A Travellerspoint blog

Tanzania

karibu from Tanzania

sunny 30 °C

Karibu from Tanzania. Today is day 7 in this beautiful hot country. We have been warmly welcomed by everyone and especially by the Faculty and Staff at Mikumi who seem absolutely delighted that we are with them. Obviously others from NSCC have set the stage for us. Everyone we meet seems to have been touched by either our students or our faculty. The words that come to mind as I write this blog are: inspiring, different, engaging, encouraging and humbling.

We at NSCC should feel great pride in the work and learning that has been done here. So I visit classrooms, talk with teachers and other staff I hear NSCC words and observe NSCC methods in operation. Everyone speaks with eagerness about their engagement with NSCC and the faculty who joined us last summer are beginning to mentor other faculty. It is all more than good.

Yesterday I observed Peter in his class of 50 students facilitating group work where for the first time students were teaching and learning from one another and providing support for ideas and questioning each other. I wished I could video tape this session. He learned the technique in Audrey’s Dynamic Instructor course. All the while the students were learning there was chaos on the roof as the baboons played and frolicked – no one paid any attention. Each day brings new ideas and surprises. The Faculty are eager to try all my wild and wonderful active learning techniques and they are excelling at implementing them in their own context. It is both encouraging and humbling.

My learning has been on many different levels. Personally I have gone au naturale with the hair (blew up the hair dryer in Dar the first day), I have given up makeup for the duration as it runs in the heat and humidity, I stumble to learn Swahili words as everyone tries to help me, I can wring out my mismatched wardrobe due to profuse perspiration – none of this seems to matter to me or to others. Perhaps one gets over oneself for a brief period. Katie and I just laugh about all this and keep on going. The people make up for everything.

I write this under the African sky in the dark at about 30 degrees centigrade and revel in the fact that I am here with such wonderful people. Doesn’t get any better until tomorrow.

Posted by NSCC Intl 10:01 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

Claudine's Bucket List

NSCC Organizational Learning Dean working at VETA Mikumi, Tanzania in Februrary 2011

sunny 30 °C

Happy Valentines Day from Mikumi, Tanzania! My name is Katie Orr and I am the International Director at NSCC and I have the privelege to be here with Claudine Lowry, our Dean of Organizational Learning. Claudine's team hosted four VETA Mikumi faculty last summer for two months of training in our Community College Education Diploma Program (CCEDP), and this week Claudine and I are meeting with those faculty members plus four more faculty scheduled to come to NSCC for more CCEDP courses and more work with our School of Business faculty and academic chairs.

Today we started to get their suggestions on maximizing the CCEDP experience for the faculty coming to NSCC in July, and to look forward to plan for possible ongoing mentoring, teaching and learning collaboration between NSCC and VETA Mikumi during our ACCC/CIDA Education for Employment (EFE) tourism training project.

We have been warmly welcomed at Mikumi, and arrived yesterday after a long journey from Dar es Salaam. In Dar we were able to meet with Mr. Moshi, head of the VETA system, and Nigel Allen, the ACCC EFE project manager to discuss how the 12 EFE projects are going, and get feedback on our project in particular. Both were very complimentary of the achievements of our project in a short amount of time and the vision and commitment of VETA Mikumi principal Mr. Christopher Ayo. Great to hear that our employees and students have made an impact here. We have certainly felt the impact at NSCC!

In Dar we also met with our industry partner, and friend, Janet Kiwia of World Jet Travel. Janet welcomed us to her home on the Indian Ocean, and she and Claudine hit it off right away. Janet shared many ideas for us to explore together and reminded me that four years ago she and I shared a dream to work together to improve opportunities for young people to contribute to the Tanzania tourism industry and she encouraged me to keep dreaming with her. Janet is a friend and advisor to me and I really appreciate it that despite the distances and differences between our countries, we have alot in common.

