Kondoa (2009)

I spent 4 days this week in Kondoa which is a small remote town north of where my village is. Dodoma is one of 27 regions in the country and Kondoa is one of 6 districts within the region. The blind school I’m living at is meant to serve all 6 districts but noone from Kondoa ever goes to the school. I met one of the leaders of the blind community there and I had a meeting with the District Education Officer who oversees all 210 schools in the District. He has agreed that he will find funding to transport 4 Kondoa children to and from school at the start and end of each term. I have to handle the initial costs of getting them and a guardian to the school for registration as well as things like buckets and uniforms, but that is all cheap. All being well, this promises to be a sustainable endeavour and should see other children coming to the school in future years.

I hired a taxi for a day and visited several villages. I think in some places a 4×4 would have struggled and i have no idea how the crappy Toyota Corolla made it. At times we had to drive down dried river beds and narrow paths carved out by people’s feet.

This is Lucy who goes to a secondary school in the district. She is the only blind student there and no teachers can read Braille, so her education is somewhat futile but she tries her best. I gave her a ream of braille paper for her notes and a talking watch.

The guy on the left is Abubakir. He lost his sight as an adult and depends on his family for support. He also got a watch as well as a white cane. I do worry though that by giving him a cane it gives him the identity of being blind and so might be treated differently by the community. In the middle is Amiri who is a local leader and on the right is Omari who is the regional representative of the Tanzanian League for the Blind.

I was mobbed at one school. Perhaps as many as 500 children flooded from the classrooms to investigate why a white man was there.

I was invited to dinner by this woman. I wasn’t keen on going because it had been a long day but I’m very glad I did. Mariam lives in this room with 3 other people. The room extends no more than a meter to the right of the image and I’m sitting against the front wall. She cooked up a real feast of rice, chicken and vegetables. It was probably the best meal I’ve had in someone’s home in Tanzania.

I took this last night. I cooked up ‘Spicy Tom-Meat-O’ which consists of spaghetti, tomatoes, frankfurters, onions and chillies. I gave a bowlful to these children and this was their reaction.


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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