26th July 2015
Before any significant event or new experience in our lives, there will inevitably be a certain amount of imagining as to how it will be. We put ourselves into the situation and consider;
What will we see?
Who will we meet?
What will we do?
How will we feel?
Such thoughts bring with them elements of uncertainty as to what exactly awaits…
Earlier this week, after what had been months of waiting for many of them, the imagined then became real for the volunteers taking part in expedition 15F. Leaving behind the familiar they have challenged themselves to embrace the shock of the new; new people, new places and new environments.
Early on Thursday afternoon a few hours after departing from Dar Es Salaam airport the bus containing our international volunteers pulled into WAMO, the training centre where they will be spending their first few days in Tanzania.
Already waiting for them there were our nine Home Country Volunteers. As the group clambered out off the bus there was a palpable buzz of excitement in the air, this was the moment when 15F truly began.
A few of their faces hinted at weariness but after a hearty lunch and brief settling-in period it was already time to start training.
The first day was spent teaching the volunteers the valuable skills and knowledge that will be needed on their 5-week expedition. They began with health and safety talks, learning how to use building tools and the correct protocols for carrying out risk assessments on project sites. We then moved onto health, hygiene and sanitation lessons, taught by our medics. And finally the volunteers learnt the correct communication procedures of how to keep field base updated on their progress throughout the project.
On the second day, the volunteers left WAMO bright and early, setting off for scout camp. Armed with everything but the kitchen sink their task was to navigate themselves to a campsite hidden within the breath-taking Umbulu Mountains. With the use of co-ordinates and a GPS system, the volunteers learnt key navigational skills. After reaching the scout camp in record times the volunteers learned vital camp craft; tent building, fire making, water filtration and river crossing. With the hard work over, the volunteers enjoyed a night of fire lit fun beneath the stars.
Safely back at WAMO, the volunteers have spent today preparing for their imminent departure and partaking in-group discussions regarding cultural awareness and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), which will be announced later this year by the United Nations.
Our volunteers will be working in partnership with DMDD (Diocese of Mbulu Development Department), a Tanzanian organisation, to complete three SWASH projects (School, Water and Sanitation, Hygiene) in three different primary schools. All projects will be focused on raising awareness and improving infrastructure to help advance health and sanitation within the schools and their local communities. With the official launch of the SDGs just around the corner it is hoped that the projects undertaken by Raleigh volunteers, our project partner and the communities will be an exciting step towards achieving SDG 6, which “ensures availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.”
Packed and ready to go, with both apprehension and excitement, the volunteers enjoyed their last dinner together this evening. Tomorrow morning, in three separate groups, they will embark on their next journey to the communities. Group and project allocations will be revealed shortly…
*Please remember to post any messages you have for 15F on the blog and these will be past on to our volunteers; this includes group messages, private messages and important news from home such as their eagerly awaited exam results…!