2013 TRIP – July 23
Hey home, hope everyone is well and keeping busy. This morning we went to Meserani Chini school, the road was too dangerous for us go down in the truck so some people went in the land rover and the rest in a matatu. I was in the matatu along with 20 others, we all thought it was going to be a coach or bus but it was like a minibus and we all had to cram in, I can’t say that it was a very comfortable journey because it wasn’t. Everyone had numb bums by the end and I kept banging my head off the ceiling because I was right in the back corner, but its fine now, the journey took about 45 minutes and was very bumpy. When we got the school, me, Becca, Adella, Lisa and Jess got the job of interviewing the pupils to be sponsored which I was really excited about doing. At first everything seemed fine interviewing pupils in order of their position in the class, we then realised that no girls were coming to speak to us, upon noticing this we spoke to the headteacher and asked why, he said that all the girls in the class besides two were engaged, being sold off by their fathers to marry older men. This itself was quite upsetting but then he went on to tell us that they purposefully don’t do well on tests because they don’t think there’s any hope for them, they think their only destiny is to be married. I left the classroom first and started crying, it was so upsetting that the way that they had been raised in their culture to have no ambition or belief in themselves. We also were told that in a younger classroom the student holding the number one position in the class was a girl, though she was absent because her father was having her circumcised. Hearing these things about the girls was a real culture shock, and it all depends on where in the world you live as to how your life goes and they can be extremely different. When these subjects were brought to attention in group talks, I cried again. Although today was the first time I’ve cried since we’ve been here. This afternoon we were all given different jobs, I was the bookkeeper with Peter, there are three students that Peter is helping out with clothing and stationary so that they can go to high school (out equivalent of college) and so I along with the boys and Becca were finding clothes and shoes to fit the pupils, which is rewarding because it feels like we’re playing a part in helping them with their education. When I get home and sponsor a pupil, I want to sponsor a girl to help her with the hardship that many girls here have to go through. I hope Dad has started decorating my room and I’m extremely excited to see what it looks like but I hope you have advised him on some things or it could go slightly wrong. I can’t wait to come home and see you all because I miss you lots but I’m loving my time here.
Love you lots and lots xxxxxxxxx
So yesterday was really scary, when we went to the school, the kids were greedy and pulling us about. However if I was in the conditions they were id be the exact same. I felt really uncomfortable and it was a real wake up call. The discipline was way different from the first school we went to, which is maybe why it succeeds less. We are half way through the trip now, and my feelings are all over. I’m really missing home and Amy, however the things I am seeing here are once in a life time and I’m glad I’m experiencing it. I can wait to go home, but not because I’m not enjoying it here, but to tell the folks at home about what goes on here and how different life is here. Tonight we are going to visit the massai market. A few people have already been and the stall owners are charging ridiculous prices because we are mazugo’s (white people). On the way to the school we got there by matatu. This is really small car/minibus sort of thing. We order one and it arrived with 9 seats for 21 of us to get in. Needless to say it was a tight squeeze, and I was bruised by the end of it. Anyway have to go, can’t wait to see you bye x
Last night was absolutely soooo horrible! I got about 2 hours sleep at the very most because of the birds making such a racket! So today I’ve just felt really sick and poorly and exhausted L this morning we went to Meserani Chini Primary School but it was just so dead. None of the children spoke or smiled, they seemed really quite afraid of their teachers which was not nice to see, when handing them equipment they didn’t react or anything, it was the exact opposite of yesterday! When we got back I didn’t have dinner because I have felt so sick today L then we sorted out some clothes for Lembris, Saningos brother who is off to high school, also yesterday I met their younger sister Dora who is still in Primary School, she is 4th in her year group and I really hope she can be sponsored in the future! I’m really excited to meet Saningo tomorrow! Also, mam please will you get a book from the library for me for holiday? It is called Desert Flower, Grace told us about it and it sounds really interesting! If you can’t then it is fine I am just curious J
Ps. Happy 7 months James J
Hello everyone sorry I haven’t written in a while it’s just we have been so busy over here as I am sure you have too. On Saturday I went along with James and Demi to Arusha, a town near Meserani to help Diane collect some books and for me to buy some with the money donated from church. I really enjoyed it because the whole experience was totally different to anything I have done before. Also the bookshop looked like something out of harry potter. I managed to get 17 English to Swahili dictionaries which we are going to give to Kipok girl’s school, I have written in each of them ‘donated by: St. Marys church Acklam Middlesbrough’ and I have also taken some photos to show everyone. The rest of that day was organising the pens, pencils and books to give to the schools and exploring our new home for a while Meserani Snake Park which is brilliant. We also met the owners of the park BJ and Ma who have set everything up and help lots of people in the local community and beyond. They were very welcoming and are lovely to be around.
On Sunday we all went into Arusha to go to the market and explore the town a bit more, I really enjoy bartering with the people to get the best price possible for things and I had some practice with Grandad before I came so I’m not too bad at it. On the afternoon we met the sponsored pupils from Einoti Secondary school, I spoke to John who had just left, it was such a unique experience because I had never spoken to anyone who lives in Africa so I learnt a lot about his life and ambitions, I don’t think it is something I will forget in a hurry.
