26th July 2013
A week has flown by since the Alpha groups left WAMO behind to begin their second phase.
Here are their main highlights so far...
It’s been a week of birthday celebrations! Sarah, Hugh and Libby have all turned one year older, and enjoyed treasure hunts, treats and surprises from the group. In between trekking and singing ‘Happy Birthday’, they’ve also taught English, played games with local children and spent a rest day at a riverside camp whilst waiting for their weekly food barrel delivery.
Andrea has just returned to Fieldbase after her week with the trekkers, with highlights including a warm welcome from the Chairman of Lala Simba Village (who told the group they were “free to roam, safe from harm and under his protection” within the village) and an afternoon with the school children there, and climbing up to see the ancient rock paintings at Kombangulu.
Alongside continuing to clear the pathway (it’s long, and extremely overgrown!), the group has been helping out at a tree nursery and researching materials and designs for ‘wonder baskets’ to be used by the local community. These are woven baskets used to cook rice in a more efficient way (by boiling the rice as normal for eight minutes, and then removing the pan from the heat and placing it inside the basket for a further half an hour) cutting down on both fuel and time spent tending the fire.
As the first group to work in Maretadu, Alpha 4 spent the first day or so exploring the village, meeting the friendly community and setting up an “awesome” camp from scratch. Since, they’ve been getting stuck into some hard, physical work – plenty of cementing, plastering and path-building at their project site, and an extremely competitive football match at the local school. They’re getting through record amounts of porridge keeping their energy levels topped up!
Their week began with a tour of Matipwili and camp set-up with some sparkly new army tents. Since, they’ve been making steady progress with the rocket stove rollout – thirteen down and around twenty more to go – and checking in with the households who received them last time. They win the award for this week’s chanciest request into Fieldbase, for “hot chocolate, chocolate and sugar please!” In case you’re wondering, they’re still waiting on those items...
Erin and I are excited to be paying Alpha 4 a visit next week, and we promise to share more details about the village and the work they're doing after we get back next weekend. In the meantime, we'll post up our favourite photos from Phase 1, taken by some very talented venturers.
Here's a sneak peek, and there's more to come later this week -
Photo: Will Gray