Friday, 26 August 2011

A big 'Thank You' and 'Goodbye'

Thanks to all who are reading this blog and I hope you will keep the interest in Development. I know it is much easier to just look away than acknowledge the problems of different regions and their people in this world.
But it only makes a different when you take the time to listen, to understand and to simply give some support. Please don't look away and think somebody else can help. Loads of little support adds up and it makes a huge difference. This difference we wont be able to feel at home as our life just goes on but it has a huge impact on other peoples' life.
Please don't look away. I have seen what can be done!!!

Saturday, 20 August 2011

The very first Library in the Ngoma District is now open!!!

Here comes the news about the library. It is an extract of Annas blog because I left Rwanda and she followed up the project I started.So enjoy reading and thank you Anna!!!:
 To date, the Bare library is up and running and the Nyamugali library is just starting.
Monday I arrived at Bare and their schedule was complete, the desks were arranged and the books were ready to be read. In a system that is so focused on teaching grammar, literacy is suffering. The schedule has allowed for each class to have one 40 minute library period per week. I worked with the teachers to explain that this might be a 40 period where the children are not “taught” with chalk and talk but rather, they can explore the books at their own level. The teachers were so enthusiastic and supportive. They marched the little ones to the door and gave an explanation about what a library is. Word spread quickly around the school and classes began to look forward to their turn. There are 100 books in the library right now. Unfortunately, the reading level of most of the books is too high right now. These kids, besides being to new to books complete, are also new to English. As time goes one, however, I’m sure this will improve. Still, children sat and shared books. They pointed to pictures and whispered the English words – if they knew them – to their friends. While the higher level students could read and understand some of what they read, the little P1 students didn’t even know what to do. Their little feet dangled below them and their chins barely made it ot the top of the desk. A book was put in front of them and they stared. They just stared. The teacher and I spent 40 minutes showing them how to hold a book, how to look at the pictures with their friends and, when they were finished one page, how to turn to the next. It took most of the class time to get them to move from sitting quietly and staring at the book, to actively engaging in the process. By the time today – Friday – rolled around, the children got the point and were reading and talking and pointing to pictures and using the little English that they do have. The Senior 2 class was in and were so enganged that the teacher and I spent most of the time running around helping kids who wanted to know the meanings of words. At the end, each group presented a new word that they learned that class and they were annoyed when we told them their time was up.
Most people think that “kids in Africa must just be hungry for education!” It’s true, I supposed, that the kids here are well behaved in class but the secondary students hide behind the bathrooms brushing their hair when they should be in class, just like those in Canada. The boys skip out of the room the minute the teacher leaves and hide behind the water tank. They thirst for break time, like kids in Canada, and saunter back to class unless the head masters hurries them along. Kids are kids. But I believe all kids want to learn. 99% of the time, if a teacher creates the conditions for learning EVERY child will rise to the occasion. At Bare, this week, they definitely did.
Next week, the focus will be on Nyamugali school. The books have been delivered so it’s just a matter of time before we are there too. The project is not complete (as if a library will ever be complete!) but there are a number of people who have helped with this project and deserve a huge thank you. If I’ve forgotten you, I’m sorry but do know that your books have been delivered directly into the hands of the people who will use them – the children of Ngoma District in Rwanda.
Thank you to: Christine Haefele of New York; Nora from England; Jutta Oezsen, Sandy and Michael from Essen, Germany; Samie from Quebec; Gichi and Carlos; Yana; Kristin Lazure and David How; Alles Giese; Katja, Gisten, Guther and Connor; Renate; Sobi; Astrid and Max Hansen; Jenny, Tobias and Laeticia Campbell-Klomps; Sabine and her family from Berlin; Antonia and Moritz; the staff and students of the German School in London; the staff and students of Blessed John XXIII in Calgary and especially Tina Hewing – who started this big little project. Stayed tuned for more updates on how the libraries are doing.

P1 children lined up and ready to go.

S1 student reading on her own.
This is the S1 teacher, Denise, who was thrilled that kids were reading. Of course, it wasn't a free period. In addition to helping them with new words, she had kids give her a summary of what they were reading.

