Everyday Moments of Wonder

It was early in the morning at Mtakuja Secondary School, a Quest Forward Learning School located in Moshi rural, 28.9559 miles from the foot of the highest mountain in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro. Soon after the morning assembly, as I was heading to the Mentors’ office, I was hit by a captivating view of Mtakuja Secondary School learners. They were all over the place in groups studying together as they were getting ready for their mid-term exams.

Mentor Mussa Kalla looks over a students work and makes clarifications with an orange pen.
Mentor Mussa Challa helps clarify information from a quest for a student.

For me as a mentor, that view meant more than just a group of learners studying together. It got me thinking of myself back in the years when I was a student. When I was in school, it was very rare to find a group of learners sitting together, seriously helping each other learn. But today at Mtakuja Secondary School, it is a common occurrence. Yet the view was still so dazzling to me that I moved closer to the groups to better see what they were doing.

One thing I learned as I moved around those groups is the ability of the learners to manage themselves, hold themselves responsible, and seek help when they think they need it. There were no mentors instructing them, and yet they were still doing something productive, which proves their self-management skills at a very young age.

“The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.” – Denis Waitley

These habits cannot be developed when the learners are not in the right learning environment. They must be given an opportunity to grow good habits, a proper mindset, and acquire the necessary skills to thrive in their lives.

A group of four students observe a lit candle as they work on a quest.
Students collaborate regularly at Mtakuja Secondary School.

As a mentor who has been working with these learners under the Quest Forward Learning platform since 2017, I feel privileged to have been able to observe their growth and their change of mindset and attitude. Most of these learners come from different backgrounds of life and different habits. But through proper guidance from mentors that Quest Forward Learning offers, they have been able to adapt to a new way of life that strongly prepares them for the future. 

As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically…. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” I believe every child has a right to be put in a proper learning environment where the teaching and learning methodology is friendly and can help the student develop not just academically but also in terms of character.