Thanks to Whilton Mill Go Karting and Outdoor Activities, for providing the top prize at the Daventry Quiz night held at St Augustine’s Church Hall, with the proceeds shared between Busega Scotland and Amnesty International . Thank you to Robin and Debbie Hill for organising the event with their friends.
Keeping children safe at Mayega Children’s Centre is Busega Scotland’s number one priority. This requires action in various ways and involves different people helping to protect the children effectively.
We have already built a perimeter fence at the centre and worked directly with the children on keeping themselves safe, using a DVD in Swahili commissioned by Busega Scotland volunteers, Robin and Debbie Hill.The new kitchen at Mayega has a storeroom at one end and this provided an opportunity for safe storage of the solar batteries. A seminar between Busega Scotland staff and health officials from Busega District Council has seen the purchase of fire buckets, rubbish bins and white aprons for the cooks.
These may seem like small steps, but in the evolution of the care of the children we are now able to concentrate on matters of detail, as the general quality of care has improved so much.
Busega Scotland responded to the recent abuse scandals, involving larger aid organisations, by producing its own safeguarding policy and procedures. The implementation plan is being overseen by the Board of Trustees, and on their last visit to Tanzania John and Christine commenced a series of implementation seminars with local staff. T he 5-a-day is being helped by an ever productive garden at the Centre.
Much is and has been going on back in Scotland to raise the profile and funds for Busega Scotland. The springtime charity shop has done its good work in the town of Lossiemouth, recycling useful items, and raising over £500. This mainstay of our fundraising programme has generated thousands of pounds over the last few years and supported many Moray families.
The ‘Wild Night for Wanawake’ was indeed a wild event, in John and Christine’s home village of Garmouth. Musicians young and old turned out to support the headline act, the Busega Boogie Band. How many charities can claim their own blue grass band? As well as the music, homemade soup and bread were served for supper and the fun ended just short of midnight. Busega Scotland women’s groups benefitted by over £500.
The Carneys have been back to Mosstowie Primary School, updating the children on recent progress at Mayega. The youngsters’ enthusiasm has resulted in plans for a unique sponsored event in early June. Two quiz nights are scheduled this month in Elgin and Daventry. There will be a talk at St John’s Church in Forres, and a stall at Elgin Rotary Club’s Rotafun day. The Carneys will then be facilitating a workshop for Turning Point Scotland, at its conference on ‘Global Citizenship’.
These events contribute to Busega Scotland’s commitment to ‘give back’ to the communities that support them by adding, in a modest way, to the social, educational and cultural life.
Volunteers Robin and Debbie Hill are organising another Quiz night in Daventry on the 10th May. If you live in the area please go along and support their efforts.
The proceeds will be shared between Busega Scotland and Amnesty International . Details below.
The Drouthy Cobbler , in Elgin will again host a Busega Scotland Quiz night on 24th May. Come along and join us!
Looking after 21 children and young people at Mayega Children’s Centre is no easy matter. As well as the basics – safety, food, education and health – there is the need to teach essential skills for future life. In some ways, this is natural and essential for the smooth running of the Centre. The children help with food preparation, washing dishes and clothes – no washing machine or dish washer! The garden provides learning opportunities in growing and caring for vegetables. The same applies to the chickens.
The latest addition to the life skills list is tree husbandry. One of our supporters in Tanzania, Phil Van Denburgh, sourced a variety of seedlings, for planting out at the Centre and to be cared for by the children. As there were more trees than we needed, we traded the excess with Mayega Primary School, who provided ‘black soil’ for the planting holes. Fair exchange.
Some are for shade, others for hedging and there are also mangos, avocados and passion fruit. Two trees were dedicated to the District Commissioner and the Executive Director of the local council, both of whom are great supporters of Busega Scotland.
The trees will, in the fullness of time, improve the environment of the Centre and the Tanzanian government has tree planting as one of its priorities, in helping to restore the country’s forests.
The Busega Boogie Band is returning to play for Busega Scotland, after a successful concert in Elgin a couple of years ago. Led by Gary Taylor, the highly talented band will play Blue Grass and other catchy tunes, at the golf club in John and Christine’s home village of Garmouth. Busega Scotland supporter, Amy Souter, has also organised a fantastic array of other local musicians, young and old, to support the band, and so ensure a superbly entertaining evening.
