A Day In The Life #17

Monday 25th

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Time check. This is my final full day in Buigiri and so Operation Empty-The-House commences.

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I spy this dictionary which I left in the village in 2009. It has had some good use! Its new owner added my name to the back page and has tried his best to spell the name of my home town.

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Catherine pays me a visit to collect some sun cream. I bring plenty of bottles out each year for the albinos. She also gets some food for her family.

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The silliness resumes. This box is a remnant from the previous night’s entertaining of the teachers.

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Meet Jose. He is sporting a shirt I brought out last year. His education is being funded by the family of my flatmate.

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I can’t believe I have even more shirts to hand out. It has been a never ending pile. The top Britol City shirt is clearly the most sought after. Or at least it should be.

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The box sure is generating some fascinating stares.

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Shane fishes out the last of the water. We have no running water and this tank collects rain water which lands on our roof.

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A girl comes around selling these cake things for breakfast. I think they are made from a combination of rice and grease.

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As one of the few houses to have electricity, we find we have become a phone-charging centre.

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Next job is the final food distribution of the trip. This is for the 12 members of the blind rehab centre.

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On the left is Kapingo who is the only guy who speaks English. On the right is Simba. He isn’t from the centre but I had promised him an extra portion of maize so he met us with the others.

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Everyone together for the customary photo. We have supplied enough food for approximately 7,000 meals this trip.

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Time to pay.

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This lot cost around £100

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Eva and Agnes pay me a visit. A friend from work gives a little money to get them food, uniforms, clothes and other items each year. He gave me these two toys to hand them this trip. I wonder if Buigiri has ever seen a boomerang before. I hope they like it and don’t try to throw it away.

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The two at the back do much of my cooking. They were delighted to get these shirts.

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I don’t recall what was going on here.

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A friend who works for WPT magazine gave me these shirts to hand out.

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And yet more football shirts found their way on to people’s backs

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I gather all the other bits together and head to the home of the big boss of the Tanzanian League for the Blind

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He will ensure they go to the correct places. The bulkiest items are the glasses. They will end up with the eye specialists at Mvumi Hospital. The Bop-it toys will get used by the blind kids and the sun cream will go to the albinos who live further afield.

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A local guy I knew from when he was at secondary school in 1999 is now the boss of a small safari company. He funnels part of his income in to building a library in the village. Prices of text books are prohibitive, so a central store should enable many students to succeed at school.

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Next stop is to see Mr Tongu. On top is a talking calculator for the staffroom and underneath are 3 maps of Africa my boss gave me to bring and which will end up on the classroom walls to aid geography lessons.

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This swing is the only functioning part of the playground.

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I hand out the remaining hats

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And find two recipients for these braille playing cards. That is Nico on the left and Salim on the right. Years ago I travelled around some remote villages looking for blind children who could join the school and Salim was a product of that search.

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I also hand out two replacement radios for a couple which had broken – I got a bunch of cheap ones off Ebay before I came and they are quite useless. Plus I give out batteries for other radios.

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I say my goodbyes to the blind children as this is my last visit to the school.

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As I head off I spy this boy trying to hunt birds. If he succeeds then his family will get a little extra meat for their supper.

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Rehydration time.

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And refoodation.

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I get home and look in on our cooks. As it is our final night we have asked for two chickens to be devoured.

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Years ago I saw these two boys dancing with a choir so I arranged a small dance off competition between them.

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Albert was the winner.

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Unusually I am in no rush on my final day so I fire up a DVD. Eventually we had about 15 people crowded around my laptop. We watched Africa United which is a charming film set in and around Tanzania.

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After dinner we went to the bar for a final session with the teachers. I was exhausted though and stuck to soda.

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I’m not quite sure what I am trying to convey here

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Just as we head home, this critter decides to pay a visit to wish me goodnight. I crawl in to bed arond 2.30am and my alarm is set for 3 hours later. This has been a fantastic trip and pretty much everything has gone as smoothly as possible. It has also been great having Shane out there with me. Thanks to Ampleforth College, OLQH, UWE and UoB who gave me items to bring, or cold hard cash – plus thanks to everyone else who kindly added to my warchest, there are too many to name and I’m sure some of you prefer the anonymity. You are all stars.


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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