A day in the life #14 (2012)

I’m on my way to see Mr Fwejeje, a blind teacher whose wife has been making me dozens of school uniforms. The deadline is today so he has been roped in to sewing on buttons.

I head home with a sack of uniforms and spot this little guy on my house

At 10am I head to Uguzi Primary School to hand out a set of new football shirts. They’ll now be playing in the colours of my home team Bristol City

One of my projects this year is kitting the school out with desks for around 100 children. Most classes are like this one where the children sit on the floor. It is not only uncomfortable, but also difficult to learn how to write.

This is what I’ll be getting made. Each costs around £30/$50 and seats 3 or 4 children.

I head home to find Mr Kusenha waiting for me. I treat him to a soda. He is an elderly blind man who is after corrigated iron sheets to finish building his roof.

His four children turn up to help carry the sheets.

Off they go. Home is a few km away. They’ll be shattered, but they will at least have a dry home when the rains come.

Next stop is to the adult blind centre. A collection of 12 families, 10 of whom have at least one blind adult, plus two helpers and their families.

They’ll be getting lots of clothing, toothpaste, school books, pens and other things

The children get some of the uniforms I collected earlier from Mr Fwejeje

Meanwhile the adult blind get enough seeds for their gardens and medicine for their families to see them through the year until my next visit.

Last year’s main project was the building of 10 chicken houses. 8 of which are now up and running and 2 are in the process of being finished. The money for these was raised by a sponsored walk by the children at the school my sister teaches at, so I have had a sign made.

Jared and John. The baby is named after my sister. The plants behind them are grown with the seeds I gave out last year. I think the left hand side is chilli and the right is green pepper.

Next stop is lunch. The only place to eat in the village. I have a chip omelette.

Next visit is to Teck and Alan’s house. They live in a crumbling mud house and yet are always clean and well presented. My sister and I are funding a new house for them which will be built in a few months time.

This is where they sleep. Their clothes hang on a mosquito net which in turn hangs above the sack they sleep on together.

I head home and spy these children playing a form of hopscotch.

I arrive home to find the village photographer waiting for me. I had promised him a digital camera a friend had given me in the UK.

A teacher then visits so I can help him apply for his visa to visit the UK. He is coming to see if anything can be done about his rapidly failing eyesight.

After one teacher leaves, another comes. This is Mr Omary who is one of the top leaders in the blind community. He is picking up white sticks, talking watches and mobile phones I have brought out and they will be distributed to blind people across the region.

With 30 minutes to kill before dinner I head to the school to distribute the final items from my house. These albino girls all get factor 50 sun cream.

These are the last shirts from my house. I have handed out maybe 25 football shirts this trip, not including the school visit earlier in the day.

The blind teachers come for a dinner of beef with potatoes and pilau rice.

One of the guys gives me this slightly modified card. A few years ago I set him up with a small shop which makes him just enough money to get by.

Evening time check

Every night I feed around ten of the local children. This evening they have been displaced by the teachers. Having asked my cook to make enough food for about 15, there was barely any left though so I sent them off for chip omelettes.

Meanwhile the teachers were getting more and more drunk. Although they are wealthy by village standards, they cannot really justify drinking wine in any great quantity, so as a thanks for all the work they have done for me, I got them all extremely sloshed on vino.

Meanwhile the kids are back from their omelettes and are still hungry so they polish off the remaining rice.

We then head down to the bar.

Sometimes it is hard to tell when blind people fall asleep. In this instance it was fairly clear.

And another one off with the fairies

As it is my final night I paid for drinks for everyone at the bar. Total bill was around $20 for 28 drinks. I love African prices.

The bargirl Anna decided we were to be married. Few people formally wed here but to mark a union a ring is exchanged so Anna kept sneaking up trying to force this ring on my finger.

My only appearance in this DITL. That is me looking terrified.

I head back home with three of the guys. They all crash in my house because it is late and it is a final night treat for them. It is now 3am and I am up at 6.30. Yikes.


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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2 Responses to A day in the life #14 (2012)

  1. Dawei says:

    Bless Mr fwejeje how does he do it? if i were blind i wouldn’t go anywhere near a needle lol
    are there any pictures of the working chicken houses in action?
    Tech and Alan look spotless!
    drunken teachers are ace! and u look pretty happy by the proposal by the way 😛

    • Tom Feilding says:

      I agree about Fwejeje – it was pretty amazing watching him work.

      There’ll be moving pictures of the chicken projects appearing eventually. Imogen is editting together various clips.

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