Raleigh Round-Up: One week in, lets hear from the teams…

22nd February 2015

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Our teams have been out on their project sites for a week now. Saraya and I just arrived back at field base having spent the week with the team at Bassadowish, which we will be featuring in great depth soon on the blog. For now though, on a balmy Saturday night back in Morogoro, it is time to catch up with our teams around Tanzania and find out how things have gone in their first week.

You can remind yourself of the teams here if you need to. 

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 Project Chibe: Here are Venturers Steph and Mhairi with an update on things…

"It’s been a whirlwind few days here at camp in the tiny village of Chibe on the outskirts of Shinyanga - our home for the next 19 days. The fifteen hour journey from Raleigh field base in Morogoro took us through the heart of Tanzania. From the foothills just south of the capital - Dodoma - to the flatlands of the north, we have experienced some incredible scenery that has really emphasised the beauty of the country. 

We have received an incredible response from the community and everyone has been so welcoming. Children flock to the campsite once school has finished and watch for hours as we unwind after a hard days work on the construction site. Despite being made up of multiple nationalities: daring Dutch, wise Welsh, tireless Tanzanians, sassy Scots, and enigmatic English, everyone has pulled together to form our own Chibe tribe. 

We have made brilliant progress digging foundations for the early development centre this week and expect to begin concreting on Monday. The team is so proud of the work so far, considering that just a few days ago the site was an empty field. It’s amazing how far we have come. Our session at the school proved a huge success and we have been invited to give three more sessions where we will be covering health, hygiene, and all important Tippy Taps. 

It appears rainy season has come early to Chibe. The scorching sunny days give way to spectacular storms as night draws in. The thunder roars and the lightning flashes - both vying for attention in a spectacular battle that continues as we write this post. But it all adds to our amazing experience of Raleigh so far!"

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Project Miganga: Here the venturers give us their update in the form of their daily SITREP (situation report):

“This is Project Miganga, comms ok. We have a sitrep for Zero, over. 

Serial Alpha: Location is Miganga, Over. 

Serial Bravo: Apart from a creative sessions of “tent” building with missing pieces, we have settled in well with our generous mamas na babas (mums and dads) in their traditional homes. We have made a solid start to the village’s cattle trough fitting four days of cementing into one, helped along by a ‘refreshing’ downpour of biblical proportions. We were also warmly welcomed by the local school and managed to organise a weekly session with the children to raise awareness about hygiene and hand washing, Over. 

Serial Charlie: Our WASH project continues as we gather intel on hygiene and latrine usage by interacting with local community groups. Over. 

Serial Delta: The squat toilet has already claimed a spoon, a sandal, and a smidgeon of dignity. No more messages for Zero, this is Project Miganga out.”

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Project Bassadowish: 

 

After two exhausting days of travel we finally arrived in the beautiful village of Bassadowish, to be welcomed by many friendly faces including the Village Executive Officer: Joseph. After setting out our camp that evening we took in the wonderful area we would be calling home for the next three weeks, with its surrounding hills, chirping birds, and occasional cockerel. The next three days were spent planning our project and getting integrated with the school community including meeting the headteacher Joseph and the other teachers to discuss the building of gardens and taps for the washrooms and in turn were relayed the gratitude of the school community for our assistance. 

With the arrival of our ‘fundi’ (swahili for tradesman) our team started constructing the walls of the kitchen. Our progress has been swifter than expected and we hope to have the main structure completed by the end of our project phase. 

Many trips into Bassadowish to visit the local market have kept us well fed and in touch with the local culture. Games such as ‘Ninja’ have been integral to keeping team spirits high. The team is eagerly awaiting the upcoming meeting with the Water Fundi as we hope to begin laying pipes for taps at the toilets and kitchen before the end of the phase. One of our biggest highlights so far was a visit from a member of the local Iraqw tribe which illustrated how his tribe made the journey from the middle east to Tanzania as well as their customs and beliefs. We have been experiencing many many local practices including food preparation demonstrated by the Tanzanian members of the group. 

(Find out more about the village and people of Bassadowish in a feature blog later this week).​

 

 

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Leadership Training: 

"Its been eight days since we left WAMO where we were given inductions and training in preparation for our ten weeks of Raleigh adventure and work. We have been trekking in the Southern Highlands near Iringa and so far we have seen elephants, baboons, giraffes, zebra, warthog, and gazelle. We have showered in the rain, watched beautiful sunrises over fog covered plains, spectacular sunsets that silhouette the distant mountains and marvelled at the amazingly clear stars that swamp the night sky.

We have spent one hour trying to cook one chapati and had a cultural exchange night where we taught our in-country volunteers a song and dance in English and they taught us a song and dance in Swahili. We had a lovely lunch at Mamma’s house during one of our breaks on a long day and we had fun as a group washing in the river, but its not all fun and games. We have been tested both physically and mentally. Our day starts at 5am and by 930pm we are exhausted from an average of seven hours walking. Some of the team are suffering from blisters and a bit of homesickness, but these things bring us closer together as a team. We have supported each other through the tougher moments on trek and at the end of a tough day we have a loo with a view."

 

That's it for news from our groups for the time being. I'll be heading out to spend a week with our team who are trekking in the Southern Highlands to find out a bit more about what Leadership Training involves. There'll be a write up of that to come next week. If you have left a comment on the blog for an individual, we will be giving those messages out at Changeover on the 6th March so that everyone gets them together and in an environment they can read them in private.