Over the past month of August, seventeen Gap volunteers moved into the coastal Camp Tanga in Tanzania and have been working solidly on the construction of fifteen school desks and a house for one of the villagers that previous volunteers had started.
Great team of Gap Volunteers
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We set a target of building five desks on each of the three weeks we were working at the school, but we managed to saw, sand and hammer our way to sixteen desks, with some sanding help from the kids, exceeding our initial target.
Desk assembling at a local school
Teaching the children, rather being taught songs with the kids, on Friday morning allowed us to see just how cramped and confined the classrooms can be.
Volunteers during English teaching practice at the school
It was quite overwhelming to see up to five children sharing one desk and so it was incredibly rewarding to see the finished products after a slow assembling process. It was great to be working outside in the grounds of the school alongside all the school kids, interacting and playing with them and as we come to the end of our month, to recognize certain faces and hear our names called by some of the kids is really nice.
Desk Assembling on progress
Handing the desks over to the school was a very special experience, we were thanked by the children with songs and dancing and the staff expressed their gratefulness for our efforts
17 desks Completed by our GAP Volunteers
Desk handing over ceremony at the local school
but I think we’d all agree that we too feel incredibly grateful and privileged to have been welcomed into their school in such a way and having had the opportunity to improve their facilities.
Our second project involved plastering, or splatting mud on the walls, painting and cementing a house nominated to be improved by the village chairman.
Traditional house building
It was pretty surreal to be collecting all of the materials, digging for soil, from just outside the house, the fact they have to be so resourceful here magnifies just how wasteful we can be back at home
and that is something that became even more apparent when we harvested maize and all the parts not used to make food products are saved for cows and other uses.It was extremely rewarding to hand the completed house over to the Mama,
House handing over to the family
she was especially grateful for the secure door, we added and her thanks made all of the work worth it.
One of the great things about the camp is its proximity to the beach, not only for the view but for relaxing on our days off. This made another opportunity to get to know the local kids, from playing football to teaching them Frisbee, many of which we would then see at school the next day.
A personal highlight was the cultural day whereby we helped a local lady harvest maize crop – at half the speed of the local children- after being invited into a local’s house to get a real insight into community life.
After being welcomed with songs and sarongs, we learned how to cook chapatti and visheti, this really
showed us the amount of work that goes into what we would all perceive to be such simple processes, such as preparing the fire just to cook the foods, which massively put things into perspective.
From the camp staff to the locals, everyone we have met in Tanga has been so incredibly welcoming,
warmth radiates from the people of the community we have been working in out here and being able to really feel a part of it for the past month is what has truly made the experience.
Blog written by Anna
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