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Great Malvern Primary School

Working together for success

Tanzania 2019

A brief tour around the outside of MartinShamba Primary School

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Friday afternoon and all the children have gone home. This is a brief walk around to show you the layout.



We can't believe how quickly the week has gone but what an amazing time we have had. Today we walked to the local market and chose okra, potatoes, peas, coconut, bananas, garlic and bananas and we took it back to school for lunch. It was an  great experience. After the children had gone home we helped to prepare and cook everything. They used a gas stove, a charcoal fire and a wood fire outside for the rice. We had fish, meat and vegetable curry and matebelle which is the vegetable we planted in the garden.


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On the way to school we were invited to see the local high school that has a new link with The Chase, it was quite an experience particularly as we had to walk on stepping stones to get over the puddles ! Lots of children were having to wait to go to class because they couldn't get to them until the puddles went down. It was a very old building and in much need of renovation but it still had the 2nd best exam results last year in the whole of Tanzania. 

We gave S1 & S2 the alphabet and number friezes that we bought over from Great Malvern and they were delighted with them. 


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Ugi was served at 10:30 this morning and 2 children came and borrowed mugs from the stack we had bought (and yes they did bring them backπŸ‘).

It continued to rain for most of the morning  but finally the sun came out and the puddles all dried up.  

After we had said good bye to all the children we finished preparing all the vegetables, fish and meat for our celebration lunch. It was a lovely end to an amazing week and a stunning meal. Everyone has been so welcoming and friendly, just like an extended family. It was quite an emotional lunchtime. 

After lots of thank you's and good bye's to children and staff we waved a final goodbye knowing that we have deepened the bond between the two schools and made new friends too. 


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Today the heavens opened while we were eating breakfast and it poured with rain. We were also joined by a monkey ! By the time we arrived at school the rain had lessened but there were puddles everywhere and so hot ! 


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The rain had stopped by the time we went to a S6 maths lesson taught by David. He gave out the compasses and protractors for the lesson so that they now have at least 1 between 2. The children were asked to draw a circle and then show an angle of 30 degrees ensuring  they measured from the centre of the circle, they also used the protractor as a ruler. They found drawing a circle with a compass challenging but with a bit of support from 2 able TA's (myself and Miss Bouton!) they got the hang of angles. It started to pour with rain again so the classroom became very dark and it was difficult to read the angles. 

David was very pleased with his laptop this morning, as you can see from his smile πŸ˜ƒ
With the money raised at school we have bought enough pencils for every child to have a new one and some exercise books for the children without them. We also bought a large box of chalk for all the teachers.

The fence is finished  πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ

it looks amazing, we are so pleased and David is delighted.

All the cementing has been done and the fence is now completely joined up with the old one. So the children cannot jump over the ditch anymore. The community have also been to say thank you, they are very grateful that their children are safe. 

We were with reception when they had Ugi today and quite a few didn't have a cup but they didn't miss out because they wash them and share them. Miss Bouston and I are going to leave a box of spare cups to help out with this situation so that they all have Ugi together. David will also have a box of spare cups in his office too for other children who forget their cup.

In between the rain we managed to do some gardening, preparing a small raised bed for seeds grown in another bed, it is a popular vegetable that we planted and David says it will be ready to harvest and eat in about 6 weeks.

There was an inspection in school today where the education office first spoke to the teachers and then all of the children. Any complaints they have about the teachers are fed back to David. They also discussed how to help the community to keep the children safe. One lady was talking to the children about what to do if they treated badly at home.

Two classes of children were let out of class to FaceTime Great Malvern today and went chasing down the path to gather under the trees.


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While we waited the children enjoyed playtime πŸ˜ƒ


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David picked us up at 8am this morning and we ere delighted to see that all the fence posts were in and the fencing itself was going up. Really good progress. This is going to make such a difference to the children's safety because when it rains the ditch just outside the school boundary floods. Just a few weeks ago a 7 year girl went out of class to go to the toilet and decided to go home by going over the ditch and fell in ! A passerby saw what happened and pulled her out ! So the community want the fence as much as David does. Later in the day S5 helped with the fence too by collecting water to mix the aggregate, sand and water to put at the base of the fence to make fence secure. They were very strong to carry the large containers so we gave them some sweets for their hard work.


Today we saw a lesson on subtraction in S2 where they used bottle tops and old pencils instead of counters to help them. Miss Bouston said she had the same objective the week before she left. We were delighted that we could help the children as there as so many in each class. There are approximately 850 children in MartinShamba - roughly 120 children per class. 


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We were then shown into S3 where I was given the chalk and asked to teach them the days of the week (no preparation!)  After we joined the Nursery children, you have to take your shoes off as they have a carpet ! They sang some songs and we did some circle games with them. 

Ugi was served to all the children @ 10:45. David found 1 little girl crying just after it had been served because someone had taken her cup. They have to have their own cup to have Ugi and she missed out. David sent the girl home and said he would find her cup tomorrow. 

We spent a little bit of time at Chumbageni today where we saw same gymnastics from another Primary School that has just joined the project called Change PS - Miss Bouston said it was a gymnastic coaches nightmare for safety! All the children were about to go home for lunch but were so friendly and keen to say hello and they even sang us a song.



