Out of Africa and into the Classroom: A teacher's dream site on Africa!

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 Jairos Jiri:  Schools and training centers for the disabled

     The three Jairos Jiri centers I went to were fabulously managed and filled with love.  The children are residential during the school year, and were happy, hearty and full of love.

     Because these children are physically, not mentally disabled, it is expected that they pass the same rigorous grade six state test to continue on to grade seven that the rest of the children in the country have to pass.  (Kind of like Zimbabwe's version of "No Child Left Behind.")

    You will note all kinds of equipment strewn around all over the place in the pictures.  This is not because the children can not keep it on or get to it, it is because as soon as the teachers and staff turn around, the children are taking it off, preferring to mobilize naturally, without the use of such tools!

     The two photos where the children are holding eachother up was during a "Ballet" that they were lucky enough to partake in, thanks to a visiting Jamaican dance teacher who involved tens of kids in the amazing process.  I have few pics because I was busy taking a video...which I am working to post on this site.  The ballet will flabbergast you.  It brings to front all kinds of gymnastic prowess that these children were taught to possess by this exceptional young teacher.

    Most of the photos were taken as students were taking a break between classes or heading to lunch. 

    You will also note the children tending the chickens in a few pictures.  My elementary school class did a fund-raiser to purchase chickens for the children so they could participate in a self-sustaining project once I was gone.  This went on for a couple of years, with the staff sending me regular spreadsheet/updates on the progress they were having.  The children, being children, loved the proces of taking care of animals!

    Stanley Marowa was the head teacher at the time of my visit.  I was blessed to be able to stay with him, his wife Chivumbiso, and their daughters, Tatenda ("thank you in Shona") and Faith at their suburban home.  Chivumbiso is a home economics teacher and we became very close during my stay.  I am now friends with the children on Facebook, and communicate with Stanley and Chivumbiso via email. 

    Below are photos of my stay with the Marowa family!



Stanley at Jiros Jiri

Here Mr. Marowa demonstrates a device which enables a child with limited hand usage to type on a computer/keyboard.


The Marowa Family

This is the wonderful Marowa family! From left to right, Faith, Stanley's brother, Tatenda, Chivumbiso, Stanley. 


Since Mrs. Marowa is a home economics teacher, the entire house is filled with lovely touches that showcases her sewing, decorating and cooking skills.


Out back, you will note that Stanley and his brother are cooking up a pot of something.  "It is Mazundo," Stanley explains, "Cow feet; the equivalent to your viagra at home."  Wow!


Little Tatenda and I became fast friends since I shared a bedroom with her and just because she was such a little sweety.  She loved to dress up in ball gowns and her mommy's shoes.  Not yet in school then, Tatenda is now a woman who I communicate with on Facebook!


In the kitchen is where all the magic happens.  Chivumbiso told me mind-boggling stories of traditional healing, spells and potions.  In Zimbabwe, it's not unusual to read in the news that a woman has put a spell on a man for doing her wrong.  One of the most famous of these is the one which is cast to make his appendage disappear for cheating on her.  The police track these witches down.


     Little Tatenda simply stole my heart.  When I left we wrote letters until I let my life get in the way and lost track of her...until she'd grown up! 

   Her name means "thank you" in their native language, Shona. 

    When she was little, Tatenda used to frolick in the expansive back yard, chasing the funny Guinea Fowls around until they flew straight up into the air!

   In Zimbabwe there are two main ethnicities:  Shona (most notably in Northern Zimbabwe) and Ndebele, a branch of the Zulu people originating in South Africa, in the southern regions of Zimbabwe.