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Giving Pupils a Sporting Chance in Kisasa

Wednesday, 30 September, 2015 -- Helen Wilson

Having been out on two previous trips to Tanzania whilst I was a student in the Sixth Form at Eltham College, I felt I knew what to expect when I embarked on my trip. However, whilst sitting in Terminal 3 waiting for my flight, thoughts of "what am I doing" crossed my mind. After my last trip I had promised myself that I would go back out as soon as I could, and there I was, doing just that!

After a tiring two day journey I finally arrived in Dodoma (although the capital of Tanzania, it is a medium sized town in the middle of nowhere!). My month out there began in earnest the following morning when I began my first full day teaching at Kisasa Secondary School. As well as teaching lots of English lessons, I was able to get involved with a whole range of subjects which included a few Geography lessons and getting involved with the odd science experiment!

The biggest project that I wanted to tackle whilst out there however was getting the school’s sports playing area flattened. Previously the uneven ground made it incredibly difficult for the pupils to engage in any sporting activities despite many of them having a much enthusiasm for sport.  Anybody who has travelled to Africa will know just how religiously the Premier League is followed out there! So with a generous donation from an OE, the task of flattening the field was given the
go- ahead, and after numerous quotes, phone calls and visits to offices, the machinery finally rolled in to get the job done during my last week in Tanzania.

As well as a football pitch, we managed to clear enough space for netball, volleyball and basketball courts.  The hope is to eventually plant a form of grass throughout the field - although the pupils seemed happy enough with the flattened ground as it was! Hopefully the new field will ensure that the pupils have a greater opportunity to participate in sport throughout their time in school.

In addition to teaching in Kisasa I made frequent visits to one of the local orphanages in Dodoma. The home is full of children of all ages and not only provides them with food and a place to stay but also funds the schooling of every single one of the children there. Seeing how happy these children were with so few belongings was certainly a humbling experience.

All in all it was an amazing month and I would urge anyone who gets the chance to take up the opportunity!
 

 Harsha Ramesh (2015)