Kathy Brick: The things you learn in Tanzania…

Pasta making at Mbulu
Well it probably wouldn’t have been high on my list of things I expected to learn in Tanzania but recently I learnt how to make pasta here.

Let me explain… I recently had two weeks’ holiday and spent it in a place called Mbulu – about 5 hours’ drive from Arusha and not far from Lake Manyara . I went there to teach English to some nuns from the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Christ (I think I’ve got that right!). The foundress of this order is Italian and hence the sister “in charge” of the convent where I stayed had spent some time in Italy and one thing she learnt while there was how to make pasta. Did I say that I went there to teach them something? Well perhaps it was not clear at times who was teaching who, but I can say that the 7 aspirants and 4 novices I taught were delightful students who were keen to learn. The teaching schedule was not too hectic and I was well looked after so dismiss any thoughts that I was doing something noble during my holiday.

Life at Edmund Rice has been going well – the students we have had for the second half of the year are terrific (as were the others). I am in the process of getting to know two more classes as the other volunteer who was a trained teacher has just left and now I am spending time in her special programme classes as well.

Last week we had the Form Four graduation – they have the “Dini” (Religion) graduation and then the lunch and then the academic graduation – it is quite a full day. I was “on duty” in the kitchen helping to prepare lunch for 150 staff and guests (just as a kitchen hand – they’re not quite ready to allow me to be in charge of catering Tanzanian-style just yet!) in the morning and attended the academic graduation in the afternoon. The graduating students will have their national exams soon and will be hoping to pass well so that they can continue to A-level (forms 5 and 6).  Only a percentage of them will be able to continue so they are hoping for the best.

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As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems. Inequality is the root of social ills. - Pope Francis (Joy of the Gospel 202)