An Inspiring Day at B. Hilhorst Secondary School

   Today I truly learned the meaning of Humility.  As Joe, Alena and I were standing in front of 40 Pre-Form (ages 14-16) students, we presented the issue of HIV/AIDS as our topic of discussion for the next 4 hours.  At first – and for the next hour – we could honestly hear a pin drop… I actually think I heard a cricket chirp on the other side of the classroom.  We asked the students what sort of stigmas are attached with the disease, how people acquire HIV, and how they can prevent the spread of the virus.  After a while, someone finally broke the silence.

   Realizing that we might have an easier time having discussions in smaller groups, we met with about 13 students each.  After a few mintues, most of the students were comfortable enough to tell us what they knew about HIV/AIDS.  A majority of their facts being correct, they seemed to be no strangers to the disease which affects so many millions in their country and the entire continent of Africa.  The reverence with which they treated this topic (versus the lighthearted days prior of ‘musical chairs,’ ‘red light-green light,’ and even our debate in English class ‘ Is American music better than Tanzanian music?’) helped me understand that this day would be special.

   We wound up creating and presenting a skit to the entire grade (120 students) which we worked on for about an hour.  I was merely there to coordinate their efforts and start the ball rolling, but what I witnessed next made me both proud (as their teacher for a week) and inspired!  They all worked together to explain to others how serious the spread of HIV/AIDS is and that, as young students, they need to be informed and educated as to how they can acquire this debilhitating disease.  And so, as Philip, Felista, Leah, Ashura, Elizabeth, Anton, Digna, Martha, Josephat, Anita, Elizabeth (#2), Sylvia and Siewiema poured their hearts into this skit, my hope was that we may have helped someone out who may not have known much about this deadly, yet preventable, disease.  These bright young minds of Tanzania have deinitely taught me a thing or two this week and I feel honored to be called their teacher.

– [Mr.] Matthew


1 Response to “An Inspiring Day at B. Hilhorst Secondary School”

  1. 1 Katie July 19, 2007 at 6:26 pm

    Way to go Mr. Matt! Such a serious subject matter–that is great that it was openly discussed and sounds like to me they did a great job, in return, teaching others!

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