Blog, Mission Possible, Aug 2016. The Last Day and Mission Accomplished 21st August, 2016
It was the last day of the Mission Possible deployment to Tanzania and for volunteers Navid Kaleem and Asim Siddiqui it was an experience that they will never forget, especially their tour of the Children's Eco Village.
Navid Kaleem: Mission accomplished! For now. Today is the last day of the Mission, and I am going to miss this place and my team. Over the last 10 days we have worked hard to reach and help hundreds of people.
Working on sanitation projects, planting trees, a rainwater harvesting system, renovation of a school, cleaning a masjid, giving out livestock, mosquito nets, stationery, shops and visiting an orphanage. My intention is now to do this regularly Insha’Allah. It's highly fulfilling and we pray Allah (swt) accepts our efforts.
Today on the last day we visited the Children's Eco Village in Kisemvule, a project set on 30 acres of land donated by Dr Ramadhan Dau. Currently three Eco Homes have been completed, with two occupied by 20 orphan girls under 11 years of age. The project is long term and vast. The overall plan for the Village is to have 16 houses accommodating 10 children in each house. The purpose of the Eco Village is to be self-sustainable with a zero carbon footprint.
We were shown around the Eco Mosque, wild gardens, vegetable plots, fish ponds, tree nursery, livestock sheds and the Eco Homes. While touring we had the opportunity to plant more fruit trees.
We were then introduced to the children, who were very positive and happy. We divided the children into 4 groups and played a number of games with them - addition & subtraction Snap cards, Connect 4, snakes & ladders and noughts & crosses. They seemed thoroughly entertained. We gave them sweets, lollies and marshmallows which made them smile even more.
A goat had been sacrificed that morning & we enjoyed a barbecue. The volunteers served the children with food first and then themselves and we all ate together. Just before leaving the orphan children prayed for us. We pray Allah (swt) accepts it from them and we are close to the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) of Allah in Jannah. Ameen.
Asim Siddiqui: Today was the day of the eagerly anticipated visit to the Children's Eco Village in Kisemvule. It’s a fantastic facility that has been developed over the last few years. There are plenty of water sources around from wells to water harvesting systems and it was all very environmentally friendly. For example the drainage from the wudhoo facility goes into a tank which is filtered before being used to water the plants.
There is the beautiful Eco Mosque with its high ceiling which meant that they did not need to install a speaker system as it naturally created an echo inside. It has own natural ventilation system and massive windows to reduce the need for any fan or AC system to keep the inside cool.
The Village has a very admirable mission, to promote looking after the environment and also not to rely on external aid but to encourage locals to use existing materials here to build things like windmills for their own needs.
This in turn helps them truly gain from it and also the fact that, should anything go wrong in the future, they will be able to repair it themselves. There was a case where a beautiful windmill was put up in Pangani District in Tanzania by Germany in the 1970s but is now redundant due to just one missing part.
At the Children's Eco Homes, they came out and greeted us as soon as we arrived one-by-one. It felt like I was meeting some privately educated children; the difference between these children and those I met in the villages in Pangani was significant.
What's more is that some of these children came from quite traumatic backgrounds and this facility had nursed them back to full health. Some of this was done through counselling but some of it was also done naturally as part of being in the Eco Village environment.
It was the first time I had seen clean children with clean clothes on. These children had actually been taken from villages like those we had seen in Pangani and their transformation was amazing. They seemed elite in a way and given their circumstances, it is fully deserved. They all have a bright future ahead Insha’Allah.
I've really enjoyed doing Mission Possible. It exceeded my expectations and I did not expect to go away with so much. It is hard to summarise an experience but I truly feel I have benefited a great amount; a stark contrast to my intention which was to deliver aid only.
I am humbled by the way people are living here and the love some of them have shown for Islam. It felt as though these people had made dua to Allah and through us He delivered his response.
For me, Mission Possible may have ended but it is only the start of more work I would like to do.
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