Geoff Tennant - Promoting access to mathematics for all
My Blog

14/10/12: lots to report!

Three weeks since my last post so lots to report!  The big thing is that I'm now in my own flat, still walking distance from work, 8th floor in an 11 floor apartment block.  Great views from the windows:












And here's my attempt to capture the evening light changes.  Any advice from any photographers out there, given that I have a tripod etc. with me, gratefully received!

Overall, it's great being here. En suite double spare bedroom for any visitors, back up electricity generator which is a big necessity here.  And 24 hour security. Total of 5 air conditioning units, one of which is strategically placed about my piano, another above my desk.  Bliss!

Hellen my housekeeper has started to look after my flat for me.  Have to say, the job she's doing is quite extraordinary!  To the point that I'm really quite concerned about my health - what will my immune system have to do living in such pristine conditions?  Although when I shared this with a colleague it was pointed out that the problem ceases as soon as I set foot in the street, so probably needn't worry.

Also have been allocated a car.  Can't decide which is the more difficult, driving here or driving an automatic - must remember the pedal on the left is the brake not the clutch!!!!  Although starting to be converted to the cause, particularly in heavy traffic which is often the norm round here.  Have to say, really don't like honking the horn as a way of attracting the security guard's attention to open gates for me, but that seems to be what is done.  And - work has an arrangement for petrol which means I need to use BP garages, except they're not called BP here, they're called Puma.  Except on all the paperwork I was given they are called BP, this confusion caused me a major runaround on Saturday in trying to find the BP garages which don't quite exist.  Although good to clock up a few miles in being comfortable driving here, I suppose.  Drove to church this morning past the taxi rank at the end of the street.  Was it my imagination or did I get the evil eye - "you used to be a customer and now you're driving yourself!!!!"

Visits to schools were amazing, children were absolutely fantastic, certainly discipline standards appear to be far higher than in the UK.  Against this can easily be found on the public web data which would indicate that standards here are very low - see for example http://www.uwezo.net/ Even keener than before to find ways of working positively with colleagues in making the best possible use of children's time whilst in school.

I'll try to be a more frequent blogger now that I'm fully moved with Internet sorted out etc.  Power cuts can cause a problem but that isn't really an excuse.  Once again, am keeping an eye on usage figures, thank you so much for coming, and do keep in touch!





10 Comments to 14/10/12: lots to report!:

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Cyril Tennant on 14 October 2012 13:00
Good to have a blog again. We really enjoy it! Glad to hear that you had some good school visits. It would be good to hear a bit more. The flat sounds good. Glad to hear that the piano is receiving proper care. Hope you have time to use it.
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Geoff on 15 October 2012 00:50
Thanks for this. Actually, point about air conditioning and my piano was for my benefit rather than the piano's! Hoping to get out into school again soon, will update shortly.
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David M on 20 October 2012 15:32
Hi Geoff, it's nice to catch up with your news and good to know that you now have accommodation and transport. I hope that the Swahili is going well - is it thought to be one of the easier or more difficult languages to learn? I'm sorry to say that I can't help with iPhone advice - I have only recently got a phone with a colour screen! I trust that the school visits will continue to go well. Keep up the good work with the blogging! Best wishes, David. P.S. This website has a really useful built-in spell checker - amusingly the only word it doesn't seem to recognise is blogging!
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Geoff on 21 October 2012 23:46
Hi David, great to hear from you. Have to be honest, attempts to learn Swahili have stalled temporarily, very keen to pick them up soon but work is getting appreciably busier. Trying to work out what the best model will be, there are classes available. Another school visit coming soon, but meanwhile, off to Arusha latter this week. But looking to write a blog entry later today partly about bats, power problems yesterday so that didn't happen.


Mick Rosinger on 21 October 2012 17:17
Good to hear things are going so well. We are really enjoying the blogs. We have just heard that we have been given funding for our project in Tanzania so I hope I will be over in the new year. We are meeting in France next week to discuss the way forward. Did you get reliable advice about anti-malaria tablets? Mick
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Geoff on 21 October 2012 23:48
Hi Mick, great to hear from you. Great to hear that you'll be here, do let me know if you're in Dar would be great to see you. On anti-malaria tablets which seem to have been working so far, need to get a fresh supply soon.


David Dawson on 31 October 2012 05:05
Godd to catch up on your blog again.. Thanks for the card - I am progressing well with the treatment but have got the shingles, which is painful. The band is progressing from what I hear with Alix on piano and Bethany on flute. I haven't yet made it to church on Sunday but hope to soon. Good luck with the language and the driving. It looks as though you will have a full day just with your main job, though. David.
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Geoff on 04 November 2012 09:55
Thanks for getting touch, David, good to hear from you. Sorry to hear about the shingles, get better soon! Pleased to hear about the band at church, was at DSM Pentecostal this morning and the worship leader, Safari Paul, was pointing out that the service starts at 0900, not 0915 and certainly not 0930! Some things seem pretty universal....


Annette Rosinger on 09 November 2012 03:58
Hi Geoff. Really enjoy reading your blog. Thanks for adding the Uwezo link - it makes fascinating reading. Only wish I knew about this when I was completing my MA in 2010 (evaluation of an English teaching methodology course at Mwenge University, Moshi). It will also be really useful for Mick with his teachers' guides. Glad that you are enjoying visiting schools - that was the part that we enjoyed the most! The pupils are delightful and deserve so much more from the education system. Cheers Annette
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Geoff on 11 November 2012 08:44
Hi Annette, thanks for your comment. Agree Uwezo is a great resource, also worth checking out is http://www.sacmeq.org/ which goes beyond the immediate Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda area. Hoping to talk to colleagues at Uwezo soon to see what we can be doing together. More recently been to Mzizma Secondary School which is close to here and part of the Aga Khan family, looking to be working with them also. And don't forget - there's always a bed in Dar for you and Mick, do let me know when you're coming!

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