John and Christine heard on Saturday morning that Busega Scotland’s Family Support supervisor in Igombe had been involved in an accident on his motorbike. Mr Kagezi was admitted to the main Bugando Hospital in Mwanza, where it was discovered that he had broken both the tibia and fibula in his right leg. He was then transferred home and John has been to see him. As well as the broken bones, there is a wound in his right shin and he is getting daily visits from his local Igombe hospital. We wish Mr Kagezi well as he starts his sick leave and hope for a speedy recovery.
John also met members of Igombe’s second Busega Scotland women’s group, called Tusaidiane (in English ‘ to help each other’). The group currently has 11 members and 7 were present, with the absentees at a funeral. The group has so far received £95 capital into their vicoba (credit union or informal bank) from Busega Scotland and the women have been taking loans to grow their businesses and for family expenditure. The loans have varied from £2 to £14, with an average of about £8. In addition, the women contribute small amounts to the vicoba every week and have so far saved £80 between them. When this is added to the capital and loan interest their savings are growing well.
6 more women will join the group in June and as well as receiving the normal grant of £45 each, a total of £50 will be added on their behalf to the vicoba capital. This model allows women to establish their businesses initially, and then take loans to grow them further. The current Tusaidiane members sell fish, fruit, firewood, gravel and charcoal.
Julieth Godwin, Busega Scotland’s Assistant Project Leader, supports the group with training, which has so far concentrated on health issues – malaria, cholera, HIV, clean water and basic hygiene. The women are keen to learn and to develop their curriculum further.
John and Christine made a visit to the Children’s Centre on Saturday and received the usual kind reception. There is a very good family atmosphere, with the new children (they have been there quite a while now) having integrated well.
The youngsters are familiar with their Saturday routine and soon broke up into their school groups – the little ones with Julieth and the older ones with Seba. No children milling about and wasting time – all focused and engaged.
The most noticeable change at the Centre is the garden. Now fenced and in production. There are many types of vegetables in different stages of maturity. Mchicha is already being served at dinner – it is like spinach and much liked by the children. There are also cucumbers, tomatoes. aubergines, beans, maize and sugar cane on the way.
The soil has definitely benefited from planting leguminous jack beans and a top dressing of cow manure but, of course, the availability of piped water is the clincher. The next step is to get a hose pipe to make watering easier – the garden is 25 by 15m. Julieth made an interesting observation; how much taller, greener and healthier our maize looks compared to our neighbours. Our garden soil is being regenerated, as the land in Mayega has generally been overworked.
As well as working with the staff in the garden, the children will now have netball and volleyball to look forward to. Combined posts have been made locally, and are weighed down by cement in a car tyre!
Small steps are being taken at Mayega but progress is certainly being made.
We are sad to have learned that one of Mwanza’s great characters passed away on Wednesday 2nd May. Baba John was a security guard at the Shaloom compound, where John and Christine stay while in Tanzania. He retired last year.
Never without a smile on his face, Baba he was incredibly friendly and helpful. He and our John gloried in sharing the same name – not just John but Baba also (meaning Father).
One small anecdote shows the kind and considerate man he was. A couple of years ago, at about 11pm, a car smashed through the gates of the Shaloom compound, demolishing part of the wall in the process. In the noise and commotion Baba took charge and ushered John and Christine back into the house, he told us to close the curtains and lock the door. Baba stood guard, armed with his panga, on our front step. At that stage nobody knew what was going on and only later did it emerge that it was a drink driving incident. Baba was taking no chances.
We will miss Baba and are happy to have known him. As is traditional, he will be buried in his home village in Mara Region, near the Kenyan border.
RIP Baba John.
John was delighted on Saturday morning when Lukondya and Dotto called round to say hello. They are motor vehicle mechanics students from Kalwande College.
The boys are in Mwanza on placement at the Ministry of Transport garage. Dotto is in his final year and Lukondya is on his first placement, in the second year of his course. He gets rave reviews from the college for his enthusiasm and he was very keen, some years ago, to help with the concreting of the fence back at Mayega. Very practical.
