In addition to my love for teaching, I am passionate about helping others. So when a friend of mine, who regularly donates to Karimu, showed me the impact that the organization was having in Tanzania, it was with swelling heart and reverent awe that I knew that I needed to help! Therefore, I emailed the chief operating officer, Nelson Mattos, and offered to teach Tanzanians from Canada. Little did I know that a wonderful adventure awaited me.
As a Canadian teacher with 16 years of teaching and e-Learning experience, I prepared a virtual computer course given in 17 classes of 3 hours each and divided in 3 modules. The course was a challenging project, but immensely rewarding.
In North America, we tend to want to work very quickly. However, African culture is much different. Tanzanians like to take their time and if they have questions or they do not understand, they will not tell you out of respect. Amid the cultural differences, the course was a success because the students are very patient, kind and appreciative. They never complained about the lack of resources, the weather, the heat or the workload.They are hard-working and they strive to succeed. Of course, learning a bit of Swahili is always useful, since they are very grateful when foreigners make an effort to learn about their language.
The project would have been impossible without the ground help of Shau Erro and John Quambesh. They were passionate, inspiring and supportive. Every Sunday, they gave their afternoon to assist me in teaching the computer class. They readily translated my instructions and guided students who were having difficulty.
Although I originally wanted to focus most of my time on teaching the simple basics of computers, students wanted to learn more difficult content. They demonstrated a great interest in Google Sheets. To my delight, I quickly realized that Tanzanians love to learn. They are dedicated and eager to master the skills taught. Assigning homework or an extra practice course was embraced with radiant smiles and thankful hearts. Imagine my shock at being thanked by students for assigning them homework!
Through my students, I have discovered the true meaning of appreciation. It was astonishing to see that they were so deeply and genuinely thankful for the opportunity to acquire knowledge. Education for them is a blessing and a privilege. They do not take it for granted nor feel entitled. The world has a lot to learn from Tanzanians.