Saturday, January 25, 2014

Bishop Stanway Primary School

This is the last weekend of our Christmas break, and I have been busy thinking about and preparing for my kids to return to school on Monday.  It’s funny how even a 5 week break, which seemed so long even a week ago, can seem too short when faced with the end.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m excited to see my kids again.  It’s only that I’m going to miss sleeping in!

Even with the planning I’ve been doing this week, I was able to take a trip to visit another school owned by the Diocese of Central Tanganyika.  Bishop Stanway Primary School is an English Medium school situated on the outskirts of Dodoma.  It’s actually a good distance away from CAMS.  Being an English Medium school only means that the instruction is all done in English, rather than Swahili.  Most government schools in Tanzania teach in Swahili until secondary, when all instruction is done in English.  It is not however an international school such as CAMS, so all the staff and students are Tanzanian.  I was really excited to be able to visit to see what a Tanzanian school is like.

I also had a secondary motive for my visit.  The Foundation for the Episcopal Church in Wyoming, along with the congregation in Big Piney are supporting the school through some scholarships and building grants.  Since I am a lot closer than they are, I was asked to stop in and check it out for them, which I was more than happy to do! 

As it turns out, Maria and I have a mutual connection to the school.  She is part of an organization in the UK that is also supporting a program at the school.  She was able to set up our visit, which was really helpful as she had actually been there before.  We realized once we got there how closely our respective organizations were working with each other without even knowing it. 

We first stopped in the dormitory area and were greeted by several kids who were on their lunch break.  They were very excited to meet us.  BSPS provides both day and boarding school.  There are 45 students who stay at the school full time.  Maria’s organization helps provide for children of pastors to stay at the school, so she was able to talk with them about how things were going.  Then, we got a tour of the dormitories. 

The 45 students stay in bunk beds in the 4 rooms.  Both of our organizations have helped here.  Originally, the students shared beds.  Now they each get their own bunk.  Mosquito netting has been provided, but there aren’t enough to go around.  Malaria has been a problem with some of the children, which is most likely due to this problem.  Interestingly, the mosquitoes that carry malaria are most likely to bite at night, which is why mosquito nets are one of the most effective preventative measures that are taken against the illness.  Mosquito nets are easy to find in Tanzania, so this shouldn’t be a problem for much longer!


All the food provided for the children is cooked outside over a wood fire.  This is very common in Tanzania.  The area where the food is prepared and cooked is a three walled structure with a roof.  To American eyes, it would look out of place as a place to prepare food, but it fits right in here in Tanzania!

After we finished at the dormitory area, we walked the short distance to the school.  The school buildings are set up so that there are two classrooms in each, with a small office area between the two.   
Part of the grant money supplied by the Foundation has paid for 100 desks and chairs for the school.  Two of the classrooms are being repaired and these desks are waiting for the floors to be finished before going in the classrooms.

Some of the children outside during break.  The building in the distance is the toilets.  New toilets are being planned which will be closer to the classrooms.


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