What's Hot
ideas, squibs, photos to:
What's new with us and the schools we assist in East Africa.
Click any red box ( . . . ) for more.
The Ed Schmidt Science Lab is in use at Gunga, writes Principal Okunya. The structure is complete, equipment is in place, and fittings are to be installed starting in January. Also, French - the other European language widely used in Africa - will now be taught there. On the national level the education news includes new measures put in place to ensure the integrity of exams. Schools are just now closed for the long December holidays.
News from Arusha, Tanzania
& Southwestern Kenya
Computer classes are going strong at Ngarenaro Girls in Arusha, Tanzania. The principal writes: "Hi Mr. Henry... Now we are nearing the end of the school year... I am very happy to inform you that we used the computers that came this year for the National examinations of our Form 4 students. We only had one session of the examinations as we had enough computers and plenty of room to set up all the computers. Thank you so very much for helping us with the computers, textbooks and even some of the expenses of the computer transfers from Dar. With best wishes... - Sister Mary Shobha" Focus on science at Ngarenaro. "Hi Mr. Henry. It was great hearing from you. Thank you for keeping in touch with us [about] lab equipment and... science books. The country also is geared to encouraging girls to be interested in maths and science subjects... The other day our girl students were the invited guests at the graduation of the nearby technical school. The very idea was to encourage the girls to be interested in technical studies which would involve the knowledge of Maths, Physics, Chemistry, etc. I would like to work on the spark of interest that some of the students who went to the technical school showed. They were even shown on national TV, which they themselves watched and were very pleased with themselves. Thank you for being instrumental in helping our young girls to be interested in maths and science. Maybe you can come and teach them some maths as well. Right now all the students have gone home for their long holidays. The school is almost silent as I send this message to you. I am looking forward to some relaxed time as well. With kind regards, hoping to hear from you again, Sr. Mary Shobha"
TEAA's EA-11 journey (2 weeks in June-July, 2011) will include a conference near Migori, Kenya, at the conference center founded by TEAA representative Peter Indalo and already slept in by TEAA travelers. Peter notes that "rains have come, the price of food has gone down, and the new Kenyan constitution offers hope of better governance. [The] tree planting project has planted over 600,000 seedlings, and courses in beekeeping and fish farming have been held in the conference center." - quoted from a recent progress report by Sue Rainey of the Charlottesville, VA-based African Development Project, a substantial funder of Peter's community development organization. Gunga has a new, highly motivated Board, writes principal Okunya Milton to TEAA-er Ed Schmidt. The school, near the Kenya shores of lake Victoria, had "a very successful book donation ceremony last month presided over by Peter Indalo. ... We used the occasion to tell everybody about you. Our library and reading project is doing wonderfully well, Mr Fred Otieno the master in charge is a good one, so dedicated and self driven. ... We have laid a foundation for a dormitory for girls. ... We are getting an American volunteer teacher for chemistry and physics next year, courtesy of the American Embassy. I feel at the top of the world at how next year is going to be."
We all remember Kenya's bitterly disputed election of late December, 2007, and the ensuing violence that lasted for months in 2008. The compromise then brokered by Kofi Annan included power-sharing and an agreement to come up with a new constitution. That constitution has been written and, as of this week, approved by the citizens. At right is a supporter of the victorious "Yes" choice decked out in symbolic green. Much has been written about the election and, equally important, the nature of that new governing document. Here is a sample:

