Camps Ambassador Ed travelled to Tanzania a couple of years ago and his time there has stayed close to his heart ever since. He tells us about his favourite memories from his month in Africa.
I think two instances really stood out for me in Tanzania. The most impactful happened a day before we left whilst working a project at a coastal village in the Tanga region, we were lucky enough to be the group that were finishing said project and handing it back to the community. It was a house for an old woman and her family, which included a four year old girl who had been watching us work during our time there. After we finished the passing over ceremony which is part of Tanzanian tradition (I later learnt that legally the house had been ours as we built it so the ceremony was us formally giving the house to her) she and her father approached me and my two friends, Jake and Sarah, all three of us had come from the same school.
While we were working the girl had sewn different coloured beads into her old sandals in the shape of flags. I couldn’t help but laugh when I got one with the Union Jack, Jake was given one with the American flag and Sarah who was born in China and has strong Asian features, was given one with the Japanese flag. We didn’t have the heart to say we were all British and it had clearly taken hours to sew these, all three of us agreed it was one of most heartfelt and genuine gifts we’d ever received.
The second instance also really stood out and made me realise how much I’d taken for granted on a daily basis back home. We’d been working solid for about a week and our dinners had consisted of either pasta, potatoes or Chapati’s on a rotating basis. This was a pattern we’d fallen into and with everything else going on our dinners were a comparatively unimportant part of our day that no one had any strong feelings for.
So when our expedition leader Dan told us we were having burger and chips for tea we all flat out called him a liar and didn’t believe a word he said all day. He liked to play pranks and we’d wizened up to them mostly, believing we’d called his bluff. So when a platter of forty burgers comes out and a vat full of chips, all of it locally sourced and produced, the whole group quite literally broke down into a feeding frenzy, myself included. The impact that a simple burger and chips had on us after only spending a week and a half in Tanzania made me realise how complacent I was back home and how much I take for granted.
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