One 4 Kids Volunteer Project- Tanzania 2014
On Friday 4th July 2014, Team Tanzania, consisting of Gillian Piggot, Jim McLair, Mike Card, Grace Mahony, Lorraine Scott and Jill Tanner (long standing client and friend of Ken), set off from London Heathrow to Tanzania.
There was an air of anxiety around the travel as we had three separate flights to get with the last one being absolutely critical to catch. It was therefore of the utmost importance that all flights beforehand ran on time.
Luckily they did and we made it. Just getting there felt like an achievement in itself.
We arrived at our accommodation which was a hostel in the local village. This hostel is owned by RUDA for the use of visitors and teachers at the school. It is run by a woman whose late husband was the founder of the school so there was an immense personal connection there. The living conditions were very basic; no running water, no toilets, sporadic electricity but we enjoyed living village life and it just added to the whole experience. The family made us feel so welcome and could not do enough for us.
The first couple of days on the ground were incredibly tough. We faced a variety of different issues and problems such as the teaching timetable, trouble with the materials for the playground as well as other general issues that a trip like this goes through.
On day one the girls struggled with discipline and control of the classrooms but retired Head Teacher Jill soon put a stop to that. After that the children were an absolute joy to teach.
On the playground side, things generally went extremely well but there were problems with equipment breaking down and plans changing but all credit to Jim and Mike who refused to be flustered about it all.
Everyone, particularly Jim and Mike, worked tirelessly on this and made excellent progress, so much so that we ended up finishing ahead of schedule. What we managed to achieve in 5 days was astounding and we were delighted with what it looked like when it was completed.
On the personal side, thankfully no one was ill or got injured and we all got on amazingly well throughout the whole trip.
The impact of what was done was far greater than I ever could have imagined. The building of the playground not only gave the children something fun to do but will also massively boost the reputation of the school. The teachers told us that no other school in Tanzania has such sporting facilities and this will help attract more fee paying students from wealthier families. Having more fee paying students helps to remove the dependency on UK sponsors and allows the school to become more self-sufficient.
Our teaching style also opened up a whole new world to the children. We made our lessons fun and interactive, something which they do not currently experience. This was also something completely new to the teachers and they were in awe of our lessons. This has given them new ideas to amend their style which will hopefully enhance and improve the learning of the children now and in years to come.
We also made quite an impact on the local community. We became very close to the family we were living with and were astounded by their hospitality and generosity. I lost count of the amount of times I heard “I’m really going to miss you guys”, not only from the family but from the man who ran the local bar and the teachers at the school.
Overall the project was a resounding success, none of which would have been possible without the combined effort of the wonderful team. I am immensely proud of each and every one of them.
I think it is safe to say that we all had one of the best experiences of our lives and we have left a little piece of our hearts in Tanzania.