Today we left Mwanza for Kilimanjaro, and along with saying goodbye to the city we also said goodbye to everyone at St Dominics Pastoral Centre who had been so hospitable for the past fortnight.
We also said farewell to Fred, in which there was an element of emotion, as he has been so influential in organising key events throughout the last 2 weeks. Having said our goodbye to Fred, we were soon on the plane to Kilimanjaro International Airport. Once we arrived, there was an hour and a half’s bus trip from the airport to Marangu Hotel, where we were made to feel very welcome by the staff.
There was a kit check prior to the briefing where we made sure we had all the essential items of clothing and other kit ready for the next 6 days. The briefing was then led by Desmond, who spoke in depth about the four key factors regarding the climb: clothing, water, the sun and the altitude. We were made to feel very aware of possible health issues we may face but also, how to pace ourselves, by ensuring we stick to timings of how long to walk for during each day.
Once the briefing finished we returned to our rooms and as it was a very clear evening, we could see the outline of Kilimanjaro in the distance! In my opinion, this made me feel even more motivated and enthusiastic about the next 6 days!
The briefing lasted around an hour and half, after which, a four course dinner was waiting for us. It was a relief to have had this feast after a day of travelling as we were all fairly tired. An exciting 6 days lie ahead!
Today we see the end of our journey at Gedeli B. This morning we woke up at the earlier time of 7:00am, as you can imagine we were all full of life at breakfast !
As 9:00am approached we reached the school to be greeted by swarms of children clinging onto us not wanting to let go. We then handed every pupil in all standards 4 exercise books and a pencil as many pupils are without these basic resources.
The farewell proceedings began with singing and dancing from the Gedeli B pupils, followed by our very own DGS 2019 team dance as well as singing Country Roads. Seeing the children cheering us on showed the friendly atmosphere that we have created over the past 2 weeks. As we said our final goodbyes to the children it was very heartwarming, all of us agree that these memories will stay with us for a lifetime. Although at times it has been challenging, seeing the children today has made us all realise that the hard work is more than worth it.
For lunch we made a return to the Gold Crest Hotel, to enjoy a well earned burger or pizza. As the final day drew to an end we enjoyed a lovely mixture of traditional Tanzanian cultural foods back at St Dominic’s pastoral centre as our final meal before we take on Mount Kilimanjaro.
Finally we finished with a cake for Tharundevs birthday.
Today is our penultimate day in Mwanza before we set off to Kilimanjaro so we refueled ourselves by visiting the five star hotel – Malaika Beach Hotel.
Before we had set off, we gave Fred two laptops that were donated. It warmed our hearts knowing that those laptops would allow two of Fred’s residents to finally go to university and continue on to the next stage of their lives.
The hotel had a stunning view of Lake Victoria, with many facilities including an infinity pool, steam room and its own continental buffet.
The experience of this hotel and Gedeli B has shown us that large gaps of wealth between the rich and poor exist in 3rd world countries like Tanzania. This helped us appreciate the visit a lot more due to our visit at Gedeli B.
Today we were gifted a pleasant lie in which we all needed. We travelled to The Bujura Cultural Centre where we learnt about the many tribes and cultures that once lived throughout Tanzania. It was sad to hear that many of the cultures were slowly dying due to globalisation. After lunch we were fortunate to experience many different cultural dances. The last of which contained a snake dance which left many of us on edge- especially when it attempted to bite the dancers on multiple occasions. It is safe to say that the snake charming made the day a unique experience for us all.
Today it was our last day of teaching at Gedeli B School, and it was evident that everyone had a mixture of emotions going into the day.
If we learnt anything on this trip, it would be that teaching is incredibly rewarding and heart touching. Seeing the determination to learn in the childrens’ eyes, as well as the joy they get out of reading stories and partaking in maths problems really warmed our hearts. In addition to this, the love and respect the children gave us easily made all the tiresome challenging fundraising worth it.
We started the day off by throwing and catching tennis balls with the infants. The progression in their ball skills in the little time we’ve spent with them really surprised us. Also they seem to have got the hang of ‘head, shoulders, knees and toes’ and can now all sing it confidently.
We then went on to teach standard 7. Teaching them was easier in terms of speaking as their English was good, although we had to teach more complex subject areas which proved to be a bit of a challenge. After a short lunch break, we engaged ourselves and the children in volleyball, football, rounders and cricket.
Just before we left the premises, we loaded boxes of exercise books into the headmaster’s storage room. We are planning to give 4 exercise books to every child in the school, and we have already given some out standard 7 who showed us how grateful they were and how much they valued the books. This was an eye-opener and it really showed us how we take things for granted and should be more grateful for what we have.
