A Day In The Life #16

Friday, March 22nd

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Traditional fake sleep photo

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Time check. Anything after 7.30am counts as a lie in.

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Checking the cash I have to hand. This is what 2 million looks like. It is 1/8th of my total spend this trip.

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The first stop of the day is not until 10am, so I check what’s happening in the world.

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And here is the first appointment. I am collecting many of the completed uniforms from the tailor.

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I hand over the remaining balance to Mr Fwejeje. I have had around 50 made here and 20 in town. Each costs approx £7.

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An early lunch is had as the next job starts at 1pm.

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Lunch is Chipsi Mayai – or a chip omelette in English.

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As we head to the school after lunch we spot Mr Julius. The government has been handing a few kg of food to those most in need in the village. He has just collected his share

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Each year I arrange a group phone call between the blind school and a London primary school. The kids introduce themselves and ask questions about each other’s lives.

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I had told them that if they spoke loudly and clearly I would provide sodas as a treat. Not all the children could have them right away as some were fasting for Lent and so had to wait until the evening.

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The blind kids who had been fitted up for a uniform then arrived to collect them – they are in the black bags.

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I get cornered by Zenedea. She is blind and training to be a teacher. She is rather formidable and is always flanked by a posse. She is definitly the Queen Bee though.

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As I leave the school I am introduced to these two who had travelled 5 hours to visit me. The woman has a back problem and the man is blind. I tend to avoid helping people who turn up to see me but I could hardly send them off empty handed.

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Next up is a short walk to the shop with…

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…Flora. She is 19 with a 5 year old child and both are blind. I give a little help by way of food, soap and other items.

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Next stop is the blind rehabilitation centre to distribute some items.

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The main project this year was supplying mattresses to the centre. Each family received 2. They sleep on sacks on the floor and had asked last year if I would consider providing mattresses in the future. Also in the pic are sacks of soap, clothes, toothpaste/brushes and other items.

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I was also there to hand out the seeds and medicines they had requested.

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Plus more uniforms

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And some shirts from my sister’s school. The two at the front are twins who happened to be wearing shirts I gave out last year.

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Before the mattresses get taken away we have a group photo.

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Jared collects his

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As does Leah

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I give a hand (or a head) carrying them to the houses.

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I admit it, I am showing off now

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I make sure I get pics of each person with their mattresses to show to the sponsor in the UK

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As I go around the houses I spy this sign I had made for a previous project there.

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And more smiley faces

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Harry wants me to provide a water pump for his garden. He has to carry the water buckets by hand. I have said no though as it is unfair to favour one family over another in the centre.

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I head home and a quick storm comes and goes. It brings with it this rainbow

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It also brings Frank. He is a very bright student, in the top few in the region, with excellent English who is one of the very few people to have passed his national examinations. He lives with his disabled aunt and has had to drop out of school for financial reasons. Having said I would not support any more people with education, I buckled with him. Shane, a friend in the UK and I have put enough money in a pot so he can restart in May

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Now all the serious work is done, it is time to revert back to my default state of being silly.

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I’m not sure where this monster came from (the toy, not the boy). I asked people what it was and noone knew. The closest they got was ‘Godzilla’. I tried explaining about dinosaurs but I think they thought I was pulling their legs

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Next is a visit from Hogra. I have already helped her start a small tea and cake selling business but she came to remind me I had promised her kids uniforms. Ooops. I handed her a ticket to take to the tailor and she seemed happy.

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Dinner time. We have 3 cooks and a guard.

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Rice, goat, salad and plenty of fresh fruit. We feed around 15 people each evening. For the kids, these few weeks are like when a seal puts their blubber on before the winter. After we leave, they will be back on basic rations until I return next year.

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The dog wandered by and was tempted in to the house.

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Also making an appearance was this cricket

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And this centepede. They are very dangerous with a strong poison in their tail. When the children are frightened of an animal then I know it is something to take seriously. We eventually track him down and kill him.

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In celebration the children prat around outside

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Next stop is Chamwino town, around 5km away. The teachers are taking us there for a drinking session.

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They had ordered us all half a chicken. Having eaten at home we were not too keen on the idea, but after a few beers we plouged through it. It was delicious.

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We indulged for quite a while

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We had agreed to pay for the drinks, which costs £22, and the teachers covered the 5 chickens

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Heading back by taxi – 4 in the back and me up front.

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A later than usual night and after a busy day we found sleep came without much prompting.

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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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