Here is the obligatory fake sleep photo
I was awoken by someone ploughing the field outside my window.
I face a constant struggle with the internet. The 0 kbps speed was labelled as ‘good’.
I eventually connect and manage to do some work on my blog.
Dawei soon surfaces. He found this sick chameleon the previous day and has been nursing it. The locals are frightened of it as it is meant to be very dangerous – wikipedia disagrees though.
We head to a nearby teacher’s house to collect 120kg of rice. This is half of it.
I tried to help… but the box split open
And we are off… this is fairly typical of the scenery around here.
The view through the other side
We finally sight town in the distance. It is technically the capital city, but really only just in name
We head to a few shops to add to the items we brought. This is a cooking oil shop
And now a general-everything shop
I get passed a phone to say hello to someone’s friend. Face-to-Face calling is all the rage here. I’m not sure I have ever even done it in the UK
We arrive and unload. I thought this bag would be easier to carry
Instead it needed four of us
30 families are here to receive items for Christmas. Before I join the leaders, I thought it was important to go over and say hello to all those waiting patiently for us
First, we begin with more speeches. I start with Swahili but then switch to using a translator
Uniform distribution time
The kids pose with their new uniforms
Next up we hand out pens and exercise books
Then it is the turn of biscuits. These are hardly an essential staple, but they make a nice Christmas treat.
We also distribute the rice – 4kg to each family. Plus 1 litre of cooking oil.
I gave each family 5,000tshs (around £2 or $3.25) to buy a kilo of meat on Christmas day. I only had 10,000tshs notes so the families had to pair up. Bad planning on my behalf.
More money distribution
Finally we hand out sweets to the kids – it is surprising what age range considers themselves to be children as a number of grandparents also joined the line.
Pascal is a latecomer. It looks like I am taking his goodies though.
The heads of each of the families line up for a photo
Next up we hand out white canes, talking watches and phones to those who have been selected by the local leaders.
Daniel receives a phone. These were given to me by friends in the UK and are pretty much redundant in the west now everyone has smartphones
Now it is the turn of the white canes to be set free
Talking watches are so cheap on ebay, but they make such a difference out here
Another watch and another smile.
Meanwhile a boy makes full use of a spare Oreo box
Many of the families approach me to discuss their issues. This girl needed help with her school fees
It was only a small amount, so I agreed to help. I have money given to me by friends in the UK and by a couple of schools who fundraise and this is the type of things it gets spent on.
Next up Zawardi and his mother. She wants him to go to a very good school which costs a lot of money but we did a decent job of convincing her that it was a pipedream and to pick a government school instead. I declined to help with the fees but instead sorted him out with a uniform, shoes and sports kit.
Idi is the chairman of the community. I set a project up a few years ago which generates a small amount of profit each month and this is used to help the blind members generate their own incomes. Idi was given a handout which he used on his farm and has now harvested 8 sacks of maize as a result which should see his family through the next few months.
George was the previous chairman. He needed help starting up a charcoal trading business. He was looking for around £25 so I gave half of it to help him along. This is the last request of the day and we soon leave.
We stop for a belated lunch.
And then go to the ice cream parlour…
… for some much needed treats
We have decided to spend the night in town so we can make the most of a hot shower, shave, tv and other creature comforts. This is meant to be the best hotel in the capital but we were the only guests
My first gin and tonic of the trip. It would have been better had the place not been swarming with mozzies
I shift inside to avoid the blighters. I had the whole place to myself
I am not usually a soup eater (or drinker?) but I was intrigued by the Clear of Vegetable description
The soup is on the right. It contained vegetables. The food was really quite tasty
With no one else present, aside from a waiter who stared at me for 3 hours straight, it meant I could be a little silly.
Time to pay the bill. This is around £25 for the two of us, including a number of drinks
Final time stamp of the day
And then to bed, for a final fake sleep photo.