24 January. So How Long is 5 minutes REALLY???!

Friday completed a very hectic 2nd week at SEGA. A productive staff meeting during the afternoon sorted out some of the pressures I had encountered. Hopefully next week will find me with time to get ‘organised’!
The realisation at 4.30pm that the last bus leaving Morogoro to Dodoma was at 5pm saw Polly and I racing from SEGA to whitiehouse/redgate for me to pack my bag in 2 minutes flat and arrive at the bus depot in time to board this final bus. Thanks Polly and Mchuwa for your help! After ½ hour wait I asked what time we were leaving.
“5 minutes”......This was nearly accurate.  However, we exited the bus depot, pulled into the service station, to leave ½ hour later! So 6pm I was on my way to Dodoma. At 9.30pm, after a safe moonlit journey, I arrived and was collected by Steve (taxi) then transported safely to Renee’s.  A friendly face and a home cooked dinner......I loved it!
Early Saturday, in the cool of the day we walked the 3km into town, leisurely shopped the sokoni (far more peaceful than at Morogoro), visited the tailor, bumped into friends and were home by midday.... calm, cool and peaceful.
Our relaxed arvo was completed by cooking dinner and fresh bread then sharing it that night with Mya and Kate.

We laughed our way through the card game: Cow Swap! Sue had called in earlier in the evening for a chat and a drink.
Sunday morning was relaxed as Renee and I chatted and drank copious cups of tea. Asante sana rafiki yangu.
Hoping to leave Dodo at 1 pm, I arrived early enough to get on a bus leaving around then. In fact, they had said it was leaving in 5 minutes when I bought my ticket. I made myself comfy at the window seat with the breeze and postioned on the shady side = All was good!
At 1.45 the bus almost left the depot then stopped....at 2.30 I asked when were we leaving.
 “In 5 minutes”
Between 2-3pm, Evie and the girls rang...Asante sana! You kept me sane!
3pm came; an announcement was made which resulted in an uproar. People stood up and got off the bus. No one onboard could tell me in English what was going on! The angry crowd stormed into the ticket office, and then this crowd poured out and back to the bus. People were angrily shouting as they crowded around the two bus conductors. Fists were shaken, voices raised, lots of pushing and shoving resulted, but fortunately no punches were thrown! Initially I had stayed on the bus with a handful of others. When they alighted, I had followed, but when a fight was imminent, I quickly got back on board! Eventually we were told that a refund would be given. Okay....I had to quickly find another bus...
”When is it leaving?”
“5 minutes...Saa tisa nanusu (3.30pm)”
Okay! I climbed on board.
Half an hour later we nearly left......another 15 minutes we actually left....only to pull into the petrol station!.....15 mins later we were on the road. 17 stops later (to load and unload people and luggage), saa kumi nanusu 4.30pm and I finally said  ”Kwaheri Dodoma”!
So ...How long did it take to get home?
Obviously 5 MINUTES!
The reason I needed to leave Dodoma at 1pm was to get off at SEGA....walk the 2km track and spend the evening with the girls. Elena and Camilla had slept Saturday night and I was to join them for their 2nd night sleepover! Unfortunately I was 5minutes late getting to the SEGA track! It was too dark to walk it alone so I had to travel into Kihonda, arriving at 8.30pm, and spend the night alone at home!

20th January...

HONGERA GT.....Hope your day was FRANTASTIC!!

We have 9 periods in our school day...Today I was rostered on to teach 11! Thank you Elena and Camilla for being there!

Lots of things happening getting ready for the inspectors to visit....
Getting to know the NFE girls.....lots of laughs ..... the universal language! The best part of my day was after lunch when some Form2 girls were word processing their SEGA brochures and others were hungrily devouring the new story books! Such a nice way to end a very hectic day!

 just loving it!...
 Noting the unkown words before researching their meaning.

 at peace...

 pure delight and intrigue...

 Wali soma penda vitabu!
They loved reading the books!

Wednesday 19 January.

