Our Full Circle Program started the year full of energy. We have plans for how to assist our scholars in being active, effective, collaborative, and learn new skills and ideas both in and out of school. We hosted a field day on January 21st for 25 TFFT Scholars from Star High School. This fun-filled day was made possible by the generosity of longtime TFFT supporters Amanda Corse, who opened her home, and Catharine Joynson-Hicks. Before the field day took place, we had a meeting to plan and structure the learning activities that our scholars could participate in, aimed to foster love for the environment as well as creativity and critical thinking. We designed the day in a way that all of them would feel included and want to participate to the fullest. The scholars arrived at 9:30 am, and after an introduction and welcome remark from Amanda, they were divided into 4 groups.

The morning activity was to explore nature. Two experts on tourism were present, who taught our scholars about the environment and the forest. They learned about medicinal trees and they saw animals, birds and insects. They learned the importance of preserving nature, as it is the source of clean water, rain, food for both animals and humans, timber, medicine, and more. At the end of the session, the scholars had the opportunity to participate in a question and answer session.

The second part of the field day was interesting and a much loved activity by our scholars. This was a scavenger hunt. They were given clues about this exercise. It was challenging and required them to work as a team, and to use their brains and think hard. We had 4 groups of scholars, and each group was supposed to solve 8 clues. The first to collect all clues were the winners. The clues were hidden in different places including under big trees, in the car yard, at the river, in the forest, under floor mats, etc. As the first clue was collected, each group read its direction for where to find the 2nd clue, and the game continued in such manner. The scholars really enjoyed this activity. To avoid confusion, these 4 groups were set in different directions, and the paper for clues were marked in 4 different colors with each group assigned a specific color. It took almost 20 minutes for the first winning group to find all 8 clues, the 2nd group took 25 minutes and the 3rd & 4th groups needed 30 minutes.

The last activity for the day was an artistic challenge. The activity required the groups to design an environmentally friendly house. Each group had time to brainstorm and then draw their house. The issues to consider in their house design are building materials, water, energy, waste disposal, recycling, innovation, and environment. At the end, each group presented their drawing and explanation of what they drew and took into consideration. The two best groups that won really took into consideration the type of building materials to use as well as the lifestyle of the house dwellers. The  second placer said they would use “makuti” (a type of grass) for their roof and use mud and cow dung for their walls for temperature control as well as suitability to the weather of Tanzania. The winning group thought of using biogas for electricity generation for their home which would make use of the home’s waste products as well as their cattle and goats. They also thought of rainwater harvesting and keeping bees to produce their own honey and also to pollinate their flowers and other plants around their home. Both groups emphasized planting trees and vegetables as well as planning an effective waste disposal to avoid polluting the environment. Before the winners for this segment were announced, hosts Amanda and Catharine also raised some pointers to consider and other tips such as considering wind mills to harness the power of wind for electricity generation. Amanda mentioned all the good points from each group’s design. Catharine mentioned how some people used milk cartons and empty PET bottles for walls and how some even plant grass on their house’s roof! All in all, the students learned a lot from this well-thought out activity.

At the end of this presentation, the judges added the combined scores from both the scavenger hunt and the artistic challenge together. The results were stunning because no group thought the results would be combined. The overall winning group did not expect to come in first place! The first winners were given nice diaries, second winners were given a fine ball pen, third winners were given a chocolate bar, and the fourth place group was given candy.

All of the participating scholars enjoyed the activities, and at the end when asked what they learned from the field day, they said:

  • Teamwork
  • Collaboration
  • Leadership
  • Critical thinking

We look forward to having similar activities with TFFT Scholars from other schools throughout the year. We extend our appreciation to Amanda, Catharine, and their families for endless support of TFFT Scholars.