P6 students. This is a large class and so there aren't enough desks but the kids got cozy and read away!
P3 students
P5 students ready to come in.
P1 students
This great book is an adding book. There are slats that pull out with the answers, which the kids loved.
Waiting to come in.
Rushing into the library!

Showing me where Rwanda is on the map.
The new vocabulary from S2 students.
S2 A class had their library period today. They were engaged and enthusiastic and teaching each other English. THe teacher, Egide (standing on far left) and I just walked around helping.
These are the books heading to Nyamugali. It reminds me how few books there really are. The generosity of the donors made such a big difference with so few books. A school of 1000 students will share 100 books. It just reminds me how lucky we really are.

Thank you Anna for working on this project.
It is a pleasure to see that it was a success.
Thanks to all who did support this project!!!
xxx Tina

The book project - thank you to the Children from the German School in NY. You are real stars!!!

A while ago Anna went to the post office to mail some parcels. There, in the mail box, were two slips for parcel pick up addressed to me. As I did not live here anymore but she decided to pay the fee, collect the parcels and take a moto home. The clerk pointed to a large mail bag in the back and Anna assumed the parcel was in there and he meant that it would take a moment to get. Anna paid the fee (which was small and usually indicative of the size of parcel) and then the clerk ask me if I had a car. (She laughed).
I now just paste in what Anna wrote:
As it turns out, the large mail bag - and the two others next to it - were all for Tina! How would I take these back on a moto? What were they? I went around and saw that they were all used books for the library that she had wanted to start. So, a week later I finally found that Francis had sometime (and a Rav 4) and we went yesterday to pick them up. My plan is to build a library at one of the local schools that will serve a Regional library for the sector. I have so many ideas that I'm just bursting to begin! When I got the books home I sorted through them and categorized them into different areas. I also tossed some that were inappropriate. Maybe it's looking a gift horse in the mouth but kids in Africa don't deserve books that are torn and ripped and have pages stuck together. Most of the books are in great shape and most have neutral content. I did decided that the book called "Wow! School!" should not be included. There are large glossy pages with pictures of a typical Western School that says things like "Wow! Art class!", "Wow! Playground!", "Wow! Books!", "Wow! Lunch!" -- all of which the kids here don't get. Other than that, there are some great resources and I really hope this project is a success.

Loaded and ready to go!
Thanks US Postal Service!
Piled on my table before the organization begins.
I think this book is perfect for Rwanda.....

Brilliant!!! Thank you to all the
from the
German School in NY,
their parents
and especially to
Christine Haefele
my dear friend from London and nowadays teacher at the DSNY
xxx Tina

Anna and Jason and the Head Teacher Training in Rukira

In their first week in Kibungo I did take Anna and Jason to one of my Headteacher Trainings so that they could get a feeling of what they were getting into. They loved it and very soon took actively part in it.

Kids at Rukira School

Our motos parked outside the school

Writing words on your neighbour's back

Teachers having fun.

Anna's first teacher training experience in Rwanda!

Children at Rukira School out at a break.

Jason teaching relay dictation.

"Hey! What are you guys doing in there?"
You two both have done an awesome job over the time of your stay in Ngoma District!!
Brilliant work guys!!!
I am so very pleased about it.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Sunday, 13 September 2009

The 'Great Football Giveaway' in Ngoma. Yehaa!!!!

Please note that VSO is in no way connected with or responsible for the content, comments and observations in this blog: these are solely my own in a personal capacity.

Hi all,
I hope you are all well. This week has been incredible busy with all sorts of events. I did run two work shops in quite far out areas and they were great fun, even though it was incredible hot in the classrooms and that can be quite challenging. The teachers were amazing and so interested in the different topics and always..... running the work shops just felt right and was a real pleasure.
Also, on Monday I received a phone call from Paul and Jason from 'The Great Football Give Away' who were on their way to Kibungo. You should check out their webside as it is really cool what they do and it would be great if you can support them in their future work.

