“Before I joined my Raleigh International Expedition I was hunting and helping my family graze cattle as I had nothing else to do. My family are Maasai and live in Arusha. I was an orphan and was adopted by my mother’s best friend when I was very young. I became a Maasai warrior when I was 16. Most people become warriors at 18 so I am very proud. I had to finish secondary school and not go to university because I couldn’t afford it or get sponsorship.
A friend in South Africa sponsored me to go to secondary school in Uganda. I graduated in 2012 and was the first in my class. I was third in the whole of Uganda. When my sponsor died and because I am Tanzanian I could not afford to go to university in Uganda, and I cannot afford university back in Tanzania.
I decided to join a Raleigh International Expedition because I wanted to improve my language and learn about different cultures and also to gain a lot of friends. I decided to give my full potential to the development of the community and also I wanted to use this chance to think about what job I want to do so that I can save the money to go to university.
We were building an Early Learning Centre and sanitation units for the children in a town called Shinyanga. It was a very long way to get there and hard work, but I enjoyed it because I felt very good helping children who want to study but who don’t have opportunities and necessary facilities like sanitation toilets. We also met some street children which made me feel very lucky, because even though I don’t know my parents I got the opportunity to go to school and I had my basic needs met.
I had such a fantastic time with my group, we had good teamwork in all phases of our work and we also worked really well with the communities who were welcoming and cooperative. The villagers were involved at all stages. They helped with all the physical work and they invited us to their village meetings and even a funeral. They invited us to watch football and drink tea and eat biscuits together.
My best moment was when we were making fuel efficient rocket stoves for the community. These are better for the environment and save people the hours each day that it takes to collect wood. When it was my turn to lead I divided up the volunteers into to smaller groups and the work became much more manageable. At the end of the day everyone said that they appreciated my leadership and direction.
At the beginning the Expedition there were a few things I found difficult. The physical work was very hard and it was very difficult to communicate with international volunteers. They were speaking really fast so it was a bit hard to understand. But I really wanted to and now I can also speak fast because I learnt a lot.
I know how to plan ahead and project manage and I also learnt a lot about lots of different cultures. Now that I can make a rocket stove I am going to build a massive rocket stove for my village! I have leadership skills and know how to motivate people, and I am improving my English language which is so important here in Tanzania for education and getting a job.
Before Raleigh I wanted to become a doctor, but since our work talking to children in schools about sanitation I now want to be a teacher or a lecturer. The teachers in the school praised me a lot and said I had a way with the children. My fellow volunteers also told me the same thing, and now I have realised that I really enjoy it and that’s what I want to do.
Overall Raleigh has been a big help to my life. I have learnt a lot and made very many friends. It has been an amazing time in my life, more than I ever expected.”