Ask me a Question?

I am a huge fan of questions. But I’m not going to dive into that now.

Mt Meru in the clouds above our Sakina Maziwa bus stop

I have inflicted my students with my love of questions by insisting every one of them jot down a questions on a scrap of paper to me every Monday (so only twice now…). I figured kids ages 9-13 would jump at the chance to ask a new teacher a whole slew of questions.

But I had to drag the questions out of them. It was pain staking to get them to understand and then carry out the simple task of applying their unlimited childhood curiosity.

I’ve received about a hundred torn pieces of paper from my students so far. About a third of them aren’t really coherent questions. About a third are questions that were already answered in class (like “What is a cell?” while the notes are still up on the board). And the last third make me smile because they show minds that are actually trying to communicate something they want to know.

Many are still very simplistic. Why do we breathe? What is HIV? How do we feel things touch us? What is reproduction? Simple questions with fun not so simple answers.

I told the kids I promise I’ll do my best to answer every question I get, and I’ll keep asking them for more questions. It’s very clear that kids in school here are not encouraged to ask questions or think creatively or stoke their curiosity. Hopefully by the end of these months here, some kids will ignite a spark for some vigorous question asking.

And now it’s your turn!

I admit there is a lot going on here that I haven’t begun to write about or put up pictures of. So call me out and ask some questions! I haven’t heard much from all of you across the water, and I refuse to let Facebook be my only fickle informant. There is a comment box at the bottom of these pages for a reason. Shoot me a digital scrap of paper, Whatsapp works great for that, email, and Facebook messenger work too!

Let the questions start rolling in and I’ll start rolling out some answers and stories!

“The important thing is to not stop questioning.” – Einstein

6 thoughts on “Ask me a Question?

  1. jnettemartin

    I like how you are encouraging questions and find your posts fascinating! As I’ve done for years in my house at dinnertime, I must ask “What surprised you today?” So my answer is that so many people are coming to the church today when I expected a quiet day. I thought they would all be at home cooking their Thanksgiving Day feast. We give thanks that you are having this experience in Tanzania! With love, Jeanette

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