Getting Settled at the UAACC

Today I was assigned to an advanced English class. I will be teaching this class five days a week. Starting tomorrow, I will have a co-teacher who is a Tanzanian student at the University of Arusha. Today I taught by myself and I think I may have bored the students because I didn’t have a lesson prepared since I only found out I was teaching that class at 9:15 AM when it started. However, the students are nice so I think it should be good. Also, once my co-teacher is there I will be able to tell if they understand what I am saying or not. Today I was struggling to come up with a lesson and assess their level of English yet they are very shy to use it so it was a bit of a rocky start in my opinion. Thankfully though that means it can only get better. I am also going to try very hard to talk as slowly as possible because they said I talked to fast today. If anyone has any suggestions for teaching English please feel free to share. I am planning on having them practice reading a children’s book and working on comprehension for the next couple lessons and whatever my co-teacher has planned.

As requested by Lee Ann I will do my best to describe my living conditions and routine here so far. The community center consists of multiple housing buildings, a kitchen building, an outdoor dining/stage area, multiple classrooms, a small clothes shop with clothes made my artists here, and a basketball/recreation area. I am staying in a housing building with about 5 rooms and a couple large community space rooms. A couple of the rooms are dorm style with 3-4 beds and are for volunteers some of the other rooms are singles or doubles and are for the full time staff here. Right now there is only one other temporary staff member here and she is staying in a separate building from me. So I have a room with four beds all to my self right now, which is very nice. There are two bathrooms and one shower in the building. The shower has mostly cold water so I take a 1.5 L water bottle and fill it with hot water from the bath faucet and use that to take a shower. It only takes me a bottle to a bottle in a half to take a shower. It is amazing how quickly I have made an adjustment that I would have thought impossible if I was still in the U.S.

As for the food here, I have only had a couple meals at the center because I have been in town two of the three days that I have been here in Arusha. Usually I have toast, fresh fruit and chai for breakfast and then lunch and dinner can consist of spaghetti, potatoes and/or okra, with a salad and water. In Arusha I had Ethiopian food for the first time it was quite good. (As I am writing this I look down to discover a spider of sorts on my shirt. I got up to shake it off and it jumped off my shirt and onto my computer! It is gone now though. And to be honest the bugs have not been too bad here. I have a couple mosquito bites already but haven’t seen too many spiders. I also had a gecko in my room last night. There are also a lot of bigger animals around here like too a horses, a lot of chickens, a couple dogs and I can hear some cows and goats in the distance.)

It appears that my normal routine during the week will consist of teaching English from 9:15-10:30 AM, sitting in on art classes from 11:00 AM- 12:15 PM, taking a break for lunch, then teaching computers or sport activities from 2:00-5:00 PM, dinner around 6:00 PM and then the evening for my own Swahili studies and anything else that is going on. Right now I am mostly working with the teenagers and up but I will also work some sports with the children into my time and maybe teach two geology classes, one for the children and one for the older group. On the weekends I will have time to go into town if I wish or to take one on one art/music classes from some of the artists here. I think this weekend I might start learning how to make silk screens. I bought a beautiful one from the teacher of a sunset on the safari with some giraffes, elephants and buffalo painted around some trees. I will try to post a picture when I can and hopefully I will have some of my own to post soon too! I have lots to keep me busy while I am here.


One response to “Getting Settled at the UAACC

  1. Hi Gabby! So glad you’re settling in and survived the long trip! I was a bit anxious the first time too. Now I can’t wait to go back! Sounds like you really hit the ground running teaching the children. Your Mom & Glenn may have some good advice on lesson plans, but I’m sure you’ll get a feel for it with a little time.

    Keep the posts coming and enjoy! See you next month around the 26th.

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