With as much as Perry Buchan helped with the first water project, it made sense for him to be my first stop.  It took less than a minute for him to say yes to being a part of the Iyoli Water Project—even though he had just retired.

The team’s ultimate goal was to find an organization that would fund building the well. But first we had to get noticed, and our plan to do that was to create an exchange of cultures between two schools, one in Tanzania and the other Vancouver. It was similar to the penpal exchange a decade ago, but instead of pens and paper, it bundled technology and social media into a campaign called #H20pe.

We called it the Virtual CoLab. Perry developed a curriculum and recruited Doug Sherrett at Strathcona elementary school in Vancouver to implement it in his classroom of grade five and six students. Jackline Omondi, a Kenyan friend living in Vancouver, translated the program into Swahili, and a teacher in Tanzania followed the same curriculum. Once a week for four months, we brought a camera and different media technologies into the classroom and asked the kids to create stories for their counterparts in Iyoli. 

Songs of Home | Mabadilishano ya Nyimbo

The Virtual Co:Lab uses community objectives and curriculum development to translate knowledge into story and song to share with international communities.  We believe that learners need more opportunities to reach out beyond the walls of their classrooms to connect with communities and share experiences with other students and teachers to enhance learning.

Using art, story and song the village students will share parts their home with an international audience using songwriting as a tool.


Kuanza mradi, wanafunzi wa Strathcona watanaswa kwenye sinema ambapo watajitambulisha pamoja na ziara ya shule ya strathcona kwa wanafunzi wa Iyoli.

To kick the project off introductions will be filmed of the Strathcona students to show in Iyoli on a projector along with a video/photographic tour of the school.

Your Home | Nyumbani Mwako

Your home is your house, and more. Your home is your family, your neighbourhood, your country. Your home can be your ideas, your culture, anything that makes you comfortable in your environment. Create sounds and pictures and words that come from observing the world around you.

Nyumbani mwako ni nyumba na zaidi. Nyumbani mwako ni familia, ni mazingira ni nchi. Vile vile, inaweza kuwa mawazo, utamaduni, chochote kinachosaidia kuleta ustarehe kwa mazingira yako. Unda sauti, picha, sinema na maneno kutoka kwa yale unayoyaona kwenye mazingira yako.


Sehemu hii inahusu kutunga wimbo. Kila kikundi kitachagua kiini cha kuzingatia kwa nyimbo yao. Rudi kwenye awamu ya utafiti na tumia mawazo uliyopata wakati ulipokuwa unatazama mazingira yako. Si lazima wimbo uwe maridadi, ila unahitajika kusimulia juu yako na Maisha yako.

This phase is about making a song.  Each group will now choose a theme to focus on for their group’s song. Go back to the exploration phase and use ideas generated by your observations. The song does not have to be perfect but it has to say something about yourself and your life.

Presentation and Party  |  Maonyesho na sherehe

Part of the joy of creating music is performing to people. Students will present final songs to their communities. It will be a big party with everyone involved.

Sehemu ya furaha ya kuunda nyimbo ni kuonyesha watu. Wanafunzi wataonyesha nyimbo zao kwenye jumuia ambapo shule binti watahusika kupitia mtandao moja kwa moja. Itakuwa sherehe kubwa kwa wote watakaohusika.

During that time, they made a book of stories about life at Strathcona with pictures, an original song and music video professionally recorded by Brent Cross (a recording engineer in Vancouver), and they filmed a virtual reality tour of their school with a Ricoh Theta camera.

But the exchange would be no exchange at all if we didn’t have anything from the kids in Iyoli to show to the Vancouver students, and so the time came yet again to travel to Tanzania. Once there, I would be filming stories that the kids from the storytelling club were working on, and then I would bring them back to the Strathcona kids for the virtual exchange.