The Gift of Presence
For nearly two weeks, those of us in the Saint Paul Area Synod have been blessed by the presence of ou[...]
At the end of last month, the Bega Kwa Bega team in Iringa traveled to the far corners of the diocese, visiting secondary schools and students. Ryan skillfully handled the driving. Astine and Frank had prepared lists of students and payments to be made. Pastor Lwila reminded students to study hard and make the most of their opportunity. I was mostly along for the ride, but assisted Ryan and Astine with taking photos of students grouped by parish.
At each of the six diocese schools, we were greeted with spirited singing and dancing, along with a variety of demonstrations, from acrobatics to precision marching. Each school celebrated increased enrollment over the past year and reported strides toward increased performance goals. Several of the schools had received recognition from the regional education office for improved test scores.
At each school, particular challenges were raised. In recent years, each school has worked to develop laboratory classrooms that will meet the requirements of a hands-on science curriculum. More recently, expanded computer labs are in high demand. The latest national curriculum is available online as well as via textbooks and the schools are finding that digital resources can be cost saving.
Always, a favorite part of the school visits is meeting the students themselves and their dedicated teachers. A classroom of students at Mtera showed off their newest Braille machine. In a science classroom where girls outnumbered the boys 9:1, we watched a demonstration of diffusion. In yet another classroom, a teacher demonstrated how the digital curriculum content could be shared with an entire classroom using a small projector.
At each school, we heard words of thanks – for student scholarships and also for gifts of teacher training, for infrastructure projects, for science materials and for the gift of visiting the school. “Thank you, BKB-SPAS, for the way you make things happen. You help the student but also help the school.”
Acting Director of Bega Kwa Bega