Charlie 1 – A warm welcome in Mlanje village

30th March 2017

Not only was the village meeting a success, but so was the one at the school. The headmaster has invited us to teach SWASH (school water, sanitation and hygiene) lessons every day next week, and even asked us to stay longer to help with more much needed projects. It was decided that we would utilize the already existing extra-curricular health club at the school for our SWASH club, meaning that we already have a strong force of SWASHers and hygiene enthusiasts. Later this week we are to be given the school timetable, from which we will start to create a schedule of three to four lessons per week at the school, and with trained teachers in our team we feel that we are more than prepared. The meeting with the headmaster, teachers, and even the district education officer led to a wonderful song and dance by the pupils, of which some of the Raleigh volunteers could not help but take part in!

Mlanje village school children greet all of the volunteers
Joining in the singing and dancing with Mlanje village primary school children

After visiting the school, the importance of the work we are doing with the village has become much clearer to us. The school of five-hundred plus pupils has only five long drop toilets within its grounds, well below the recommended ratio of one toilet per twenty girls and twenty-five for boys. Children can be seen queuing for exceptionally long times to use these very basic facilities, and though there is a mural at the school showing the six stages of hand washing, running water and hand washing facilities are not available for afterwards. Seeing all of this, we are very excited to start construction and the community have steamed ahead already, completed much of the dig work weeks in advance.

Charlie 1's first tippy tap
Our first tippy-tap

Aside from our meetings, we have all been throwing ourselves in to village life, and the village are very welcoming. We made our first venture to church, an exuberant experience lasting three hours, full of songs, dances, animated preaching, and a congregation-wide handshake. There were many familiar faces, especially among the children who have been putting the team to shame with their football and frisbee skills. So, on day four, with nearly all of our surveys completed, a brand new tippy-tap constructed, a newly cleared route to the village water supply, and a map of the village completed, we are very confident about accomplishing our goal in Mlanje.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Tanzania