Sunday, March 3, 2013


Vumilia means patience in Swahili and it really is quite fitting that this is Vumi's full name.

Since I first met her and taught nursery school with her in July 2007, I have seen her as a constant source of comfort and compassion for the children of Msaranga as well as the best teacher I have come across in all of Kilimanjaro, Arusha, and the rest of the regions I have visited in Tanzania.  And she does it all without being sappy or sentimental; I really believe this is just her nature.

She can get a little mkali (strict) when she needs to; she'll use the stick or give a little pinch; she'll even tease or poke a little fun at a child....but it all works out in the end.  Though her teacher training was not great and her own primary and secondary school marks were pretty low, she just has that certain way about her that marks her as a true educator.  In part, it's her patience and in part it's her rather un-Tanzanian sense of totality and precision.  Like me, she simply can't let an error go, and we work well together.

You'll be hearing a lot more about Vumi in the next few months, so I just wanted to devote this post to her and say how much I enjoy working with her and how happy I am to have her as a friend and colleague.  Below, you can see her working with the MEMKWA student at Msaranga Primary School on his math lesson.  Check out the smile creeping up on his face in the last frame.  Breakthrough!!

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