June 7, 2016

Habari! It has been a very busy week here in Tanzania as we try to wrap up everything before leaving Tanga on Thursday. Our last day of work with the students at Pongwe was Friday, June 3, since it is now their winter break. The team has been working very hard since then on construction of the dorm! Here are a few pictures of the progress over the last week:

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In addition to construction, we also wrapped up our week long curriculum with the girls who will be moving into the new dorm once they return from their winter break in July. Here are some pictures of the girls and their activities:

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Most of the team (Rachel, Xoab, Garrett, Siri, and Kate) left early Monday morning to go on a four day safari through the Serengeti. We expect amazing photos from them once we meet in Dar Es Salaam on Thursday! Unfortunately they do not have wifi while in the national park, so if you haven’t heard from any of them since Monday that is the reason (don’t worry though, they have a phone for emergencies!). We are excited to hear back from them soon!

Meanwhile, Sara and I (Arlene) decided to stay back in Tanga and tie up some loose ends before we all leave. We have been meeting with teachers and school committee members at Pongwe to learn more about their perspective on problems and strengths within their community. We are also working on documentation before we leave, including taking pictures of the construction progress, drawing site plans, identifying potential future projects, translating students’  feedback, evaluating past PUC projects, and lots more. It’s been a busy couple of days from our end!

The dormitory project is still on track to be completed by June 16, which is good news, although we won’t be able to see the finished product before leaving (until we come back in the future, of course!). Today they hoisted all of the roof trusses into place on top of the building, which was really interesting to watch. They were able to life them into place using a combination of strength and simple machines, making it look so easy to lift a wooden truss 10 feet into the air. The contractors are all very friendly and while they only speak Kiswahili, they love trying to talk to us in a combination of Kiswahili-English and explaining what they are doing. Its been a lot of fun working with them, and we will miss them once we are gone!

Tomorrow is another busy day, since we will be tying up loose ends at Pongwe, and also visiting Mtimbwani in the afternoon, which is another site for potential future projects. We will check in again tomorrow!

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