In a thoroughly British way, the boys and John had tea – Kilimanjaro English Breakfast, as a matter of fact. No Dundee Cake or Eccles
Cakes, unfortunately, but they did have chilli banana crisps as their ‘fly piece’.
Dotto and Lukondya are very keen to see aunty and were reassured that Christine will be arriving soon. They want John and Christine to visit them at their placement, as all the students do. John thoroughly enjoyed the visit and the lads were a picture of health and vitality. They were heading off for a day in town, as young chaps do a on Saturday everywhere.
The young people who leave Mayega Children’s Centre are a hardworking bunch. Here we have a glimpse into the lives of Kabula, Enosi and Hassan.
Kabula is currently working for Busega Scotland as its office secretary and general assistant. She supports our Project Leader and Assistant Project Leader in their duties. We have an office in a small room adjacent to the house John and Christine occupy when they are in Mwanza.
Kabula graduated with a Diploma in Secretarial Studies. She has worked in an internet café and as Secretary to the Bishop of the Mwanza Diocese of the Charismatic Episcopal Church of Tanzania. These positions were short-term and working with Busega Scotland will increase Kabula’s experience and use of English. Kabula said her job at the moment ‘she likes and she is happy to be working here’.
Enosi and Hassan are third year students studying at Kalwande College. They will graduate later this year with a Diploma in Motor Vehicle Mechanics, after completing their field placements and examinations. They are at the Nile Perch Garage in Mwanza and are two of six Moving-on students on placement at this time. We will catch up with the other four over the next couple of weeks and bring you their stories.
Busega Scotland opened its charity shop in Lossiemouth for some early season sales. Our experienced shop manager, Chris Petrie, was ably assisted by her granddaughter Aoife, and by trustees and supporters who served behind the counter.
One of Busega Scotland’s intentions is to ‘give back’ to Moray, for the great support it receives from its home community. The charity shop is a prime example of this, as goods are recycled at bargain prices. We always have plenty of customers. Some visit us everyday, as we receive enough stock to regularly refresh what we have on the shelves.
A kind donation met the shop rent for the week, and Busega Scotland projects benefitted by over £600. Customers were happy, the shop assistants enjoyed themselves and we are sure that Chris and Aoife, have a great sense of satisfaction. The shop will pop-up again in the autumn.
Many thanks to all who donated stock, our workforce and customers.
When John and Christine were last in Tanzania, before Christmas, the ground around Mayega was parched and rains scattered and sporadic. Farmers were being adversely affected by drought conditions and there were worries aplenty. The situation is now much different.
The Tanzanian Meteorological Agency has reported 15 weather related deaths, as torrential rains batter many parts or the country. Sometimes rain is gentle but often it comes down in torrents. It is when these storms go on for extended periods that the trouble really begins, with damage to farms, homes and
infrastructure. With over 80% of Tanzania’s population depending on agriculture for their livelihood, the weather is a key factor in the wellbeing of the rural poor.
The pictures were taken from the road to Mayega by a good friend of Busega Scotland, Phil Vandenberg. The water at the Magu bridge had probably risen 20 feet and was just 3 feet from the carriageway. Phil works in agricultural development and said that for some farmers the rains had caused significant damage, while for others the prospects are good. Let us hope for a good growing season and a bumper harvest.
The first Busega Scotland quiz night south of the border took place on Saturday 7th April, courtesy of Leamington Irish Club in Warwickshire, who had made their premises available free of charge, and local eateries, businesses and friends who had kindly provided raffle prizes. Although entrance was free, everyone made generous donations, resulting in £478 in cash from the 50 people who attended, with £100 already raised from those unable to be there, and other pledges and proceeds from a silent auction for an original watercolour by local artist David Knight still to be added.
Family, friends and ex-colleagues of Debbie and Robin Hill were interested to hear about their work in Tanzania, especially in respect of the Moving On project, which will be supported by the money raised. It was generally agreed that the questions set by Robin and Debbie were quite tough. Copies have been sent to Christine and John so that some of them can be used in the future in Moray if they like !
Thanks once again to Mike McClafferty and the Station Hotel, Burghead,
for organising another “Hairy Bottle “.
The bottle of Benromach Single Malt Whisky was won by Ryan
and raised £56 for Busega Scotland.