ideas, squibs, photos to:
Click any red box ( . . . ) for more.
We Were Walimu Once and Young, a collection of 191 stories by 104 TEA
and TEEA authors, is now available at Amazon.com. In the early 1960s
— while young people were inspired by President Kennedy, civil
rights advanced in the USA, and the Cold War overheated — 575 US
and 200 UK teachers went to East Africa. These walimu — Swahili
for teacher — signed up for two or three years. Many stayed
longer. They came to teach secondary students and train new
teachers. They endured culture shock, undertook voyages of discovery,
and forged friendships to last a lifetime. They witnessed the lowering
of colonial flags and the sun rising over newly independent states of
Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.
This book is the culmination of a process that began in 2011 at our 6th biennial reunion, as we agreed to collect our personal stories from those years we spent in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania (or Tanganyika for some), in these USAID-supported programs. Written half a century later, or taken from letters sent home at the time, these stories describe student and village life, adventures with flora and fauna and food, and journeys to explore remote parts of East Africa. Proceeds from this book will fund grants to secondary schools in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, as part of a program of academic assistance undertaken in 2003 by Teachers for East Africa Alumni. Also see: Amazon , Jugum Press and grants .
Solar is off the ground in Kenya: M-Pesa makes it possible to
sell a day's worth of solar power. A company that does this is
For a basic solar home system — which supplies energy for, and
includes, five phone chargers, three lights, a flashlight and a radio
— the customer makes a $30 down payment (still too much for many
people), then pays 50 cents per day for a year through M-Pesa, which
is less than the daily cost of kerosene [for powering just the
stationary lights]. If the customer falls behind, M-Kopa turns off
the system until the account is up to date. After a year, the
customer owns the system; the energy is free after that.
from NYTimes, 5/12/17
Letter from a Kenya principal:
Our country is in the mood of elections and the noise in our towns is
defeaning what with calls and cries of stolen nominations across the
board. On the other hand, we have just opened for another school
term. Anxiety about possible unrest as was witnessed last year is
frightening. We are taking every step to ensure that our school
remains peaceful. I have embarked on conflict resolution training to
our student leaders as well as early warning signals. I hope to
forestall any eventuality.
At the personal level, I continue with my radio presentation on leadership and writings. I will hopefully be holding forums for student leaders on 21st century Conflict Resolution Skills. In the last four weeks I have read and read again some of my favourite books: Kenneth Kaunda's Letter to my Children, John Maxwell's Sometimes you Win Sometimes you Learn, Susan Mwangi's Called to Serve, and Chinua Achebe's No Longer at Ease.
General elections are scheduled to be held in Kenya on 8 August
2017. Voters will elect the President and his deputy, members of
Parliament (Senate and National Assembly) and devolved government
members (county governors and ward representatives).
Although the 2013 presidential election was peaceful, many Kenyans remain without hope, distrust the government, and feel marginalized by the policies of Kenyatta's Jubilee government. Brookings
Sixty-two people have been charged with various electoral offences following highly-contested party primaries in Kenya... A statement from the prosecutor's office said that 135 prosecutors are on standby to deal with hate speech and incitement to violence cases to ensure a "secure environment for a free, fair and peaceful election." BBC
Certificate of Improvement:
"Dear Henry and TEAA team. Greetings from Nkoaranga
Secondary School. I'm happy to inform you that we received the
certificate of appreciation from the Ministry of Education Science and
Technology" shown here. TEAA has been assisting this school in
northern Tanzania for four years, most recently with science textbooks.
The quoted note is from the principal, Ombeni Ndosi.
Kenya's Drought Declared a National Disaster:
The Government has declared the current drought affecting 23 arid and semi-arid counties and pockets of other areas a national disaster. Speaking after being briefed on the situation on the ground by Cabinet Secretaries involved in drought management and food security at state House Nairobi, President Uhuru Kenyatta called on all stakeholders to support the Government by upscaling drought mitigation programs. More Sent in by Brooks Goddard
Women's March, DC. Photo by hh.
Detroit, site of the 2017 TEAA Reunion, is #9 in the
NY Times list of 52 Places to Go in 2017.
Thanks to TEAA-er Jim Weikart for letting us know.
Click for More .
