (soccer), basketball, volleyball, monkey in the middle and dancing. We then talked about each of our perspectives of one another. They said that they want to have a thriving society that reflected our own. What was surprising was that they knew a lot about our politics and our iconic figures. After questions to break the ice, we went to tea time with the students rather than the previous day where we spent it with the teachers. An observation that we had was that their “lunch room” was under a tent canopy outside of a building with no tables or benches with a mud floor. As tea time went on more students gathered around to talk with us and ask about our time here or about America. Towards the end of tea time, each of us went along with different groups of students to show us around the school. We were shown the garden, where the teacher’s apartments were, the kitchen, the boys and girl’s dormitories among many other things. Discussions during tea time ranged from the differences in the high school system, how cold it is in Minnesota is and favorite subjects in school. The students were very passionate about making their dreams possible to become doctors, pilots, lawyers and engineers. A big part of them wanting to pursue these careers is to help give back to their communities which was very genuine. After regrouping in the school’s library, we collaborated with the Uru students to brainstorm about how we could serve with them in their school. What’s really important about this is that we’re trying to establish a long term relationship with the school. Some of the ideas we came up with were: improving the lunch room, raising funds for laptops, book drive and other teaching aids. 

“I didn’t want to leave the school. I would live with them in a heartbeat. They’re genuine, very hospitable and I just can’t get enough!”- Ramona 

After our morning worksite and lunch everyone went to work with the women’s group. Jesca, the founder and head of the organization, wanted to show us what the project was the students did the last time Cathedral was here; their project was to renovate an office where the women can work out of. What was really cool was that we had to walk through multiple corn fields in order to get to the office from where we were dropped off. Our first project was to make coffee grounds and package it. We didn’t expect it to take that much work. In fact, there was five steps to it: pounding the shell off, getting rid of the shells, roasting the beans, grinding them and finally packaging the beans to be sold. It was quite the experience because we were working side by side with all these women to make one day of work easier. After leaving the women’s group, we went into town. We were ransacked by street venders  trying to sell us merchandise. Another noticeable thing was that we had to be very careful when crossing the street because there traffic is crazy. In fact, a man tried to help us cross the street and almost got hit by a dala dala (bus). On our way home we got to see Mount Kilimanjaro was showing and it was just breathtaking. Overall we had an amazing time.

Mum, Dad, I don’t want to come home, but I want pizza so… - Ramona

I really like the food here- Jer

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