On Monday and today we visited three schools, Lesiraa primary school, Meserani Juu primary school and Meserani Chini where we gave out things to the children. Most of them seemed very pleased to see us and we got a warm welcome from each of them. We spoke to some of the children which were again a new experience and it surprised me how well they spoke English and wanted to get to know us all more. Overall going to the schools had made me surer that we are doing the right thing by helping them and we are constantly meeting more inspiring people every day which enhances the trip further.
Thanks again, love you all lots Em xxxxxxx
I didn’t get a chance to write a diary yesterday as we were very busy but it was such a great day. We woke up and gave some presents to BJ and Ma who own the snake park which involved stuff such as overalls and goggles for the workers. We then set of to walk to Lesiraa Primary School. It was about a 35 minute walk, which I didn’t mind as it was quite cloudy rather than a scorcher, and arrived ready with pens and pencils etc. to give the children. We started off with standard 7 (year 7) and gave them stationary before sitting with them and having a little chat. I found it a little bit difficult to create a conversation due to the language barrier however, after a while I got the hang of what to say and do. I would take pictures on the camera and show them it which they absolutely loved and I would also get them to count in English up till 20 (even though they could count for much longer). The whole school came out and sang their school song and then got instruments out and sang us the national anthem. I’m not sure why b
ut that made me really emotional; they sounded so good and it was just magical. We played with them for a bit until it was time to go back to the snake park for lunch and head to the next school.
Meserani Juu was probably the same distance away and we walked there also. This school however was very different from Lesiraa in terms of general behaviour. Where Lesiraa would be rather shy, quiet and disciplined, Meserani Juu was louder and forceful. When I went to go to sit with them about three, at least, grabbed my arm and were pulling me to sit with them. It was a little bit scary because I’ve never experienced anything like that but at the same time it was sad to know that they were so excited just because we were white people giving out pens and pencils. As we were walking back to the Snake Park some of the children walked with us and would hold our hands which I absolutely loved. They did however say “give me a pen” or something similar even though we had already given them some. Times like that made me slightly uncomfortable as I didn’t know how to communicate with them that well but after a while everything was alright. On the way back we also went to a boma which a girl named Regina lived in. It’s a complete other world. You could fit about 3 of them in our garden! There were 3 rooms in this boma and her mother was really kind and offered us all some African tea. I had a little sip but didn’t like it too much so I gave it to somebody else to finish off.
This morning we woke up nice and early to get ready for a drive to Meserani Chini Primary school which is a 45 minute drive away approximately. We couldn’t get there on the truck/bus so some of us were squished up in a little mini bus but luckily I got to go in the Land Rover. The drive was along a dirt track so it was very bumpy but I didn’t mind. Grace (
our guide/friend) taught us some songs in Swahili which I absolutely loved! I hope I can remember them so I can teach you them too when I get home. When we got to the school I handed out pens to some of the pupils and got a chance to speak briefly to some. I loved standard 1 at the school which had all the youngest children in. They were so adorable and they absolutely loved it when we took pictures of them and did “Head, shoulders, knees and toes”. I felt quite upset afterwards because I was told some really sad stories about some of the children (particularly the girls). I won’t write about them on hear but you can probably imagine how little hope they have of a future. Some girls wouldn’t even speak in the interview to see if they could be sponsored because they thought that little of themselves. I guess they’ve spent their 14 years of living knowing their future and the type of lives they’ll have to lead and some people speaking about the chance of going to secondary school for 14 minutes probably seems too farfetched. I’m trying to focus more so on the positive things the Meserani Project is bringing to people’s lives because without it, so many children would have been suffering or living poorer lives.
On a lighter note, this afternoon we’ve helped sort things out for some of the new sponsored pupils. I helped pack a case for a pupil named Charles, by sorting out all of the things Diane (Peter’s wife) had bought for him such as blankets, plate/bowl/spoon/cup and bag etc. I absolutely love it here. I miss home but at the same time I don’t want to leave. My duty group and I went to the bar and had a boys vs. girls game of darts. We got really cocky thinking we were winning but then they did L You’ll be happy to know that I’m still eating and enjoying the food. Oh and I forgot to mention that a tried traditional African bananas stew and… I actually liked it. I can imagine how shocked you all are at that! I’m thinking of you all and love you all lots and lots. I can’t wait to get home and tell you all about my journey even though we’re only h
alf way th
rough! Amy J xxxx
Sorry I haven’t wrote in a few days, it’s been pretty hectic, I actually can’t remember the last time I wrote which is so badL! Yesterday we got up early and presented BJ and Ma (the owners of the snake park we are staying it) the book that I drew the front cover for along with so
me other presents Peter and Diane brought over for them. We also went to the market one of the days but I didn’t buy much, although we are going back and I know exactly what I want so I just need to do some good bartering. We have now been to
visit Meserani Juu, Meserani Chini and Leseria which are all primary schools that the Meserani project have provided class rooms for, we gave out pens, pencils and exercise books. It was so good to see some of the children’s faces, and reminded me once again that we take too much for granted in England. We had a chance to talk to some of the children, it was hard because they knew little English so we ended up teaching the how to count and took pictures of them, they love that! It’s as if they’ve never seen their own face before. Some of us interviewed the oldest children to see what background they come from for possible sponsors for secondary school next year. I didn’t because I did it last time and there was others that wanted a chance at it. I took some photos of the children playing in the yard, some of them are shy and will run away where as others pose (which is funny) I learn more from watching, I prefer to stand back so that I can take it all in, I think you learn a lot from peoples actions. we are planning on visiting Meserani Chini again to paint some murals of the walls of the classrooms that the project build I told Lisa I would help out, so I’m very excited for that.
