School is open! Classes in session! Big smiles all around!

Completed School Buildings with Corn

Completed School Buildings with Corn Crop to be used for School Lunches

Here is the Dream Big Montessori School – completed at long last! Classes began January 2013 at the Nursery level (ages 4-6 years) taught by our Montessori trained nursery teachers George and Sophie, who are living on site on the second floor of our wonderful solar kiosk enjoying the truly stunning views of the green valley in the distance. Ten new windows needed to be added to these two blocks, according to the school inspector, which have turned out very well and add even more light into the classrooms, library and office. Replastering has been finished as well as a fresh coat of paint which looks great!

School Breezeway

PE class

IMG_4839

Advertisements

First Day of School!

It is with great happiness that I can announce that the Dream Big Montessori School opens its doors for the first time tomorrow, Thursday, January 10th!

There was a 2 day delay as we were just informed by the school inspector at the final school inspection that he wanted a total of 10 windows in the school. So we rushed to remove some of our brick walls to have the new windows added. But now this last minute issue has been swiftly addressed class starts first thing Thursday morning for our beautiful new school, registered at long last by the Tanzanian Ministry of Education. It has been a long and difficult path since Fall 2009, but as of tomorrow the school will be a reality for these children and their families. Thank you everyone who helped along the way.

First Day of School – January 8th 2013!

After overcoming many unimaginable obstacles, the Dream Big Montessori School opens its doors January 8th, 2013! Teachers George and Sophie are preparing the classrooms for the start of the school year with Sister Denise’s invaluable help. Registration is well under way as the enrollment climbs. It may not be full for opening day, but this is not uncommon it seems as many adopt a wait-and-see policy on this strange new wonderful project – so unlike anything most have seen. We are told as soon as people see the high level of education we are offering our problem will be a waiting list. A final fundraising blast is happening on this side of the world, to fund final odd jobs like library shelving, weather-proofing, septic tank installation, inspection costs and school supplies – particularly crayons, pencil crayons and watercolours which are difficult to source in-country. Please contact us to help with our final $5000 requirement! Thanks to the extraordinary heart and caring shown to these children from all donors (from our generous corporate sponsors to our lemonade stand kid heroes!) This has truly been a massive team effort – and we are soon realizing our shared dream – GO TEAM DREAM BIG!!!

Final Bureaucratic & Legal Obstacles Overcome!

Schoolhouse View – 99% Completed

Some of the Project’s Extraordinary Volunteers Onsite

Hats off to these amazing volunteers from BC who came to Africa on their own steam to join this one month marathon build, to help a community with no school, no safe water source & no power. Sweaty and dusty, toiling in the hot sun everyday, these remarkable volunteers did the near impossible, and turned a piece of raw jungle into a school, safe filtering water well, and solar power station which operates as a micro-business to help fund operating costs of the village school. Many many thanks to all who made such phenomenal contributions. What a focused hard-working group of rock star volunteers!!

Tanzanian Red Tape

An extra dose of patience is required in the Tanzanian new school registration process! After two weeks of long days and late late nights of paperwork while swatting those darn malarial mosquitoes, we are finally at Step 6 of an 8 step registration and permitting process.  However, we need to finish our septic field first to pass our physical school requirement Step 7 and the rains from the rainy season make that a waiting game too. Once the earth dries up we can finish our toilet system. In the meantime we have built two ‘bonus’ toilets at a higher grade elevation which will likely become the teacher’s and adult visitor only ones. We know our school will not pass inspection until the main toilet system is functional, of course, and nothing moves too fast over here, that’s for sure!

Solar Kiosk needs metal cladding on second residence level to keep rains in check. Temporary double outhouse toilets on left side beautifully built by local builder.

One other final exterior job is to clad in metal sheeting the second floor above the solar kiosk, which is to be the teachers’ accommodation as the BC plywood we have finished it in is not tough enough in the rainy season. We have painted it white for now, but we need to add a final exterior layer of metal once we can fundraise the amount required for this job. Donation button coming soon to this site – Yeah!!

 

 

Mini Canada Place Sail erected on other side of globe!

Mini Canada Place sails erected on the other side of the globe!

Check out the large triangles of Canada Place teflon sail material being turned into this cool mini Canada Place Sail on virtually the other side of planet Earth!

Re-purposed tires were collected and submerged partially underground for circular seating under the sail which will now be used as an additional outside classroom and village meeting area, out of the hot African sun. Heavy rains and wind from the rainy season have proven tricky for our sail, as our first attempt could not stand up to the harsh elements, but this second attempt is using a longer, more deeply buried central stabilizing pole. It’s a fun challenge!

Kids on school steps wave as Canada Place Sail goes up behind them