We know the past and present, so what’s the promise for tomorrow?

Saturday July 22 2023

Having a childhood full of enriching experiences seemed easier then, and by enriching, I mean the less traumatic aspects of learning outside school. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK


“Your grandmother’s abode,” I said to a friend who had just called me “privileged.” She had good reason; it is not wrong, and I also had said it in response to her musing about where young people today might get enriching experiences that would help them score an internship in an NGO that does a lot of creative work and has a direct line to the publishing world. I think she mentioned museums, I interrupted her, all in the flow of candid conversation between frequent collaborators.

But I meant it. In the end I think we agreed that certain experiences are good for personal development and that those who have a chance at discovering their agency have benefited from such enriching experiences. She mentioned museums and I realised that my grandparents’ homes are museums to me.

They always have been: Full of memorabilia from the last century, knickknacks and art and books, artifacts and tools. Visiting them was wonderful and dreadful, but there was no time for quiet reading. Sunup to sundown, there was always something going on. Processing the information would come when the holidays were over, during the humdrum predictability of school and home life.

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The 1980s and ‘90s were wild in Tanzania. Sometimes quite literally, as there was certainly a lot more wildlife. Also, when we didn’t have chores, we had to play games outside because the adults rightly didn’t want us all inside making noise until dinner time. We made up games, we collected sticks, made footballs and all that jazz.

Having a childhood full of enriching experiences seemed easier then, and by enriching, I mean the less traumatic aspects of learning outside school. Like grandma’s spaces: Museums full of things that sometimes she would let you look at, sometimes not. Grandpa was for the stories.


These days enrichment is a service that is growing increasingly popular.

The Sandwich Generation needs it, we have work to do and parents’ prescriptions and doctors’ appointments to deal with. Or, in some cases, parental estates. Anyway, we need the help since these young ones are running on much better resources than we ever had. Including time and attention.

We can now outsource some of the enrichment without depending on unregulated family or friends.

Maybe we are trying to protect them from jiggers, allergic reactions to the grasses and earthen floors of the Olde Country from whence our parents sprang. But we also know they don’t have Grandma’s room-of-her-own to explore, and they don’t have Grandpa’s stories.

We were a lucky lot. Throw that javelin of successful reproduction — physical, social — as far forward as you can. By the way, throwing a javelin is not as easy as it looks, so always high-five a good educator when you see one. Give them flowers.

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So, what is enrichment? I don’t know. Yesterday it was grandma’s house as a museum, today it is coding lessons, tomorrow it might be plotting a course for a manned vehicle to Jupiter. Enrichment is simply another human habit.

Elsie Eyakuze is an independent consultant and blogger for The Mikocheni Report; Email [email protected]