Friday, June 15, 2018

Last day of our full week of tutoring; just 3 more days of tutoring left.

In my back-in-the-saddle mode, I show up at the house at 8.30, ready to see if anybody needs help with their 9 am session. I call “Hodi,” and I hear Katlyn’s resigned voice, “Is anybody dressed yet?” Not “Is everybody dressed?” but “Is anybody dressed?”

Well, I can see what kind of morning this is going to be. I walk around doing a series of morning greetings on the compound and return to the house in a few minutes, and they’re ready to open the door.

One of the crew is feeling a little weak and shaky this morning, so I take her session. It’s Standard 3 maths, so we walk around the compound and do a bunch of multiplication and division. How many shirts fit on a clothesline? How many clotheslines do we need if each child has 5 shirts? That kind of thing. The Tanzanian educational system is big on memorization and recitation, and as you might expect, many of the children know their math facts cold but don’t always know what operation to use in a given story problem.

After the session, I see how Shaky is doing. She says she took a 10-minute nap and had a burst of energy, so she did the dishes and swept the floor. I’d take that deal any day.

Today is the day the girls get their hair braided. Paige goes first, with just the top and sides braided. Then Jess, with just one side. Then the other girls in succession, with Annalee finishing up last just about suppertime. They all look great; I call them Queens of Sheba. They’ll send pictures, I’m sure. They’re scheduled to get their dresses tomorrow, and if they do, we’ll take a group photo with the hair and dresses and post it here. By Sunday. Maybe.

Lunch is soup and salad, with passion fruit. Most of the crew has never had it before; the inside looks a little bit like a pomegranate, and the outside more like an orange. It’s sour, like Sweet-Tarts.™ Most of them enjoy it.

At 3 pm Jana’s getting braided, so I take her physics class. At her suggestion, we study power. The plan is to time each student climbing a set of steps, divide the product of their weight and the height of the steps by the time it took them to climb. Foot-pounds per second; 550 is 1 horsepower.

Our first problem is that the tallest staircase at Tumaini consists of 3 steps. That’ll be difficult to get statistically significant differences on. Rachelle suggests the nightclub next door; it’s quiet during the day, and there’s a long set of stairs up to the club on top of a hill that overlooks Tumaini.

Sounds good. The class is 4 boys and 3 girls; none of the girls show up, because they’re helping with the braiding. So I tell the boys we’re going on a field trip. Out the gate and right next door to the entrance to the Faulu Beach Resort. (There’s no beach, and it’s hardly a resort, unless a bar without a roof is your idea of a resort.) At the bottom of the stairs, I look for the stair level with my eyes and call that 5 feet. From that stair, repeat 3 more times, and we have a 20-foot staircase. With a right-angle turn halfway up, which will affect the results to the negative, but good enough. I position myself at the top with a stopwatch and call each boy’s name and say, “Go!” Time’s up when he hits the 20-foot step. I have their weights, and from there it’s a simple matter to calculate feet (20) times pounds. Divide by elapsed time in seconds. Divide that by 550, and you have each student’s horsepower.

They run the stairs twice, and every one does better the second time. By the end of the exercise, 1 of the boys is at .88 hp. I have no idea how accurate that is, but since he’s ahead of the boy that everyone thought would win, he’s pretty pleased.

Time well spent.

At supper Ian, the Gasses’ son, announces that his first tooth has come out. A milestone day. I had offered at lunch to yank it out for him, but he opted for natural toothbirth, so to speak.

After house devotions we have a lot of work to do to get ready for the Serengeti trip tomorrow. An assembly line makes 40 or 50 sandwiches of pb, j, honey, or some combination thereof, and I must say they have a very enjoyable time doing it. I’ve never seen anyone get so much hilarity out of a misshapen sandwich.

Meanwhile, Olivia is making banana bread; Paige is making popcorn; and Annalee is doing cleanup. I won’t say it’s the most efficient time on task I’ve ever seen—boy are they having fun—but all the work gets done.

I hold a brief logistical meeting to make several points for the safari, the most important of which is the completely counterintuitive need to lapse into stark silence when we see big game. Animals are generally not interested in showing off for vehicles full of screaming people. We’ll see how they do.

Leaving at 6. We need to get some sleep. I call the meeting off about 9, and they finish what they’re doing while I knock out the blog.

Morpheus, here I come.

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Dan Olinger

Chair, Division of Bible in the BJU School of Religion.

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