Sue and Tony Pace regularly spend 3 months working in Tanzania. During the visits, they send e-mail letters to their friends. These make a wonderful story, and with their permission we are able to print them here with the accompanying photographs. They are printed in chronological order.
The 2008 Visit
11/1/2008 Letter 1
We arrived safely 10 days ago (it seems like weeks) and had a very slow first few days. We were tired after the journey (which was OK) and still had to get over our colds. We moved up to our homestay on Sunday and it really was just like coming home. It is amazing how content we are living so simply.
When we first saw the school (last Monday) it was a bit of a shock because there is even less of it than we had thought. The picture shows ALL the school buildings ( the blue building behind to the right is part of the adjacent Primary School); on the right is the one complete building consisting of two classrooms but the left one (painted cream) is used as the administration office, staff room and store. So basically they have been working with just one classroom last year with 85 students !!!
The next building consists of two partly completed classrooms. They were both supposed to be finished before the start of this year but they won’t be. The right one of these two classrooms is being built by the Community and they have run out of money; although it has a roof on, it has no floor or windows. The left one is being built by the government and is progressing very slowly. However it seems to have speeded up since we arrived on the scene. We hope to see both these classrooms finished within 2-3 weeks but in the meantime there is nowhere for the 120 new students due to arrive next Monday !!! (Jane and Mary, are your Secondary Schools like this?)
The next building, over to the left side is the toilets and finally the most left “shack”, if you can just make it out, is the kitchen.
We immediately got work started on completing the unfinished Community classroom and since then Tony has been organising materials and planning later work. We had a great meeting on the first day with the whole school board and all the community leaders and they have continued to show a lot of interest. Sue has been doing some painting of metal window frames and then puttying glass.
Besides several buildings that we may get done, the other problem is water. Basically the school doesn’t have any and has to buy it in (actually pay for the petrol to bring it). There seems to be a way we can help both the school and surrounding community by laying or repairing a pipe and we are investigating the scale of the problem before making any commitments.
So right now we have lots of plans but no real idea of costs. These will develop over the next few weeks. We hope to start the Admin Block in the coming week and that will free up a classroom. It is already clear that by the time we leave they should have 4 classrooms instead of one but after that we shall see. They will desperately need at least one more double classroom before next year .
I have also attached another picture from the corner of the school property showing the classroom blocks with Mt Meru in the background. It is a truly awesome sight which we see every day and in every mood. The people in the foreground are Sue and Mama Laizer, the driving force and Deputy headmistress.
At the end of our first full weeks work we are feeling very healthy. We can already see the first signs of weight loss because of more healthy diet and more exercise – or could it be less alcohol !! Sue’s back it holding up well and seems to be improving slowly, with the help of Brufen and lots of sun. 85+ most days (and we are working and walking hard in it) though on Thursday we had one huge thunderstorm just as Sue was doing her first wash.
Best wishes to you all, keep warm and we look forward to hearing your news when we are in town at the weekends. If you like you can text or phone us on +255764756773 (for Tony) or end in 2 for Sue. Round here everyone texts.
Sue and Tony
25/1/08 Letter 2
We have now been here over 3 weeks and we have justspent a third of our total money (11 million Tsh – or £5000 to you). We have completed the classroom being built by the Community so they now have 2 classrooms (still 100 in each).
The new Form 1 don’t have desks yet ( apparently some are on order) so they sit on upturned buckets for their lessons – except when we take them away for the builders to carry water! The new Administration block is now well advanced and the roof should go on in the next few days. It will probably be ready in another 2-3 weeks and then they will have 3 classrooms. Hopes that the government classroom might be speeding up haven’t materialised.
The tower for the water tank has been built, the 3000 litre tank is delivered and the ½ Km of water pipe has been laid but we still have to repair the main line higher up which will get water both to the school and the whole surrounding community – including the local hospital (can you believe a hospital without water!). In the meantime we have to pay for water to be brought in at £3 per 1000litres – actually less because a lot gets spilt on the rough roads as it is brought in – and the builders require huge quantities; at least 2 deliveries each day this week In addition to all this, we have just started to build a kitchen at a much lower cost than anticipated, which is good.
We still have to build a double teacher house and we want to build a 50,000 litre underground tank to capture rain water sufficient to get them through the 5 month dry season (Jon; you should approve of that!)
Sue has glazed four large windows (16 panes each) with many more to come over the next few weeks. She also paints doors and does occasional English singing lessons with Form 1 – they love it!!! Her back is still giving her trouble but she is surviving. Tony is fine and spends all his time planning, organising and getting the money which they seem to get through extremely fast even though we think we have found the cheapest and best suppliers of everything.
The Community leaders still continue to give us tremendous support every day. For the last 2 weeks the weather has been quite changeable with some rain most days, but not much in Osiligi. However the last 2 days have bee extremely hot and dry. The weather patterns round here are entirely determined by Mt Meru so Ngaramtoni where we live(on the south west slopes) may be very wet whilst Osiligi (1 hours walk away and due west of Meru) is bone dry. It was so cool one night that we even had to put a blanket over our sheet! There are now other volunteers around including one who was at school with Tony (no they don’t remember each other) and his wife (teaching at Timbolo, Karin) who sings alto in a choir just like Sue’s.
The tradition of Tuesday evening beer in a bar in Ngaramtoni has been resurrected. So far we have had two luxury weekends at one of the best hotels in town. They have offered us a fantastic rate which we could not refuse! We are planning 2 weekend Safaris for the beginning and end of February (Manyara and Tarangere parks). This week we have attached a panorama picture of the school with the adjacent Primary School to the left. You can see how rural, open and under-populated it is unlike Kimnyack last year. This is also reflected in the greater poverty of the people in the area. But it is very beautiful countryside and there seem to be lots of wonderful birds around which we love to watch.
One noticeable change from previous years is that we seem to be known wherever we go both in Arusha and Ngaramtoni and we are always greeted and treated well. We are enjoying ourselves even if it is hard work and the weight seems to be reducing slowly!
Our Love and best Wishes to you all
Tony and Sue