Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Global Issues

The students talked about big global issues questions.  Thanks to the students for filming and sharing and thanks to Chris for cutting it together.
video


After the safari


Today
A haiku
By Francesca and Alex

Lots of animals
Snapshots left and right yea yea
Good times, memories

kwaheri.


Banjika - The Middle

Here is a video that Chris put together midway through our trip. Thanks, Chris!
video

Monday, July 18, 2011

Banjika School Workshops, Author: Kevin

On Saturday, we kick started our first day of Banjika School workshops. Queen, Michael and I (Kevin) ran a poetry/music workshop where students expressed feelings towards family through spoken word. Darren ran a workshop on Self Defense in which male and female students learned simple moves and techniques. Oliver and Francesca ran a dance workshop where students had fun learning synchronized choreography together outside. Tayeb had a one on one with a student demonstrating and teaching basic fiddle techniques. Alex and Maddie used a Flip camera to record the event and all others served as assistants. Ashley made lunch (over 100 sandwiches) for everyone. The turn out was good, around 50 students showed up and participated. The Saturday workshops served as the precursor to the upcoming Thursday workshops in which all 500 Banjika Secondary School students must participate in student led workshops.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

From Oliver

Friday, July 15
Today was super eventful. We woke up and had a delicious breakfast of omelets and mango juice and then headed off to the school where we would work for about two hours on the girls dorm which was beginning to take shape. We then met up with our buddies for breakfast which was this sweet corn mush which almost all of us finished. After returning to the lodge for lunch, we went to our student’s classes, Massay has English class which turned out to be kind of a review day for the 10 other students who surrounded him as he lectured me on everything from circuits, to accounting. The teacher didn’t show up the entire class and Massay informed me that this was common and the students would just use these days to prepare for their exams. We then went to religion class which both amazing and dull. Amazing because the singing was phenomenal and dull because everything, and I mean everything (the 2 hour sermon) was in Swahilli. But we all had fun anyways. We checked back in with the workers and helped them clean up, headed back to the lodge and relaxed until dinner time, and we all fell asleep quickly and soundly. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

Newton met us at the gate of the Arusha Convention Center, where the United Nations has been conducting the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (http://www.unictr.org/).  We walked through the metal detectors wearing our very best clothes then crossed a large courtyard with flagpoles on our left and palms on the right.  We entered the main building, ascended the stairs and meekly shuffled passed the soldier with an automatic rifle strapped formally across his chest. After signing in, we quietly filed into Courtroom 2.

There were two long rows of chairs facing the courtroom with plexiglass in between. The defense was on the left with translators stacked behind them.  The prosecution and the audio-visual technicians mirrored them on the opposite sides. In between the two sides, a panel of three judges in black and red robes faced us and the witness was hidden behind a curtain. We put on headsets that allowed us to hear the proceedings in our chosen language. The witness was protected. When any testimony might give any hint of who he is, the lights in the viewing room went black and the session was considered closed until the revealing testimony was finished.  This happened three times during our visit.

We were watching the trial of Augustin Ngiraabatware. He is among the 92 senior ministers, media leaders (press and musicians), religious leaders and businessmen who have been accused of orchestrating and inciting the Rwanda Genocide which killed nearly a million people in 100 days.  Many of these people in power would have been untouchable by the law in the past by claiming national sovereignty. That is why the ICTR was formed.  The genocide was not just a crime against Rwandese, but a crime against humanity.  Therefore it is the responsibility of humanity to make sure justice is served. The people of Rwanda can see the people in power, the demigods, held accountable for their crimes.  They are allowed to testify and speak their truth.  Others who might abuse their power in other countries can see that the international community will not turn a blind eye to the plight of their people. The healing can begin.

