Till recently there have been few people in Tanzania who could see astronomy as something worthwhile. These few individuals have been trying hard to show what astronomy can do beyond looking at stars, planets and the moon.
Their efforts were indeed needed in Tanzania, taking into account the positive feedback from the teachers who attended Telescopes to Tanzania Teachers training workshops. The two weeks workshop created a long term memory of the heavens above intertwined with human identity and culture.
The teachers were able to learn and understand how small humans are when the full scale of the universe is considered, how astronomy embrace a powerful knowledge known to human kind, how the wonders of the sky have been the key to understand science subjects and how different cultures have been using the skies above on their daily lives.
The workshop went far beyond astronomy; teachers were exposed to the use of computer, internet, google, e mail and skype as teaching aid resource, source of information, mail exchange service and distance learning resource respectively. This was indeed a new experience to most teachers as they had never touch a computer before or know how to use the internet.
During the workshop teachers were showing more and more willingness to be taught new things, getting excited with every topic taught, became more curious and had an endless number of questions running through their minds, just like the way it always happen with children. In their eyes we could see the joy this workshop had brought and the will to share the knowledge with students.
The resources donated by people with love for astronomy and a hope of seeing astronomy as a tool to awake science curiosity among teachers and students, were supplied to each school represented. The dynamic hands on teaching methods, creativity of using local available resources and the proper use resources provided were among the most skills gained.
The 15 primary schools of six different regions of Tanzania which were provided with galileoscopes without mounts, benefited from locally made but improved galileoscope mount designed by Dr. Jiwaji with an added modification from Chuck and fitted together by Mr. Noah. This way the team was certain that the resources currently available at schools were going to be put into the intended use and benefit the students.
Before the end of the workshop a way forward was created by the teachers. Through their selected representative of each region, they created a plan to implement and outlined ways through which they would be in contact with UNAWE-Tanzania coordinator as well as Telescopes to Tanzania team.
The organizers are extending gratitude thanks to all those who made this training workshop possible, those who donated resources for the schools, those who gave scholarships to the teachers, those who helped planning, teachers who attended and their families. However this is just the rise of astronomy in Tanzania and your support is still needed.