A day in the life #4 (2009)

An obligatory fake sleep photo. I was at the village bar the night before and so wasn’t feeling at my best throughout the day.

Time check #1. I’m living amongst a blind community and this is one of the talking watches I brought out with me.

A friend back in England keeps me updated with football news.

I get ready for the day ahead and sort out everything I will need for a day in town.

I finish getting dressed. Making sure to check my shoes for sneaky scorpions.

I don’t have running water but I have a tank in my bathroom which I fill up using a bucket with rain water from my roof.

I head down to the road to catch a bus into town, but on my way spy Illombo, Doreen and Barracka.

I also spot these children late for class. The boy in front is sighted and the others run along behind with a hand on his shoulder.

The teachers are considerably more relaxed.

I make my first non-sleeping appearance waiting for a bus.

Like some others on here, I have a phobia about taking photographs on public transport. So here is a shot from outside the window.

When I get to Dodoma I meet my friend who is a taxi driver and we go and buy 250kgs of cement.

Time check. Back in England I’d have only just woken up by now.

We get to our destination. This is where the city’s beggars live and is unsurprisingly the poorest area. This is my third trip here and today I’ll be repairing a house. Whereever I go I am met by inquisitive children.

Here is the family who live in the house. Peter is an intelligent and proud man and one of the few here to own his own house. I get many requests for this kind of help and am careful for reasons of time and money who I say yes to, but Peter impressed me by being eager to contribute a small amount of his own money to the project. He was also organised and had the workers, sand and water ready for our arrival – finding this level of organisation in Tanzania is very rare. Much of the money I use for these small projects comes from friends back at home. So if you have donated, then this is one way I am spending your hard earned cash!

The old floor was rubble and the aim of the day was to put a hard cement floor down in the three rooms.

The second half of the job involved making bricks to rebuild a part of an exterior wall which was crumbling away. This is then also cemented to protect it from the elements.

A labourer working away outside the house.

I introduce some children to the land of the iPod. Here they are watching Scrubs.

I went off to meet a blind couple who live nearby. Along the way I met these children. They were plucking some young dead birds. Whether they killed them with a catapult or took them from a nest, I don’t know. Either way, they will be eating meat later.

I also spotted some graffiti. It reminds me of The Lion King.

and here is the couple I was looking for. The man is sporting one of my talking watches.

When I return I see one of the rooms has been finished.

Here is the second worker – If you look carefully you will spy the Nazi insignia on his baseball cap. In many countries the swastika is an ancient good luck symbol, but the arms bend the other way to the version adopted by Hitler. This one was the more modern version. I can only guess some neo-Nazi donated his cast-offs to a charity and they found their way out to the third-world.

Children just love having their photos taken.

Here is Peter’s wife Christina practising with a white stick which I brought with me.

When the job was done I waited with my fan club for a bus back into town.

I was very hungry so demolished this tray of rice and beans pretty quickly.

I then checked my emails. This is where I am posting from today.

Time stamp

I then went to the ice cream parlour with a teacher from my school. He is blind and struggled knowing when he had ice cream on his spoon.

Date stamp. We then caught the bus back to my village. I was impressed they knew my name.

I found these blind children playing football with an empty bottle. It scrapes along the ground so they can figure out where it is.

I’ve been converted to the African method of carrying things. It really is easier. I haven’t progressed to doing it hands free yet though.

I find Samson and Stefano waiting for me outside my house and so I give them a game to play on my front steps.

Time stamp.

I have been invited to dinner by the teacher from earlier. These children are outside his house and they respond well to my request of ‘Neomba ndizi kubwa!’ or ‘Give me a big smile!’.

Potatoes and chicken. Mmmm. I have just one very basic hob and it takes me a long time to cook anything, so it is always a delight to eat in other peoples homes.

The teacher’s wife eats seperately with the children. Here she is using a charcoal cooker.

And here is Omary again.

After we finish, his two children eat rice, chicken and a banana.

I get home and fire up Mamma Mia. One of my many guilty secrets is when I am hungover I love watching cheesey films.

Final time stamp.


About Imo & Tom Feilding

I'm in my 30s and work for the University of Bristol, I regularly visit Buigiri Village slapbang in the centre of Tanzania in East Africa. It is a very poor semi-desert area. I spend much of my time and money helping individuals improve their situation and I write about it on here.
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