Robert Wendel: "I don't know if you received
notice that my former husband and fellow TEAer '63-'65, Robert Wendel
died in early November of last year after a long struggle with
leukemia. He was a great teacher and brave traveler." Thanks
to Mary Jo McMillin for letting us know. She also notes that she
has "signed a contract for the publication of my East
African memoir, The Njombe Road, with Glass Lyre Press. We're hoping
for a 2018 release date."
"Edward Dierauf of San Francisco passed this week.
He was a teacher in Iringa, Tanzania." - Thomas Cameron
TEAA-er Kay Borkowski writes:
"Dear All, Our newsletter is attached as well as a photo
of Danny's mom who lives with us ... just before we spent the entire
day caroling at assisted living homes! Our love and best
wishes to all, -The three Borkowskis"
[That's Kay standing in the photo, with Danny and his mom, Fair]
TEAA Scribe Ed Schmidt first visited Isaac Newton High School, a humanist school near Masaka, Uganda, five years ago during a TEAA school visiting trip. As a leader of the Ethical Society of St. Louis, Ed has been influential in getting ESSL assistance to the school in the form of girls' scholarships and Afripads and now the construction of a girls' hostel.
TEAA friend, teacher and science leader Joseph Mwanisawa wishes us all a "HAPPY NEW YEAR. I had travelled to the central part of our country for grading of National Form Four papers ... I have also heard from Mwalimu Kwayu that the $3,700 has already been received in our school account. I thank you personally and then the TEAA staff for this big help for our community. It will be spent accordingly. Regards Joseph."
Byron Birdsall, TEEA3, who taught at National TTC, Kyambogo in
Kampala, has passed away. A teacher of future teachers for four years
in Uganda - "a golden time," he called it - Byron went on to become
a painter for almost all of his working life. He called it
"a dream come true. That is what Alaska has given to me. Incredible
beauty for subject matter, and a receptive public have combined to
allow me to do what I love best, painting all day, every day for more
than 41 years."
More . Thanks to TEAA-er Edith Henderson Ruby for letting us know.
Chem Lab improvements - including chemical sinks and delivery
of water and gas - will start soon at Moringe Sokoine SS and we have
been greeted and thanked by Principal Kwayu, who writes that school
has closed for vacation, but "a few of us are hanging
around in the office to make sure parents get the academic reports of
their children while on holidays... The money is in the bank here in
Monduli. Thank you!! We hope it will ... impact positively the
academic status of our school in the area of science. As usual we
will keep you posted."
Gymnasts performed on Community Day, November 27, at Leo Atubo
Secondary School near Lira, having been trained by their principal,
TEAA friend and colleague, Maxwell Engola. The day featured several
"activities to entertain the community and was crowned
by football and volleyball matches between school and community. The
school teams beat up the community in both." Click red boxes to
see photos of the gymnasts and the principal's letter to parents.
Photo #1 Photo #2 Photo #3 To Parents
We have received... "Greetings from Nkoaranga
Secondary School. I'm very happy to express our thanks to you for the
support which you gave the school in this year 2016. You sure have
done a lot for this school especially by providing science books and
laboratory equipment. All students are now back to their homes. I wish
you and the team all the best this Happy new year 2017. - (Principal)
Principal Kwayu wrote on Election Day from Moringe Sokoine SS
in Monduli, Tanzania, with wishes that democracy might prosper in the
USA. He thanks TEAA for a litany of specific major items we have
funded and states that our support over the years has
"changed school life academically" there. Despite financing
pressures brought about in 2016 by free universal secondary education
he notes that "we have 705 students in total as I
write to you now," an outcome attributable to
being "admired by the general public."
Of those 700-plus students, 153 are form fours currently taking their national exams, November 1-18. All take math and biology, 105 take chemistry and it's the same number for physics. I have also been in touch briefly with computer teacher Nuru Hamisi and at considerable length with outstanding chemistry teacher Joseph Mwanisawa, head of science, who will be providing information about what is entailed in the refurbishing of a lab.
From Okunya in southwestern Kenya:
"Friends. I am fine and doing well. Our students are
writing their national exams under very new rules and very strict
conditions, but we are happy to say that we can see some sanity being
restored into our system. We received the shock of your election
results. The mood here is depressing but the majority must have their
way. Do think of us even as the times change." Okunya is a
principal and an insightful and frequent speaker on school leadership.
