Alpha 2 were the first to depart to Nyamwezi village, in the district of Kilombero. They are due to work on the construction of new toilet blocks and handwashing stations at Nanenane primary school, as well as structuring and delivering lessons on topics such as the importance of handwashing with soap and menstrual hygiene management. Speaking with Maria, one of our volunteers from the United States, she said, “I am really excited to get to teach with the students, it’ll be really fun. Also, the day leader position and public speaking – in a classroom, in a different language possibly.” Inevitably, part of the experience will consist of language sharing between volunteers and communities; lessons in school will be delivered in Swahili and English, giving everyone involved a platform to be immersed in the learning environment. With over 600 students at Nanenane primary school, our volunteers will have a high volume of work on their hands both capturing the attention and inspiring the student beneficiaries, simultaneously working on construction of the toilet and hand washing facilities; by the end of the cycle, these will replace four drop holes currently split between the entire contingent of girls and boys attending the school.
Alpha 1 departed for the district of Iringa the following day. After collecting their kit for trek at field base, as well as finalising training associated with outdoor activities and camping equipment, the team called an early night, ahead of a very early start the next morning. A six-hour journey between Morogoro and Iringa, where the trek begins. The daily leadership role is assigned from day one, and the volunteers share the kit load amongst themselves. Trekking boots on and rucksacks loaded, the 235km adventure begins with one step. Joining Alpha 1 for the duration of the trek, is Morris, a Tanzanian guide with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the route as well as all nature and wildlife elements which are a part of it.
The first steps are always the most challenging but overcoming them in unison, whether on trek in Iringa, or a construction site in Nyamwezi, is paramount to achieving success. At Raleigh, we embrace adventure, with a determination to use the journeys we make, the people we meet, the challenges we face along the way, as a framework for awakening our inner leaders, quenching our thirst for exploration, exercising our passion to teach and evoking our courage to innovate.
Good luck to our volunteers on their journey; expect an update on the first five days of life on trek next week. Paul and myself are also due a project support visit to Nyamwezi next week, where we will find out how the group is progressing – update on that to follow.
Words by Miguel. Images by Paul and Bob.