Day 2 of volunteering in Tanzania was full of learning, planning and spending time with the children of Kilimanjaro Kids. We started the day by brushing up on our Kiswahili. Emanuel, our ever-patient teacher, taught us useful phrases like, “Jino lako nani?” (Whats your name?) and “Bei gani?” (How much does this cost?). While we were quick to pick up on the new words, we were changanya (confused) when he explained the concept of time in Tanzania. When Tanzanians look at a traditional clock, they reply with the exact opposite time. For example, when it’s 11am, they reply 5! This represents how many hours since the sun came up and the day started.
Following our lessons, we piled in the car and headed over to the children’s school, The Royal School, to deliver the laptops, survey the library under construction, and take a tour. The Royal School provides education for approximately 500 children, some of whom live at the school in dormitories. Dressed in bright red, yellow and green uniforms, the kids eagerly and curiously followed us around the campus inquiring about where we were from and what we were doing.
Probably the most momentous part of the day was delivering 17 laptops to the school’s head mistress, Mrs. Njike. She was incredibly grateful and excited about the new technology, and 17 eager kids were on hand to receive them. Shortly after the delivery, we surveyed the library, currently under construction, in order to game plan for our work days next week. The main structure is finished, and the floor is coming along nicely! On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, we will be working to paint the inside and outside of the building.
The remainder of our day was spent working with the kids at Kilimanjaro Kids, teaching them various skills on the laptops, dancing and playing basketball and soccer. I think we were all blown away by the creativity and speed with which the kids took to the laptops. They are incredibly bright and artistic. In the backyard, older kids Juma, Exuper, Christina and others showed us an impressive synchronized dance routine as well. We can’t wait to spend more time with them over the next few days. Today we’re off to the YMCA pool for some swimming!