I apologise for the rather awful photo. My picture taking skills are awful at…
We headed out pretty early. This is the house Ive rented for a few weeks.
On our way we pay a visit to the local shop to buy…
…water. Say hello to Shane, who is out here with me for 3 weeks.
We tail these two women. Carrying things on your head is so much easier than with your hands.
We reach our destination. The Anglican church.
Possibly we arrive early, or the service started late, as most things do in Africa, so we had a look at the graves. This was my favourite. If you can have a favourite grave, that is.
Alas I didnt have the nerve to take many pics inside the church. This is Paolo who was curious what I was getting up to. He is an albino with low vision and we were sitting amongst the children of the local blind school.
There were three choirs… and no priest. Im not sure what happened to him, but the 2 hours was mainly spent with them singing. They have been given lots of kit like microphones and keyboards since my last visit so it was all even louder than before. We had to stand up and introduce ourselves to the congregation – something I always dread but I can now do it in Swahili which helps and I show off a bit by speaking a couple of words in the tribal Kigogo language. One surreal bit happened at the collection – someone gave a 20 litre drum of ground nuts. The guy in charge didnt know what to do with them so he ran an impromptu auction. I was tempted to buy them but didnt want to seem too flashy. They sold for £3.
We see some kids carrying some of the kit from the church. Meet Saidi, Ezekial and Nico
I catch up with Emmanuel, the guy on the right, about his life a couple of hours away. He is trying to become independant of his family and over the years Ive helped him along the way a little. We then chat to the kids at the blind school. I invite them to ask me questions and we have a good Q&A session for half an hour.
I figure Ezekial deserves a photo on his own, given his swanky suit. Most kids are dirt poor but his father is a builder and he proudly told me the suit cost 35,000tshs or around $30.
As we head home we spy these kids playing football in a corridor. The football is a bottle stuffed with paper and it is somewhere in the middle of the mass of feet. I never did establish what the child lying down was up to.
En route home a neighbour gives us some delicious water melon.
I have sorted Emmanuel out with a door for the house he has been building and for some work to be done on his farm. I also hand him a mobile phone and some clothes which we have been stockpiling at home. I am well over a foot taller than him, hence my odd stance.
Internet time. Last year I just about got an internet connection. This year it is fantastic. OK, so it is not fast, but I find it amazing that I am online from a village at all.
The house is always full of people, including these two.
The heavens open outside. It is the rainy season and although they have failed this year and there will be famine, there is still an occasional downpour. It isnt regular enough to do any good though.
Next stop is lunch. Chip omelettes for most, and one bowl of rice.
With few resources, the locals are very good at making their own entertainment. This time from bottle tops.
Next stop is the maize shop. Teck decides that this is his moment to pose like a catalogue model.
The maize gets tipped out and then scooped into a standardised 20 litre bucket. Last year this cost 8000tshs. Now it costs 18000tshs.
We then go and buy sugar and soap. The only way I could get a photo of the shop was by getting these guys to pose to one side.
A rubbish photo, but we then got a taxi to take us to our next destinations…
… first to see Mamma Happy. Last year I supplied her with iron sheets and this year I got to see her completed roof. Its always great to see the end results of the projects I run. We also supplied her family with some of the maize and so on which we had just bought.
And next we provided the same items to another blind family. Mr Kusenha was inside the house as he has had a stroke and is in a terrible way. I also supplied the roof for this house last year. As I went behind for the photo, the child cried her eyes out. It was all a little awkward but also rather amusing.
I provide school uniforms amongst various communities and in the village I hand out chits like the one the boy is holding and they then take it to the tailor. It saves me having to escort everyone there one by one.
And now to see Mr Yusuphu. He is a very hard working poor blind man who spends much time on his gardens growing tomatoes, okra and many other things which he sells to support his family. I find it amazing he can prepare the land in such a fashion without sight.
For years he has been after a water pump for his garden. Last year I gave a contribution towards it and together with the money he had saved he has managed to finally buy it. The pipe he is holding is old and ineffective though so Ive provided him with some of what he needs to get a new efficient one.
I arrive home to find Judith awaiting me. She needs glasses and as luck would have it I have around 100 pairs with me. After some trial and error she walks off with a couple of pairs and a big grin
Then follows more time being silly.
And more internet time. Time check.
The local leaders of the Tanzanian League for the Blind invite us to dinner to welcome us to the village. This is an annual tradition and always much appreciated.
We had roast spuds, bananas, skewered meat, chicken, rice, potato and salad.
And some had a little beer. Shane is Irish and with today being St Patricks Day he taught the fellows how to say cheers in Irish. Possibly not a skill they will much benefit from, but they found it all highly entertaining.
We head home only to find our friend who is sleeping in the house is out for the count. We spend 40 minutes ringing his phone which is by his ear and shouting his name, but no joy. We then hit upon the idea of using a twig to push open the curtains and then quickly squeeze a bottle of water so he was drenched. He woke up in a startled fashion. I was quite pleased with our ingenuity.
After another long day I was whacked. Zzzzz