An Introduction to the Tumaini Junior School

January 12, 2014


As you know, the weather in Bethel has been horrid–tons of icy rain and slick sidewalks–so this weekend I decided to combat it with East African cooking. I slid my way to the IGA and found the ingredients for matapa. Of course, cassava leaf became kale and coconut flesh became  canned coconut milk, but the end product was delicious and I taught my children how to eat this dinner if they were in Tanzania–with their hands!

The Tanzania group met last week, and we filled out introductions which were sent to the school for home stay matches.  Here  is my introduction for the school with a picture (lower right) of Mr. Modest Bayo, the founder and director of the Tumaini School on his visit to Maine this summer. Mr. Bayo is an amazing visionary, and your children will be inspired by his work.


This summer a film crew from KSFS spent time at the school and is making a film about Mr. Bayo. It will soon be released, and we will be able to watch it at Gould. Here is an excerpt from one of the film crew’s blog that explains the school: 
“In Tanzania, schooling is on the British system, with seven years of primary school, four years of secondary school, and two years of high school. The government primary schools are taught in the national language, Swahili, while the language of instruction for the secondary and high schools is English.  Children enter primary school speaking their tribal languages and Swahili.  In addition, this patriarchal society places more importance on the education of boys than of girls, as girls will only “stay home and have children.  They don’t need education.”

It is for these reasons that the Tumaini Junior School is so important. Tumaini is an English-medium school; the language of instruction is English. Although children are educated in Swahili, so they know their own national language, they learn the various subjects in English.  They are expected to speak English at the school.  This means that they will enter secondary school more prepared to do the work of the secondary school in English. In addition, the school encourages girls, as well as boys, to study.  At Tumaini, no limits are placed on the education of girls.

Tuition for one child is $1300 a year.  A number of students board at the school, and the boarding cost is $500 a year.  In U.S. terms, this may seem inexpensive, but the minimum wage in Tanzania is $100 a month” (

There is a great deal of learning for Gould students as they prepare for the trip. I have encouraged  them to follow the school on Facebook by searching Tanzania Education Corporation.   Please “like” this page,  to see what happens at the school.  You might also want to view the school’s website.  But, we are doing more than just going to school, we are headed on a safari!!  Mr. Modest Bayo is also a master safari guide, and you can learn about this side of him through his safari website.
If you have any questions, please direct them to me. We will meet specifically during Parents’ Weekend to review details of the trip, packing list, and transportation question.
Asante Sana, 
Sara Shifrin 

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