Proof of good faith: The two photos just below arrived recently
from Maxwell Engola, known to us as former head of Tarantino Girls HS
and currently head of Leo Atubo College (HS). Both schools are in the
mid-north of Uganda. In 2015 Ed Schmidt made the first visit
to this school by a TEAA representative and taught "a
lesson on collecting and analyzing data by graphing. The experiment
involved timing increasing numbers of students doing the wave, one
person at a time, in increments of 15 students up to 75 students so
that we had 5 data points. We graphed the data, approximated a
best-fit line, got the slope (in seconds/student) and the equation of
the line. We talked about interpolation and extrapolation, though it
isn't in the syllabus until A-level, as well as how the graph would
look if each student had been required to rotate 360 degrees while
standing. This lesson was so good that a rooster joined the class
briefly for a few minutes in the midst of things. No one, other than
me, seemed to notice."
TEAA-er Larry Olds "died peacefully at his
home on October 13th and Larry's family, friends, and the local and
international popular education community lost a caring and
Larry was the founder of the Popular Education News. In an interview as he passed the editorial torch, he declared "Once a vision is formed of the possibility of social justice and a peaceful world, I don't see any way to step back from working towards that end." more
At our Colorado reunion/conference in 2013, Larry enabled us to experience popular education directly, to understand it by engaging in it, and to enhance our participation in decision-making.
Thanks to Ann Dickinson for alerting us to Larry's passing.
"It seems impossible that 54 years have passed since we started
out on an African adventure with our two small children in tow."
So write Phil and Carla Stough, who sent a departure
from 1962 with
caption & news .
Matching grant for computing: Our partner for many years, St Joseph Ngarenaro has relocated to Kisongo, 8 miles west of Arusha. This is a school for girls, "especially those from rural areas who have never seen computers or anything of technologies," according to long-time computer teacher Bernard Mlemeta who organized fundraising among his colleagues to match our grant for computing equipment from World Computer Exchange. The ocean voyage from Boston to Dar begins soon.
"Greetings from Nkoaranga Secondary School. I have all respect to inform you that our Form Four students shall have graduation ceremony on 13th of October 2016. About 60 students will be awarded their certificates. I wish you all the best.
Best regards, Ndosi"
TEA floating for Independence in Kampala:
You can click the red box for the full size
"of the TEA float that was part of the 1962
Independence Day celebration in Kampala. In the picture Dave Evans is
seated at the head of the float with his trombone. I (Judith Lewis
Evans) am seated on the side of the float. I don't know who is standing
next to Dave. Perhaps someone reads the Newsletter will know. Cheers,
Judith Lewis Evans"
Our friend in Kenya writes. This just in from Okunya
Milton, longtime TEAA-funded principal at multiple schools in
southwestern Kenya. It is addressed to five people including three
TEAA-ers. Once again, there are troubles, but, as always, Okunya
takes the high road.
"Friends, our winter is here, cold but dusty. This week our students began their mid-year trial exams. Fires continue razing dormitories in schools across the country and our officers are proposing desperate steps. Thank God, so far our school has been safe. We are doing a lot of talking to our students to avoid any ugly incidents. I keep my ears to the ground as well. The teaching job in Kenya is becoming more and more unattractive but we are pursuing our call to humanity. This keeps us going and we are hopeful that posterity will us remember favourably for standing when things looked bad and demoralizing.
"Tomorrow I am speaking at my old school, Mukuyu, during the school's Speech and Awards Day. I am grateful to the administration of that school for this recognition and honour. I have attached my proposed speech for your comments. I am sorry it could not hit the 1000 words I had wanted it to be. Once again thanks for being there for me.
The text for that speech is a 995-word document recounting his memories of those who nurtured him at Mukuyu, a school we repeatedly funded. It then turns to an extended metaphorical riff on bone types, including jawbones that only talk and backbones that get things done.
TEAA student in Tanzania graduates! On October 29, our sponsored
student, Tumaini Yuda, will be graduating from form 4 at MaaSAE Girls
Secondary in Monduli. This news arrived in a
Bootstrap Africa, which organizes support for MGSS. Our decision to
support the school came after a 2013 visit with the principal, Dr Seth
Msinjili. The school-visiting report in 2014 includes this:
"Dr Seth was his intelligent and congenial self, still eager to retire as soon as a suitable replacement can be found. This school serves as a large "safe house" for girls as well as being an academic institution. They accept assistance via OBA in Minneapolis and only in the form of scholarships. TEAA has acceded to that and supports one student, Tumaini Yuda, whom we met and greeted on behalf of Brooks, who has communicated with her."
