Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Latest news from Chitemo and Nyhinila

Great news - I have received an email today from an associate in Mpwapwa diocese who has met with the pastor of Chitemo and Nyhinila villages. The stones have been transported to the building sites and the foundation work is underway. How exciting!

Unfortunately I am now unable to return this October and will have to wait until 2013 after the rains have ended. They will start in November of this year and continue until end of April 2013. My next visit will be at the end of May beginning of June. Until then I shall have to rely on emails re the building progress

 Photograph of Emily aged three. A family I  support  while their father is away studying. Her sister Florence is training to be a medical lab technician and she has a brother Michael who is still at school.

 I am hugging brother Michael and mother Agnitha. The other people in the photograph are neighbours who have come in to meet the strange lady!!
Couldn't resist adding this photograph of 'me' sitting for the first time in my Canon's stall in the Cathedral in Mpwapwa.  I am the first women priest in Mpwapwa Diocese and now a Canon in their Cathedral - as my grandchildren would say 'awesome'!!  

Sunday, 12 August 2012

SEEDS4Tanzania registered charity no.1144822 – We are building!! - August 2012

I returned from my visit to Tanzania last month after three exciting and challenging weeks. Many miles were travelled visiting various areas in the Mpwapwa Diocese renewing and strengthening friendship.

My main reason for the visit was to spend time in the villages of Chitemo and Nyhinila to assess the progress being made with our first project to build a pre-school for the orphans of these villages. Over the past months, since my trip in October 2011, I have had to rely on emails from various people assuring me of the villagers’ commitment to the project and outlining their programme for the building work.

On arrival at both villages I was soon to be assured of their commitment. In fact so committed are they to the project of building a pre-school and the benefit of education for the young orphans that the project/building committee had decided to build a school in each village!!  What fantastic news, albeit it will mean double the work and double the funding.

The people were so excited to show me their achievements and I was soon whisked away to a mountain area to see the stones which had been gathered for the foundations. No B & Q to order from!  Most building materials have to be sourced from the land which has required hard physical work for the men and women, prising  boulders out from the side of the mountain then rolling them down to  be broken up. The stones will have to be transported by a lorry to the building sites. Thankfully the Bishop of Mpwapwa has offered the use of the diocesan lorry and ‘SEEDS’ will supply the funds for the fuel. Sand is being collected from the dried out river beds by the women, buckets are filled and then transported on their head. Many mud bricks have already been made waiting to be dried out by the sun before they are fired. The digging of the foundations will be extremely hard work as the land is dry, rock hard and only pick axes and shovels are available but what they lack in heavy machinery they certainly make up for with their enthusiasm.

In time funds will be needed for cement, roofing, school equipment and remuneration for the teachers. I met two young mothers who are willing to be trained as pre-school teachers and they will go to training college for a year which will also need funding. Of course more teachers will be required in due course.

For four days students from Trinity School Belvedere worked with the orphans offering various fun teaching activities.  The orphans had never experienced anything like it and it was an excellent way    to show the villagers the benefits of education and that learning can be fun.  It was wonderful to see the faces of these little children, to hear the shouts of joy and laughter.  Children are the future of this world and all deserve the opportunity to reach their full potential. In our small way SEEDS4Tanzania hope to help these children have a future.
 if  you would like to support this project in some way and help to  make a real difference in the lives of these children and the people of Chitemo and Nyhinila please contact Rev Canon Yolande Marcussen  07794151635 – email or yolande.marcussen@gmailcom

Friday, 3 August 2012

Nyhinila village works towards its pre-school......

The long process of making mud bricks has started. Many have already been made and these are some that have been dried out in the sun before being stacked and then ready to be fired. Wood is placed in the tunnels the wood is set alight and the openings are blocked. The heat from the wood will eventually cook the bricks ready to be used for building.

.   The villagers of Nyhinila have been working hard collecting stones (boulders) for the foundations of the pre-school. These will have to be broken up into smaller sizes and then transported back to the building site. A lorry has been donated by the diocese of Mpwapwa and SEEDS4Tanzania will fund the fuel.  Photographs can never do justice to the real thing. There is no B & Q to pop to for supplies. This is a dry barren mountainous area. The main materials accept cement,nails and roofing have to be sources from the land by hard  physical work of the men and women. 

 I hope that eventually we shall build something like this. This is part of a primary school on the outskirts of Mpwapwa town where building is easier because of the facilities. If our pre-schools are similar I shall be over the moon. 

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with the challenge of it all but when I meet a child who has so little as we may know it but so much potential if given a helping hand I know it will all the anxieties will be worth it.


Activities are introduced to the Orphans-Trinity are stars!

The students of Trinity School Belvedere spent four days at Chitemo and Nyhinila villages forming relationships with the orphan children aged 3 - 7 years through various activities.  The activities introduced were not only an experience for the first time for the orphans but  simple forms of education and great fun. The Pastor, village elders and villagers looked on and  soon  understood the benefits of  activities and education for  children in this age group. Children in Tanzania,if they attend school, will start at the age of 7 at government primary schools  often in classes of 70 plus with one teacher, a blackboard and the majority sitting on dusty floors. Giving children the opportunity to learn through  activities and the basics in reading,writing and sums prior to attending the government primary schools will give them an head start and the means to survive in the often difficult education system.

The building of the pre-schools in Chitemo and Nyhinila villages is a start. I am hoping that when it is up and running it will be an example to others that eduction for their children is important and should start at this early age. As I am always saying it is through education that the children will develop the skills to move forward in their lives out of poverty and become independent. The adults need to be educated to understand the importance of education for their children for the children are the future of their country. They are the future teachers, doctors, nurses, pastors, government ministers,engineers etc  who will enable  the country to move out of dependency to becoming  independent.

In this tiny mud church the students of Trinity School Belvedere taught the children how to paint. The children had never seen paint and paint brushes before. A difficult activity for the first time with young children in this country with clean and appropriate facilities - how amazing was this! 

The children were taught to through a ping-pong ball into a bucket - communication was often through example rather than words - our Swahili was limited - amazing how quickly the children understood especially when they received a warm smile and an English  'Well done'

A big treat when the parachute was introduced - what excitement and what dust!

In a circle, singing songs was very popular. Heads shoulders knees and toes - Okee Kokee (not sure if that is how it is spelt!) was a hoot! Especially if they received a lollipop at the end!

The children have a break for some 'porridge' a form of ground maize mixed with a little milk and water - eaten from shared bowls with their fingers. This was a treat!

A game for the older children with a  base-ball bat and ball. Not only fun but taught them co-ordination. Every one had a go with the bat or bowl. Not quite ready for the next Olympics!

Every age group had a go a skipping  with individual ropes or as shown in the photo. What fun they had and it was 30 degrees!. 

We are only little and need a rest

There were so many more activities that Trinity shared with these children and I can only applaud them for their inventiveness and stamina in a far from easy environment. They will remain in the memories of these children for a very long time.