Blog, Mission Possible, Aug 2016. The rewards and enjoyment of Mission. 21st August, 2016
On the final day of their deployment in Tanzania, the Mission Possible volunteers including Nabil Ahmed and Akeel Iqbal were taken to our pioneering Children's Eco Village to see some of the accomplishments of this unique project and to meet some of the orphans who are its beneficiaries.
Nabil Ahmed: On arriving at the Children's Eco Village just outside the capital Dar es Salaam, we were given a tour of the village and also met Mark Bryant, an expert on the sustainable environment from Cardiff University, who is sharing his expertise with Islamic Help for this project.
We started off at the Eco Mosque, where we sat and spoke about how the Eco Village came about and the importance Islam places on the environment. We then started the tour of the village, visiting the tree nursery, the ponds, the hima and the water well amongst other areas.
Then it was the Eco Homes. There are two Eco Homes being used at the moment to house 20 orphan girls. Each home has a “mother” to take care of the girls. The third home has just been completed whilst the fourth is under construction.
The aim is to have a total of 16 Eco Homes to house 160 children. When we arrived at the Eco Home, each of the girls (all under 11) came to meet and give salaam to each of us. We also met with Mama Maryam, who looks after the girls in one of the homes.
The girls then split into 4 groups, with one of the Mission Possible team joining each group. Brother Navid had brought some games for us to play with them. We played a mathematical version of the card game Snap. Connect 4, snakes & ladders and noughts and crosses were also played. Whilst playing the games we gave out sweets that had been brought over by the Mission Possible team from the UK.
After zuhur salah, which we prayed in the village’s Eco Mosque, it was time to plant some fruit trees. I planted a guava tree whilst the other team members planted mango and orange trees. We then went back to the Eco Home to have lunch with the girls and then to say our goodbyes.
It was a very interesting and informative day, seeing such a unique project. I didn't realise just how complex the Eco Village would be in terms of the methods being used that are sustainable and environmentally friendly. It was also nice getting the opportunity to spend time with the girls. They really appreciated it and made duas for the team and donors.
Coming on this deployment has definitely been an eye opener for me. It has allowed me to get a much better understanding of Islamic Help's projects and the way in which they are being run. It has made me appreciate the small things we take for granted. The Mission was challenging at times but overall has been a very rewarding and enjoyable experience. It definitely helped having an amazing team who bonded really well over the 10 days.
Akeel Iqbal: Today marked our final day of volunteering in Tanzania, and we went to see one of the projects Islamic Help has been working on since 2012 - the Eco Village, which is 40 kilometres from Dar-es-Salaam in an area called Kisemvule.
We first went to the mosque to sit and talk about the missions and values of the Eco Village and some background information about how it first started. The village is set in 30 acres which was provided to Islamic Help as a donation.
So Islamic Help decided to build an Eco Village which uses sustainable renewable energy, rather than just renewable, for its needs. The Village consists of a mosque which is designed in such a way that there is no need for a loudspeaker - there is a natural echo – and the windows and ventilation design means there is no need for air conditioning or a fan system. The water for ablution is from the rainwater harvesting system, so from all this we can see what Islamic Help is trying to achieve with this Village.
At the moment Islamic Help is looking after 20 orphans in the Eco Homes but this number is going to rise as it wants to build 16 homes in total. Again these homes are run by renewable sources of energy reducing the carbon footprint.
The village also has a sustainable farm which has many fruit trees and vegetable plants, the ones we saw being aubergines, peppers and tomatoes. The farm will also have dairy cows in the near future. All this is for the orphans in the Village as they are growing the plants for themselves and to sell so they have a sustainable and renewable livelihood.
We got the chance to plant a tree in the Village and to give the orphans sweets and play games with them. It was an amazing experience to see the, happy, smiling and having fun.
Lunch with the orphans meant sitting down on the floor and eating with them, with the fruits and salad provided having been grown in the Village. At the end, the orphans thanked the Mission Possible team and remembered all our names. They did duas for us and we gave them some encouraging words, to become strong and successful women and to be pious and help the community.
When we said our goodbyes, the orphans were shouting out our names " Goodbye uncle Akeel, goodbye uncle Naveed" while waving to us. The whole Eco Village project is an excellent idea but it seems that it is a huge project with a lot of work involved. Once this project is complete it will be fantastic. I pray that this happens quickly and efficiently for Islamic Help as they are doing an excellent job of it so far.
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