2018: Visit to Tanzania and Uganda

Extracts from our International Team's daily diary reflecting their experiences during a visit to Tanzania and Uganda in 2018


 

 

Dear Diary: From our International Team
visiting Uganda and Tanzania January and February 2018

 

Tuesday, 13th February, Moshi, Tanzania

Our last day.

This morning we made a return visit to Nkwasangare School to hand over enough money for them to put a fence around the school. As usual whenever we go to this school, Mr. Meena was there to greet us and will oversee the construction of the fence at the best possible price. We have no doubt that he will make a very good job of the task.

(Sorry there is no photo of the handover. There is one on my iPad but my iPad has died and will need serious attention from an expert when I get back home)

So I shall sign off now. We head for home tomorrow, so no more blogs until our next visit, whenever that might be.

Judy Elphick

 

Monday, 12th February, Moshi, Tanzania

It's back to work again now after a lovely weekend away in Tarangire and Manyara Game Parks. We saw plenty, even lions relaxing high up in trees. It was a long drive but well worth it.

This morning we went back to Mwanga Rotary we visited last Sunday. They are a fairly new and are very enthusiastic and would very much like to be involved in a project in their area with Haddenham Rotary.

We were met by Rotarian Lucy Samba who took us first to Kisangara Primary School. This quite large school has a class of about 8 disabled children but it is thought that there are probably up to 50 disabled children in the area who, at the moment, are receiving no education. The range of disabilities is wide but a great number of parents will not bring their children to the school because they fear they will be mocked by the normal children.

The class of disabled children at Kisangara Primary School

They would like two classrooms and toilets on a site away from the main school where the disabled children could be taught away from from the normal children. Obviously there is very great need here but a lot of money would be needed to improve the situation.

Kisangara Primary School is not short of land for the new classrooms and toilets

We went next to Mramba Primary School where Tiggy, a member of Mwanga Rotary is Head of the Deaf Unit. In this school the 80 deaf children mix happily with the normal children during break times and at lunch times. The deaf children are boarders but the rest of the school are day pupils.

Deaf and hearing children play happily together at Mramba Primary School

Tiggy would very much like toilets, to be used during the day, for the deaf children. They already have toilets inside the Boarding House but it would be better if this area could be kept securely locked while the school is in session.

So, plenty of need, plenty of wants and plenty to think about over the months ahead.

Judy Elphick

 

Thursday, 8th February, Moshi, Tanzania

We have spent much of today in discussion with Moshi Rotary about two Rotary Global Grants which they are hosting for us.

First of all, we met with the "movers and shakers" of Moshi Rotary (i.e. Mama Lucy and President Kerri Elliott), whom we met several years ago when we were considering rabbit rearing in schools.

Under discussion first was the project to install bore holes in Msandaka School for the Deaf, Njiapanda School for the Deaf, and Childreach. This project, so very important to the schools involved, has been at a standstill for many months because for some unknown reason, Moshi Rotary has not progressed with their part of the preparation.

Happily for us, they agreed to let Ken get on with getting the M.O.U.'s from the schools and getting other necessary information together, which they had agreed to do months earlier.

Then the discussion turned to a second Rotary Global Grant to provide toilets in rural schools in Moshi district. Both Lucy and Kerri were very enthusiastic about this project although it is still at an early stage. Some of the money still has to be raised before a Grant can be applied for.

These discussions were followed by the regular Thursday Rotary Meeting.

Exchanging banners with President Kerri and Mama Lucy

The two projects were put before the members, who listened intently and both went through without a murmur. Success! Ken, Julian and Tim came away feeling as though they had conquered Kilimanjaro! The Rotary Global Grants, jointly hosted by Haddenham and Moshi Rotary Clubs are on their way!

Judy Elphick

 

Wednesday, 7th February, Moshi, Tanzania

We've had a very good day today.

Firstly, we went to Njiapanda School for the Deaf where we have recently introduced chickens and also a garden with micro irrigation to grow vegetables to improve the diet of the children.

The chickens were doing wonderfully well. 207 chicks were introduced about 9 months ago and, of these, 196 survived. These hens produce between 160 and 170 eggs per day. 90 eggs per week are eaten by the children and staff. The rest are sold.

Part of the income is used to buy food for the hens and part is saved to buy food for the next 200 chicks which will not lay for the first 6 months. The remaining income is used to buy materials for the school.

A lot of happy, healthy hens at Njiapanda School

The success of this project is, without doubt, due to an excellent Headmaster and the member of staff who looks after the hens with great care and interest. 

We then moved on to see how the garden project is doing. Apparently it had done very well and a lot of green vegetables were produced.

The plants in the foreground are doing fairly well as they are watered by hand using expensive, piped water from a stand pipe.

