Ironically the first home that Shareen and I visited in relation the livelihood projects is where we ended our journey. As we approached the house, it was déjà vu. The elderly gentleman sat outside with his crutches beside him. He welcomed us back. His wife was inside their home which was made up out of mud and thatch. As she heard our voices she limped out on one leg. They showed no signs of resentment, despite the fact that upon our first visit we had not considered them suitable to farm goats due to their own care needs.
They smiled and listened attentively as we explained how they could benefit from the eco-friendly stoves as this would mean they would burn 50 per cent less wood and it would also cook the food quicker. They clearly saw the positives as they said it was something they would use. As we left they thanked us. However, the reality of the situation was that this family needed a lot more which we had identified in relation to the care needs of themselves and their 2 young grandchildren who lived with them, but with limited funds, something was better than nothing.
It is fair to say Mission Possible exceeded my expectations. Whether you want to gain an insight into the life of others, or want to use it is a stepping stone to pursue a career as an NGO or merely want to make a difference, whatever your reason, this is the project for you.
Our tasks included building and plastering the walls of the cubicles along with the construction of the roof, the concrete water tank and the piping system that would transfer the water from the roof to the tank. The 5-6 days that we worked on the project were extremely hard and tiring as we would be out working in the blazing heat from 9 till about 4 in the evening but despite this the team was determined and motivated from day 1 to finish off what we had started.
The project transcends geography, politics, people of faith and no faith, with the aim of making a positive change to people and the environment. You will experience highs and lows as you are pushed outside your comfort zone. One thing is for sure, the Islamic Help UK and Tanzanian team will support you all the way.
Be prepared for tears of sorrow as well as joy. Friendships will be formed along the way with fellow participants but also with the locals, sometimes based on nothing more than a smile.