Kenya gets new constitution, buries its demons with vote Daily Nation, Aug 5
Kenyans Approve New Constitution NY Times, Aug 5
Slideshow: Photos of the Election NY Times, Aug 5
Views of David Zarembka, Friends Peace Teams [forwarded by Ed Schmidt] AGLI, July 17
Why Kenya's referendum is important CNN World, August 2
Kenya constitution referendum puts confidence into Nairobi stock market Christian Science Monitor, Aug 5
JULY 2010
Computers reach Ngarenaro. Computer teacher Bernard Mlemeta has written to say "Thanks so much. We got all the P4 computers. We have interconnected them and have got internet to each of them. Thanks also for the printer and scanner and one switch which are working and are in good order. We are so much grateful for all this. We have now shifted into a new room which is bigger than the previous one. Thanks again and God bless you." The new room had already been planned and the timing with a World Computer Exchange shipment was perfect. Sad news comes from MacKay, whose computer teacher Martin Kigula was killed in the horrid bombing of World Cup watchers in Kampala. This senseless act has brought a huge loss to individuals and the nation and is mourned not only in Uganda but also a world away by the school's TEAA well-wishers. Martin has been cut down in his early years as he strove to do good things, and only because Uganda is virtuous enough to carry out the peace-minded mission of a united Africa. Our hearts go out to the MacKay community.
2011 Reunion(s)
NY-11 at Teachers College & EA11 in East Africa.
See why you should come. See who is coming.
Report on the TEAA Reading Project

Bill Jones, TEAA
"It was simply clear that the work that students and I did was more efficiently executed if students read. Readers, I came to see, actually make themselves writers. The idea is just to get students to turn pages and to enjoy doing so, just the way readers everywhere do."

- Bill Jones, in this TEAA report.
"There is no greater divide in life than the one between kids for whom the experience of learning to read is a painful or tedious one,... and those for whom the experiences of reading and writing are ... so intense as to offer a new life of their own."

- Adam Gopnik, in Angels and Ages
Single EA visa?   Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, along with Rwanda and Burundi "are nearing agreement to collapse their borders so that foreigners will need only one visa to travel to any of the five," collectively known as the East African Community. NY Times, July, 2 more.
JUNE 2010
What's a BoG? Kenya's "public secondary schools are administered by Boards of Governors appointed by the Minister [and] are responsible for the hire and remuneration of support and subordinate staff in public schools," states a 2008 article at KIM, the Kenya Institute of Management.

Also speaking of Kenya in 2008 a World Bank working paper on "Governance, Management, and Accountability in Secondary Education in Sub-Saharan Africa," noted that "board members are political appointees [who] report to District Education Offices, which are the most local level of the education ministry."

Some schools have told us that a board can play a useful liaison role for them in the community. The photo at right shows the Board at Gunga, a small school near Migori that TEAA has assisted with some lab equipment in recent years. That's our friend the principal, Okunya Milton, second from the right, standing.
Principal Kwayu writes (June 27): Dear Mr. Henry,     Hope this email finds you and TEAA members all well... [T]he funds for both chemisrty and English departments were received... We will let colleagues in these departments use the funds after 12th July [end of holidays] as intended, and as usual you will be informed. On behalf of the school Board and the whole community of Moringe Sokoine SS may I thank you and TEAA for this very important support to uplift the academic status of our school. Thank you so much!! Many greetings to Bill Jones and all the other TEAA members.     Sincerely, Kwayu. Earlier message
Dear Mr. Henry,     Shikamoo!! Greetings from our community to you and to all the TEAA members. We sincerely appreciate your support to Moringe Sokoine Secondary School. We will be keeping an eye on the arrival of these funds in our local bank and as usual we will keep you posted as well as making sure the money is used as intended. Once again we thank you and the grants committee of TEAA. Best regards, Kwayu.
Also see grants #106 and #107 and recent visit for photos with explanatory context.
Principal/Sister Shobha the principal of Ngarenaro writes:
Dear Henry,
    ... We got the money transferred to our account... Next week I will be going to get the text books... We have started our first term holidays from the 29th to July 4th when the students will come back to school. All the same, some of them will be around for extra classes. Thank you so very much for supporting us. Most gratefully, sister shobha
Always something new out of Africa, observed Pliny the Elder almost 2000 years ago. In East Africa the TEAA news is good (see items above and at left). More good news is the determination of a Maragoli-born author and gardener living in a Nairobi slum. On the down side, a virus is "ravaging cassava crops in a great swath around Lake Victoria."
MAY 2010
From southwestern Kenya, Okunya Milton, head of Gunga Secondary near Lake Victoria writes, to Ed:

It has been a long time but I do hope everything is OK and that everyone is doing fine. We are in the middle of a very cold season here and the rains are making havoc. Everybody is fine at school and we are working hard to fulfill our obligations.

