By Christine Earnshaw
After a late and rather bumpy ride to the airport and a lucky encounter with a video crew getting fast-tracked through security with me in tow, I travelled safely and peacefully from Dar es Salaam to Nairobi to continue my two and a half week monitoring visit to Tanzania and Kenya. From the sky we flew over the Great Rift Valley, passing by the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro, as it rose above the clouds.
While the time in Tanzania passed quickly, some of the highlights included:
Attending the Tanzania National Book Fair where publishers and from all of East Africa come together to promote their work to other publishers and the general public. CODE’s partners the Children’s Book Project and the Tanzania Book Support Trust both had booths that were overflowing with children eager to read and browse books in Kiswahili and English.
2. Visit to Mbuyuni Primary School with the Executive Director and Program Officer from TBST. The government primary school has partnered with TBST and a local private school to acquire reading materials and train teachers. The private school called Heaven of Peace, has a service learning program where teachers and students in grades 7, 8 and 9 visit local government primary schools once a week to read, play and learn together.
3. Participating in the Burt Award for African Literature’s Writing Workshop for avid writers of youth literature.
Experienced writers and jury members for the Burt Award in Tanzania, Lillian Tindewye from Uganada and Hadley Dyer from Canada, lead a 4 day workshop for 25 writers. Together they explored developing plots, scenes and dialogue, and shared their writing and experiences in ways to write captivating stories for youth. These workshops, held every six months or so, are helping Tanzanian writers gain experience in writing, access samples of high quality literature from other countries, and learn more about working with publishers.