Having arrived back in Morogoro too late to access the Posta, I had retrieved the mail from our Post Box and discovered that I had some parcels waiting to be collected.
I walked into town today, Mama at the Posta sent me to the Revenue Board to pay duties...(or bribes!?) on the parcels....
Bwana says: "You have to pay the duties...on these items it will be over $Aus50.00"
......KWA NINI?????? WHY??????

Kwa sababu......Because............etc.....etc......etc.....
I was not going to get my precious parcels from Mum and Gemma at this I changed my tactics and explained ever so sweetly that most of the contents did not require me to pay duties....AND that last time I only paid 2000Tsh for each parcel....After lots of discussion in both Kiswahili and English he agreed to me paying 5000Tsh. I had to go to the CRDB bank and pay this then return to him with the receipt.
On entering the bank I became number 25 in the line. Faces were long and people were resigned to the wait. Was this normal in this bank? I never use this one but I know that some banks take ages to serve...OMG!
Pole Pole....we slowly moved as people left the line and exited without service?? No one was being served. Finally the Manager or someone of importance explained something in Kis then came over personally to me and explained that something had broken down and it would be another '5 minutes'!
Yes, I know how long 5 minutes is here so promptly left the bank to sit in this internet cafe.....
I will let you know whether I actually get my parcels or whether they find some other reason to delay me/get money from me.
PS: A little hint: When you send me a parcel remember that books, stationary, pencils, paper etc....anything that I might use for reading, writing, teaching etc doesn't require me to pay taxes at this everything you send me could potentially be amongst the classification of stationary for teaching????

ASANTE SANA.... THANKS anticipation of your snail mail. One of the things that makes me VERY HAPPY here is opening our Post Box to find mail inside....even when it's mail for the girls at school, it's exciting. The feeling of isolation is intense when it is empty especially at the moment when my access to the internet is unreliable and intermittent.

14 -15 June....Panya Hamna Panya sasa!!! Rats again...and now no rats !!!

Fran's FACEBOOK Status 

14 June:
Woken by a rat in my bedroom, chased it with my boot, scared it but didn't kill it. Left it a breakfast of lethal pellets for breakfast but evidence said it had already had a feast in my pantry

15 June:
Hongera! Victory! Discovered, then trapped in the pantry...Lots of screaming...from me, not the rat...But my speed and aim were perfect...The brick trapped her and she gasped her last breath...I pushed on the brick for 15 mins..too stunned to move!!!

I didn't look as I knew she was there so chocked the bricks so they wouldn't move...then this morning when I went to remove it....I discovered I had trapped and exterminated the mother and the 2 kids!!! Bittersweet victory!

4 - 13 June. Rudi Zanzibar na Dar...IT Daktari for Kelly!

Three days in Jambiani chilling with Renee, Chloe and Clair.
 Dining with Renee at Ali's Well, Jambiani. Sine VSO Vol (Germany) has here placement here and is training young Tz's in hospitality.....I would love that placement too!
 The Bucket List girls: L-R: Renee, Claire, Chloe and Me
 Claire (VSO England based in Dar es Salaam, Sustainable Livelihoods: working to promote use of Solar power... from whom I got my solar light!) & Chloe (VSO Belgium; Education...Renee's replacement and so consequently working with the deaf children in Dodoma)
 L-R: Renee, Chloe, Juanito (VSO Phillipines; Education in Pemba) and Wendy ....having returned to Stonetown we stayed at Renee and Wendy's home and shared some fun!
 Doing ice cream at a sensational little Italian trattoria overlooking the Indian Ocean in Stonetown.
 Drying our kikoys at Jambiani

Early morning swims, lazing on warm deserted beaches, eating and drinking and an unplanned outcome:....writing our bucket lists and planning our very different futures! This was rewarding, challenging and cathartic....I struggled with my list as I have not really thought about life after Africa but it was certainly productive to focus and try to prioritise!! My short term (6month)goals are to invest in me..regular exercise which I need to clear my mind each day; increase reading especially books about Africa; and make a concerted effort to better my spoken Swahili. Mmmmm.....we will see what reality brings!
Time with friends is very important to me so being in Zanzi with lots of my dear friends was rewarding and easy. We travelled back to Dar and spent Renee's last night at Slipway eating pizza and enjoying the ambiance of watching the sunset over the ocean.
 Renee feeling great after a pedicure, haircut and a few vinos.....with Hanna....celebrating the last few hours with us before heading back home to Holland.....2 years in Tz!

Kwa Heri Renee...Safari Njema raafiki yangu.

A night in Econolodge....2 frustrating days at VSO trying to get Kelly no avail...and trying to organise a piki piki which I can actually ride and use in my daily travels to SEGA!!! Pole pole....slowly slowly....!! A weekend of total rest spent in Dar with Hanna and Clair, visiting Wendy at IST hospital clinic as she absorbed amoeba killing fluids through an I.V. drip, and lazing at Coco Beach sipping cold Tuskers....
An enforced stay in Dar as I had to follow up on Monday about Kelly with the IT Doctor...She now has no vision on her monitor and I am really concerned that she is not going to get better! Pole pole here too...still no feedback on Monday...or Tuesday... or Wednesday.....!!!!!

