In a Foreign Place - Secondary Education in Tanzania

By Stambach, Amy | The World and I, March 2000 | Go to article overview

In a Foreign Place - Secondary Education in Tanzania


Stambach, Amy, The World and I


For my first two months on Mount Kilimanjaro, in the summer of 1990, I stayed in a household of seven children and two parents. Three of the children were students at Mkufi Secondary School. My observations in those months constituted the beginning of what would bring me back to northern Tanzania twice again, an ethnographic study of schooling.

At home, the children's operative mode (at least in the presence of their parents) was usually one of deference to adults. Students--particularly the older girls--kept the household's basic operations going. Every morning they put on their clothes to the loud shouts of Mama Elimbora. "Stellah! Catherine! Blimbora! Lilian! Eudora! Kivawafo! Elingaya!" Mama Elimbora would call each of them in turn. Slowly at first, the oldest girls dressed, fetched water, washed clothes, and mopped interior floors. Boys in the household were charged with feeding the guinea fowl and watering the vegetable garden and flowers. Morning duties were in general less onerous than what was expected of children after school. At the end of the day, Stellah and Catherine were supposed to cook dinner, Elimbora to tend to her younger brothers. Male cousins in the neighboring house, some of whom ate meals with this extended family, were tasked with the project of cutting grass and cleaning and feeding the goat and her kids. This was the plan, though not always the practice: Children were often looking instead for some diversion.

As though living by one interpretation of a popular local aphorism--"a person who lives in a foreign place should not question the things she [or he] sees, but upon returning home may criticize and comment all she wants"--these children generally waited until their parents were away to dance and party to their hearts' content. The aphorism had many meanings, but one interpretation was that children were essentially foreigners in parents' homes. When parents came home, children's personal items went away, and children were deferential toward adult authority. In parents' absence, it was possible, however, to do and say practically anything.

It was then, in those hours after school and before dinner, and before these children's parents came home, that the "boom box" came out of the locked cupboard, and Bobbie Brown, Black Box, and Michael Jackson tapes were played over and over again, often to the whine of straining batteries. The doors were flung open-- windows too--so that neighboring friends might hear and join the party. To me, these were familiar signs of adolescent culture, flirtations with freedom and innocent rebellion. In fact, I welcomed this time in the late afternoon when I could loosely connect with the songs and scenario. The children told me to "make myself at home" (jisikia nyumbani), but the neighbors-- adults and other youth in the community--had mixed opinions about the afternoon brouhaha.

Mama Lucky, who lived catty-corner from the Mbasas and who had married one of Mr. Kawyu's father's brother's sons, loosely endorsed the afternoon release, calling it "what educated youth do these days." She said she was rather amused by the chaotic dancing when she came one day to collect her daughter, Lucky. Lucky was one of the more quiet Form 2 students but a ready participant in this "disco" culture. The neighborhood boy who lived across the road said he too was intrigued by the students' loud music. Like a fraction--about 5 percent--of the children in the area, he had quit school at Standard IV and spent most of his days farming and tending to livestock. He never joined the celebrations inside the house but instead hung around the main road and watched.

Education as threat

Less appreciative, Bwana Mafue, an itinerant worker, scoffed at the music when he came to the door looking for Baba Elimbora. Muttering that such dancing and loudness was disrespectful, and that these girls were behaving inappropriately, he attributed the "nonsense" (ujinga) to Western education (elimu ya kizungu) and condemned schools for ruining African women. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

In a Foreign Place - Secondary Education in Tanzania
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.