We walked to 2 of the schools, and on the way home we had the chance to look around a Boma in which a student called Rigina lives, her Mother invited us in for Tea, I didn’t want to drink it but Peter told us we couldn’t turn our nose up, and told us not to blame him if we all got diarea haha, however that was yesterday and I’m still feeling fine now so it’s all good. Today we took and matato (taxi) to the final school.
After Lunch today, Peter and Grace told us stories of the Massi culture, they told us of how most the girls in the class we had visited this morning were already engaged to be married. They told us of the tradition that boys are circumcise, I knew this from last time so it didn’t shock me however they went on to tell us that it’s illegal to circumcise girl but it’s still happens. The reasoning behind it is more shocking than anything. I got a little bit upset because it’s no life for them and it’s not fair. Grace told us to not be sad because they know no different, but they should! I guess that’s where we can help to send them to school and take them away from their family’s to a better less primitive life. She also told us to read the book ‘The Desert Flower’ to understand it better as you know I hate to read but when I get home I’m going to give this one a go I think it will be worth it.
Anyway I think I’ve talked enough there. I’ve slept extremely well since getting here but last night I tossed and turned for a while, it was the first time I stopped properly to wonder exactly what you guys would be doing at home without me. I’m missing you so much, and although I’m loving it, I’m secretly a little excited to come home.
I hope that you are all well, sending lots and love and a huge hug. Demi W xxxx
Jambo everyone! Well I think I’ll start by saying a few things since the diaries are getting put up late. Well Sophie, I want you to have a fantastic holiday and enjoy it as much as you can. As soon as I am home I’ll ring you! I hope you aren’t missing me too much and shouldn’t especially whilst you’re on holiday when you go. Well defiantly not as much as I’m missing you. Steph I wish you very much luck with your Uni results! I know you’ll do great in them and pass! Hope everyone is fine and well at home! I’m still missing everyone so much but hey, there is around 12 days left so I won’t be long!
Well (I know I start sentences with ‘well’ a lot) today we went to another primary school and said hello and sat and talked to them. This school was a lot quieter than the others but we still tried to talk to them and its very fun! It’s still nothing like I expected but its great! When we got back I think I was a little dehydrated from lifting everything and walking a lot so I felt really sick. But now I’m better and fine and about to go for a drink in the bar and play darts. I think I’m going to make the most of the showers and everything tomorrow before we leave since we are moving. I hope you aren’t missing me too much and not as much as I am with you. Love you all xxx
Just me again J I’m trying my best to grab a laptop and write a diary to you all everyday because I’m missing you all very much and it kind of makes me feel closer to home.
Meserani Chini Primary is the latest school in our project, I seen how it used to look on the 2011 trip and was really excited for this morning because it was my first chance to see its new classrooms and renovated teachers houses. The school is literally in the middle of nowhere, it’s completely isolated from anything else in Africa, and even our truck couldn’t get there because of the awful off road tracks. We had to use a matatu and Grace’s land rover. I was extremely lucky to get in the land rover and NOT the matatu which hardly looked road worthy haha! We all got there fine though and even those in the matatu said the journey was pretty fun. J The school was really quiet and there weren’t many pupils in each class, probably because it’s so far out! It was nice though and chatting with the kids made my day, we were playing games and counting in Swahili because they didn’t know much English.
We’ve now just finished sorting out Naurey, Charles, Lembris who are making their way onto further education J it’s mega nice getting them all sorted and seeing how excited they are! Naurey was already originally at college but they kicked her out because she couldn’t afford all the correct equipment L that was awful to hear because I’m quite close to her and want her to go far! She’s just given me another bracelet and gave me a big hug before she left J cutie!!
Today is the half way point on the trip (minus our day travelling home) and I don’t know if that’s good or bad. It’s good because I can’t wait to get home and see you all but it’s bad because it has been really good. A completely different experience to last time but I do love Africa. At first I thought time was dragging a little but now it’s at the half way point and I’m like wwoooaah. Mind you, the sound of a comfy clean bed, hot power shower and cuddles = perfect!! No matter how much hand sanitiser I use or how many showers I get I still feel dirty! But it’s all part of the experience and I knew it was coming J
I’m going to get going now because the battery on the laptop is running low and I don’t want it to die while I’m typing! I’ll write again asap J
I hope you’re keeping busy + are a happy bunny Daniel head J I love you very much!
I hope work and things at home are all good for you mammy and I hope paps, Lew and Rocky are good too! Also tell nanna and everyone I said hello J
See you all very soon!
Loving you, missing you!