However, it is not doing well at the moment because the water harvested from the roof has run out and the micro irrigation is unable to work. This problem will be solved, of course, once the bore hole, provided by Haddenham Rotary, has been installed!

The micro irrigation system is not working owing to a lack of water in the tanks.

 

Judy Elphick

 

Tuesday, 6th February, Moshi, Tanzania

This morning we got off to an early start to visit Childreach in their very smart new offices just down the road from Honey Badger Lodge. Childreach are a Moshi based charity who are acting as our project managers.

One of the bore holes, which Haddenham Rotary is funding with the aid of a Global Grant, is to be on the land next to the Childreach office. The plan is for them to teach villagers and groups of older school children how to grow vegetables, so providing a more varied and nutritious diet than they have at the moment. The bore hole will also provide water for the local community. 

In front of the new Childreach Offices

After this, we went to Msandaka School for the Deaf. Once again it was lovely to be back.

Helen is no longer there, of course, but the new Headmaster was very friendly and took us round several classrooms to meet the children. It was quite remarkable how skilful they all are at sign language.

There have been a few changes since last time. There are now two classrooms along the fourth side of the central courtyard. Amazing to think there was only one side there when we first visited the school in 2007.

The new classrooms which complete the four sides round the courtyard

A very happy cook in her lovely new kitchen which was built after the old one was vandalised

There is an area of unused scrub land behind the school which the local Council have very recently told the school they can have. In all it is about two and a half acres and on this they intend to grow crops for their own use. This would not be possible, of course, without the bore hole which Haddenham Rotary are funding.

The survey for the bore hole has already been carried out and everything is almost in place to get the application for a Rotary Global Grant off to Chicago. 

Judy Elphick

 

Monday, 5th February, Moshi, Tanzania

 

Today we went to Nwasangare, my favourite school, which sits on a flat piece of land on the lower slopes of Kilimanjaro, surrounded by banana  trees. It really is in an idyllic setting.

Mr. Meena, "our man in Moshi", was waiting for us when we arrived and, as usual, was delighted to see us. He really is a lovely man and worth his weight in gold to us and the projects we are involved in.

We began with the children singing and clapping to us and then we went on a tour of the school.

Children at Nwasangare school wearing the colours of the Tanzanian flag

Nwasangare School in its idyllic setting

Julian was really pleased to see that everything we had left money for a year ago had all been done just as they said it would be. The chicken house, which didn't work, mainly owing to the fact that this is not a boarding school, had been turned into a Headteacher's study, a small shop selling school equipment, and a library. All of this seemed to be working very successfully.

Once a chicken house, now the Headteacher's study, a small shop and a library

The new block of six classrooms is still not finished but is being funded, albeit very slowly, by the parents.

The most urgent need now, it seems, is for a boundary fence to stop the school grounds being used as a short cut by the villagers. We didn't make any promises!

In the afternoon we went to Moshi Technical Institute to see a man who had recently contacted WorkAid in Chesham hoping to acquire some tools. WorkAid wondered whether this man would be able to work for them by contacting other training colleges in the area and getting together a big enough order to send a container of tools over to the Moshi area. He seemed very keen and very competent so Ken is intending to email WorkAid to recommend him for the job.

This has been a good day and we feel pleased with what we have achieved. We just hope we feel the same in the days to come!

Judy Elphick

 

Sunday, 4th February, Moshi, Tanzania

Yesterday evening we were entertained at Honey Badger Lodge by a group of 3 African drummers and about 12 local women who put on a display of traditional dancing. All was going well until the women ran over to the spectators and dragged some of the women onto the floor to join in.

As I was on the front row there was no escape! I must say I felt pretty silly and probably looked even sillier!

Judy 'throwing some moves' on the dance floor

Today we went to Maranga Rotary to their meeting which is held every Sunday at 4.00 p.m. They are a very small club with only 9 members but they certainly don't lack ideas and enthusiasm.

One of the projects they have started and are keen to develop further is the planting of trees for water retention on the lower slopes of Kilimanjaro. Much as we would like to help we came away without making any promises. There are just so many worthy projects and we can't do everything. 

Judy Elphick

 

Saturday, 3rd February 2018, Moshi, Tanzania

No photos today as we've spent most of the day travelling and my iPad was locked away in my case.

All went well and Godwin, our driver of many years, was waiting at Kilimanjaro airport. He is a very careful driver and we know that we shall be in safe hands.

First of all we went into Moshi to change our sterling into Tanzanian shillings and came out with an armful of bricks kept together with elastic bands!

As we were waiting outside the phone shop for Julian and Tim who were inside buying a SIM card, who should come by but Helen who used to be Headmistress at Msandaka School for the Deaf.

Quite recently Helen was moved to teach at a school for the blind. She was carrying a bag of marking, all in Braille, which she has had to learn herself. Such is the logic, or lack of it, in Tanzanian education!

