My wife and I have just returned from a great visit back to Tanzania, and one of the stops that we had we to visit the old school in Mbeya.
We where welcomed by the Headmaster who was very intrested in why we had visited the school and when I told him the my father was once the Headmaster he was intrested in how the school may of changed. He let us have free range of the school and we went everwhere. First stop was the main hall, still has the school badge above the stage, but why there is a giant can of Coke on it not sure. Then out to visit our old house. Big change but still !. The water tower is still there, I was prevented from climbing by my wife...The path down to the river garden is there but very untidy. Next a visit to the gym. The outside where I learnt to roller-skate and inside the wall bars are still there but the climbing ropes have gone, They where getting ready for a graduation presentation which they where going to do on the field and using the seating of the gym on that side. Next the dining hall, bit of a mess no tables and chairs so not sure how the have their meals. We where not going into the dorms but one of the masters insisted and that was a bit of an eye-opener as they seam to be very overcrowded. The master was telling me that there are over 1700 pupils in the school. The place did look run down but what money they get is used for educating the pupils and not necessary for the up keep of the buildings.
Next a visit to the town. This has changed so much. There are now building that start from outside the school and go right into town. Mbeya is now the 3rd largest place in Tanzania and it looks like it. They are building an international Air port out-side town that will be able to take the largest jets. We had to use the old air strip and air port buildings that have not changed at all.
We stayed at the Utengule Coffee Lodge Estate and it was fantastic, can really reccommed it. Possibly a little far from town but that is the only down side, The staff where great and the food was good.
My trip was arranged by Travel Bag in the UK and they used a firm in Tanzania called Ranger Safaris I can really reccommend them.
We had already visited Arusha, and from Mbeya we where going on to Selous game res and then to Dar-es - Salaam.
I will attach some photos of the school.
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I was at Mbeya with you, - fell in love at 8 yrs instantly (but I think everyone fancied you!)!! You were in the Choir weren't you? I have a memory of us climbing 'Big Uggy' to carve our initials in a heart!!! Your Father followed Mr Francis, - he was nicer because he used the tackie not the cane. I was caught (with others) stealing guavas from the HM Garden...! Great Memories of Mbeya, think it stays in the blood forever. I'm in touch with Tiffany & Lou 'Foster' - same era, and in Stanley with me. Other names I rremember (without straining myself) are Angela Cocking, Diane Croft, Diana Wren, Zeli Gerofoli, Gillian Ashby, Kitty & Jacky Little (or Wear), - and you!
Pippa Jarman (ex Dar & Mtwara) - now Retired in Knysna, South Africa