Janet arranged for us to have a guided tour of the Village Museum in Dar es Salaam which we frequent visit as part of our orientation for new students and faculty from NSCC coming to Tanzania for the first time, to learn about the country, and get some exposure to cultural traditions, food and dance. It was fun to tour the museum with Claudine whose background is in anthropology and sociology and is fascinated with the people here and their culture and traditions.

The scenery on the drive to Mikumi was spectacular yesterday, as the big city faded into the rear view mirror, we passed through rural landscapes, with mountains in the background and the heavy rains started to pour down and cooled the air a bit. We passed through Mikumi National Park on our way to the VETA Mikumi Campus and we were lucky enough to see lots of elephant, giraffe, impala and baboons, and there are even baboons on the campus. We have been able to meet with the tour guiding students and instructors and hope to learn a bit more over the next few days about the students hopes for employment in the national parks and museums of Tanzania.

With all the travel and the hot weather I am feeling a bit sweaty and grimy, and although the air conditioning is working in our otherwise comfortable guest house on campus, the hot water is not. So i might end up spending Valentine’s Day helping Claudine wash her hair with an orange plastic bucket. This should be interesting... plus the light is burned out in the cold water shower stall.... She may have to wear her headlamp while showering with her orange bucket in the dark. This brings a whole new meaning to the Bucket List... Hamna shida (no worries)!

Posted by NSCC Intl 11:52 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

Mikumi Day 5 - Last Day of Class.

overcast 24 °C

We are winding down here at Mikumi and Jim is delivering his last entrepreneurship class. He is tying things together with review and questions and bringing the elements back into the business plan he presented on the first day. The faculty have been very engaged and interested in this training. This would be a great area for further workshops and we'll look at that as a possibility within our tourism project.

It's overcast here today - a nice reprieve from the heat. Just about everyone we have talked to has said that it will rain today or tomorrow and it will be most welcome. Aside from the short burst of rain we received earlier this week, it hasn't rained in Mikumi since June. Everything is so dry and many trees are without the leaves.

We are driving back to Dar es Salaam shortly after class finishes. We are planning to meet our colleagues from the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, Anna Haanstra and Natalie Cole for dinner. NSAC's International Office is involved 3 Education for Employment projects in Tanzania in the communities of Mpanda, Ilonga and Mlingano. Anna and Natalie will be delierving training at Mikumi for their colleagues from Mpanda and Ilonga. Before Christopher Ayo and Richard Magwadula came to Nova Scotia in September, they were doing Project Management training with their Mlingano colleagues in St. John's at the Marine Institute. NSCC, NSAC and MI have been working closely together on these Education for Employment projects in Tanzania and the input and collaboration has been very helpful for everyone.

Posted by NSCC Intl 10:10 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

Day 4 in Mikumi – Jim makes accounting interesting!

sunny 35 °C

The classes have really gone well this week and the instructors are very keen and interested. Today Jim gave an overview of accounting in 3 hours AND, he managed to make it interesting. We learned how to record expenses and profits, make balance sheet and income statements. Jim did a great job of making a 120 hour Intro to Accounting course a 3 hour class. Accounting isn’t taught at VETA Mikumi and it’s something that all of the instructors wanted to spend some time on. Accounting would be a great short course (a 3 month course) here.

We did a campus tour this afternoon so Jim could have a look at more of the classrooms and accommodations. Mikumi is built on a hill – much like Mount Saint Vincent University. The hike to the top is tough in the heat, but the view of the valley below and the Udzungwa Mountains in the distance is well worth it. We were shown an area that the tour guiding students are going to turn into a tenting site for visitors and got to see the tour guiding classrooms. Mikumi is the only VETA campus that offers tour-guiding as a course. Ludovic Saronga (a visitor to NSCC in summer) is the lead teacher in the course and even helped to write the curriculum. He was a guide in the Selous Game Reserve for many years.