The proceeds will go to our Family Support Project, for women’s groups and vulnerable families. Busega Scotland has supported four groups so far, and plans are in place to commence two new ones later this year. That would bring the number of families involved to over one hundred and seventy.
Jarvis Cocker posed the question in the iconic Pulp song. He answered it in the context of his own community but what about Tanzania?
Christine and John have been in Mwanza for a month and have been struck again by the impact of illness on the ordinary people in their circle of colleagues and friends. Two children at the Children’s Centre have suffered malaria, along with one member of our staff. He also was diagnosed with hookworm and one of the Moving-on young men has typhoid. These are folk who are better off than most.
Other people in the community catch these endemic infections without the benefit of an adequate diet, clean water and access to medical help. If you are poor, you are reluctant to attend hospital and risk the treatment bills. The commonest dental treatment is extraction, for exactly the same reason. Treatable conditions get worse and complications ensue.
The results emerging from Busega Scotland’s health insurance scheme at Chole, reveal how often families access treatment at Bukumbi Hospital. This is causing financial issues for the hospital but is providing treatment for people who otherwise would not be able afford their care.
Ordinary people in UK can generally get by. This is not always the case in Tanzania. The subject of Mr Cocker’s song would not want to live like the common people here, we are sure!
Sanitation and nutrition training
The provision of running water at the Children’s Centre and in Mayega village, has created an opportunity. In the Centre, work has been underway for a while to improve nutrition. The kitchen garden is providing green vegetables and the ladies in the hen house faithfully produce their eggs. The kitchen has made food preparation easier.
The starting point for sanitation improvements was a meeting with Sudi Musa, the District Health Officer, and Rahel Membo, the District Health Co-ordinator(Education Officer) . The meeting involved Christine, Matron Leya and Cook Victoria. Ms Membo was very forthright in challenging current sanitation practices and would not accept ‘that’s how we’ve always done it’ as an excuse. A tour of the compound has led to an action plan and recommendations for physical improvements. The simplest change will be the purchase of bins to manage the rubbish more effectively. A further meeting will be convened to plan training with the children, so they and the staff go forward together.
We are also expecting the delivery of seedlings for fruit and shade trees, so we can produce some of our own fruit and have a nicer physical environment. The idea is to get the children to ‘adopt the trees’ and be responsible for the ones they are allocated. At Mayega, self-help is inevitably the order of the day!
We are delighted to report that a consignment of books from Lhanbryde Primary School in Moray has reached Mayega Primary School in Busega District. It consists of two full primary reading schemes, that are still used widely in Scotland.
The journey took the books from Moray to London and then by air freight to Belgium and Kenya, and finally arriving in Mwanza. The customs clearance at the airport took just 24h, and a very low customs levy of less than £5 was charged. Also, the clearing and handling agents reduced their fees, as a donation to Mayega Children’s Centre.
The books were collected by Ernest Damiano, Headteacher of Mayega Primary School, using a vehicle provided by Busega District Council. Ernest wants to use the reading schemes to start a school library and is seeking a budget for shelves, tables and chairs. He is determined that the resources will improve the educational attainment of his pupils.
Thanks must go to Lhanbryde Primary School, its Tanzania committee, and Busega Scotland trustee Jenny Wallen, who organised the shipment. The transport costs were met by individual donations and through a small contribution from Busega Scotland funds.
Busega Scotland has forged very strong links with the Rotary Club of Elgin. Previous news articles have shown the fruits of that relationship, with the construction of a kitchen at Mayega Children’s Centre and standpipes in each of Mayega’s sub-villages.
The next phase of the Mayega Water Project will include toilets at the primary school and other village facilities. This ambitious programme is dependent on a Rotary International Global Grant and Elgin will make an application later in the year.
Global Grants require an in-country Rotary partner, and Igoma Rotary Club have been approached and agreed to join the project. A meeting was held with President Zakaria Lang’o and Projects Co-ordinator Moses Lauwo. Moses is also Assistant Director of the Rotary District, covering Tanzania and Uganda.
Representatives from Igoma will now join the Mayega Water Group, which is the planning and management body responsible for the project. We fervently hope that the Global Grant application will succeed and bring further facilities to the village.