Our Film - The Beginning of Tanzania!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

WORDS FROM THE AFRIKAN BUSH



DAY 5, WOW is the only way to describe the emotions, sights, experiences, people and places that we have seen and felt. All of the kids are in the process of creating amazing life-long relationships with their Banjika brothers and sisters. Everyone in our group and from the Banjika school is so quick to participate in all activities. Last night we had an insightful discussion about our feelings about the trip so far, it seemed like many of the students were beginning to open up and show everyone their true selves. With the help of Mdinka, Mariel, Chris and Kate the trip is going along swimmingly with no problems, therefore from a students perspective there is nothing to worry about your kids are in mikono safi. Now for what we have done in the past few days. We have traveled south to Karatu (seeing giraffes on the way) and have finally arrived at our most important destination, the Banjika school. The students immediately were welcomed by the students of Banjika with songs and smiles and some awkward laughter. After the welcome ceremony the students were connected with their Tanzanian pairs and immediately clicked with one another. Also within the time that we have been here we have begin the construction of the girls bath house, all of us will come back as excellent fondas (contruction workers). This is all I can write now because we are off to continue working on the girls bath house, tatawonanokesho (see you tomorrow).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

If you were to ask me where I was right now, I would have a hard time telling you a definite answer. Africa is surely the correct location, but there is something about saying "I'm in Africa" that I just can't believe. Everything is so surreal, each sound, sight, and smell is foreign. Sitting on the deck of the African Sunstar resort, I can look to the west and see mountains shrouded in mist, the south and see fields of corn, maybe coffee, and to the west, Karatu in the distance, the entire sky covered in thick, rolling clouds. This place is amazing. Even the 'pigeons' are beautiful, gray with pink and white spots, and the sound they make resembles that of a thin tin sheet wobbling in the wind.

Until next time,
Michael

What We Have Been Up To!

video

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

For the Erlich clan

Hi Mom, Dad, and Katy,
I'm having an awesome time here in Tanzania! I'm safe, healthy, and enjoying myself very much. We had the opportunity yesterday to visit the home of a Masai family, where we got to mash maiz and learn the culture and customs of the Masai tribe. Today we are going to a Rwanda court tribunal and then we will drive to our new home in Karatu where the Banjika School is located. I hope you all are well and surviving without me! <3
Much love,
Jessica

For the Erlich clan

Hi Mom, Dad, and Katy,
I'm having an awesome time here in Tanzania! I'm safe, healthy, and enjoying myself very much. We had the opportunity yesterday to visit the home of a Masai family, where we got to mash maiz and learn the culture and customs of the Masai tribe. Today we are going to a Rwanda court tribunal and then we will drive to our new home in Karatu where the Banjika School is located. I hope you all are well and surviving without me! <3
Much love,
Jessica

Hi Mom, Dad, and Katy,
I'm having an awesome time here in Tanzania! I'm safe, healthy, and enjoying myself very much. We had the opportunity yesterday to visit the home of a Masai family, where we got to mash maiz and learn the culture and customs of the Masai tribe. Today we are going to a Rwanda court tribunal and then we will drive to our new home in Karatu where the Banjika School is located. I hope you all are well and surviving without me! <3
Much love,
Jessica

The Third Day-Morning

Everyone is still as excited as when we started and eager to meet more people and learn more Swahili. For some odd reason we have all adjusted to the time zone rather quick which is a good thing. I feel like I'm not so far away from home, possibly because of the warm hospitality the people have here. Today we will leave Arusha to the Banjika School and while I'm afraid of meeting the students and mistakenly disrespecting the culture, I am eager to learn and teach. Wish us good luck!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Safely at the Freedom Lodge

We are at the Freedom Lodge. No one was left behind and all of the flights went pretty smoothly. We made it through the Tanzanian Customs fine as well. No one lost their passport and all the bags were recovered from the baggage claim. It is very nice (maybe too nice) at the Freedom Lodge with clean running water, some hot water, incredible lunches, and very nice lodgings. Currently we will be staying here for two days until we depart for Banjika.

Regards,
Everyone working on the Banjika Project