Life as usual has been busy at the school. It is hard to believe that we haven’t written an update since last year.
Big thanks go out to all the trainers who have come to teach at the JTTI and volunteer their skills.
Some of our volunteers this year have contributed so much. Betiana and Rodrigo, Steph, Simone, Eliza, Anja and Olaf, Christian and Gaffi – thank you so much for everything. Kenn Scott is still with us and I don’t know what I would do without him.
A special thank you must go out to Maaike Bergsma who volunteered with us last year. After returning to Stenden University in the Netherlands, she, her colleagues and students fundraised enough money for us to go Wi-Fi in the computer lab for the next year. Barbara Albers also receives huge thanks for organizing friends and family to bring us a number of secondhand laptops. Some of the laptops are over ten years old and becoming very cranky and dying on us.
The exciting news this year has been the introduction of a Module Certificate program. We have always recognized how difficult it is for some of the students to complete our 2-year Diploma program. In the past, some students have had to leave the program due to family, health, or financial issues. The new module system is broken down into twelve week courses with students at school from 8-3:30. They must take a core course and then we offer modules in Rooms Division, Food Production and Service, Tourism Management and Business Management. After each of these modules they then have a three-week practicum. The tourism industry has had to adapt to our needs as they usually take trainees for three or six months from the other tourism schools in Tanzania and on Zanzibar. This summer we are planning to send them out for three months so that they can gain more Food Production and Service experience as well as Front Office and Housekeeping.
I’ll pass this update over to Kenn so he can add a few of his thoughts.
For the past year, Monday mornings at JTTI have been filled with energy and laughter. Every Monday, to kick off the week, the teachers and the students gather on the deck or the beach to complete a set of teambuilding activity. These activities are a great kickoff to the week and help re-energize the students after their busy weekends. Following each activity the students and teachers debrief to discuss the practical application of their learning and identify themes that can be incorporated into the classroom and their work experience. Some of these themes include communication, leadership, proactivity, accountability, and participation just to name a few. One unintended benefit of the Monday Morning Teambuilding activities has been the publicity for Alibi’s Well; many of the tourists and locals passing by stop to watch the activities, ask questions, and even ask to participate.
JTTI has been putting our new projector to good use with power point presentations, demonstrations and cinema (which is probably the most exciting use for the students). In October, the diploma students enjoyed putting their food production and food safety knowledge to the test as they watched a foodie favorite, Julie Julia. This was followed up by a Julia Child themed Friday dinner where the students had the opportunity to prepare dishes from the film. Then in January, the diploma and module students caught a little Oscar fever as they gathered in the clinic to watch the Academy Award nominated Grand Budapest Hotel. The event wouldn’t have been complete without an assortment of microwave popcorn fresh from America! The students not only enjoyed the humor and cinematography from the movie, they enjoy identifying things they had learned in class shown on the big screen.
A JTTI tradition, the Year 1 vs. Year 2 Football Match was replaced this February by the Module Student vs. Diploma Student Cup. Although the diploma students achieved a decisive victory, the module students accepted defeat with grace and style (since they were decked out in uniforms courtesy of one of the students’ local teams). The game was officiated by one of the clinic volunteers and prizes, courtesy of Olaf and Anja, were awarded to for the MVP (or Man of the Match), the best fan, and the first goal.