John and Babs in Tanzania

Page 11


We're back in Tanzania! And, as we thought, the move has been quite sudden!

We are transferring to Patandi Teachers' College, which is at Tengeru, near Arusha and on the road to Moshi. The College is for Special Education, the only one in Tanzania, and trains teachers for working with students having hearing impairment, intellectual impairment or visual impairment. We will be sharing our skills with tutors and teachers in training, and will be helping them in any way we can, but particularly in teaching methods, using English and using Information Technology. We will be living in a house within the College grounds, although it isn't quite ready for occupation yet.

There were a couple of occasions when we thought we would be leaving the following week, but these did not materialise. Then, after all the waiting, we heard one morning, by e-mail from VSO, that we were to leave that afternoon! There wasn't enough time to make all the arrangements, so we agreed with the Travel Unit to set off the following day.

We flew from Teesside to Amsterdam and then, overnight, to Nairobi and finally, on Valentine's Day, to Dar es Salaam. It was a very good journey, although somewhat tiring, and we were in our usual Hotel by 3pm. It felt good to be back and we started to settle into Tanzanian life once again. However, after our long break, both our phones and bank ATM cards no longer worked!

The following morning, we were surprised that the phone and bank problems were sorted out relatively easily. We spent the rest of the day at the VSO office, catching up with our friends there and planning for the future. We would be leaving for Arusha early the next morning, and so collected the parcels we had previously sent to be stored so that we could take them with us. That evening, we had a farewell meal with Christina and Pinky, 2 other VSO volunteers also visiting Dar.

We were at the bus station by 7am, complete with all our luggage and parcels, for which we had to pay an excess baggage charge. The bus was fairly empty and we had a good journey, unlike our previous nightmare ride! It was tarmac all the way, and, as well as a lunch break, soda, biscuits and water were provided. 10 hours after leaving Dar, we reached our destination. As previously arranged, the Deputy Principal met us from the bus.

View from our Hotel Room Balcony

We had a brief visit to the College and chatted with the Principal and others. It emerged that most of the students had just started Teaching Practice and would be out for the next month or so; the rest were doing their final exams. We were then taken to our temporary accommodation - a very comfortable hotel close to the centre of Arusha and about 13km from the College.

Arusha By-Pass
Waiting for the President

On the day we left Dar es Salaam, George W. Bush (the President of the United States of America) arrived to start his visit to Tanzania. 2 days later, he followed us to Arusha! All roads would be closed for most of the day, so we knew we wouldn't be able to get to the College. We ventured to the main road bypassing the town centre, found hundreds of others there and, after a 30 minute wait on the side of the road, his cavalcade sped past. It was just like the Tour de France - over in seconds - and, because the windows were dark, we couldn't be sure which car he was in!

Since then, we've been taken to the College each day and have begun finding our feet and settling into some sort of routine. So far, then, it's been a fairly relaxing time here. We've seen our new house and hope we will be able to move there soon. There is a computer room at the College, complete with internet access which seems fairly good. Phone signals are good and so we think we can rely on texting. Even daladala journeys seem more civilised than we've been used to!

Overall, then, we feel fairly positive about the future. However, only time will tell whether our enthusiasm is well founded.

More to come from John and Babs in Tanzania soon.