It’s been a year since I returned from my last trip to Tanzania. Due to events in real life (aka now having a mortgage) I won’t be heading out in 2016. I am still in regular contact with many of the guys in the village though –Facebook and WhatsApp simplifies this hugely. Life is still tough for pretty much everyone. None more so than the elderly and disabled.
Thanks to donations from friends and from Our Lady Queen of Heaven School in London, I have been able to help out in a few areas around the village. Here are a few of the main things we’ve achieved.
With some of the funds raised by a sponsored walk at OLQH, we provided desks and chairs for a classroom at the blind school.
A couple of friends are supporting Jose and Gaston through their education. I’ve also been able to provide a number of other children with school uniforms. There is an infinite demand for more, as many of the children wear little more than rags to class.
Frank looks like being the first real education success story. He received help to finish his schooling – no mean feat when fewer than 1 in 10 pass the equivalent of GCSEs, let alone A-levels. This photo is from his A-level graduation ceremony. He went on to win a very scarce scholarship to a Technical College where he is currently in his first year. Whilst he has no fees to pay, it is up to him to cover his accommodation, food, university books, transport, exam fees and 20 other impediments to learning. Frank is exceptionally bright, friendly, humble and hard-working. Some money is in place for his second year, but I really need to focus on finding the rest of it.
Last summer I put a request on Facebook to see if any friends might be able to help supply the final items needed to finish building this house for a family in the village. A number of people got in touch and we provided the roof, cement to finish the walls, and the door and window frames. The leftover money found its way to other much needed projects.
At Christmas time, I selected 30 families who face particular hardships, to each receive the equivalent of £7. This is enough money to buy a meat, rice, vegetables and sodas so they can all have a proper Christmas feast. In these photos, the leader of the blind in the region, Mr Omari, is handing money to two of the recipients: John, who has a club foot, and Mariam, who is blind.
OLQH also supplied the funds to provide all 12 families who live at the Blind Centre with hosepipes, shovels and seeds. They have been requesting these for years. There are a couple of standpipes available, and in the past they would fill 20 litre buckets with water and then navigate their way to their plot of land. Backbreaking work and a task made much harder when you have no vision. The hosepipes will enable them to irrigate their gardens so they can feed their families and sell surplus in the market.
Thank you to everyone who has contributed money, read my witterings, or shown interest (both genuine or feigned) in what is happening in Buigiri Village. There are always little projects taking place and I’ll post another update before my next trip. Finally, good luck to Stuart who has given up beer for the entire year to raise money for a project next year – you are a stronger man than me!