What's it like to be a Ugandan parent of a high school student
in north-central Uganda? How is my child's school doing academically?
What is being done to promote improvement? What about discipline?
health? activities? finances? If you are a conscientious parent you may
wonder "What can I do to help?" or "Is there a PTA meeting I can go
A great way to get some idea about these issues is to read the End of Term I 2016 Letter to Parents, from Leo Atubo College at Ngetta, not far from Lira. The school's leader, Maxwell Engola (adult in photo), an outstanding communicator with TEAA, has just sent that Letter to us. The Lira region, among others, had the great misfortune to serve as a battleground for the LRA-government conflict of 2002-06.
Striving to excel: After taking exams in late May, the Form 4
students of Nkoaranga Secondary will - at the initiative of the school
and with the agreement of the parents - "remain at school
during holiday so that they can get more time to prepare for their
last examination in October or November 2016." This
information is from Headmaster Ombeni Ndosi, shown at right,
dressed for a special occasion. A conscientious communicator,
Ndosi is now in his second year of leading the school.
Homecoming: Colin Townsend, TEA-UK, writes that "this picture is
from the Daily Nation of Tuesday September 29th 1964." It features
Colin and another participant, Kay Puttock, who were themselves educated in East
The welcoming party in Mombasa was led by Moira Harbottle, who has deservedly gained further recognition in a TEAA Story by Larry Thomas.
Please click enlarge for full-size version of this photo, legible text, a photo of the UK departure with a larger group of TEA-UK participants and a partial listing of their names, as recalled by Clive Mann.
Climate Change Hits Zambia.
Click drought for NYTimes story.
British Humanists Cite TEAA Reading Initiative. [Note from Ed Schmidt to Bill Jones: "Bill, Just to let you know that the reading program has expanded beyond TEAA-supported schools. Below is an excerpt from the Uganda Humanist Schools Trust annual report. Ed"]
In 2015 we [UHST; see above] substantially increased to £3,385 the allocation of funds to the schools to buy books. Following a lead from the Teachers for East Africa organisation we involved the schools in a "Reading for Pleasure" programme. As part of this UHST bought each secondary school a carefully selected set of reading books written by African writers. The schools, in turn, nominated one of their teachers to be the Reading for Pleasure coordinator. We share with the schools the belief that excellence in reading is both an important life skill and a source of pleasure through life. It also helps to raise performance across all subjects. Both schools attribute much of the improvement in examination results in 2015 to our policy of flooding the schools with books, which has enabled students to become autonomous learners. A further £1,000 was allocated to Kasese Humanist Primary School to enable them to make greater use of books in their teaching.
Frank Ballance passed away on March 29, 2016
after a slow decade-long descent into Alzheimer's.
Frank played a key role in TEAA's beginnings.
He will be missed by all who knew him.