So we shall get to work tomorrow with a Sunday lunchtime Rotary meeting. But first of all, an early night to recover from our 4.00 a.m. departure from Jinja.

Judy Elphick

 

Friday, 2nd February 2018: Final Blog from Jinja, Uganda

We had a very pleasant evening yesterday at the weekly meeting of Rotary Source of the Nile. There were about 36 of us there only about half of whom were members. Besides the four of us, also present were several Rotaractors, a number of prospective members and a few whose identity we never did find out.

Ken, Julian and Tim gave their short talks on life as a member of Haddenham and District Rotary, which seemed to go down well and there were several questions at the end.

Ken then presented a banner to President, Josephine, and a book to Peter Isabirye, without whose help this project would probably never have got off the ground. 

 

Ken presenting a banner to President, Josephine

After the meeting about 16 of us went for a meal in a nearby Grill. It seems that this is the usual practice.    There is no meal as a part of the meeting but those who can move on to this Grill, where the food is really excellent.

This morning we spent ages trailing the dusty streets trying to find the Jinja office of WorkAid. I think we can confidently say that it is not here. The address we had didn't exist and the many people we asked had never heard of it! 

So that's it! I don't suppose many of you will think of us at 4.00 a.m. tomorrow when we start the long journey back to Entebbe to catch the flight to Kilimanjaro!

This is a crossroad in downtown Jinja. I know our roads are bad but they have a long way to go before they are as bad as this!

Malibu Storks on the scrounge. It was only after I had taken the photo that someone told me that this is the Slaughter House!

Judy Elphick

 

Thursday, 1st February 2018, Jinja, Uganda

We have had an easy day today as we have covered everything we needed to do here in Jinja. Ken still needs to finalise some points regarding the financing of the water tanks in Jinja District, but this is scheduled for tomorrow. 

This morning we went to look at the War Cemetery in Jinja. I always find it an emotional experience to see the graves of so many young men who lost their lives so far from home. There was a man looking after the cemetery who told us that the bodies of these Ugandans were repatriated in order to be buried on home soil.

The cemetery (and the man taking care of it) is paid for by the British Government and is beautifully kept.

The War Cemetery

The children are so lovely, and it is kids like these that we are here to help

This evening we are going to the weekly meeting of Rotary Source of the Nile. Ken, Julian and Tim have been asked to give a short talk on the experiences of being an English Rotarian.

Poster, sent to members of Rotary Source of the Nile, advertising tonight's event

Aren't I glad I'm not a Rotarian!! 

Judy Elphick

 

Wednesday, 31st January 2018, Jinja, Uganda

Another busy day! 

This morning we visited Jinja School of Nursing and Midwifery. There are 1200 students at this School, of which 30% are men.

A first-year class of student nurses

A 'patient' for practising on.   He did look ill !

This visit was initiated by Rotary Source of the Nile who are very keen to base their next project here. At the moment their only source of water is the piped water supplied by the local government. For this they pay a staggering, 11 million Ugandan shillings, (£2,000), per month.

Rotary Source of the Nile would like to install water harvesting by means of gutters, down-pipes and 20,000 litre tanks. This would need to be installed on all of their buildings in order to provide sufficient water for all 1200 students, most of whom are boarders. This project could only be undertaken with the help of a Rotary Global Grant.

The saving of £2000 per month could be spent on much needed modern equipment, amongst other things, and would make a huge difference to this School.

In the afternoon we travelled many more dusty miles to visit 3 schools in remote areas of Jinja District which have not yet received their water tanks. As soon as the tanks have all been installed in Kamuli the contractors will move to Jinja and begin installing water-harvesting in 14 schools there.

A lot of these primary schools don't have a water source closer than a kilometre and much school time is lost by children who have to carry it back each day.

One of many storks nesting in the trees within the School grounds
The job of these storks is to deliver the babies! 

 

Judy Elphick 

 

Tuesday, 30th January 2018, Jinja, Uganda

Today we saw our first completed tanks, which is what the current project is all about.

First, we had an hour's drive up to Kamuli district. This was not the best of experiences as it was very hot (32 degrees, I believe) and very dusty. However, once we got there it was great to see how impressive they looked and we have every confidence that they will do much to improve the cleanliness and the health of the children, as the plan is to give them instruction on regular washing of hands after using the latrines.

One of the completed 20,000 litre tanks
The pipe bringing rain water to the tank from the roof is visible top left
The small pipe above the Rotary logo is an overflow outlet

A plaque attached to the side of every tank, dedicated to those who made this installation possible, i.e. Haddenham and District Rotary, Rotary Source of the Nile and Lunch4Learning.

