4 Boca Raton / Delray Beach News – Sunday, June 23, 2002 – www.bocaratonnews.com
Delray school partners with African school
Students are pen pals with Tanzanian pupils in Delray’s Sister City

By SUSANNA LAURENTI
STAFF WRITER
Students from the Toussaint L’Ouverture High School for Arts and Social Justice in Delray Beach don’t have to travel far to make exotic new friends.
Tenth-graders at the charter school, 95 N.E. First Ave., are participating in a pen-pal program with African young people in Moshi, Tanzania. Teachers hope Toussaint L’Ouverture students will spend the summer writing to pupils at the Kilimanjaro Information Technology Center in Moshi, and then continue the relationships via e-mail and video conferencing when school begins in August.
The pen-pal project was made possible in part, by Delray Beach’s two-year-old parternership with Moshi through the Sister Cities program. Officials from the African city visited the high school recently while touring Delray Beach and arranged with school co-founders Allerdyce and Joe Bernaldel to undertake the pen-pal project.
Allerdyce hoped the effort would open door to international friendships.
“I hope they gain a greater awareness of the cultural diversity of our world, not just locally but also nationally and internationally,” she said. “A good start is getting to know the kids from Moshi as human beings and not just people from a foreign country.”
About 65 Toussaint L’Ouverture pupils introduced themselves via hand-written letters to Tanzanian students between the ages of 12 and 21 who take computer classes at the Kilimanjaro Information Technology Center, known as KIT. The facility offers computer training to children and adults in Moshi, which sits at the base of mount Kilimanjaro.
A branch of KIT is expected to open in Delray Beach in space adjoining the Toussaint L’Ouverture school as a part of the Sister Cities program, which aims to establish business, cultural and educational exchanges between Delray and its Sister Cities - Moshi and Miyazu, Japan.
Ngozi Mensah of Boynton Beach is KIT’s representative in South Florida and a technology teacher at Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary School in Rivera Beach. He said the pen-pal program would benefit young people in both countries.
“I think it will be a give-and-take. The kids from Moshi will get exposed to modern ideas. They are very good students, but they don’;t have the experiences kids here have and the richness in terms of what’s around them in society.”
The Tanzanian students speak English and sometimes French and German as well, said Mensah, but most don’t know conversational lingo - something else he hopes they will learn from their American pen pals.
“They know English by the book and the Queen’s English. Most of them would like the chance to come to university here. Getting used to how kids talk will help, “ he said.
Like other charter schools, the Toussaint L’Ouverture High School is a free, public school funded by the state but privately operated. It opened nearly a year ago.

slaurenti@bocanews.com