In the morning we went to the busy market which was full of tight spaced stalls as it proved to be a unique experience for everyone! We got the chance to purchase a range of things and everyone managed to get the traditional Tanzanian National Football Team tops.
After this we went straight to revisit the Hisani orphanage with a suitcase full of clothes, footballs and tennis balls. The kids were so grateful for us visiting and donating toys and balls for them to play with and this shocked many of us as they were so happy with basically nothing. Most of us had spent a lot of time with the kids already at Gedeli B school which allowed us to build a strong bond with them making it even harder to say our goodbyes!
In the afternoon we revisited the Forever Angels orphanage where we helped the volunteers run a sports afternoon for all the kids. This proved to be harder than expected as all the kids understood no English. It was emotional seeing quite a lot of young kids in an orphanage knowing that they will grow up without parents. I think this showed everyone how lucky they are and showed us that what we have is a clear privilege. Some of us then went off to play with the smaller kids where we tried our best at putting a smile on there face.
Today, we spent another day at Gedeli B. However, due to there being Standard 7 exams, no other pupils were in school.
This meant that, as opposed to teaching the kids, we could focus on painting and decorating the Infants’ and Special Needs classrooms, which, initially, had minimal decoration.
Every one of us was keen to change this, and create a more vibrant learning environment for the kids. In the Infants’ classroom, a number tree was drawn and painted, along with finishing off the alphabet and numbers. A snake and some fruit was also added to the back and side walls. On the outside of the Infants’ classroom another tree was painted and each one of us made handprints on it for the school to remember the 2019 team.
In the Special Needs’ classroom, a zebra, elephant and a lion were painted aswell as some toiletries and some well-detailed fruit items. Once we had finished at Gedeli B, we made our way back to the hostel for about an hour before heading to Benson’s basketball class.
Similar to last week it was very tiring, but also something we all needed, to maintain our fitness whilst here. In today’s session we focused on chest passing and a few shooting drills, it was fair to say some of us grasped this easier than others! By the end we were all rather exhausted and ready for dinner which was a welcome change of pizza as opposed to the usual rice with chicken or fish.
We’re looking forward to tomorrow where we’ll be revisiting Hisani Orphanage and Forever Angels, as well as taking a trip to Mwanza Market!
This morning we woke up at 7.30 excited to teach again at Gedeli B school.
Today we taught two groups of standard three pupils in one day, a tricky task. However first we played catching games with the infant pupils which everyone enjoyed as the children were especially cooperative when asked to make a circle in which we practiced passing and throwing.
We then created a larger circle consisting of the whole 100+ infants and taught them head shoulders knees and toes along with some Indian dancing.
After a relaxed morning we gathered our resources, ready to teach the standard 3 pupils (who knew very little English). I started teaching English to the kids in my group and quickly realised how challenging the day ahead would be. I struggled to get them to understand basic commands like “write your name” or “read this sentence” however, I enjoyed the challenge and overcame the issue by learning Swahili off of some of the kids that could speak English (usually in the higher standards) and taught the kids in my, very basic, Swahili.
After teaching we went to play sports and my group along with three other groups played a game of cricket where we started with catching and batting practice. Teaching sports was easier however on the field – with no shade – it got hot quickly. We went for lunch around 12 and prepared to teach another group of standard three after.
Like before it was enjoyable but tough and this time I taught the children skipping in sports which got hectic but was fun. After a tough day we said bye to all of the children who stood waiting to see us off and made our way to the hostel, ready for painting the next day.
Today began with another tiring but rewarding session of teaching at Gedeli B school, although spirits were high after watching England win the cricket World Cup for the first time the night before.
We taught members of standard 7 (similar to our year 9). Teaching was split into 40 minutes of English followed by 40 minutes of mathematics. A break at noon prepared us for a hard working 1 hour and 20 minutes filled with sport.
By the end of this everyone found themselves ready to retire to the hostel. Toby and I ended the day by making the most of the sun as we collected chairs and prepared to top up the tan.
After one hour extra in bed we had our breakfast, which was toast and pancakes with nutella. Then we got ready to spend the day at Tunza Lodge – the beach. We had all been looking forward to this after our challenging but rewarding week of teaching!
Tunza Lodge consisted of a private beach with a restaurant and bar. Soon after we arrived, it didn’t take us long to make our way to the pool table in the bar. We played in doubles for a few hours, whilst being amazed by our view.
Later on, we all enjoyed a burger or pizza in the sun. This was refreshing as it was a change from our dinners throughout the past week.
After eating, some of us played catch with tennis balls and frisbees. We also took the time to lie down on the beach to prepare ourselves for another week of teaching, and to rest before we start to climb Kilimanjaro.
After our football match yesterday, I think it’s fair to say that this relaxation day was needed!