My journey began in October 2013 but when I accepted the “mission“ the thought of raising £5,000 was unimaginable. However, the pennies turned into pounds and before I knew it, with the support from my family and friends, I reached over and above my target!!
My assumption prior to going out was that it would be a sombre experience. However, I was so wrong. The people of Kilwa, from the elderly to children, were open to learning more about ways they could live a sustainable life and some of the basics that we take for granted they embraced with such honour and pride. I underestimated the amount of education we would be delivering and how important it was for them to understand the effects their current lifestyle is having on their health and environment.
Working in the livelihood team gave me an opportunity to meet the locals in their communities and own homes. A humbling experience would be an understatement. Living and hearing their experiences of life gave me an understanding of poverty that television cannot portray.
I learned quickly that although they had very little, they were not ungrateful – in fact they were thankful for what they had. This made me realise how much we really do take for granted at home, something that only this experience would do. They were so receptive and engaging and the fact that they wanted to better their lives with the projects we were working on, made the trip a positive one and much more worthwhile than I had imagined. I hope their enthusiasm continues now we have left.
Having to make decisions on whether one person should receive goats over another was difficult but made me realise how charities work and how they have to make difficult decisions on a daily basis and on a wider scale. I learned to start thinking with my head and not my heart and sometimes not giving to the most needy was the right decision as it was not about just giving to the poor, but giving to the right people who could start making a change.
So we are back from Tanzania and getting back to the routine back at home, but something has changed. Actually witnessing poverty with my own eyes has made me realise how thankful I should be for the basic necessities we have within easy reach, from clean water to sanitation, electricity and education. Not only do I feel that I have helped to educate others but have learnt a lot about myself, regarding patience, the true meaning of charity and making difficult decisions in a justified process and most importantly that I can do things that I think are impossible!!
I would also like to give a special mention to all the volunteers who were a part of the deployment. Despite us being from different backgrounds, we were all able to get along, have banter and when it came down to it, work in an effective and professional manner. I would strongly advise anyone to take the time and find out more about this programme and if they can, sign up and be a part of this