In September David started adult classes for women using the nursery space from 2pm -  6pm where a teacher comes from the secondary school to teach them Maths and English. While we waiting to see this session a few local children came to play on the park, word spread and then we were very popular ! It was fun being able to push the children on the swings and they loved it too. So many happy faces (including ours)


Now we have sorted out a phone card we will arrange a time to FaceTime from the school tomorrow. 



We were up early today for breakfast. David met us at 7:30 to take us into school so that we could attend assembly. Again all the children's smiles show how pleased they are to see us and the singing is outstanding, quite brings a tear to your eyes.

Assembly Tuesday morning


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All the materials have arrived for the fence and work is already underway. So exciting to hopefully see the project through from buying the materials yesterday to see the fence up on Friday (🀞that is what David is hoping).

Fence posts have arrived and work has begun

The garden is flourishing with all sorts of different plants. They sell 5 okra for 500 shillings and 1 plant can give up up to 50 okra - they profits buy new seeds if needed and are going towards a new toilet block (1 for staff and 2 for nursery)

Kingo invited us to join him for a grammar lesson and the opportunity to introduce his children to a few Brain Gym ideas.

Then we left to attend the British Council celebration, all the schools gathered to promote "Connecting Classrooms" at nearby Majani Mapana Primary School. All the schools in the link were represented as well as British Council workers from Tanzania and U.K. The British Council cluster commented that this cluster of schools is particularly good at showcasing good practice. 


We took part in several activities that joined us all up together and it modelled that these global links educate all of us but mostly our children that they can help solve global problems by becoming more aware. 


We were up bright and early for breakfast and had breakfast in a lovely setting before David picked us up to go to the council office to be formally welcomed into Tanga schools.

It was so exciting to be greeted by all the children who were clearly happy to see us. David showed us the kitchen that had 2 big pots of Ugi bubbling. It was very hot and smokey. We then went to see where the new fence which is booked to start work on tomorrow after we had been to buy all the materials. We were introduced to the children in the nursery, they were very curious about our iPad! Their learning room was lovely bright and colourful and it was great to see English months of the year on the wall for them to start learning! 


The children from standard 3-6 greeted us with singing and dancing and the most beautiful smiles. Everyone seems really happy in school. Lunch with the staff was lovely as we met old friends and made new ones. 


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Ugi being prepared

After the bank we went to buy the fencing, we needed 76 metres -so we bought 8 rolls which cost 80,0000 shillings and 25 posts each one costing 35000 shillings each. So how much did we spend? They start building tomorrow, so each day we will update you on the progress.

Buying the fencing and posts today

The last thing we did with David today was to go and buy fabric, there was so much choice and wonderful colours. We then went to the tailor and we were measured for our outfits that should be ready on Wednesday.


After Tanga time with you (have your questions ready ) we are going to Halifa's house for dinner. We are looking forward to meeting his family. 


Don't forget to send all your questions and we will do our best to answer them live or find out and tweet a reply later. 

Off to the tailor πŸ˜ƒ

Our fascinating journey up to Tanga

Arriving in Tanzania

Sunday morning


8am and we are all loaded and off on our journey to Tanga. It has been raining very hard but is also very humid, we are going to be grateful for the air conditioning!

There is a general buzz and feeling of excitement from the group.


The journey from Birmingham was long but we all arrived safe and with all the luggage and presents. We changed some money at the bank, which gave us loads of rather dirty notes more like Monopoly money. David was waiting outside the airport (which has been recently built and looks more like an international airport than the old terminal) for us with his usual smile πŸ˜ƒ Loading all the luggage through the window was a simple task and effective way to get us all on the road.


Dar A Salam was busy and chaotic (and it is early Sunday morning!) Lots of boys playing football in the street, many groups going to church and sharing big umbrellas.

The market stalls are being set up as we head out of the city and it continues to rain β˜”οΈ Some of the streets are running with water, just like home but muddier.

What is really interesting is that there is a lot of building going on, buildings and roads. The stalls are selling everything from bananas and clothes to pots and single shoes. Beds also seem to be very popular!


As we head out of the city, the sky is beginning to clear and it is greener with more animals evident but the market stalls are still the same and lots of muddy puddles.


As we stop at the lights people rush to the bus trying to sell us crisps, nuts, eggs and water. One was even allowed to board the bus to sell cashew nuts. 


The flooded fields and muddy ground show how much rain has fallen recently and it isn't like the Tanzania I saw 5 years ago but it does make the scenery very green and lush. As we pass through the small villages on route we see everyone going about their usual Sunday chores by the roadside of washing, collecting water, cooking and basket weaving. The larger villages show a greater diversity.


Sunday evening


We arrived in Tanga at around 3pm and were met by Kingo and teachers from some of the other schools. It felt like a meeting of friends and family for a celebration. And yes the rain has stopped. We all enjoyed a lovely meal together and then a quiet night before the week in school begins πŸ˜ƒ

Our next visit to Martinshamba School in Tanga, Tanzania, takes place between 18th and 25th October 2019, when Mr Hansen, Mrs Smout and Miss Bouston will be travelling over to work in the school.  The daily blog of the visit will be hosted on this page and Twitter will be used to communicate with classes back in school.

This year, we have been awarded a British Council Connecting Classrooms grant to fund this partnership.