I left out a very important improvement to the VETA Campus yesterday. The first bricks were laid last week for their trial Visitor Information Centre! This is a very exciting addition to VETA Mikumi’s services. Visitor Information Centres (VIC) are not common in Tanzania, but Tony Dorrian and Wendi Dewey (NSCC Tourism Faculty and our Academic Leads for the project) planted the seed last November when the three of us visited Mikumi for the first time for the project inception mission. After Ludovic, Linet, Kaini and Peter (all VETA Tourism instructors) spent time learning about tourism in Nova Scotia this summer and after VETA Mikumi’s Principal and Training Coordinator visited the Pictou VIC in September, the idea for a Visitor Information Centre has become a reality. The VETA Mikumi VIC will open in the New Year and they will see how it works out. It will be run by students and managed by Peter Maiwambe, Mikumi’s Front Office Operations Instructor.

This afternoon Jim and I were invited to Linet’s house for tea and it was a great visit. We met her sister and nephew and caught up on our news. Linet’s brother is applying to take the Health & Human Services program at the Truro Campus and they are waiting to hear on the status of the application. Gilbert would like to start in the ALP program in January 2011 and start the Health & Human Services program in September 2011. This is exciting news. It makes me happy that Linet had such a positive experience with us at NSCC that she has encouraged her brother to study with us. I already feel badly that he may come to Canada the first time in January! We’ll do our best to give him a warm welcome...and then ensure he has warm clothes!

It’s hard to believe that we’ll be leaving Mikumi tomorrow.

Posted by NSCC Intl 19:28 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

Mikumi Day 3 - Happy Eid!

sunny 32 °C

Happy Eid from hot and sunny Mikumi.

Today is a national holiday - Eid-ul-Adha - and there were no classes at VETA Mikumi today...except for our entrepreneurship training! Most instructors graciously agreed to attend the session this morning despite the holiday. Today Jim facilitated a lesson on the 4 "P's" of marketing: Product, Promotion, Price and Place. I hope I got them right! I have been learning a lot this week about entrpreneurship and enjoying it. Today's session was really interactive and engaging and everyone has really been enjoying the learning. The instructors at VETA Mikumi are great teachers and it's great when we learn more about how they teach -- I already have a few ideas for the next time I facilitate a session at NSCC.

We had a nice treat this afternoon when Richard Magwadula (VETA's Training Coordinator - he also visited NSCC in September) took us on an excursion this afternoon around Mikumi. We first went to the Genesis Motel & Mikumi Snake Park for lunch. Fortunately, the hotel and dining area are very well separated from the Snake Park (which also houses a couple of crocodiles and tortoises)! Jim and Richard took a tour through the Snake Park after lunch and their guide was a graduate of VETA Mikumi, which was nice to see. After we left Genesis, Richard took us on a roadside safari through Mikumi National Park. Because of the heat of the day, many of the animals sought shade under the trees. A few bold impala ventured very close to the road to get the last of the green grass growing there. The highway running through the part is the main line of transport of goods to Zambia, South Africa and many countries in Southern Africa and so it is always very busy. There are plenty of speed bumps as you drive through the park to encourage truckers and buses to slow down, but sadly, animals are still killed as they try to cross the highway.

As Jim mentioned yesterday, VETA Mikumi is a very busy place and I have noticed many changes even since NSCC's last visit to the college in May. They have made some improvements to their restaurant area, made a Daily Specials Board and redecorated a more private part of the restaurant which is great for special events. They have also made the entrance to the campus more inviting with life-size, student-made animal sculptures - including a rhino, giraffes and even a vegetarian lion!

The campus administration building is being rennovated to house an internet lab and langauge learning lab and they are preparing for some of the work our NSCC students and faculty will do at Mikumi in May 2011 in our new IT Service Learning Project. This project will have NSCC students and faculty working with VETA IT instructors to make repairs and improvements to their IT and intranet infrastructure. This will allow VETA faculty, staff and students to access the internet for learning materials and resources. Internet connectivity in Mikumi is quite poor and while Jim and I are here, we depend on a mobile internet stick which can be quite slow in rural areas. The improvements to the IT infrastructure will make a huge difference at Mikumi.

The sun is setting here and I can hear the Muslim call to prayer in the distance along with the voices of excited children playing on VETA's small playground.

Posted by NSCC Intl 07:00 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

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