Saturday, February 22, 2014

My Triumphant Return, Part 2

Here – at long last – are a selection of the testimonials I've transcribed from some of the students and parents from the first year of the program as well as the teachers at Msaranga Primary School with whom we continue to work closely.  I have loosely translated their remarks, which I think are really encouraging.  Unfortunately, due to intermittent power and a janky internet connection, I could not upload all the vids, so for a couple, I've just included their remarks and hope you'll trust my translations!


1.) Standard One Teacher
She received a very big picture of what Toa Nafasi is and how it concerns intellect, health, and social issues.  With our help, the children are being followed up by parents and teachers together in these areas.  She believed that she had students in her class who could benefit from the program as they had lots of problems and she sees now that whether it's a matter of intellect, health, or social issues, they will get the help they need.  She has seen big changes since the start of the program in that those students she thought could never succeed, now they can.

2.) Standard Two Teacher
From when we began the program in February 2013 until now, a year later, she has seen big changes.  Children who could not identify letters, now they can.  Children who were hiding in the bushes instead of coming to school, now they are in the classroom.  Those who couldn't even hold a pencil, now they do.  Those who had only runny noses, now they don't.  For example, one of these children with just a runny nose, these days he laughs and plays and if you call him, he comes.  In the past, if you called him, he was afraid and now he's not.  He smiles because now he thinks, "Me, I can do it!"

3.) Headmaster
When the program continues in the future, he thinks that the children whom we have discovered to have problems should continue to be provided services, but also when there are new students, we should include them as well.  We should also continue to provide information to the authorities at the district level in order both to get their advice and to be congratulated on our good work.

4.) Grandfather
When we called him to come in the first time until now, he has seen big changes in his grandson.  At the start, he did not think the child could change to the way he is now because his brain is not good.  When he was taught something, he did not understand.  Now, he has changed and if you tell him to do something, he will do it.  Maybe he will make a mistake, but it's a small mistake and he can be corrected and do the task well.  This already is a big accomplishment.  If he continues to do well, he can reach far.

5.) Mother
She believed 100%, not 25%, that her child needed help from Toa Nafasi.  She has already seen his accomplishments which are very big since he started his exercises until now.  The changes are big, and they are in everything he does; it is the reason she has heart again.  Even this morning, if he is called to school, he will come quickly, he will drop everything in order to come to school.

6.) Boy
He felt good when we called him for tuition.  If he is called again, he will come; if he is not called, he won't come.  It is his happiness.  (This is typical Tanzanian child-speak; kids do not offer much information even when solicited.  It is not customary to ask a child for his/her opinion and so, when asked, it's tough to get a very in-depth response.  Check how Vumi tries to draw him out by repeating his answers and using soothing tones.  And still, no dice....)

7.) Girl
She feels happiness at being called for tuition sessions with Toa Nafasi.  She is now in Class 2 so she knows how to read, but she doesn't want to stop attending tuition.  She wants to continue in order that she knows even more so that one day she'll be reading a big stack of newspapers like the Daily News.

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