When we travel, often the best moments are the most spontaneous. We get rewarded with moments to savour and real smiles. After an amazing four days of constant Game Driving Safari with Shadows of Africa (including Tarangire National Park), we headed to a local school for a visit. Together with our visit to the Kibowa Orphanage (report to follow), the Esa School visit was a pure highlight of my latest African adventure.
Where is Esa School in Arusha?
Esa School is situated in suburban streets in the city of Arusha in Tanzania. Arusha classes itself as in the middle of Africa. On the edge of the city (which sprawls and houses over 1 million people), you find Esa School. We organised to go there for a visit through Natasa from Shadows of Africa. I was travelling with fellow bloggers Annette White (Bucket List Journey) and Raymond Walsh (Man on the Lam) and we headed to the school together.
Arrival at Esa School, Arusha, Tanzania
On arrival into the school, we are greeted with one hundred smiles. That’s no exaggeration. The kids were so happy and excited to see us. This type of thing happens all the time in Africa. If you’ve travelled to Africa before, you’ll know what I mean. It’s emotional.
It’s my belief that no visit to Africa is complete without meeting kids and hanging out with the locals. I did homestays in South Africa before, played football with kids and loved my experiences in Shebeens.
So we hop out of the landrover and the kids crowd round. Full of life. Full of delight. So happy to see us. Quite frankly, I’m overwhelmed by the welcome!
After going into a few classrooms at the start we then meet the headmaster. The option is here anytime for anyone, to come and volunteer and help out, teaching anything from English to Science to French. It’s definitely something I’d consider. After my time teaching English in Hong Kong, I’m always interested in more options within the industry.
The visit to Esa School is complete madness. Kids surround us, jumping up and down, showing us their books, wanting to shake hands, wanting to speak to us. These children have a passion for life.
Teaching English in Esa School in Arusha
I walk into a classroom and there is English on the board. It’s English time. I get some chalk and start asking a few questions. The kids love it. I check a few books. I check their writing and spelling, and pronunciation and have a few conversations with the kids.
African kids love being in photos! They love the media attention. Once you take photos of them, make sure you show the kids the photos! They laugh so much as seeing themselves. It’s just brilliant.
My travel buddies on this trip Annette and Raymond were equally overwhelmed by the vibrancy of these children. Annette wrote an excellent overview on her website too, where she reported on the Esa School and Kibowa Orphanage visits, you can read it here: Esa School visit on Bucket List Journey.
Kids jump up and surprise us in one of the classrooms, opening a window and waving! All the photos on this post are taken my me and totally spontaneous (except for 2 photos – copyright Annette White of Bucket List journey).
We get to meet the older kids, all who speak excellent English and are planning their careers. One wants to be a pilot, one a nurse, one a doctor, one a lawyer. Amongst it all there’s a wannabe football star. Well, this is Africa and football is the game. A kid mentions football to me on seeing my bright green Northern Ireland football shirt.
There’s not a lot I can actually say about my experience at Esa School other than “Wow!” and the fact that I was just blown away by the passion and joy these kids provided me with.
They look so happy, they love us. We love them, we feel sad when the time comes to leave.
I seem to make a habit of doing Africa too quickly, and this particular jaunt in life took me to just Ethiopia and Tanzania and was over in less than 2 weeks. Same went for my previous three country visit to the south (less than a month), so I owe it to Africa and to these kids. Once things change for me again, I’ll be sure to head back to Africa, and I promise for longer next time.
The kids go crazy for us and they make us want to stay. I get out my well travelled Northern Ireland flag and they pose with it.
It’s hard to put this visit into words properly on here so hopefully the pictures show the joy. I really recommend anyone that visits Africa to head to a local school or orphanage. Don’t be that posh idiot tourist who goes all the way to Africa, sees a few animals and waterfalls and jets on the next flight out. Africa is more than any other continent ever will be for sheer joy. You might ball your eyes out. You might leave in tears. It’s emotional. My final two photos below were taken by Annette. Thanks to the children at Esa School for such a memorable visit. Maybe I’ll see you all again someday.
Esa School in Arusha, Tanzania was a truly memorable experience and I’m so glad to have shared the story of my visit with you today. Keep tabs on my travels by liking my Facebook page and watching my You Tube videos , my videos from Esa School are embedded below.