A few hours later they did rock up with a car full of balls and camera gear and of we went to different schools and places in the Ngoma District.

We drove along the roads and when we saw kids playing with self made balls we stopped and supplied them with proper footballs or netballs.
Wouw...they eyes did light up and the kids were in between disbelieve and happiness. It was great to see them kicking of the proper balls and playing.
The nicest was to go to one field with heaps of kids and giving them balls. These children were just so happy and could not stop playing. I am definetely going back there and kick some balls, as I played myself for about 7 years.
The evening was great as we did have some good food and Mutzig and it was great to talk. Paul and Jason are two really interesting characters and totally open minded and king sized fun to hang out with. Yes....hi 'Billy and little sister'....Daddy was here in the middle of nowhere near Kibungo!!!!!!
On Tuesday we all had breakfast at my house and then they gave me a lift to one of my schools - that was Motorbike ride in the morning!!! When we arrived at the school Paul and Jason did give away loads of balls. It was great!
Rwandan discipline
Happy faces, kids being kids and just playing. But....what are they actually looking at...????
......ah....Jason is filming...the future football stars in 'Sake'.
Yes guys....this is a big 'Thank you' form the kids very close to the Burundian border to everybody who did support the 'Great Football Give Away'. These kids are playing with the balls you helped to buy.

The work shop was great even though I felt so tired after a very short night!!! As always we had a huge amount of pupils looking through the windows and trying to find out what is going on in the classrooms. The kids do love it when we sing songs or when I introduce games to the teachers.

On the way back I passed by the place were the others were. So I just jumped of the motor bike and enjoyed the rest of the day driving around with the others, bringing balls to the children and playing with them.
Children next to the football pitch.
Children playing football in the background. Some children have to take care of their little sibblings but they do enjoy watching the game.

Everybody from the area is coming and checking out the football field. This little girl looks very mailnutritient and I just hope for the people that the rain will start very soon!!!

Paul and Jason did leave a box full of balls with me and my plan is to go to really far out areas that you cannot reach with a car but just with a Motor bike and bring balls to the children that do live in the most disadvantaged areas.
Future football stars posing at the side of the road
It is getting dark and we are stopping along the road to play with children.The children are in disbelief about the ballsThis is probably the first time in their lifes that somebody gave a present to these kids. The life of children over here is so very different. That does not mean that they are more or less happy than children at home. It is just different and these kids really did appreciate the balls.
It will be great to go to the places where the children did receive balls and to supply balls to more areas and I am looking forward to play with the children in the middle of nowhere.
Thanks Jason and Paul, I had two great days with you and ...Sarah....send your husband to a free climbing course next time, as he almost fell down the hill while trying to bring the ball to some kids who we could not reach otherwise!!! He is a crazy, good hearted 'Muzungo'.
Jason and Paul slipping down hill.
' is actually a long way down and
....I know you are really keen on bringing those balls to the kids down there....
what about staying alive!!!'

On Wednesday Anna moved into the house and Jason moved nearby. It is great to have two more VSOs in Kibungo and they are incredible nice and it will be so much easier to work in a team! Great fun!!! That is a very happy 'ME'!!!!!!!!
Thursday was another work shop. It is cool, as I came past a school were Paul and Jasone were on Tuesday and I saw the kids playing with the balls and having fun. I just love it when they take their sandals of and play barefoot as that is better for kicking the ball and they can run faster.
Well....when I needed to run to the bus stop on Friday to catch the bus to Kigali....I did take of my shoes and did run bare it actually is ..... much easier!!! I guess I am becoming Rwandan.
Jambo Beach at Lake Muhazi

On Saturday Anna, Jason and I did travel to Lake Muhazi and had a really nice and relaxing time there.

Jason is really into birdwatching....
he did spot the most amazing eagle I ever saw in my life:

The week has been very busy but very good.
I hope that you are all well,
take care,
have a great week,
xxx Tina

Sunday, 6 September 2009

One year!!!

Please note that VSO is in no way connected with or responsible for the content, comments and observations in this blog: these are solely my own in a personal capacity.

