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MAY 2015
Join us!!
in Minneapolis, August 28-31

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Click  photo  to see
TEA teacher Charles Good and Form 3 students
of Lubiri SS in Mmengo, Kampala, 1963.
MARCH 2015
Transition at Nkoaranga

New Headmaster Ombeni Ndosi extends seasonal greetings and his thanks "for the donation you made to our school for science books. I assure to use those books for the intended goal. I will write to you soon to share with you my plans in Nkoaranga Secondary after retirement of Mama Mbise. I wish you the best in this Easter."
Ombeni Ndosi
School Headmaster

Founding and Long-Time Headmistress Margaret Mbise writes, "Thank you for the trust you have in me and the Nkoaranga staff. I am now happily enjoying time with my family. My home is only 2km from Nkoaranga School so whenever necessary I can meet the new principal especially on issues pertaining to partnership with my (school) friends and donors.

"The money was used to purchase more science and business education books as the receipts show. I inspected the books last week and took photos. I thank all members of TEAA for the support. Students and teachers are making the books useful in English improvement and science learning skills. In the new education policy of our country science is one of the priorities and so each secondary school must have 3 working laboratories, .. for Biology, .. Chemistry and .. Physics. Nkoaranga has only one working laboratory which is shared by all science teachers. We have 2 other rooms earmarked for laboratories. The challenge here is furniture, heating and sewage systems, and laboratory equipment.

"Regardless of my retirement, I still think of the improvement of Nkoaranga Secondary School. When you visit Tanzania again, I would very much like to meet you at the school. Let us keep in touch. May God bless you and all the group of Teachers for East Africa Alumni. Yours faithfully, Margaret Mbise."
Trying to think of a cool birthday present? Resourceful Bill Cahill thought of giving indomitable Pat Gill, for her 80th, a donation in her honor to TEAA. Thanks, Bill! Happy birthday, Pat!!

Also heard from...
If on a snowy day a Traveler made his way from Massachusets to New York and if that traveler was TEAA's own Brooks Goddard, then might we learn that he had "been away, away in the Big Apple (where I [he] revisited my new favorite small museum in NYC, The Rubin Museum of Art on 17th Street which highlights the Buddhist art of the Himalaya region. More tempting than the exhibits is the aura of calm that pervades the museum, its lovely restaurant, and absolutely charming gift shop. I also visited my favorite big museum of NYC, the American Museum of Natural History where Akeley Hall of African Mammals outshines any competition.)." Worcester, MA, with 92 inches topped the snow charts as of February 12. TEAA-er George Pollock, the indomitable snow man, writes: "Playing in the snow. Making a snowman. What happened to winter fun? A natural disaster of epic proportions happened, that's what. It is serious, deadly serious -- actually the Winter from Hell. So we have a choice: let the devil win or ... teach him a thing or two."  more 
Equatorially warm Tanzania has also been heard from this week. Joseph Mwanisawa, head of the chemistry department at Moringe Sokoine SS and a gifted classroom communicator, created and sent to me a ppt file with text, photos and decorations about my recent "incredible tour" of his school, generously commenting on one of the photos of me, that "You could feel his enthusiasm from critical thoughtful questions [and comments on] the virtue of logic in science and mathematics."
Wenzi wa TEAA! As morning, January 6, brings our first snow here in the mid-Atlantic, the New York Times brings this  video  urging us to look to our own country as we seek to improve the world.
For East Africans and TEAAers alike,
what better way to start the New Year
than to contemplate, with Bill Jones,
East African art from long ago.

Elimo Njau's murals, five in number, depicting the life of Christ unfolding in a single day, have been on the walls of the Saint James and All Martyrs Memorial Cathedral in Murang'a in Kenya's Central Province since 1959, but I hazard that not many Teachers for East Africa alumni, present in East Africa from 1961 to 1967 and there on at least two reunion trips, have ever seen them. Short of bucket-list trips, that will likely remain the hard reality. However, the purchase of the recently published The Murang'a Murals, edited by Harold F. Miller and available from Amazon.com and other retail outlets can provide intellectual journeying that offers considerable satisfaction.

The book is a visual gem. The murals are reproduced throughout with sharp brightness. The power of their continuity and connection, to illustrate the unfolding of Christ's life in a single day, is best experienced looking at the mural sequence in the last pages. There, the use of colors on the right of panels one to four is extended to the left in each following panel. That visual device, along with a related right-left extension of elements designtrees, rock paths, formationsplayed against a darkening sky, are formal features that both serve as partial testimony to Njau's power as a visual artist.

Seven essays and a poem in five parts extend the book's power. Four essays specifically contextualize the circumstances that led to the execution of the murals. Politics in relation to Christian religiosity, societally and as they figure in Njau's own life are central here. The murals were commissioned, in the words of the introduction, "in 1956, at the height of Kenya's Mau Mau's war of independence. . . .[and c]reated over a period of several months during the year of 1959. . ." From additional commentary emerges descriptions of the art scene in East Africa, especially in Kampala and Niarobi in the early sixties, evoking the circumstances that led to the founding of Transition magazine in Kampala, and the short-lived Chemchemi Cultural Center and Paa ya Paa, Njau's art center, both in Nairobi. The fateful fire that damaged Paa ya Paa in Ridgeways, a Nairobi suburb 1997, consumed the results of some thirty-five years of collecting what amounted to a significant store of the visual history of contemporary art in East Africa. What East African intellectuals and old-hand expatriates, most with a current presence in East Africa, offer on these matters makes for satisfying, informative reading.

There is much to recommend your purchasing The Murang'a Murals. At a cost of less than fifteen dollars, it is an outstanding value indeed.
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