The reading project is doing quite fine as well as the story writing activities. Only last week did we write essays to mark international free press week and national nutrition week. We were however late to mark Donkey day yesterday. Maybe we shall organize one later.

The rains have not done us very well. The other day the storm felled our kitchen and we are now in the process of reconstructing. Our roads are quite eroded and vehicles have raised their fares. We have constituted a new Board for the school with quite a number of new faces. We have also hired two new teachers this term. So far so good. Thanks and pass regards. -Okunya

Five recent TEAA grants involve all three countries.

Lunza Secondary near Butere, Kenya, has received funding books for recreational reading, textbooks and microscopes. Notre Dame SS Njiro, a recent start-up near Arusha, Tanzania is being funded for books across the curriculum.

MacKay College in Kampala is collaborating with us in a pilot project with the reusable feminine hygiene pad called Afri-pads with the goal is of improving young women's school attendance. Participants will pay for a fraction of the cost.

Ngarenaro in Arusha, Tanzania, TEAA has provided funding for textbooks principally in biology and chemistry and to some extent math and physics, as well as 10 reconditioned P4 computers arriving in June.

And coming soon: a strong infusion of chemistry laboratory equipment at Moringe Sokoine Secondary in Monduli, Tanzania, along with another recreational reading project.

Where we get computers: TEAA gets its computers from the World Computer Exchange whose volunteers gather and test working used computers. They ship in containers that hold 200 or 400 desktop computers. These shipments are divvied up at the port of entry and TEAA has taken anywhere from 10 to 80 of the computers in a shipment, most often providing 20 per school. Recently we shifted from P3-based computers to P4s. WCE has also provided some technical assistance to the schools.
APRIL 2010
Wild Carnivore Conservation: TEAA-er Mike Rainy participates in ecological studies and cooperative activity with his Maasai neighbors in Kajiado district of Kenya, south of Nairobi. A few days ago he invited a couple of us to join the Kenya lion and wild carnivore conservation forum on Facebook, saying: "Let's work for lions and other top carnivores now under grave threat here in Kenya. I honour the huge task by the wildlife professionals in KWS and the various conservation NGO's in Greater Amboseli and in the Mara and Samburu and the Tsavos and elsewhere." I joined and posted a comment. Mike has now written this: "Would be very grateful to you, Henry, if you could put the word out about this to our TEAA friends who taught in East Africa in the 1960s. Above all thanks for your quick response and support; it means a lot." lion
MARCH 2010
If it's MARCH, it's time to check the
TRIP blog
Pre-Trip Correspondence
  • Enoch Nandokha, TEAA rep in Bungoma Kenya. "You are most welcome to Kenya and to our house to stay as long as you wish. It is a pleasure." The elementary school he and his wife established six years ago is nearly complete. Anyone wishing to assist can contact Ed or Henry
  • Justus Masika, principal of Wamalwa Kijana, Bungoma, Kenya. "We are making very good use of the Lab apparatus and we are looking forward to your coming in March."
  • Tobias Wafula, computer teacher, Butonge, near Bungoma, Kenya. "Hi! We are ready to receive you." An update is promised on book ratios.
  • Peter Indalo, TEAA rep near Migori, Kenya. "Most welcome... Can I plan for you to visit Masai Mara with your friend... Since we have facilities for accommodation and meals we can donate this to schools we are supporting. I will ask all friends you have met in your previous visits to also come."
  • Jacqui Muka, daughter of head of Board of Governors, Lunza HS, Lunza, Kenya. "I will certainly pass your messsage on to Dad as soon as possible. It would be great meeting with you when you come out..."
  • Sister Mary Shaija, former principal of Ngarenaro, now head of Notre Dame SS, Njiro, both in Arusha, Tanzania. "I am so delighted to know that you will be visiting Arusha." She offers rides and includes requested bus information.
  • Ndesamburo Kwayu, principal of Moringe Sokoine, Monduli, Tanzania "We always appreciate TEAA visits to us. Welcome!!! We will share your e-mail with colleagues to see how we could accomodate you in our school routine of the date you plan to visit."
  • Fred Tukahirwa, Board of Governors, New Kabale, near Kampala. "The selected books for lower classes comprise short stories that students of Form 1 and 2 can find easy to read and hence read more and more, which is the purpose of recreational reading. The titles for the upper classes are novels."
  • Martyn Kigula, computer teacher, MacKay, near Kampala reports that the term is underway with beginning-of-term exams. Photos will be coming soon.

