Kunduchi, My Second Home
The first time I came to Kunduchi was on the 22nd of April. I arrived with Jessica in the help2kids car. As the kids saw us they started to shout “hello teacher, hello teacher” and came running to us to greet and hug us. Also Dzinyeto, the teacher, gave us a hearty welcome. I felt very welcomed and I knew: this is the place where I want to teach during my time here in Tanzania. The next day I went by myself to Kunduchi by DalaDala (local bus) and started to help Dzinyeto in the morning with the kids. There are normally around 40 children (2-6 years old) and sometimes it’s quite loud. I don’t know how Dzinyeto can handle them alone because every child needs some attention and some help. The first week I was alone with Dzinyeto and sometimes it was quite hard because firstly I had to get used to teaching the children (they don’t really understand English and I only speak some Swahili words) and actually to everything else too. But Dzinyeto was a big help and explained everything to me. On my second week, there were other volunteers coming with me to Kunduchi and so it got easier to teach the children because we could split up in groups – teaching the kids the alphabet, numbers, pictures, body parts, colours, drawing with them, playing some games, sometimes sport and what is really important, we hold them a lot in our arms, called by them “playing babies”.
In my 3rd week I also started to teach the fishermen from Kunduchi English in the afternoon. On the first day there were only 3 guys coming. To be honest, I was quite nervous because I had no idea how much English they understood and what I should teach them. But after the first 10 awkward minutes I got use to it and we did well. Actually it was a great start and by the end of the first week there were up to 8 fishermen and Mariam the cook from the restaurant next door joined us too. So from then until the end of my time there I spent more or less my whole time in Kunduchi. In the morning I’m teaching the children at the nursery together with other volunteers until 11.00 am and then I have a break for some local food (chapati, beans and tea at the restaurant next door, interesting chats with Dzinyeto and sometimes walking around in Kunduchi with Dzinyeto). Around 12.00 to 12.30 the fishermen start to arrive at school depending on their work. Sometimes there are only 2 fishermen but on some days there are 10 during the whole afternoon (ranging from speaking no word in English to understanding English quite well). It’s not always easy but it was really fun. We’re talking about English grammar, their lives, Tanzania, actually about everything and of course they have a lot of questions about Switzerland and the wazungu life (white people). So it’s not only that they learn some English from me I’m also learning a lot about Tanzania and the life here. At the beginning I thought sometimes: Ok, they are only so friendly to me because they want something from me. But I had to realize that the Tanzanians are really friendly people and nothing more.
They really don’t have much here in Kunduchi but they are happy with their life here and unbelievably grateful for everything that they get from us. One fisherman sometimes comes with me back in the DalaDala and pays every time the ticket for me because this is his way to say ‘thank you’. One day 2 fishermen walked with me back to the guesthouse through the fields (alone would be too dangerous). We had a nice 2 hour walk, talking and joking. I was a little ashamed that they could see how good I’m living here compared to them. But they were only happy: “Teacher, we are so happy to see that you are living in a safe place, so we don’t have to worry about you.” For me they are only unbelievable nice and lovely people.
Of course you have to have in your mind that Kunduchi is a poor fishing village and not everything is nice. The bad points: it sometimes smell really bad, in the streets there is a lot of rubbish, pencils and pens disappear sometimes during the night, some kids have different diseases etc. But on the other hand you get so much back: great friendship, good chats, bright children eyes, happiness, the possibility to see people helping each other with no self-interest etc.
My 2 months in Tanzania are almost over and I already feel sad to say goodbye to my friends here in Kunduchi. So I can only say: Asante sana to Kunduchi and its people that they gave me the chance to be a part of their life for a short time. And to everybody else: Just go to Kunduchi and spend some time there, you will have a great time.
Daniela Leute, Switzerland
help2kids Volunteer, Summer 2013