Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Contributing to Scholarships and Extra teachers in Mambo

By Andy Wittenwiler Silvia Bretsche

We live in a very small village in the east part of Switzerland. We are both teachers. Andy works in a psychiatry for children and youth. Silvia teaches in a primary school grade 5 and 6. Both of us have also a practical background. Andy was working as a bricklayer for 5 years and Silvia as a carpenter for 4 years.

It was always in our mind to take a break from our daily routine just to get other impressions, experiences and to open our horizon.
A lady in a travel agency recommended MamboViewPoint to us and we got in touch with Herman.

Because of our experiences in education, he wanted us to help in different education projects.

During May to July 2013, we were here for about 8 weeks.

As a contributing friend in MamoViewPoint, you are lucky to be at a beautiful place. From sunrise to sunset you can enjoy the breathtaking views, experience nature and enjoy the beautiful surroundings with the bungalows, the gardens and trails. The clouds that pass by every day around lunch time and sometimes which are sometimes hanging on mountain peak cannot disturb the great feeling.
We were amazed, that we may carry so much responsibility, despite to the short stay. By our self we could plan the tasks and could discuss everything with Herman and Marion regularly. Through the support of Mr. Hoza we soon get in touch with the school and the important people. Mr. Hoza was always a big help to discuss our concerns and to clarify issues.
Since we were often walking for various projects, we got a good insight into the culture and life of the local people. It was beautiful to see how kindly we were welcomed everywhere and how much time the people took for us.
Working on the diverse and complex projects was a big challenge. However, we are happy about working in education but not to be directly involved in teaching.
After about eight weeks, our stay is already over. We think, that we brought many things on a good point. The output of the projects is still open. To bring something to an end is never possible in education anyway.
We hope that the first selection with the new committee will be successful. We have a good feeling with the various members of the committee and the process structure.
Through the work with the sponsored students and the link to one of the Staff, we hope that the relationship of the individual students with MamboViewPoint will be intensified and become more transparent. It is certainly important that the staff will be alerted to their task again and again. We were pleased that we have already sensed the commitment of individual employees.
Due to the many students and the poor conditions in primary school, it seems to be very difficult to make positive changes. We believe that the solution with the extra teachers is neither sustainable nor brings the desired progress. However, perhaps it is simply a step further on the way. Therefore it is very important that the project will be evaluated carefully in the end of October. After that, further considerations and ideas can be approached.
The weekly English activity with the sponsored students was a good variation to the other, more theoretical projects. Because of the regularly interaction with the young people, we could better understand the problems of the Tanzanian education system. It was good to see their progress in being creative and asking questions. We are glad that we found someone who continues with these activities according to his possibilities.

After the first encounters and meetings, we realized that a project here in the Usambaras cannot be successful, if you approach it with a European perspective. It is important to understand how local people think, feel and act. Without observing that, it could come to misunderstandings, which can be funny but also frustrating. Therefore, we share the attitude of Marion and Herman that it’s very important to show people how they can help themselves. It’s not beneficial just to support them with donations. For all projects it’s so important that Marion and Herman are on the spot, that they always generate new ideas and that they found persons who can take over some of the responsibility. Only by this, sustainable projects are possible.

We thank Herman and Marion for the stay here. It was nice to feel the familial warmth atmosphere. From the beginning we felt good understood. We leave MamboViewPoint with many new impressions and a little melancholy. We are sure, back in Switzerland in our daily routine we will remember several things and many nice details.


At the time we were helping at MamboViewPoint there were 11 students, who are supported by scholarships to go to the private secondary school in Sunga. After two years in secondary school, the students should pass the exam to go further. Last year most of the students failed in this exam.
To be responsible to the donors, it is very important to have an over view about all the students, the results and the attendance. It’s also important to know about problems at school or at home. 

Therefore we: 

  • linked every student with one of the staff who works at MVP and  lives close to the student
  • taught the staff how to bear responsibility for the students
  • created a form for the report of the staff
  • taught the staff in how to use the computer and the report file
  • compared notes with Upendo about the students
  • discussed with Mwanasha and her Mother about boarding school
  • had to inform Haji and his caretaker that Haji is no longer part of the project because he has not  attended school for half a year
  • completed the students forms for the donors on PC

English activities

In the school system of Tanzania the students learn English in  Primary school only few lessons per week. The focus is on grammar.
After primary school, in secondary school, all subjects are taught in English. All the exams are in English. Very often the students don’t understand the topic or the questions because their English level is too low. The students are not creative. In school they learn how to copy and how to fill in gabs but not to think by themselves. It is often not allowed to ask questions or to build own sentences.
The idea of MamboViewPoint is to support the sponsored students with extra English lessons and activities on Sunday.
We started with the activities in the first week we were here and continued every Sunday. During school holiday they attended for a whole week (6 days).
To improve their English and to develop the creativity we looked for a teacher who will continue the English activities on Sundays.  We found a young motivated teacher from Kokai . He joined us during two Sundays and we are happy that he agreed to continue. We will pay him 10 000 TZS every Sunday till December. It is important to do a short evaluation before continuing.


1 comment:

  1. am so happy to read this news,its so wonderful tasks to help this village, but am sure for this steps that u have taken its good start. I think these villagers will know the important of education.i know it is this situation we studded but we couldn't surrender, but finally we are going to succeed. thanks alot for ur project.