6th July 2015It is hard to believe, but we are now just over halfway into Phase 1. A week ago last Friday, the groups set off into the Tanzanian sunrise with only ideas about what awaited them. Having been there a little while now, our project groups are gaining an understanding of the work that they are doing and building bonds with the community. For our trekkers, setting up camp and rising early is now part of their routine. Let’s catch up with them to find out how they’ve been doing. Should you wish to remind yourselves of the groups, click here:
Steph gave us an update on how things are going:Our trek began swimmingly with a short hike to our waterfall campsite. The following days proved that such a start was a luxury, however, as we trekked for longer distances. Along our route, we have been able to take in stunning scenery, observe the local wildlife and meet people from local communities, all of whom have received us with big smiles. While most camp sites have so far been in isolated rural areas, we have been fortunate to spend two nights in villages, Usbemye and Kiponzelo. The chief of Kiponzelo village was very welcoming and allowed us to camp on the village green right beside the village office. The bell at 6:45am the following morning caught us off guard though, especially as it was a rest day! On our toughest day of trekking, we were spurred on by a group of local children who serenaded us with Swahili songs as we clambered up the “mountain” behind their village. As we reach the halfway point, we are definitely growing as a team. We hope that the rest of our time will be just as rewarding as the days that we have already had. Alpha 3: Magham and Barazani SWASH project Alpha 3 joined together to write about their experiences: Sometimes it is truly amazing how welcoming people can be. We arrived in Magham and Barazani just over a week ago and this welcoming nature became apparent during our first morning when some of us decided to attend the service of the local church’s Sunday School. The experience was made particularly special when the priest asked us to join him at the front and introduced us to the children of Barazani. We’ve already met many people from both communities. So far we’ve attended two community meetings to introduce Raleigh International and the work that we will be carrying out over the next few weeks. We suggested meeting with groups within the community to discuss their exact needs and are now planning meetings with the youth choir and a local women’s group. This is very important, as without the full support of the community it is simply not possible that the project can be sustainable. We have started working with members of the community on the project site in Magham (laying the foundations of the toilet block) and are looking forward to spending more time on both the Magham and Barazani project sites. Next week we are planning an event to raise awareness around hand washing and sanitation. More to come on that soon! Alpha 4: Early Childhood Development Centre in Chibe: Megan and Hannah have a few words about their time there so far: Alpha 4’s journey began with a long bus ride north west across Tanzania to the small village of Chibe. We quickly made it our home and are now enjoying all that camp life offers – from the picturesque surroundings to the evening meals by the fire. We strongly believe in the importance of forming links with the community and have so far visited the village church and met representatives from the Tanzanian Red Cross. We’re also holding a meeting with the village council soon. Doing all this will aid our efforts to introduce and integrate the Early Childhood Development Centre (EDC) into the community. Our mornings are spent working alongside the local Fundi (builders) on the project site. Some of the tasks include clearing the surrounding area and helping to dig the future sewage system. After the work is done, we‘ve enjoyed walks into Chibe to meet the local community and practice our Swahili, and inevitably played a few games of football. Thankfully, the culinary skills of the team have surpassed themselves in the evening and we have eaten some delicious meals. We hope that our remaining time in Chibe will be as rewarding as it has been so far. I headed out to visit Alpha 2 in the Usambara Mountains over the weekend and will be uploading a blog on their progress very soon. Also, just for your information, the private messages that everyone has kindly posted to the blog so far will be given to the Volunteers at Phase 1 Changeover, which is on Wednesday July 15th.