A day in the life #13 (2012)

 7.40am is about as late as I get to sleep in until.

  

Don’t be fooled by the taps. There is no running water and the cistern is broken.

   

Breakfast consists of a banana

  

It doesnt rain often here, but today it was heavy for a couple of hours. The ducks liked it anyway.  

 

First stop was to Simba. Simba is called Simba because his father had a very hairy head. Simba means lion in Swahili, as any fan of The Lion King should know.

  

Simba is blind and a hard worker so he gets a double tick on my ‘keen to support list’. He got 40kg of maize and 20,000tshs (around $12) to use for his family.  

 

Next is Yusuphu. Another hard working blind man. He is a craftsman who makes simple brushes to sell. He also has a garden growing fruits and veg. An English friend who is a gardener gave me some money to spend here so I gave $60 of it to Yusuphu as a contribution towards a much needed water pump.

  

In return he insisted I dive in and grab a handful of his groundnuts

  

As I walk back to my home I spot this creature on my shirt   

And then see these three creatures at the school.

 

 I am rushing home because I had a phone call planned between 14 children from the blind school and 60 children at a London primary school. They introduce themselves and then ask questions about life in each other’s country.

 

 As the children drink their sodas as a reward for doing well on the phone, Sophia and Christopher turn up. Both are being sponsored at secondary school and I have a gift to pass on from Sophia’s sponsor  

 As I have a house full of children and plenty of sacks to be moved, they get put to work to help me prepare for a later task  

 As I then pass back through the school to go to lunch, I spot these children dancing. You may just be able to make out a radio on the window ledge – I supply a few radios each time I visit.

  

 Time check. Late lunch.

 

 Not a very interesting photo, but this is a scorpion hole. When it rains, they appear all over the place.

  

As I walk to lunch I hear someone has a supply of iron sheets. I need 18 to finish two blind people’s rooves, so I go and investigate. Sure enough there are sufficient and at a fair price so I snap them up.

 

 I have an inner circle of a few guys from the village. They are always keen to help with stuff and this is Enock

  

Lunch of egg and chips  

 

Enock tucks in to rice and meat

 Nasson is front left – his parents moved away from the village several years ago and left him to live with a local carpenter near my house. He gets board and keep and goes to school but has to look after the family’s three cows. He told me 2 years ago he had never had egg and chips before, so today when he was walking past the food place I got to remedy that. His two friends also got a free lunch.

 

 Heading back to the school I spot this boy in a tree.

  

I also swing by to get my receipt for iron sheets. 315000tshs is around $200  

 

A kid shows me this frog. I was told it wasnt dead, but it certainly wasnt moving.

  

As I wait outside a classroom for a meeting to finish, a boy called Gift comes up and tries to convince me he is infact not Gift at all, but a deadly ninja. His smile gave away his real identity though.

  

 The goods for this afternoon’s task – all 100 kids at the school will get a bag consisting of a toothbrush, toothpaste, sweets, biscuits, a pen, a comb, powdered soap, a bar of soap, pants, socks, shoes, a tshirt and a pair of trousers. I’ve been gathering the items over the past 3 weeks. Total cost of this project is 1,000,000tshs or around £400/$600.

 

 Distribution started off crazy. I told the guy manning the door to let the kids in 5 at a time. So we could finish them and move on to the next batch. He thought I meant 5 at a time every minute. Gah.

 

 Akram doesnt go to the school but he was passing and I thought it’d be sweet to kit him out as we had some very small clothes as well 

 My mum gave me this foot measuring device. Although I had been told all the shoe sizes, some were incorrect so I took their measurements and will get their shoes the next day.

  

 More measurements  

 

Meanwhile a kid uses chalk to draw a picture of me on the window. Not a bad likeness, but too much hair.

 

Back home I am visited by this woman. She is deaf, can’t talk and one of her feet points backwards. For reasons I cover elsewhere, I have brought a halt to helping uninvited visitors to my home. However she was sent by a friend’s wife so I made an exception and she got a bag of clothes, wash stuff and other goodies.

  

As always, the house is full of children. On the spur of the moment I brought from England this balloon powered rotor and it provides much amusement

  

At 6pm I clear the kids out as the leaders from the Tanzanian League for the Blind have come to discuss their work. I’ve been involved with them for years and various faces might be recognisable from previous ADIMLs. They have 4 of the 5 million they need to build an office (5 mill is around $3200). They are a good organisation who receives funding for projects from overseas but they get nothing for their own admin costs, like having an office. I agree to see what I can find but my budgets are now pretty much empty. I will make a contribution of some type though.

 

 Once the leaders go, the kids return. Each night it is never the same kids eating, yet there always seems to be 11 of them. It is a struggle to make 1 chicken go round so many tummies, but we manage it, just.

 Time check. 2.15 you say? Actually 8.15. Here the day starts at sunrise at 6am. So the way they tell the time is 6 hours out from how we tell the time. It used to confuse the heck out of me.

  

 I then visit the girls at the school to give out Khangas – these are large pieces of cloth they can use for bedding, skirts, dresses, bags and so on. It really is a multi purpose piece of kit.

  

 I go home and update my accounts. These are two of my larger budgets, but I have been given plenty of smaller pots of cash too. Total expenditure on projects this trip has been around £4500/$7000.

 

 Final yawn  

Final time check

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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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3 Responses to A day in the life #13 (2012)

  1. Pingback: 2012 Trip part 4 | tomintanzania

  2. Daniel Carter says:

    Amazing! Really enjoyed that. I think it’s awesome how the day starts at sunrise rather than the conventional way.

    I think it’s awesome how you’ve managed to get all those items for the school kids (toothbrush, clothes, shoes etc) all for just £4 a head. Bargain! 🙂

    • Tom Feilding says:

      Cheers Dan – a few times Ive arranged to meet someone at a certain time and missed them by 6 hours. It used to annoy me. Now it is natural and when i tell the time out there I will see the little hand pointing at ‘3’ and instinctively say ‘9’.

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