Heri ya siku ya kuzaliwa sana. Hongera mwanamke nzuri sana yangu! Wishing you a very Happy birthday. Congratulations my very beautiful girl!
This day was so unpredictable! Nothing unfolded as was planned....but then, that's pretty much what it's like over here! I had chosen to wait and go to school on the second staff pick up with Elena and Camilla this morning however due to lots of things happening, Peter was detained, however we finally got a lift with Polly. 
Liza and Robin, visitors from USA and friends of Polly's family, were visiting the school. They had arrived yesterday and were warmly welcomed by the SEGA girls performance of the visitors song/dance. This was followed by a guided tour from many of the girls eager to escort them around the SEGA environment. They are beautiful women, in their senior years, with an amazing amount of wisdom between them. They certainly delighted all of us during their brief visit.
Arriving at school together this morning, we were greeted by The Form 1 & 2 girls who were eagerly awaiting the arrival of the new girls. The Non Formal Entry (NFE) girls arrived at around 11 am. So much excitement, song, dance, introductions, greetings, assigning a Form 1 to a new girl ...followed by the casual guided tour and getting to know time!
 Salome, Headmistress, addressing the assembly

 Form 1 & 2 meeting the Non Formal new girls.
 Yustina, our Head girl, greeting the NFE girls.

 Nervous introductions by the NFE girls!
Introductions reciprocated!
 Polly's welcome.....mostly spoken in Kiswahili!
 Polly & Salome
 Steven Soliyambingu, Geography and History teacher.
 Noah, an Askari, introducing himself.
 Bonding from the very start....Proud Polly witnessing all.

 Warda and me....Warda is a new Form 1 student to whom I have warmed immediately. She has a cheeky but sincere personality......and a good command of English!!
 So much happiness.
 Whilst the Form 1 and NFE's were engaged in this activity, Liza, Robin, Elena Camilla and I took the Form 2 English class. Our visitors were again warmly welcomed and the lesson began........
The plan was to read THE CAT AND THE HAT by DR SEUSS......but as I spoke to the girls I realised that they were a bit distracted.....
They were trying to get me to look at the blackboard which had a beautiful message for Gemma's 27th birthday. It took me by surprise and brought me to tears. I was so touched by their thoughtfulness and their love for her. Gem.....You really have to meet these girls one day because they all love you dearly!
Elena and Camilla read beautifully. We wove the story into our theme of 'Communication' and used it as a prelude to introducing our Library which has been swollen with an abundance of beautiful  books... Thanks Margie Perse. I am looking forward to our girls being able to choose a variety of stories from our growing shelves. 
If any of you out there have books gathering dust....I know some girls who are very keen to expand their knowledge and wisdom through reading and would love to get their hands on them!
A sick student......a trip to town.....to the Health clinic.....my first experience in this arena.... needing to use every bit of Kiswahili I could find..... outcome was good......put it down to experience!
I had planned to help Elena and Camilla tick another thing to do before they leave, off their list by taking them to Ricky's cafe for an ice cream to celebrate Gem's birthday. When we finally arrived, it was closing!....so we had to go around the corner to Oasis instead. We had planned to have a Blossun cocktail as the name was almost BLOSS.....but they dont serve cocktails until 7pm and it was only just after 5pm....(Jules, I tried to tell them that it was Cocktail o'clock somewhere in the world...to no avail!) ....So we settle for milkshakes and a Tusker baridi sana! 
Whilst we were celebrating Gem's day, she rang! I had tried in vain, to ring her during the past few days and was so excited to be able to hear her voice and know that she was having a ball in Namibia. 
Cheers Bloss!



Sunday 15 January.

Sunday became one of those days I prefer to forget. Silly things kept going wrong and in my fruitless effort to get organised for school, I hardly left the house.....which always spells disaster for me!!! I should have gone to SEGA with the 2 girls!!
My stroll to the end of the track to get some cold KIli’s for us to share invigorated me slightly but the dark house which greeted me on my return was depressing.
.....Today I came home determined to get some sport/'activity for me' into my routine!

Pool closed for cleaning!

Oh Well......The walk was great!

Saturday 14 January. A trip to the Vet

It was time for Kahawa to get his shots! Good health for all of us is essential. But....WHERE was the Vet and HOW could we get Kehawa there??? After a lot of confusion and several attempts to solve this predicament (complicated by the arrival of the fundi who was organised to put screens and covers on our many unprotected windows), Peter, SEGA’s driver drove us all into town. Camilla sat in the front, as the proud Mum taking her baby on its first outing. Kehawa sat squashed into the shopping basket, his head peeping over the top. We were all excited but I was happy mainly because I was VERY keen to get these vaccination happening! Elena and Camilla had volunteered to take Kehawa to the Vet. They responded with typical parental emotion to Kehawa’s discomfort and crying!

