Language at School
One of the most difficult things about school for children in the village is language.
The language children learn at home is called Kihaya.
Let’s learn a bit of Kihaya. You already learned “Nyegera”, which means “welcome.” Here’s how to count to five.
The language used in primary school in Tanzania is Kiswahili.
Now let’s learn some Kiswahili. You already learned “Karibu,” which means “Welcome.” Here’s how to count from one to five in Kiswahili.
Can you see some similarities between the numbers in Kihaya and in Kiswahili? The languages are related to each other, so some things are similar, but they are completely different languages. If you only know Kihaya, you will not be able to understand what someone is saying if they speak Kiswahili.
In elementary school, textbooks and lessons are in Kiswahili, but most children don’t know Kiswahili when they start school. They have to learn a new language before they can learn anything else!
Imagine going to school as a new kindergartner. Imagine that when you get there all the teachers and older students are speaking Swedish, all the books are written in Swedish, and all the lessons are taught in Swedish! Maybe you will want to run back home!
There are lots of other things about village life that might surprise you, too.
- There are no are TVs, no computers, and no smart phones
- There is no electricity—make sure you get your homework done before it gets dark!
- That is, if you have time for homework. Most village kids have lots of daily chores to do, like fetching water or firewood, helping with cooking, and taking care of younger brothers and sisters. And there’s no such thing as an allowance!
- Even at school there are chores to do. For example, school children must often collect firewood for their teachers.