Waving farewell to a new graduating class

10 November 2022 – Karao.
11 students completed their primary education in the 2022 school year of Karao Adventist Pre and Primary School. Over 300 guests celebrated their great achievements at our graduation event.

The programme started with the special performances of the lower classes. After the songs of the school choir, the pupils of Class 1 bid farewell to the graduating class by enacting a cautionary tale about the importance of good hygiene and by citing encouraging Bible verses. The students of Class 7 responded to their classmates with songs. They also took the audience on an imaginary journey along the rich history of the school, which started under a tree over 10 years ago and now runs nine classes offering high-quality education to 216 students. As one of the most spectacular elements of the event, the youngsters organised a fashion show to present the school uniforms and different forms of traditional Maasai and African clothing. Afterwards, the event continued on a more serious note with speeches from the head teacher, Moses Brown, the district pastor of Seventh Day Adventist Church, Paulo Sembeo and the representative of Supai e.V., Zsanett Andresin. The speakers thanked the students and parents for believing in the value of education as a key to opening up new doors for the Maasai community. The celebration ended with a special dinner where young and old, teachers, parents and students could eat together and cherish the memories of the former school years that led up to this day.

As for the future of our graduating students, they are waiting for the results of their national exams, which will have a great influence on where and how they can continue their studies. The brightest ones are planning to enter secondary education, for which the support of existing or new sponsors is essential.

Long-awaited visitors transforming Karao

25-08-2022 Karao. A team of 36 volunteers landed in Tanzania to complete various projects at the Karao Adventist Primary School.

The school also welcomed a special group of first-time visitors from the German Burger-Roland Secondary Grammar School. Led by two teachers, Andrea Gohla and Ralf Sieber, seven students visited their Tanzanian partner school. They spent an entire week giving lectures, painting, playing music and singing for the local students who followed their new friends with awe. Thanks to the support of the Secondary Grammar School, the Masai children could improve their sports skills on a newly built volleyball pitch. One classroom has been decorated with a world map created by the German students, which can be used to illustrate the fauna of different places around the globe. 

A Polish team of 12 people purchased and installed solar panels on the roof of the newly built girls dormitory that can host up to 50 female students after its completion. In the evenings, they visited the nearby local homes called bomas to talk to the inhabitants, encourage them, and bring hope in the lives of families often living at the brink of despair. 

Two doctors, one medical student and one nurse treated patients every day. The news spread rapidly in the neighborhood, and queues of people in need welcomed the medical team each morning. Mothers with their babies, elderly women and men endured the heat under the shades of the few trees around the medical centre to meet the doctors. Several female patients had severe back pain, while others suffered from cataracts. Thus, there is a great need for an ophthalmologist who could perform eye surgeries as part of the medical team. The children’s eye inflammations are treated with high-quality eye drops and vitamins. Unfortunately, severe burns are also common as locals sleep next to open fires to keep themselves warm at night. Rare diseases also appear from time to time such as children having Down syndrome or babies born with severe deformities.

Another group worked tirelessly to complete the new buildings. They persevered under the heat of the sun to mix concrete, dig foundations, or replace broken windows. Their tireless work has transformed the surroundings of the school. 

Karao is located on a hillside, one-hour drive away from Longido. The dustroad leading up to the small community is challenging for both man and machine. Cars shake severely on the uneven road that crosses riverbeds multiple times. They often get stuck in dried up riverbeds or thick layers of sand. Thus, the delivery of building materials tests the endurance of the volunteering team. However, whenever a project is completed, it is pure joy for everyone. 

Sponsored children changing the future of Masai

04-09-2022 Karao.
September 2022 started with a special celebration at the Karao Adventist Primary School. Our foundation invited all children sponsored in their studies for a chat and a lunch. Dr Laszlo Szabo, the head of the foundation, asked the children about their learning progress and overall experience. The students shared which class they attend, what their favourite subjects are and what future goals and desires they have. At the end of the conversation, each teenager received a T-shirt with the logo of the foundation to strengthen their feelings of belonging and camaraderie. The day after marked the start of the second school term. All children embarked on their way to their boarding schools in Arusha or Namanga to continue their studies. Physics, Biology, Civic and Moral Studies were mentioned the most often as their favourite subjects.
While others are eager to learn Math and English. They see themselves as the future doctors, teachers and lawyers of Tanzania aiming to make the world a better place.

Their sponsors play an active role in paving the way to fulfilling their dreams.

Searching for water

05-09-2021 Karao. The beginning of September 2021 marked the start of our water well drilling operations. In the Masai Mara (desert) every drop of water is treasured. While it is easy for us to open the tap and drink, bathe, cook, wash our car, or water our flowers whenever we want, it is only a dream for the Masai. Although water pipes are built by the government, people usually have to walk for 4-6 kilometres to reach these places only to fill one vessel with water and carry it home on their head or by rolling it in the dust.

The school does not have running water yet; thus, a well offering unlimited access to water would make a big difference for the 170 students and their teachers. Young and old filled with excitement and hope, praying for the success of the operation gathered around the drilling machine that many would consider obsolete. When the volunteering team first set sight at the machine, they had doubts about its performance. Unfortunately, their worries soon turned into reality as the drill broke shortly after starting the work. The project was put to a halt for two days as the team had to wait for the new drill. It could drill down to 150 metres deep; however, it was not enough to find water. Thus, there is no permanent solution for the water in Karao yet. We purchased water tanks and regularly fill them with water. However, this is a costly and time-consuming process that does not provide a reassuring solution. If you can offer any support to ensure reliable access to water in Karao, do not hesitate to contact us.

