Tanzania - October 2014

At 3:30am on Monday 6th October we departed school and arrived at Heathrow airport for half seven. We soon checked in and had some food before boarding the flight. The 8 and a half hour flight was broken down watching films, listening to music and talking about the trip itself. However, when we landed we were faced with some bad news- we would not be able to catch our connecting flight, so we faced a wait time of around 16 hours until the 5:30pm flight the next day and thanks to some negotiation by Mrs Gerrity, we were placed in a lounge for the night. The wait time itself wasn’t too bad – spirits were kept high, however there were some moments of weariness, but we managed to pull through it and before we knew it we were boarding our flight to Tanzania and the wait had been worth it.

Acle Academy students


When we landed in Tanzania we were met by our Madventurer Rep – Natasha Hope. We were then taken to the house we would be staying in for 7 nights. The house itself was quite basic – we slept on mattresses on the floor and had the use of bucket showers and a long drop – but in retrospect, it wasn’t as awful as we first thought.

The next morning we headed to the school which happened to be a short walk away from where we were staying. We were greeted by the headmistress Bella and told what our project would be for the week – the school kitchen. Before we started on the project we had a quick tour of the school. The classrooms were very bare and only consisted of the children’s and teacher’s desks and a white board. This was also the first time we saw the children – each class sang us a song to welcome us. This consisted of a few versions of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, the alphabet and a Tanzanian school song.   After this we were lead around to the kitchen to meet the locals who we would be helping – Godfrey and Johnny – and with the help of Bella and Natasha the project was explained even further. We needed to prepare the room, plaster, paint and help create a serving area and we were also told that there was a sink to be fitted – we funded all the materials needed to complete the project with the money we had fundraised prior to the trip.


Over the course of the total 4 days we had at the school, the kitchen slowly began to take shape. The mornings were spent refining plaster manually using a sieve, collecting water, mixing the plaster with water, applying the plaster to the walls,  measuring and cutting wood and metal for the serving area and finally applying the first coat of paint. The last day we had at the school was the following Tuesday, so there were 3 days in which Godfrey and Johnny completed the serving area and fitted the sink and when we returned we applied the final coats of paint and Ava created a small mural which was placed on the outside of the building. The work was difficult at times due to the heat but it was very rewarding to see what we had done at the end. Although it wasn’t finished, it had made a huge difference to the school in many ways.

Painting the walls outside


In the afternoons at the school we had time with the children. The first afternoon was extremely overwhelming – it was the first chance that we had to interact with them. They were fascinated by the colour of our skin and the length of our hair – as well as our cameras and iPods, which in turn resulted in lots of children crowding around the device either taking pictures or wanting to see pictures of them that we had just taken. They enjoyed learning the Hokey Cokey – which was primarily lead by Ava, Cathy and Iona but we all joined in. We gave out some of the aid we had brought with us at this point such as skipping ropes and tennis balls – which were all greatly appreciated by the children.

Starting on the kitchen


Our second afternoon at the school we spent teaching. We performed puppet shows, taught songs and dances, made Cheerio bracelets and did various things such as drawing around hands on the whiteboards. Each group led a mixture of activities for a class and regardless of age, each group said that the children were really keen to participate. The one thing from our lesson that I will always remember is the look on the children’s faces when we started to hand out stickers and how panicked it became trying to hand them out and also the excitement that the children had towards the hand puppets because they were something that they had never seen before.

Playing with puppets


The next period of time was spent with the nursery children. We performed a rendition of Gangnam Style with the puppets and let them play with the puppets for a little while before heading outside to read a story to them. We used story sacks – which contained a story book and corresponding puppets. The children were very interested even though they didn’t understand much but in the most part, they were concentrating on the puppets and laughed at the voices we were attempting to put on for the different characters. (The puppets and storybooks were donated by The Puppet Company).


Students busy with activities

After this, we handed out tubes of bubbles and balloons for the children to play with and it wasn’t until we handed out recorders that things got loud and hectic. The children who didn’t have anything were running around popping the bubbles or chasing after a balloon and the calmer children wrote messages in our books or attempted to plait our hair. This day was definitely my favourite; not only because of the children but the painting we did to the kitchen.


Tuesday was the last day we spent at the school. When we arrived we discovered that there were hardly any pupils present – we later found out that it was a Public Holiday and the handful of pupils that were present, came in specifically to play football. As it was the last day we brought all the aid with us that we were giving to the school so we gave the present pupils football kits. As soon as they had received one they ran off and changed into it – when they came back they had a great time showing off their new kit before going off with Billy to play football. The rest of the group finished painting and Ava created a mural as said before.

Students in their football kits


When it was time to leave, the children who were playing football sang us a goodbye song which thanked us for helping out with the kitchen and donating what we did. A few tears were shed when it was time to leave.

Acle Academy Madventurer 2014


The evenings at the house were never dull – whether it was practising the puppet shows or even just talking about the day we had. On one of the evenings, we were taken on a walk of the village we were staying in – Nkowangya Foo. The only times prior to this that we had spent looking at our surroundings was on the way to the school in the mornings or when we could clearly see Mount Kilimanjaro from the school playground. We had a local cook who catered for us, his food was okay given the circumstances but I don’t think that any of us will be able to look at rice or mash potato the same again!

Mount Kilimanjiro from our window

At the weekend we visited Moshi – the nearby town. We had a while shopping and just looking around. At one point we were surrounded by street sellers – some of them extremely pushy but others were easier going. This was the first day that we had more western cuisine – and all of us thoroughly enjoyed both meals we had out. On the second day we visited some hot springs – it was located in a small area of trees in a vast plain and the clear pool of water within the trees looked amazing. After Billy’s numerous attempts on the rope swing, successfully persuading Miss Dowle to have a go, Iona’s moment where she swore she saw crocodiles, and relaxing, we said goodbye to the hot springs and headed back.


On Monday we visited a hospital in Moshi. We visited the premature ward and two or three other paediatric wards handing out fish and chip jumpers and bonnets donated by the Norfolk Knitters. The second group handed out crisis teddies on the same wards and all of the aid was accepted gratefully. In the afternoon we visited an orphanage –this was the place that most of us felt slightly more uncomfortable with how the children there lived – a dorm room per gender and the girls were two to a bed. The area was really deprived yet the children were all so happy. We gave each child a knitted bonnet and a little bag which contained a colouring book, balloon and other little bits. The look on their faces as they received the aid is something that all of us will never forget.

A newborn baby with knitted gifts


We spent Wednesday and Thursday at two different safari locations –Tarangire National Park and Ngorongoro Crater. On both game drives we were extremely lucky and we were all extremely thankful for the accommodation that we stayed in.

Lions snoozing


On behalf of all the students that went on the trip we would just like to say a huge thank-you to anyone that participated in any of our fundraising events and all the staff, parents and pupils for supporting the project. Lastly to Mrs Gerrity and Miss Dowle, who in all honesty were the best possible teachers that could have been in charge – we cannot thank you enough!


Reported by Eleanor H 10ETM

Starting on the kitchenPlaying with puppetsCollecting waterOur sleeping areaIn classStudents in their football kitsA newborn baby with knitted giftsElephantsLions snoozingZebrasMount Kilimanjiro from our windowStudents of Nkwawangya Primary SchoolAcle Academy studentsGroup photo outside Nkwawangya Primary SchoolLines of washing at the schoolStudents busy with activitiesA dormitory in the schoolReading to the students with the Storybooks and puppetsPainting the walls outsidePainting the walls insideThe kitchen during the workCollecting water

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