3 June. Form 1 English exam

My girls sat their English exam at 8am. My plan was to have it marked before the day was over! However....Pauline's review took place... I was supposed to be invigilating all day (I thought it was only for my exam but, in between the meetings, I completed my duties!) and we met with the Teacher Support Team to plan our strategy for implementing interactive learning in the classrooms.....
Our TST meeting was productive and energetic and we are all looking forward to working weekly in two teams to monitor and evaluate our colleagues in their pursuit of delivering lessons which reflect our goals decided upon during the three days training!
I left SEGA very late that day resigned to the fact that I would not get away to Zanzibar the following day. I accepted Polly's offer to relax at Oasis for an Indian feed and a cold Tusker.....Revived on arrival home, I completed 3 hours of exams marking!
The following morning Pauline arrived at 5.30am...she needed company and couldn't sleep at her house so put her head down on a comfy bed at my house before she headed off to run the Parents' seminar at SEGA at 9am!! She fell into bed but I stayed up and pushed on to complete marking the papers!! The girls had achieved as I expected....many of them were very challenged even by the familiar, regularly used English sentences and questions I had used in the paper.
Hongera! I realised that I could actually make the last ferry to Zanzibar if I packed quickly.....and I did!
Later that day I couldn't believe that I was actually sitting on the ferry....the sea was very lumpy, the roughest I have ever been on but I was loving it....(not many other passengers were though!!)...and I was on my way to share some precious time with Renee before she left Tz for home in Holland.

30 May - 1 June. SEGA and TFFT share skills to deliver Teacher Training.

Planning this seminar over long distance; without a computer or internet and impending end of semester exams has been challenging to say the least least I can now look back and reflect. As with anything that is planned well, the delivery is usually smooth and productive. I would like to say happily that this was so! Melissa from our sister organisation, The Foundation For Tomorrow, TFFT, has been specialising in teacher training seminars and brought a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our small team of 2! We planned the three days around helping our teachers to understand why and how to engage in interactive, participatory learning methods to achieve higher level thinkers.'s not something Tanzanians do readily so our task was challenging and my ongoing monitoring and evaluation of their use of this seminar will be interesting. However, that said, we do have some very committed and motivated teachers amongst the staff this year. They were the ones who reassured us that our time and energies were appreciated and gratefully received.
Having been taught in good schools myself and having taught in Australian schools all my life, I have taken for granted many quality teaching techniques and classroom habits that encourage higher level thought processing....that are simply the norm in Aussie classrooms! It has been refreshing for me to be able to share simple techniques and fun activities with the girls and now the staff. BUT.....interactive teaching and nurturing creative thinking is not something they are comfortable with, or practiced at, so time will tell whether the teachers are really committed to changing and adapting. The National Exams hang over them....foreboding....and stifling their freedom to think creatively. Change requires time...and it's not something they believe they have to waste! Waste!!!!????? Slowly, slowly they may actually realise what we are suggesting and that planning interactive learning can give quality time...not waste time. I am going to need to give a lot of support, encouragement as well as nurture colleague support and team work so that they will continue using creativity when I am gone! Strategies are forming...I will keep you informed of how we progress!
When I can actually upload some pics, I will show you the fun we had! Exploring Debono's 6 thinking hats really had me needing to be creative as it was difficult to find the colored hats we needed. A red helmet.(Joffrey pounced on that one!) white hat which Grace wanted to keep as she looked very chic in it! A green crepe paper turban which suited Steven well...all he needed was a crystal ball!! Salome's yellow cap was a mass of golden tinsel, Pauline wore the black witch's hat....she is so... not a witch!!! We laughed and had lots of fun as they wore their hats through the entire session!
Steven was our Energizer man....He started each session with a different activity to get us loosened up and created some hysterical laughter....
Inevitably we had some minor technical hiccups but Joffrey our IT man was able to help us through them. We had Polly's support throughout the 3 days. Her interaction and contributions were so valuable and her concern for her staff was genuine. Our wonderful Matron and 2 beautiful Mama Cooks cooked up a storm. They had us eating like kings and queens throughout the three days! Meanwhile, they were still catering for nearly 90 girls as well in the humbly equipped kitchen. Tanzanians love to celebrate and love to cook for their people when they have the resources to do so. Producing song, dance and food seems to be a natural skill amongst the women!
At the completion of the three days the walls were covered with visual stimulus and reminders of the information we had uncovered, discovered, applied and shared! Our brains hurt but there was definitely and air of expectation and excitement as the teachers reflected and shared that their expectations had been met far beyond what they had hoped for. They were really looking forward to the next semester to apply their knowledge and skills and seemed really pleased to be given a reason to be motivated to plan! What a shame we are facing straight into exams for the next 6 days!