Renee and I delighted in shopping the sokoni and Pira’s Cash and Carry (supermarket) before meeting the crew travelling Dar/Dodoma for lunch at Ricky’s Cafe. I hadn’t seen Liesbeth and Frederique since their return from South Africa in the New Year. With them travelled Fredrique’s parents from Holland who are staying in Tz for 2 weeks. It is always a pleasure meeting Vols family members.

Wikiendi jana.....Last weekend!

This last weekend just came and went so quickly! By Friday my brain was overloaded. I had been able to get into town on Thursday as Salomé and I had to register our photos to enable us to collect parcels for SEGA’s PO Box (Please send care packages as I now know they do arrive..!)
Pole sana Polly! We had to abandon her on the side of Dodoma Rd due to her Ravs motor overheating, and catch a daladala instead. Fortunately, serious damage was avoided (no heart transplant needed like my poor old Trav!!)
I paid a much needed visit to the stationary shop, collected overdue supplies and proceeded to get organised.
No plastic pocket....No reinforced A4 folder paper....Oh Well.... a hole punch did help!
I was very happy to see Renee arrive Friday evening. Her holiday in Ethiopia had ended so she was returning to Dodoma from Dr. I knew then that I could unwind and relax. With her arrival the skies opened up!

Nearly an hour later we gingerly stepped our way along the dirt track to Dodoma Rd. Our track had turned into a soggy slippery mess and more than once nearly claimed our flimsy leather sandals! I decided I was safer barefooted. Much laughter was had by both ourselves and the locals bemused by our antics as they cleaned the water and mud out from their dukas.

Before we ate our much longed for Indian food at Oasis, we successfully messed their washroom sink trying to restore cleanliness!! Elena and Camilla’s wish to eat Chicken Tikka Masala one last time at Oasis before they leave, had been granted!

Week 2 @ SEGA

I am sitting on my bed safe from the mosquitoes writing by the light of my headlight. Yet again we are without power! This is becoming a regular occurrence as it was during the weeks leading up to December. Power goes off @ sunset and probably comes back on again around midnight. I’m not too sure on this but it’s usually on again by breakfast at 6.30am! When we realise it’s probably going to happen it’s not an issue as electrics can be charged ahead of time and candles/lights/torches are in supply (Thanks GT!) However, today I had used Kelly at school and hadn’t kept her charged. After returning from the pool (the swim we didn’t have because the pool was closed for cleaning!) power was off....so no Kelly tonight!
School has begun for the second week with the addition of a new Commerce/Book Keeping teacher Mija Abdul Mcujwa. Having just graduated from Dodoma Uni, he is a keen, friendly and welcome addition to the teaching staff.
The start of a school year, regardless of the school is always hectic....the challenges for me mainly involve being effective in communication with both the students and staff and adjusting to the differences in the pace of getting things done! All the staff this year are enthusiastic. We have shared a lot of laughter so far which augers for a cohesive year ahead although I still keep thinking “Next year must be easier than now!”
I am really lucky to still have Elena and Camilla working with me. They continue to be energetic and productive. Some of their energy is being channelled into preparing for their 6 weeks in India. Great work girls.

Karibu. Welcome.

Peter our driver had done the rounds of collecting all the staff and squashed all 6 people into the little Suzuki made to travel 4 people max!! We arrived safely at SEGA to find the girls busily cleaning their school environment and preparing for the start of term. Some girls slashed the long grass; others cleaned the classrooms and relocated equipment to its rightful place.The school was a hive of activity.

After morning tea break we assembled in the new canteen bunda. Form 1 and Form 2, dressed in full school uniform, all the teaching staff and Polly enjoyed formally welcoming the new year by singing the national and school anthems and sharing words of wisdom and hope.....All this was done in Kiswahili....even Polly's talk...very impressive Polly.....(the only address done in English was mine!!....maybe next year there might be a few Kiswahili sentences!! Atleast I was able to understand some of the speeches and I sang along with the anthems...not a bad start really!)
It was a friendly, welcoming assembly followed by a productive afternoon of planning and preparation, catching up with the girls and sharing the excitement of the Form 1's exploring their dormitory.
I climbed onto the top bunk in the middle of their dorm and each girl was sitting on their own bed waiting for me to acknowledge them and their bed which defined their own space at SEGA....Their huge smiles filled their beautiful faces. I had to climb nearly every bunk and share their excitement. It was so contagious. I am really looking forward to being with all of them this year. The Form 2's are also excited to have the new girls living on site with them.

