Chuck and Susan Ruehle write from Arusha, Tanzania, where they are training teachers to teach astronomy in their classrooms, and send a couple more photos.
Today we will complete our second week of teaching, this time with Primary School Teachers from throughout Tanzania. Some have traveled for a full day by bus to be here.
Most of the teachers came with almost no experience with computers, and now they know about google, stellarium, remote telescopes, and distance learning. They are no longer afraid of the technology, but are returning to their schools and villages to lobby education and political leaders for electrical power, internet access, and computers for their schools.
We are sending them off with many teaching resources like telescopes, binoculars, sky maps, posters, etc. and new methods of teaching science, geography, math and English to their Standard 1-7 (Grades 1-7) students.
For many of the women who came, this is the first time they have had 5 days for themselves in many years -- not having to constantly prepare meals, tend fires, fetch water, and meet the needs of family. Mwangaza cares for them and they can relax and learn.
All the teachers will be the change agents in their communities, linked by the universe of astronomers and supporters like you who care about them.
Attached is a photo of the group and a photo of the Galileoscope stand we designed and built for the our 15 teachers who have scopes but no mount. (Over 200 schools in Tanzania have scopes from the International Year of Astronomy in 2009, but no mount-- so most scopes are not being used.) This lowcost, locally made design is by Dr. Jiwaji of the Open University in Dar es saalm, Chuck Ruehle of Telescopes to Tanzania, and fundi (handyman) Noah of the Maasai people.
The third photo that was attached [not shown here]is an edge-on galaxy photo that was sent to us from Yerkes Observatory as part of a presentation by Vivian Hoette yesterday when it was 9:30am here in Arusha, and 12:30am in Williams Bay Wisconsin. The Skype presentation from half way around the world gave the teachers a sense of how to connect to learning resources via the internet -- using an airtel 3.75G wireless modem like the one I am using to send this to you.
More on Telescopes to Tanzania.
Addendum from Susan Ruehle in Arusha, Tanzania sharing one of her morning thoughts:
Nebula Mwangazaspinning starsinto Kitefu, KilingaMoshi, Dar-- towns andvillages each litby a starborn this week
- Susan Ruehle