A few months ago, myself and my two children have returned to a place we call home in Tanzania, East Africa. I first came to Kibigija Village, in Jambiani Zanzibar, 12 years ago as a weary backpacker happy to rest under a coconut tree and watch the sunrise over the ocean . I stayed in Tanzania for about a year and married a local man, Jafari. We had a girl and boy who are now 9 and 10 years old. Our children are now exploring their own cultural heritage and learning Swahili. They are coping well with the ups and downs of moving overseas and I am really proud of both of them. I have not coped so well and had lots of tantrums and tears, but I hope I am through the worst of my adjustment period. I am supported by many patient friends her and internationally to keep going with my adventure.
We were offered an opportunity to set up a home a few kilometers from the beach near a magnificent cave. It is called Kuza Cave which means birth in Swahili. We have been working hard preparing the site for the busy tourist season coming in June/July. See the website or Facebook page for more details. The community has appointed me as the caretaker of this amazing cave and requested that we make it a cultural experience for visitors. Some profits from this community project will go towards the Kibigija Nursery School.
Kuza Cave Cultural Infusion Centre
Kuza Cave will be more than a tourist attraction. It will be a Cultural Infusion Centre where tourists and locals can hang out and develop Intercultural Understanding – with lots of food and drumming around a fire. I am currently recruiting performers and musicians to develop a performance piece on the cultural history of Zanzibar as told through the evolution of music. Through storytelling and music, we will show how each visitor introduced different instruments, food, beliefs and architecture to the local Zanzibar culture.
With themes around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, extra-curricular activities will be available for local village children. Using Android tablets pre-loaded with educational games, they will be offered a chance to supplement what they have not understood at school. We have downloaded most of the KA Lite videos from Khan Academy and are keen to see the new Kolibri android app released. We use Joko’s World music and culture apps to ignite curiosity about other cultures and pride in having a unique culture. We will be implementing some Maker Space concepts, SOLE sessions, Sugata Mitra’s self organised learning environment and SMILE, Stanford’s mobile Inquiry based learning environment. We have a library of tablets and a few netbooks that we have successfully trialled with the children and developed a plan to meet their needs, in close partnership with African Impact, a local NGO, and an Independent school nearby and their excellent teachers. We identify local needs and then try to capture and up upscale the successful programs using technology.
My friends and followers have been asking how to help with this exciting project so we have put together the following ideas. All payments go directly into the pay pal account of Natalie Denmeade as Moojoo, a registered Australian business with an ABN. Donations and expenses and will be listed in a public Google sheet to ensure accountability.
$5 – Buys headphones so each child can focus on lessons when in groups
$10 – Buys 10GB Internet for a week so children can use the tablets online for research, or a cover for the Android tablets
$70– Buys a wifi modem for ten devices to connect and use the Internet
$100 – Buys one Android tablet that 6 kids will happily share , probably simultaneously. It will be pre-loaded with educational videos and games.
$150 – Buys a refurbished netbook
$200 – Buys some modular furniture for children to organise to match their current learning activities, beanbags, stools, big blocks.
$500 – Buys a 100kw Solar Panel and Battery sufficient to charge ten tablet computers and power banks daily.
$1700 – Buys you a return ticket to Zanzibar, one of the world’s most desired holiday locations, to volunteer here with us. We have basic accommodation available and would love to hear from passionate educators looking for a short term stay at Kuza Cave & Culture Infusion Centre.
$20,000 – Build and upper high school / vocational college with 3 classrooms and a computer lab with 20 computers. Please keep your eye open for funding opportunities to make this happen. We are keen to build partnerships with organisations so please contact us!