Alpha 4 – a Venturer’s perspective.

28th October 2013

Anna and I have just returned from a week long safari to visit Alpha 4 in Shinyanga, northern Tanzania. We also popped in to visit some of the Charlie groups from Raleigh Tanzania ICS and posts from them will be up on their blog very soon. Later this week we’ll be getting updates from the Alpha groups as to how they’re getting on in their last few days of Phase 1 – that will of course include news from the trek groups who we haven’t been able to visit this phase. We can assure you though that Alphas 1 and 2 are having a fantastic time trekking around Iringa and interacting with the local communities. Alpha 4 are based in Ndala, a village on the outskirts of Shinyanga. They are working alongside Save the Children and Lara’s Foundation to build an Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centre which will provide pre-primary education for the most vulnerable children, including those affected by HIV/AIDS. The group are also building two toilet blocks for the school helping the children to avoid the all too common health problems caused by poor sanitation. The community will contribute to the running of the ECD Centre, taking over full responsibility from Save the Children in the coming years. One of the Ventuers, Yaya McIrvine, gave us her account on their time so far in the community. “After a day and a half journey, and our last night in proper beds and with bathrooms, Alpha 4 arrived at Ndala. We were given a warm welcome by the Village Chairman, his wife and other members of the community then we started to set up camp. We picked up our tools and got to work. A group digging a long drop and a group putting up the army tents – our homes for the next 3 weeks. After a long, hot day camp was ready and following a well deserved meal of noodles we all went to bed, excited for the next day and the beginning of working on our project. a4 - group and camp The foundation digging and flattening of ground have kept us busy, waking up before sunrise to make the most of the coolest part of the day, doing our best alongside the skilled volunteers from the village. Already we have dug the trenches for the foundations of the school and sanitation block and we’re all proud of our quick progress, the start of an amazing project. a4 - building a4 building 2 a4 building 3 We have been into Shinyanga to visit the District Commissioner to introduce ourselves, sign the visitor’s book and to be officially welcomed and thanked for our support. On the way home we ventured into the market to pick up some fresh fruit and veg for cooking (noodles have become somewhat monotonous)! On our way we passed through a school full of children with outstretched arms and smiling faces. They ran out to see us, grabbing our arms and our legs, checking to see if we were real. Such an experience for all of us, especially David who has been mistaken for Justin Bieber more than once! a4 - market Visiting the local market was thoroughly enjoyed by all and brought us the excitement of Prisca and Charlotte’s rice and tomato sauce feast! On Sunday morning we ventured to the local church for the weekly service. Everyone was dressed in a fine array of colours, accompanied with beaming smiles. We had to stand and introduce ourselves in Swahili and we received another warm welcome. The children sang and acted out Bible stories during the service. It was a lovely way to spend the morning. We’re all feeling as if we’re on Big Brother as the local children sit outside our camp and watch our every move. They thoroughly enjoy the tennis ball Jack bought and the games we play with them, teaching them hop scotch and high 5’s! Untitled-3 Whilst singing the Tanzanian National Anthem around our fire, with the next door children joining in, Alpha 4, a group who two weeks ago were strangers became a family and went to bed smiling."