Roof and reading: "Finally we have a roof on the lab," writes an excited Principal Okunya from Gunga in southwestern Kenya. He also reports that ..."The reading project is going smoothly and Madam Lynnette is in charge. She has recommended that we buy more books because even the teachers are now keen on reading the books. The other day I found one of our school watchmen reading The River Between and though I reprimanded him as was expected, I was happy that the reading project will not just impact the students but the larger school community. Who knows, in the future we may also develop a library that serves the community."
Press Reports Then & Now
1964: Dennis Chanter, British TEA with colleagues from Wave 4B and the Director General for Technical Cooperation appeared in this photo in the Times (London). In correspondence with Ed in 2008, Dennis wrote: "I found [the photo] among my father's effects a few years ago, after he died. I think I'm the one the back of whose head is in the bottom left of the picture." 2010: Pat Gill, TEAA Grants Chair, is a public figure for her civic work in the famous Florida city where she resides. Now the St. Augustine Record has reported on her activities in Uganda, most recently a program to provide pregnant goats as a source of milk for families raising orphans. The article and its continuation also feature substantial coverage of current TEAA school assistance.
Book-lists are available! Schools seeking suitable books for an independent recreational reading project are invited and encouraged to look at each of two lists created by members of TEAA. On the home page you can roll your cursor over "What's Cool" and you'll be able to click on them. Or, right here you can click on Student Books 1 (a list by Kate Parry) or Student Books 2 (a list by Clive Lovelock).
Good wishes from a friend of TEAA
Peter Indalo
TEAA representative for Southwestern Kenya
Dear Henry and All TEAA.

May I on behalf of all the teachers, parents, students and schools you have been supporting, wish you, members of TEAA, a happy and prosperous 2010.

The forming of TEAA was indeed a noble idea. Your solidarity, commitments and efforts in expanding TEAA activities and looking for both financial as well as material resources has with the years benefited many schools in Eastern Africa, a region where many of you served in the sixties. We want to thank you for caring, supporting and improving our school for the academic excellences of our children. In doing this you are indeed being in solidarity with us in developing our human resource for the benefit of the entire universe.  →→
If President Kennedy and Tom Mboya of Kenya had not thought of airlifting students from Kenya to USA, indeed Obama would have not been born and Africa would have had up to now no woman Nobel winner with the name of Prof. Wangari Maathai, a product of President Kennedy and Mboya, two gentlemen who were both killed. I wish to say that you may doubt the little dollar you are putting into this work as some of you are retired men and women, but I want to assure you and God knows one day it will come to light that you did a great service to all of us.

May God indeed bless your work this year, support your families and friends working with you, and give you good health this year 2010. HAPPY NEW YEAR. - Peter Indalo
The TEAA Independent Recreational Reading Project arose during a school-visiting trip in 2008, as Bill Jones proposed the idea to every principal and language teacher we saw. He writes: "The goal is to develop a lifelong habit that has immediate benefits [by developing] intuitions that are crucial to language learning [but] are routinely stunted in the press of test-driven instruction that characterizes language teaching in East Africa." → → With Kate Parry's assistance in creating a sample book list, with Bill's encouragement and coaching about how such a project can function, and with TEAA funding, several schools have now agreed to participate and a couple have reported enthusiastically that their entire school community is enjoying this initiative. Click to see Bill's report and his guide for teachers on how to start such a program.
Country Hits: This website had a good December, with 292 visits from 24 countries, including 31 from the UK and 16 from East Africa. more
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