Hi, it is the 6. of September and that means I did fly out exactly a year ago.

That was my plane: 21.20 to Addis Ababa
So many things have happened since then. Good things and bad things:
- meeting amazing people
- making good new friends
- working in a really rewarding job
- making all sorts of contacts with other NGOs, Unicef, etc....
- getting an understanding for sustainable development work
- running work shops
- working alongside teachers
- having fun lessons with the children
- riding on a motor bike taxi on the shittiest dirt roads in the middle of absolutely nowhere
- shopping on a market
- travelling Rwanda and Uganda
- learning from a nation that has gone through a Genocide
- seeing an incredibe beautiful country
- and so many more

and downs:
- being covered in rat poo and pee after trying to wash the draws where she lived in....thanks to
the water pressure everything splashed up on me
- having the biggest spider ever next to me, yes it had huge jaws and had legs like baby fingers
- experiencing an earth quake (5.2 on scale with its Epi Centre in the Kivu area)
- having flees and bedbugs and being bitten as there would not be a tomorrow
- having a broken door for 2 month and therefore having no door for two month
- having an invasion of about 100 bees (just yesterday)
- needing to fly home with a bad Kidney infection
- being hassled
- being mugged twice
- and.......a few other things

All of us are asking the same questions: Where has the year gone?????
This year has been incredible good, challenging, hard, amazing, bad, great, fascinating, rediculous, cool, sad, brilliant,..... and fast.
I am looking forward to hopefully doing my Masters in 'Development' in London from September next year on. I will see.
Take care,
xxx Tina

Friday, 4 September 2009

The rainy season started

The rainy season just started 5 minutes ago.

Please note that VSO is in no way connected with or responsible for the content, comments and observations in this blog: these are solely my own in a personal capacity.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

The Motorcycle Diary continues - Work shop in Bare and a chicken for lunch at Leandre's house

Please note that VSO is in no way connected with or responsible for the content, comments and observations in this blog: these are solely my own in a personal capacity.

I had a nice day training teachers from 10 different schools. I did train them before and it was great to see them again. I could not believe when we drove there that the old dodgy and bumpy dirt track road was actually a proper straight sand pist. What happened over the last 6 weeks. I actually did like the jump onto the old horrible road. Where is the adventure???? Well...for the Rwandan people I do appreciate the change. least it is still sandy and dusty. So here is the news from today:

Getting my gear ready in the morning. Material for the training, water, First Aid Kit, helmet......hmmm....everything there? Yeap, ready to go. Well forgot my purse today but there was nothing to buy anyway where I went and ....puuuuh....I could pay the motorbike in the afternoon.
Work shop in 'Bare' in Mutenderi. I like it here. This is just a part of the school. There are also a few much nicer buildings.
The kids were so funny and could not believe how many teachers were in one room. As always I did put the tables into groups and as always the teachers found that weird at the beginning but then enjoyed it during the day and understood the reasoning behind 'Sitting in a group'.
This work shop had the topic 'Spelling'. Here the teachers looked at a text in a school book and decided which words would be good to teach to their pupils. They had to think about important and less important words and how to actually choose the right words.
After work Leandre invited me to his house, where he lives with his family.
Washing hands before having food.I was very honoured as Leandre bought a chicken at the market and slaughtered it for me. He said it is very easy to kill them....and by now....I know, yes, you have to break its neck quickly and then cut it...... Hmmmmm, not really what I intend to do. I rather like somebody else to do that .... killing job....and then...enjoy the chicken. His Mum cooked the chicken and plantain and the food was amazing. Leandres fiancee was there as well and we had a great lunch.
I still cannot believe they prepared a chicken for me that was really an honour.
This is the field of Leandres MUM. No wonder that we had plantain.Feeding the pigs. Funny hungry creatures!!! Look how they are begging for food. You should have heard there loud squeaking!Leandre and his Mum. They are amazing people and Leandre really does anything to help me doing a good job. He belongs to the people in this country on whom I can totally relly. Getting ready for the journey back to Kibungo. It is just a quick jump, about 45 minutes with the motorbike.
xxx Tina