We arrived in Mwanza on 27 January 2017 for our third visit after a 24-hour journey from our home in Suffolk. We volunteer for Busega, Scotland with amazing support from our church, the Stowmarket Salvation Army and from our family and the many friends and neighbours who have generously supported our work programme financially. The stark contrast in the weather, from 2 degrees to 28 on our arrival, is one of the most pleasant aspects of our return here. But by contrast we are once again confronted with the many difficulties the country faces from water and electricity cuts (no electricity for 36 hours just before we arrived) to much poverty and the latest challenge drought, which has significantly increased the price of maize and other foodstuffs by around 50%, maize being their staple diet.
Once again we have received a warm welcome from Rev Deuli, the local Busega Project leader and accountant. The busy work programme devised in cooperation with John & Christine Carney, includes purchasing and transporting 4-months basic food supplies to the orphanage at Mayega, liaising with local officials to ensure that they ‘deliver’ on previous assurances regarding basic infrastructure and orphanage developments – and providing further support for the young people from the orphanage who are now in higher education. With no time to lose, on the day of our arrival we ‘did the basics’ like charging up our phone and our external wifi ‘dongle’, essential requirements for communication locally and to the UK. On our first full day, having had a brief meeting with Rev Dueli, we had coffee at the home of Phil & Jannetta Vandenberg, Canadians who have been based in Tanzania for some years. Phil is an agriculturist who is working with local farmers on improved food production measures and he has offered to give us advice on how best we might help staff and children at Mayega create a kitchen garden on or near the site to promote aspects of self-sufficiency. Jennetta is a qualified nurse who volunteers at a local clinic/hospital. With both having worked in Tanzania for some years, their advice on ‘capacity building’ has already been valuable. Later in the day we met Julieth, the recently appointed Assistant to Rev Deuli and made some provisional plans for her involvement in our work programme next week
On Sunday 29 January 2017 we joined Rev Deuli at the annual Cathedral Service which was attended by churches in their group. The service lasted 5 hours – but were not able to survive that long on this occasion! The singing and dancing of the choirs and congregation is something to be experienced and certainly memorable.
On a final note, Valerie and I will be making our first visit to the orphanage on Tuesday 31 January 2017 and meeting the children and staff once again.
Valerie & Arnold Barrow 30.1.17
31.1.17 Met the new children who had just arrived at Mayega.
Twin girls Kulwa and Dotto (8 ), Gideon (7) and Michael(9)
Valerie busy drawing and colouring with the children.
6.2.17 Visited Kabula at BBTC college and Masebuka at Nyakato college before heading to Passiansi to start purchasing the bulk supplies for Mayega. Also purchased a whiteboard, pens and eraser for use in the Mayega Community Room.
click here Tuesday 7.2.17 Early start to Mayega
Went to see the local Mayega Social worker and had to collect him from police station/court where he was with a child appearing in court. We hoped to collect the paperwork for the new children being placed at Mayega but sadly this was not ready yet. Bulk food shop, whiteboard and chicken feed delivered to Mayega. Everyone was happy to see the supplies. Two hens found making themselves comfortable in the dormitory were evicted.
Visited the secondary school and met the headmaster. Cleared up some confusion on the children’s given names and discussed arrangements for interviewing for the post of Mayega Saturday teacher.
Valerie did lots of craft activities whilst I was doing various other things including reading English with some of the older children. We were surprised to learn that after 3 pm lunch Form 4 children went back to school, this apparently being a Government dictat to improve education. At lunch we were amazed at how much the children ate! Back to Mwanza and an evening meeting with the Mwanza Rotary Club to discuss the water supply at Mayega
8.2.17 Went with Malesa for his operation. He was very brave – doctor insisted on showing me the hair/fat build up that he had taken out of his head! Was given antibiotic and painkillers – at an additional cost .