Wednesday, 30 June 2010


We had an early pick-up from Dar es Salaam by our fellow volunteers Manu from Germany, Richelle and Taylor from Canada. Before leaving town we collected art materials sponsored by the UNSG (United Nations Spouse Group). The car got filled with lots of different types of paper, three buckets of clay, oil pastels, crayons, pencils and other art materials. Then we set off towards Bethsaida, located approximately 25 km from the city. On the way we bought some oranges and mangoes.

When we arrived all the girls were in their classes, which gave us some time to settle in the volunteer dorms. We both got private light blue rooms with flower curtains, ensuite bathrooms (!!) and double beds with mosquito nets. Then we were given a tour of the campus by the volunteers from Canada. In the area there are classrooms, dorms for the girls, a volunteer house (we are six at the moment), an office building, a sports field, a laboratory and a new library under construction. In addition to the buildings we also saw some pigs, chicken, cows and a couple of roosters, and a vegetable garden maintained by the girls.

The students at Bethsaida have full days with activities from 6 am to 11 pm, beginning with a morning run and ending with evening studies. Since most of the 120 girls are on holiday now, the schedule is a bit more laid-back. Still, the girls present have lessons to attend starting at 7 am. At 4 pm the girls have an hour long gospel style prayer session in the dining hall, involving energetic singing and drumming. Even in the evenings the hard working girls have to spend a couple of hours in the classrooms to complete their homework and study.

At the moment a few former students cook for the volunteers, they are excellent chefs. For our first dinner we were served rice, pea curry, stew with vegetables, coconut milk and cooking banana. In the evening we set up a time to meet with the head mistress Maristella in order to plan the groups and the timetables for our art workshops.

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