rachelbrandon.com is currently in its third version. It originally began as a site with information about our wedding. A year after we were married, Rachel and I went to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to teach for a year, and this site was used to talk about our experience there (see below). This third version began after almost 2 years after arriving back from Tanzania and after almost 4 years of marriage together. We live in, and really enjoy living in, the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Specifically at the college where Rachel works as a Resident Director.
What we do Currently
Rachel recently stepped away from her job in Student Affairs and now finds herself “in between” professional gigs. In the meantime, she’s working on a graduate degree and is figuring out first hand what being a stay at home parent means.
Brandon is a Web Designer and Developer for a web development company based in the Twin Cities.
From August 2007 – June 2008 we worked at Haven of Peace Academy in Dar es Salaam Tanzania.
She did a number of things including teaching 6th grade English, Homeroom, and Art; English as Another Language (EAL) to grades 2,3,4,6,7, and 9; and also coached swimming after school.
Was the Sports Coordinator (A.D.) and P.E. teacher for HOPAC, coached, part time art teacher, and assisted with computer related activities. He was also a 7th grade homeroom teacher.
What is Haven of Peace Academy?
The children that make up the HOPAC community are primarily missionary kids and middle and upper class native citizens of Tanzania. If anyone was under the impression that Brandon and Rachel are living in a one room hut, learning “one of those African click languages”, and raising and killing our own chickens, we would like to debunk those thoughts now (kudos to those that do though). It is our goal to explain to you the value we feel in being here and the ministry that Haven of Peace undertakes.
Embedded into HOPAC’s school logo are three words, Leadership, Service, and Stewardship. Essentially it is our goal that students will leave HOPAC as leaders, servants, and stewards. We will now flesh out why HOPAC finds these areas to be the most important.
HOPAC is providing a very good education along with a Christ-like world view to the future leaders of Tanzania. Part of improving a country’s standard of living is improving its quality of leadership. Currently in Tanzania, many people in leadership positions are corrupt. They cut under the table deals, accept bribes, demand bribes, and do things that only improve their own position. This doesn’t happen only in the government, but it happens in business and churches as well. It is our prayer and desire that our students are able to learn in an environment that motivates them to see change in Tanzania.
There is a big push in grades 6-8 to get involved in service learning. Service learning allows students to learn about needs their community has, while giving them the power and the ability to initiate change. It is academic, but also ethical and spiritual and the middle level grades love it.
Service Learning… let us give a few specifics and examples for you to get a better picture of what, in fact, it is: Service Learning is a class that meets for 90 minutes every Thursday afternoon. The students will learn in the classroom about topics such as fair trade or literacy, then they will put what they’ve learned into use. For example, the group that Rachel is working with is learning about literacy: who is literate, who is illiterate, where do these people live, what are the consequences of being illiterate, being literate or illiterate in multiple languages, etc. Then the students will plan lessons and leave the classroom to go teach English literacy in a local Tanzanian school.
Last year there was a Service Learning group that learned all about water pollution, the ramification of having an unclean water source, and the scientific process for purifying water. Then they went to another local school that had poor water and constructed a tank to collect rain water off the roof and a water filter to then, filter that rain water so that the students and teachers of this school could have access to good water.
HOPAC strives to be good stewards of what they have by providing opportunity for the community. One way we can do this is by offering jobs to local Tanzanians. Our grounds crew is made up of approximately 35 wonderful Tanzanian people who help us out every day with gardening, building and grounds maintenance, cleaning, etc. Our administrative office staff is also made up of a 60% Tanzanian workforce. These individuals have responsibilities that range from working with the government and the Tanzanian Ministry of Education in getting teachers approved to work in Tanzania (a job that requires a lot of finesse, patience, and perseverance), managing our financial books, managing our facilities, and providing general clerical and administrative support. HOPAC also employs some Tanzanians to work along with the primary teachers in their classrooms as aids. These individuals are also very appreciated!
If you would like to read how HOPAC assists local missionaries click here.