Left to right: Ken Elphick (Haddenham Rotary), the Headmaster of this school,
Julius (Lunch4Learning), Peter (Rotary Source of the Nile)

Rain water is collected from the roof of the school and delivered to the tank by means of gutters and pipes.   The contract is for 14 tanks in primary schools in Kamuli district, of which 4 have been finished and the 5th is nearing completion. Another 14 are to be built in Jinja, with all 28 scheduled for completion by the end of this year.

The tap for use by the children and by the kitchen staff when preparing school lunch
The pipe from tank to tap is buried underground

The 5th water storage tank in Kamuli District in the last stages of completion

One of the classrooms in a school where a tank has been installed
Plenty of money needed here if anyone has any to spare! 

Some of the children from one of the schools

It seems so very unlikely that their lot in life will ever show much improvement. It would take a very hard hearted person not to wish we could do very much more.  

Judy Elphick

 

Monday, 29th January 2018, Jinja, Uganda

Today it was time to get down to business and get started on what we were here to do. The first and most important thing was to meet Mauricia, the country manager of Hailybury Youth Trust, the charity which is organising the building of the tanks in 14 schools in Kimuli. These tanks are funded by Haddenham Rotary, aided by Lunch for Learning and a Rotary Global Grant.

 

Mauricia (front left) Country Manager for Haileybury Youth Trust,
Two Members of Rotary Source of the Nile, and members of Haddenham Rotary's International Team

A lot of points were thrashed out at length, several decisions made and a few held over for further discussion when we have looked at some tanks in situ tomorrow.

All of this left us with enough time to go out to Itanda Falls, a 45 minute car journey over the most pot-holed, dusty roads imaginable. These Falls (more accurately they are Cataracts) are just a few miles from the point where the River Nile surges out of Lake Victoria and the volume of water passing over them was a sight to behold. This unplanned visit was an unexpected bonus and very well worth the journey.

Itanda Falls

 

 

Judy Elphick

 

Sunday, 28th January 2018, Jinja, Uganda

We started the day by having a meeting with 3 members of the Rotary Source of the Nile. The purpose of the meeting was to talk about issues that had arisen when the first four water tanks were installed in primary schools in Kamuli District, and to finalise plans for a further 24 water tanks in schools in Kamuli and Jinja.

It soon became obvious that most of the discussions were between Ken and Peter, his opposite number in Rotary Source of the Nile, the rest of us added the odd comment, some of which might have been considered helpful and some not!

We then joined the tourist trail by first of all driving to Jinja Sailing Club (unsurprisingly a lot of white and Asian faces here!) and hiring a boat to take us the short distance to the Source of the Nile. A very pleasant time was had by all.

This is the point at which the Nile surges out of Lake Victoria to start its 90 day journey to the Mediterranean. 

Just to prove we were there! 

By this time we were starving so we went to Bruno's restaurant. Bruno wasn't there when we arrived but his staff obviously worked to African time rather than French. Eventually, Bruno arrived with a very cute little 4 yr old girl, who was expected just after we left here last time. We ordered either omelette or a club sandwich and chips and it took two and a half hours before the first meal arrived. No kidding, it really did take that long and only half of our group got what they had actually ordered! 

In the restaurant last night with members of Rotary Source of the Nile. Julius, a former employee of Lunch for Learning, in the foreground. Julius has been very involved with the 4 schools that already have their water tanks and has a lot of valuable advice to impart.

Judy Elphick

 

Saturday, 27th January 2018, Jinja, Uganda

Phew, it's hot today and we've walked for miles! 

We've had a day getting to grips with the town and finding out what's where. You could buy anything in Jinja and get anything made or repaired.

We even walked down to Lake Victoria but had to go into a hotel to get a view over the Lake. The entire shore-line appears to be owned by clubs, private houses, hotels, etc. and is not accessible to the general public.

Back at the apartment now for a rest and a wash and brush-up before we go our to dinner tonight with members of Rotary Source of the Nile who are managing our project here in Jinja and Kamuli.

View from our appartment

For those of you who didn't take advantage of my offer when we were here 4 years ago, I am happy to purchase any of these fashions for you. But please don't all want the same one!

Judy Elphick 

 

Friday, 26th January 2018, Jinja, Uganda

We arrived in Jinja at about 4.30 p.m. today after a journey of some 23 hours! The sky wasn't blue and the sun wasn't shining but it wasn't raining and it wasn't cold. The temperature, at a guess, was probably about 25 degrees so we are very happy!

After a very quick unpack we crossed the road to the kind of 'supermarket' that hasn't been around in the UK for many years. We picked up a few odds and ends for breakfast and then headed down the road to an Indian restaurant. We all agreed that after a meal like the one we've just had, we shall probably never go Indian at home ever again. It was really wonderful.

So, it's bed time now which is a very welcome thought since we reckon it's the best part of 36 hours since we were last in bed! 

Judy Elphick

photos: Haddenham Rotary and Judy Elphick

 

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