Rotary trip to East Africa includes schools, water, and agricultural projects

I went on a two week trip to East Africa with the Rotary Club of Evergreen, Colorado. I was essentially just going along. That club has several school, water, sanitation, agricultural projects going on there. So the trip was to look at existing projects, meet local Rotarians, and look at other prospective projects for their club and also to give our club an idea of what we might investigate in East Africa. We visited Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania. I wish that I had been able to take more dictionaries with me, but finally only took eleven.

The typical curriculum in these countries is to teach in their native language through the third grade. Teaching in English begins in the 4th grade. So the children are not prepared for an English dictionary in 3rd grade.

The first school we saw was a K-12 Catholic school, St. Denis, near Makondo, Uganda. I left four books there.

I left three books at an elementary school near Mungao, Kenya. The next schools we visited were girls’ secondary schools in Tanzania. The first was a girls’ school near Arusha, Tanzania, then we traveled about forty miles through some pretty intimidating desert to Monduli. This is the nomadic tribal country of the Maasae (Masai).   We visited a very impressive school there. The Maasae Girls Lutheran Secondary School has overcome the traditions of girls not being schooled. It is quite a project to have the girls leave their families to live and attend at this boarding school but they are amazingly successful. This school has made a huge impact. This age group (teens) seemed to be the most appropriate time for the children in East Africa to receive the dictionaries. There is some lingering linguistic spelling and pronunciation from the British colonial days when is was British East Africa. But typically, the teachers don’t worry about that and are just delighted with any dictionaries.

Typically, the public schools are poor, and the enrollment is low. But is improving each year. It may be close to 65% now.

There are many NGOs active in Africa and doing a great job with schools.