A good friend and a good guy.|
He lived much larger than I
But here my earthly feet remain
Rendering justice a lie. - Frank Mitchell
Frank Balance, Peter Barrett and I shared a German bomba in Tanga, Tanzania for a bit over a year. Frank was a great English teacher and his students loved him. He didn't do as well with Enid Hornsby who ran the English department. She did not appreciate his approach and brash American style. It did not help that Enid was the Headmaster's wife. But it was great entertainment for the rest of us. We all were head of a house which competed in several sports and we all tutored our students from about 7 to 9 PM each evening. At the end of the week we all met at a hotel on Saturday noon and had curry lunch and a few beers before our siesta in the afternoon. Frank and Peter loved classical music and spent dinners discussing various recordings they had purchased. Most evenings were spent grading papers and tutoring with little time for anything else. The one thing I remember most about Frank was his enthusiastic approach to everything we did at school. I doubt that he ever lost that characteristic. At the time Frank was at our school we had Quinn Wilson, Peter Barrett, Chuck Kozoll and myself. It must have seemed to the Brits that the world had come to an end. - Hank Hector
Frank was a dynamic person and an outstanding teacher. I had the pleasure of working with him in Tanga in 1963 and 1964. His English classrooms were lively and Frank invented many games to keep his students interested. He graded papers wearing a Kofia. All of the American teachers at our school had a Saturday curry lunch after a number of beers and Frank's wit and intelligence were always present. He received his law degree at Yale and focused on immigration law. I have many other memories. Those that knew Frank in Tanga should add their comments. That he could not enjoy his older years is a damn shame. We should be thankful to his caregiver for his devoted service. - Charles Kozoll
I was stationed in Lushoto, Tanzania, about 90 miles from Tanga where
Frank taught. I often stayed with Frank while visiting Tanga. We
both coached track teams at our respective schools. I took a track
team to Tanga and Frank and Quinn Buckner brought their team to
Lushoto. Frank had been accepted to Yale Law and encouraged me
to apply to law school while still in Tanzania. But for his
friendship I would never have applied and my life would have been very
different. - Jim Blair
I had been thinking and wondering about Frank sometime during the past week. Such a bright guy and great person to work with in the lead-up to DC01 and during the event as well. - Ed Schmidt
Frank Ballance was the driving force behind DC01. It was the same drive that led him to go to Washington, DC, to celebrate JFK's inauguration in 1960 (he also became an usher as he marvelously told us in 2001). For DC01 Frank got the hotel, arranged the reunion format that we have used ever since, and then wrote to his former Makerere classmate, Benjamin Mkapa, then TZ president, to officiate at Dar05. TEAA was very important to Frank, and I know that he would want the organization to prosper as long as it could. - Brooks Goddard
Frank Ballance was the first officer of TEAA, the Reunion Planner, who brought off the gathering we now call DC01, an event remarkable for having taken place at all, coming as it did nine days after 9/11, 2001. There we were, 130 strong despite chaos in the airlines and there was Frank (photo below), rising to the occasion with an eloquent opening statement. Two East African ambassadors (photo) to the US also spoke. Four years later when Brooks Goddard so ably organized for us another great event, Dar05, it was Frank who got Tanzania's President Mkapa, his old Makerere buddy, to address us. The next morning there we all were: in the Dar newspapers, in English, in Swahili, even in photos. - Henry Hamburger
May Frank be remembered by the family members, friends, colleagues and students he inspired, and by the good deeds he gave us all while he was here with us. - David Newbury
School news from Tanzania:
"Dear Henry and your team. Thank you for continuing to support
Nkoaranga Secondary School. We received the funds you sent to us for
laboratory equipment and science books. We bought everything
as we agreed. Mrs. Margaret Mbise [founder and preceding principal]
came to school to see the new books and electrical equipment [see
photo]. My promise to you is to enable students to make use of them and
to keep them in good condition for future use.
"We have a new project. I have raised some funds from my local friends and surrounding community and have started fencing off the school area for security. We have done almost the half of the work."
Additional good news is about the national examination results
for last year.
"We had the best results ever. Most form 2 students scored
in first or second class with a few in third class; no one failed
the examination. In form 4 the school also showed improvement, with
most students in second or third class. Most of them will
join high school and collegies for further studies. This improvement is
catalyzed by your effort of helping the students by books and other
""TEAA WE THANK YOU FOR ALL. I attached the receipts for funds and photos of newly bought materials [see meters below]. Best regards, Ndosi"
School news from Uganda:
"Hello. Hope you are fine. We are just out of the political season,
going through the presidential election, as well as parliamentary and
local government leaders, to end on Wed March 9th. Students have been
reporting to school in the last week but the turnout was extremely
low: we have just realized half of the student population."
The Uganda education structure is at UCE and UACE . "There is still a big challenge in science at S.4 but the S.6 practical papers showed great improvement. Chemistry practical was the best done, all three students passing with credit four. Thanks to TEAA for the generous support offered in equiping the laboratory. We look forward to doing our best to ensure continued improvement in the subsequent results [analysis was attached]. Thank you. -Maxwell"
The above letter is from Principal Maxwell Engola, whose son is named for Ed Schmidt. Ed writes: "Maxwell's current school is Leo Atubo, at Ngetta, near Lira. [Continued at right] →→
"When he finished his course in counseling in 2014, he was assigned
there since it was decided not to uproot his replacement at Tarantino.
The change was a bit of a promotion, to a school with an established
sixth form and a beautiful, spacious campus." See photo.
Index of Available |
What's Hot Pages, 2008-present