 Elena and Polly with the Form 1 Girls
 Form 1's collecting linen for their Dormitory
 Blue blankets....yes the nights do get cool!



....Well, atleast 2010 birthday and Xmas came!
The snails delivered 10 parcels and lots of letters....the backlog of mail which had been waiting for collection since early December but noone had been around to go to the Posta!!
Peter, our driver, delivered them to school just before he took us home. I was sooooo excited but waited until I was safely inside the gate, changed into non-school clothes, had made a pot of coffee and settled myself in my favourite outdoor chair in the best afternoon shadey spot before I allowed myself the delight of opening each item....slowly, savouring each moment and bursting into tears as each wonderfully exciting piece of home was revealed!
.....AND MY DEAR DARLING FAMILY for the treasures and the excitement you endowed me with!

I spent the next hour pouring over my loot...especially The Y-Worry rag (an annual chronicle detailing our families' monthly adventures) through happy/emotional/homesick tears....I sent texts to Mum and some of my family and friends... then realised that it was the middle of the night in Australia....Pole sana... So sorry for waking you up but THANKS heaps for your responses and....................

THANKS MUM for getting out of bed....booting up your computer and waiting patiently for Skype to allow you to connect and consequently allow me to share my excitement with you. Your phone call was so valued as I was feeling very homesick at that exact moment you rang!!!

Sunday 9 January

The sun shone, Polly slaved over a hot stove, we made several trips back and forward to gather all necessary ingredients for the sensational pancakes we devoured during Breakfast which was shared together to celebrate everyone returning and the start of the year ahead. Shalin, who is doing some work for SEGA, joined us as well. Thanks Polly. It was great to all be together again. Sadly we recognised that Elena and Camilla only have 3 weeks left with us in Tanzania!
Returning to Whitie Housie/ Red Gatie....(which is what our house has become known when we are trying to explain our address to a taxi driver!!) Martha joined us. She delighted in helping wash Kehawa and eventually decorating Kehawa’s kennel. It’s such a joy to have a young person around.....their energy is never ending!  Martha..you're the best...Kehawa loves your creative design!

7-8 January Staff Days @ SEGA.

My day began farewelling Alison, Caroline and Adrian who had spent the last 3 days hiking in the beautiful Uluguru Mountains, as we tried in vain to get a taxi to take the 3 of them through the heavy rain to the bus depot and then on to Dar and Mtwara.
Peter collected me but it was a very slippery trip along my track back to the Dodoma road as it had been raining heavily all night.
SEGA was looking fresh and green. The vegetation was inviting. I reflected on Graduation day in early December when I had last seen SEGA. Not only were the students and teachers exhausted but so was the land. Then it was parched, dry and dusty. Today life was abundant in anticipation of a new productive year ahead. The new buildings stood proudly showing off their newly painted walls. I could almost feel its excitement/apprehension in anticipating 30 girls bedding down in its new dorm and another 24 girls beginning their Form 2 studies on Tuesday.

Our day was spent planning, setting schedules, dealing with and sorting through small and larger challenges. This process was repeated again the following day. Saturday, however, was shared with the returning and new staff and Polly.
Stephen, Grace, Naomi, Pauline, Meshack, Polly
 Salome, Fran, Stephen, Grace, Naomi, Meshack, Matron
Returning staff = Headmistress: Salome teaching Kiswahili; Academic Master: Meshack teaching Physics/Maths; Learning Advisor: myself teaching English and Life Skills; Discipline Master: Grace teaching Biology/Chemistry; Sports Master: Stephen teaching Geography/History;   New staff = Communications/Administration Assistant: Naomi; School Counsellor: Pauline teaching Life Skills.
The days were productive, nurturing a very positive feeling amongst all of us towards the year ahead. 
 Polly, Headmistress: Solome
Sharing laughter as well as skills during an intensive day of preparation.