Monday 23 September 2013

An African Adventure

My beautiful and brave little sister has just returned from a summer spent really making a difference.  For 10 weeks she has been improving the quality of so many people's lives in Tanzania, Africa and I am so proud of all she achieved.  She challenged herself mentally, physically and emotionally and has agreed to write a little something about her trip for me.  

When asked the question what is the most essential thing in your life people have responded with family, love, house or money, but the one thing we take most for granted is water. We use it without a doubt every day; drinking, cleaning, cooking and washing are just a few ways in which water is essential to our lives. This summer I got the opportunity to spend 10 weeks with a community that before we arrived had no water.  

Going with
Raleigh International, I was placed in a tiny village in the North of Tanzania called Mongo Wa Mono, living and working with the last hunter gather tribe in Africa. They greeted us in their traditional material and with their bows and arrows with an uncertainty of what we were going to be doing in their home.  

Our primary project was to bring the village water, linked with our project partner DMDD – Diocese of Mbulu Development Department, which was funded by water aid. We worked digging trenches, laying water pipes, building pressure points along the pipe line and creating a tap at the end. With the walk being over five hours to get to the nearest water source, it was amazing to see how the locals could now have such easy access to clean water.  

We then started our secondary project which was a cattle trough. Although most of the tribe living in our village were hunter gathers so they did not keep livestock, there were surrounding houses and tribes who keep animals as their source of income. This part of the project was one of our greatest achievements as we started it and completed it ourselves, with a lot of help from the DMDD technicians and local tribes people every day that came to help as it was so important to them. We worked alongside them digging the foundations, mixing A LOT of cement, laying bricks, digging trenches and doing the technical bits fitting in the water tubes. Finishing it ahead of schedule we also got the chance to see cattle, goats and donkeys drink from it and speak to their keepers who were so grateful and happy. It was by far the most rewarding thing I have ever done.  

The work was not over then. We looked at how else we could help the village with our short time left. Doing some baseline surveys in the community to find out what they knew on water, diseases, hygiene and education, we came back with some surprising results – no one knew anything about HIV, they thought it was more hygienic to use a bush rather than a long drop and most had only primary education if any. We then spent the next two weeks holding youth sessions, village meetings, parties, primary and secondary school visits and talking with the water board committee, educating them on these important issues. We did dramas, talks and got them interacting and discussing with us. It was so uplifting to see how much they wanted to learn and the questions they asked to know more. We saw a real inquisitive side to them and tried to pass on as much knowledge as we could.  

By the end of our time in Mongo, I had seen both a physical difference and a mental difference. The pipe line had helped to give the locals more accessible water for drinking and cleaning and gave them opportunities to be an entrepreneur, by using the water to grow crops and make bricks. They also had the water to feed their cattle to make a better life for themselves; we also gave out over 1000 condoms and educated them on basic yet such important issues.  

This summer has been the most challenging yet incredible experience, where I have met and worked with some amazing people, been welcomed and accepted by a tribe who barely speak Swahili, let alone English, yet left with them as my friends. Both the other volunteers and the local tribes people have taught me more than they will ever know and I am so grateful to have had this experience.  

I went with the charity Raleigh International but on a trip linked with DIFID called ICS. It is a fantastic scheme in which the government are paying for 7000 young people to do something similar in many different countries. If you are interested or know anyone that might be check out this website.  


  1. The pictures are not loading for me :( I hope they will be fixed soon. Lovely blog - I found you on a list of the top 50 baby blogs. Very nice!

  2. The pictures are not loading for me :( I hope they will be fixed soon. Lovely blog - I found you on a list of the top 50 baby blogs. Very nice!

  3. Yeah the pics aren't loading... will come back and check again as it will be amazing to see them x

  4. What a fantastic experience! Its really great when you can see something tangible at the end of a project. I'll share the link with the young people I work with.

    Oh - and I could see the pictures x

  5. What an amazing experience for your sister x

  6. Big well done to your sister, how amazing for her to have had this opportunity at such a young age. The pics are wonderful and it reminds me so much of Ethiopia. Mich x

  7. This looks like it was a lifechanging experience and as many people have said, these are wonderful pics. If you are in the mood to read more about success stories in developing countries maybe you might like to watch our videos here:

  8. Hi, Outdoor Adventures 2006 was the best in my opinion. Probably because it's the most realistic, and you're not shooting the crap out of every single animal that you see.Thanks you !Joe Smitth.


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