Over the last few years, strong links have been forged between schools in the Leeds Diocese and Tanzanian schools in Mara Diocese. Historically this grew from the work being done by Wakefield Diocese. Over time, schools here have helped raise funds for a huge variety of projects to help communities in Mara. These have included digging wells, building classrooms, providing text books and desks. BUT it is not just about fundraising. Crucially, for the children, it is about learning about other cultures, making friends across the miles and learning key Christian values. There have been several trips made by teachers to visit their partner schools in order to strengthen these links and for teachers to have a better appreciation of Tanzanian life and to develop resources that schools can then use to further the children’s understanding. On February 16th we embark on our next visit. The team comprises: Rev Maggie McLean, Rev Stephen Rochell, Ruth Randall (South Ossett/Kinyariri), Michael Walker (Ackworth Howard/Mshikmano), Tim Wildey (Crigglestone St James/Regata), Kate Morrison (Lindley Infants/Kwikerege), Kate Wilson (Windmill/Mugango) & Diane Norton (RE Adviser). During our time in Mara, we will spend many hours on the road as the schools are often in remote areas. We will also visit an Agricultural project, a Safe House for girls protecting them from FGM and will end the trip with a short safari in the Serengeti National Park before making the journey back to the UK.
Here are some thoughts from some of the Team Members:
How are you feeling about the visit & what are you most looking forward to?
Michael Walker from Ackworth Howard School says:
I am full of anticipation and curiosity about the unique adventure in which I am about to take part. I feel extremely grateful for the experience and am determined to make the most of the opportunity I have been offered. After attending the meeting following the last visit and listening to the participants, the visit seemed to have inspired them and changed their outlook on life for the better. This is what captured my interest and I am keen to tap into this.
I am looking forward to enriching the children's knowledge and understanding of a culture so different to ours. Being able to provide first-hand experience, inspiring awe and wonder and widening horizons of learning.
The comparisons that can be drawn between ourselves and the school links both locally and internationally will impact significantly on our ethos and give further depth and understanding to the Christian Values we encourage our children to live and breathe. It will further develop our approach to character education and social actions.
Rev Stephen Rochell says:
‘I have visited Tanzania twice. The last time was six years ago as part of my training for ordination when I spent two weeks in Musoma where we will be based during our visit.
I am excited to revisit Musoma, which I am sure will have changed over the past six years. What will not have changed is the warmth of welcome and hospitality that we will encounter from our friends in Tanzania.I am also looking forward to spending time at Issenye Secondary School, which I last visited eight years ago. Again, much will have changed. What will be the same is the enthusiasm and questions from the students.
I think I am probably just as excited and nervous as those in our group who are visiting Tanzania for the first time.’