WOW where do I start......... Firstly, let me thank each and every one of you for your amazing and generous donations that will help make such a difference to these amazing people, who have such a special place in my heart ! We raised a total $3167.
I must also apologise for not emailing an update whilst I was in Tanzania, I got carried away with the many ‘jobs’ that we had to complete in the short time I was there, and coupled with the constant ‘black outs’, trying to maintain battery power on a laptop was almost impossible !!!
I am still on a absolute high over what we have achieved, but no one is more appreciative than Mr Massawe himself, I received an email from him during the week in which he says.....” Thank you so much for everything you did to our school, Really you have changed our lives!! Thank you so much “
Following many emails to and from Tanzania, prior to my departure, I agreed with Mr Massawe that one big project we would complete is to build a fence around the full perimeter of the school. Most of the grounds are used to grow corn maize which is harvested and used to make the porridge that the students eat each day (for many of them their only meal). Without a fence, animals would often eat much of their produce and street kids would break in and ruin play equipment at the school.
I am pleased to announce that we have now provided a secure and permanent fencing solution, that will protect both produce and students for many years to come.
On my first day at school, after many big hugs and the pleasure of being back in a classroom with 5 year olds that cannot speak a word of English, Mr Massawe was ready to get to work. .....If anyone has ever had the privilege of going to Africa you will know African people are not know for being efficient or speedy at anything !!!! “Africa Time’ is a term you learn quickly and learn to live with. I was pleasantly surprised to find Mr Massawe was not only a kind, intelligent and efficient man but one of the most honest and respectful people I have the pleasure of knowing !
Anyway, we headed to town on day one to buy all the fencing equipment and after converting our US dollars into Tanzanian shillings, I quickly became what we call a ‘Shillionaire’ - holding in my hot little hand over 1.5 million Tanz shillings – given the largest note they have is a 10,000shilling I was rather nervous walking around town with so much cash.
After wheeling and dealing with the local businessmen, and finding trucks to deliver 75 cement poles, by 8am the next morning we had 4 men working tirelessly to build our fence.
With the fence well underway, it was time to move onto our next project. Mr Massawe, his gorgeous wife Susan and I discussed a few options for projects that would help make the school more sustainable, and we agreed the best project was to invest in setting up a chicken coup. We were able to convert a disused room into a chicken coup for 200 chickens, this would allow them to farm and sell the eggs, generating an income for the school and to feed to children eggs 1-2 times per week instead of porridge to increase their protein intake.
In case you were wondering.... Kenyan chickens are apparently much better than Tanzania chickens for egg production, and we had soon placed our order for 200 Kenyan chickens. Unfortunately I had to leave before the chicks arrived, but Mr Massawe emailed photos this week which shows the chickens settled nicely into their new home. In about 5 months time they will be laying eggs and the Kilimahewa Egg Farm will be generating an income !!!!
I have attached a full list of expenses where our money was spent, but some other key things were:
- Buy new cups and spoons for porridge, as the old ones were almost 7 years old.
- Buy new cooking pot, old one had a big hole in the bottom.
- Paint, to paint numbers and letters on the walls of classroom
- Paper and New Pencil Sharpeners for the Classrooms
Finally, although not a large amount of money, we also contributed some money to help to pay for the surgery for a little boy in our community who was severely burned when a kerosene lamp fell over and set fire to his legs. Although the accident happened almost a year ago, his parents could no longer afford the doctors bills so his leg had healed badly and due to scarring he was now unable to be fully straighten his leg and was causing him immense pain most of the time. For a total of $250 we could pay for his surgery and he would be able to live a relatively normal life, so my house mates and I agreed we would cover these costs. His name is Living, and he is scheduled for surgery next month, so fingers crossed everything goes well for him.
I have attached a few pictures of our work, and I hope you are happy with what we have achieved. This had been a truly life changing experience for me and I hope to continue to help Mr Massawe achieve his dream of turning his home into a school for orphans where children who have lost there parents to HIV can come and live to attend school.
I also had the pleasure of visiting my little girl Editha at her new school. Editha was in my class at Kilimahewa last year and, not being able to overlook her intelligence and the almost certainty she would not receive a full education, I now sponsor her to attend an English Boarding School. She is 6 years old, and after 6 months in her new school is first in her class and has put on some much needed weight, although still the smallest in her class. She was also very chuffed with her new kangaroo !!!!!
Thanks again for your kindness and generosity, words cannot express how grateful we are. In the words of Mr Massawe, when we were talking about the chickens, he was so excited saying to me....” I will care for these chickens with all the love I have in my heart”
Lots and Love and hope too see everyone very soon.