WH Chronicle No. 1.31

Ok, Thanks to my technical prowess...it's being delivered--finally. 
March 20, 2011

Classes start tomorrow.  We're enjoying some welcomed rain.  This 'blessing from the sky' is accompanied by the gentle thunders that coax peaceful slumber. But we’ve had a relatively pleasant week being insulated from all the world’s troublesome problems.   Not much of it has affected the rank and file Tanzanian. 

 This week we traveled to the Meserani Snake Park.  Tom refrained from buying any swim trunks that had “Snake Park” printed on them.   The camel rides were closed due to mud.

Sam and friendly snake.

Daryl and a restrained baby Nile Crocodile.

Deadly Green Mamba

Africa's most feared snake: the Black Mamba

We finalized our grades this week.  All grades have to be approved by the department, and then the Academic Board.   This is where they scrutinize the ratio of A, B, C’s for each class.  They are very concerned about academic honesty and grade inflation, all of which I appreciate.    The challenge lies in transforming the regular western grading scale to the Tanzanian one:

A= 100-80

If there are too many high or low letter marks, the professor is asked to ‘normalize’ the grades with no indication of appropriate percentages or relevant mean score. This is especially tricky because their grading scale is skewed to favor high letters. Unfortunately, this scrutiny has standardized the grade reporting to mostly C’s, D’s, and F’s.    A’s can be frequently met with skepticism and often need justification (with test scores and class exams).  This is the administration requiring an explanation of what appears to be a seemingly impossible event—or perhaps, worse--the sign of a terrible teacher.  
Our supervisor, a great teacher, was once admonished for advocating for his students.   The idea of lifting up University students with education, in order to be successful, is apparently not viable concept.  Instead it is often re-interpreted as a dishonest endeavor that reveals corruption.   Knowledge is power and those with it are not often interested in sharing.       

This coming week we are  looking forward to the arrival of Carolyn  from California and attending "Mama Africa"—Tanzania’s answer to Cirque de Soleil. 

“Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day."
Thomas Jefferson

"Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain." Unknown

 Discoing in the drizzle,

Transportation: Notice the guy hanging out the door on the left side.

I wonder if the windows work properly.
Daryl and Mr. Twinkie

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