Such is the Swahili greeting and response in Tanzania – best I can translate it means how’s it going and answer’s: great!
And that is exactly how our visit unfolded.
Dar es Salaam is on the ocean and the International School of Tanganyika put us up right next to it. We started our visit by doing a little shopping and snorkeling with the elementary librarian Karen Choan here’s little vid I made of the latter experience.
Then it was time to hit the schools. The upper and the lower schools have separate campuses and we started out with the upper school with librarian Courtney Park. Sara and I did a little drive by during their Monday morning assembly each performing a poem then it was into the classrooms.
We worked on extended metaphor, personification, and memoir and the students and teachers were super receptive. For extra-added excitement we participated in a practice lockdown and hid amongst the books in the library stacks while Courtney was assigned the role of prowling the school and shaking the locked doors knobs.
After two days at the upper school we reunited with Karen at the lower school and worked with the whole crowd down there, pre-K to 5th grade. We started out with an assembly in their brand new auditorium and then wrote like mad. Refrain poems, recipe poems, similes you name it we cranked it out.
I had a Nigerian style Up and Down made and wore it to school Friday and this resulted in my favorite (if not productive) interaction with a student on the visit. The outfit looks like, and I will probably employ it as a set of pajamas so I could kind of understand where the young man was coming from when he asked me, “Are you living at the school?” Not that it would be such a bad thing, they had a top notch espresso bar!
To end our stay we had a great Indian dinner with the Assistant Principal Glen Davies and his kindergartener wrangling wife Marianne a couple of amiable Kiwis. Then we were off to our next destination – Kenya.
Thank you IST for treating a couple of crackpot poets from Cleveland, Ohio like rock stars. Asanti Rafeeqis (thank you friends)