Parish Of Opawa St Martins Blog

May 30, 2012

Term 4 at CAMS

Filed under: Stephen Coulthard — Administrator @ 10:12 pm

May 2012

Dear friends

It is now term 4, and at CAMS we are moving toward exams, report writing, and the end of the school year on June 29th. It is getting a little milder in temperature, though still hot in the afternoon, and much more now, cloudless blue skies. The rain would now seem to be done with, until about December. It has been a reasonable rainy season for most people’s crops, but patchy though, and in some parts of the region apparently, not so good.

I mentioned in the last report, the Easter Production that we were preparing for. That happened on the Wednesday morning of the week before Easter, and went pretty well. The kids did very well, having learnt their lines, and they acted their parts convincingly. I’ve generally found that as long as they have got it right in practice at some point, children will get it right on the day. The audience and the occasion seem to help. It was a lot of extra work, though, and at the end of it I was very tired.

Easter itself here was well observed by our English language congregation. After church on Easter Day, we had a shared lunch in a little enclosed courtyard at the back of our compound. We had as guests both the Dean of the cathedral, and Bishop Mdimi Mhogolo and his wife Irene. During the Easter 2 week school holiday, a lot of the teachers were out of town, so things were fairly quiet. I didn’t go anywhere, but was glad of a quiet time to rest and recover.

Over much of Term 1 there was a weekly confirmation class of about a dozen older kids from the English congregation – all also pupils at the school. Rev Jane Window (a long-term teacher with CMS Australia, ordained deacon a few months ago.) We had their confirmation service on the 13th May, and it was a great occasion. The first apparently for our congregation since 2000. The kids sang ‘Make me a channel of your peace…’ as a song of commitment. One of the invited guests had been a cabinet minister in the original government established at Independence in 1961 – quite an honour to meet such a person. It was a lovely occasion, as ten very sincere kids committed themselves to following Christ. You could pray for them, that they will continue in that commitment, and understand how to act on it, in the little aspects of their day to day lives.

The rest of the school year is likely to be fairly busy. After that finishes up on Friday 29th June, I will be quickly doing a bit of preparation for getting the new year going. Then I will be heading down to Dar es Salaam probably on a bus the following Tuesday, and flying out of Dar on Wednesday, arriving in Christchurch on Friday July 6th. This is my original return ticket, booked when I was thinking I’d only be here for a year. I come back on Emirates Airways, with a 10 hour stop in Dubai. I wouldn’t quite say that I am counting down the days, but I am looking forward to being back for a little time – It will be very good to catch up with family and friends. I will be speaking at an assembly at my old school, RNLS, and also hope to be doing a little bit of relieving teaching, if there is any to be had. At this point, I expect to be heading back to Tanzania on Tuesday 31st July.

The school is going along well. The Form 4 students are currently sitting the International GSCE exams, a British qualification. With the primary school, on the same site, it is a job to keep things quiet as they do those papers. They have to be all done at the same time, regardless of where in the world you are. As we are currently 2 hours ahead of UK time, this means morning papers start at 10:30 am. Good news for the school is that it will be fully staffed in August at the commencement of the new school year. Getting enough ex-pat staff has been a constant challenge here.

One interesting recent development has been that we have had a number of Russian children join the school. The new University of Dodoma has a number of its academic positions filled by Russians.

The bike riding has been continuing, generally one afternoon during the week and on Saturday mornings. We have 3 rides we normally alternate between, all of about an hour: Easy, to the north of the town, going around a large rocky outcrop called Lion Rock; Medium, out to the west, and taking
us right out of town – on this one I’ve seen baboons, and also some rather interesting footprints; and the hardest ride, to the southeast, that begins with a very solid climb over some fairly rough tracks. I am enjoying being able to do this.

Parliament is sitting at the moment by the look of things – Dodoma is Tanzania’s legislative capital. When they are in town, we generally have the two main roads illuminated with streetlights, which is quite an amazing sight. The functions of capital city are being gradually moved from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma, and there are building sites for a couple of Ministries going up nearby. In some places, Dodoma is unrecognisable compared to how it was in 2001 when I first arrived here; however, much is also just the same.

I hope you are all well and that winter isn’t too cold where you are. I’ll get enough of it in NZ to make me appreciate the warmth in Tanzania!

Thanks again for your interest, your prayers, and support in many ways.

God bless you all.
Stephen Coulthard.

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