European medical team treat schoolchildren in Karao

03-09-2021 Karao. In September 2021, a medical team arrived from Europe to spend most of their time assessing the health status of the children studying in Karao. Doctors and nurses visited every class to perform routine medical checkups like body weight and height measurements and dental checks. Most of the children were excited to wait for their turn. Although some of them had never seen a doctor before; thus, they were afraid not only of the examinations but also of the white foreigners. However, the kindness and patience of the doctors and nurses helped them to overcome the initial difficulties.
During the assessment, several children were diagnosed with sore throat or eye inflammation. Thanks to the fast reaction of the medical team and the use of appropriate vitamins and medicines, most of the diseases could be successfully treated. Unfortunately, some children had more serious issues. Severe heart problems were identified among 12 children.
Out of them, two were sent to Arusha and Dar es Salam for special examinations and one of them had to undergo surgery.    

Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic reached impacted the entire world, including Africa. The Tanzanian government has ordered the closure of schools throughout the country. We also agreed that it is a safe course of action to fight the pandemic and keep our students safe; leaving about 500 students isolated from the community and our learning environment. Despite the crisis, our teachers decided to do their best not abandoning their students on their own; proving their sincere devotion. They organised a new system of homeschooling. Of course, not the way we are used to in Europe. Not only they lack computers and internet, lots of households, within Maasai bomas, do not even have electricity. Through hard work and dedication, our teachers had to innovate to find a way, regardless. The teachers decided to buy exercise books and pencils for the students and visited the local communities every other day to teach them while practising social distancing. If there is not a classroom and chalkboard, the tree’s and earth dust will suffice. The dusty ground became filled with letters and numbers surrounded by children wanting to learn. This day the school gates have opened, and education continues for these children.

New dormitory in Karao

With our current project, we are aiming to bring the Maasai children closer to the school, to decrease the distance between them and the place of opportunities. The completion of this project is instrumental in the continuation of our plans. For centuries, the Maasai families have been living so-called ‘bomas’. The word ‘boma’ in Swahili means enclosure, referring to both community and livestock. The fence of a boma is built out of thorny branches in a circular shape; this surrounds the small houses of branches and mud. Five or six families are living together in these boma communities, keeping in enclosed hatches their cattle and goats as their livestock. Although these homes seem neat but compared to our comfortable living conditions, they are not as convenient for families of many children.

We chose the place of Karao for building the first dormitory, as it is the place of our mission’s largest school, where more than 150 students are learning in eight classes. The dorm building will be suitable to accommodate around 50 girls, who perform well in their studies. Building this dorm for girls will fulfil many needs, as well as providing a sense of comfort and safety. Instead of living in the environment of bomas, these girls can live in a much more convenient and suitable place. Most children in Karao school are commuting from the surrounding villages and bomas. These young students need to walk daily, some at least 4-5 kilometres in the morning and the same distance back from school. They are walking so they can study, belong to a community and eat one meal in school. The girl students will experience the benefit of the dorm in many ways. They will not need to walk alone to school every day, and they will not go to bed with a hungry stomach at night. They will not have to worry about difficult house chores hindering them from revision time. Furthermore, these girls will not be at risk of being attacked by wild animals and of facing other dangers.

The dorm would provide a safe place and a whole new world of opportunities to these young girls. Based on our plans, these girls would be distributed in 15 bedrooms, 3-4 girls living in each room. As accessing the main power supply is difficult in this region, solar panels will supply the electricity in the dorm building. The initial steps of the project will consist of structural construction. The crucial support of further sponsors will allow us to obtain and use electrical devices powered by renewable sources. The next phase of the plan has much potential in learning. In the dormitory, we plan to equip the common-room with IT equipment, which will aid learning performance, and provide an interactive learning environment for further development. To the students, even having meals three times a day is a great privilege which not many people have. We are delighted that we can provide these boarding girls safe, secure and more comfortable living conditions, where they don’t have to worry about their daily struggles and are given space to concentrate on their future. Naturally, we don’t want to forget about the boys, as after the girls’ dorm is finished, the boy’s dorm will follow.

Tinga Tinga

Over ten years ago, we met a boy from Tinga Tinga, called Israel. His commitment and determination caught our attention, and we wanted to support him to reach his goals in life. His calling was to gain a qualification a theology by the Seventh Day Adventist church and become a pastor. After finishing his studies, he wanted to fulfil an old dream of his, to build a school in his hometown. He was well aware of the value of learning in a school, especially without walking long miles every day.

We obviously supported his initiative, and with the required funding for this project, the school was built. Not only it serves as a school for 50 students providing general education, but the building is also used as a house of worship on Saturdays. A teacher there, called Melubo had the ingenious idea to create a vegetable garden in the schoolyard; from which the students are free to enjoy the fresh food during their break time. He inspired us to expand on his idea and to apply it in different schools.

As the following step, we wish to install solar panels onto the school buildings providing a reliable source of electricity. The lighting and electrical appliances will rely on this green energy. Our big dream is to stream online lessons to these students from Europe. This would significantly enrich the learning experience and would grant these children many new opportunities in education.

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