Blog, Mission Possible, Oct 2016. From Maize To Mango Trees. 2nd November, 2016
The last visits by our Mission Possible volunteers on deployment in Tanzania to villages where they had been working were times of joy tinged with sadness. There were also the tasks of handing out maize to meet immediate food needs and establishing a longer term legacy by planting trees.
The last day in Kovukovu was always going to be a sad day as we had been coming for three consecutive days and had developed a strong bond with the locals.
A young girl called Kristina was awaiting Kashfa as she had been every day. A young boy aged two called Carlos was waiting to be chased by Rahul. The funny thing is despite running away from Rahul, as soon as he saw him his face would light up as he recognised him. It was difficult saying bye to the wonderful children.
Our last activity was to distribute maize seeds and maize flour. This was relatively organised. We distributed 10kg of maize seeds to five beneficiaries. The three of us carried them and went to individual houses to hand them over. We asked several questions as to how it would help them and their plans for it.
Next we got the beneficiaries who would be receiving the rice flour. Each sack was 40kg so we opted not to carry them individually.
We spoke to the beneficiaries collectively asking them about the last harvest and how much maize flour was left. Unfortunately the maize had run out.
We were providing each beneficiary with a three-month maize supply. They were grateful and did a prayer for us.
We then headed to Masaika and distributed more maize seeds and flour. This time the district commissioner was there to give a speech about what we were doing. We had a question and answer session. One of the villagers requested help towards a tractor. Nasira gave the idea for them to pool their resources together to save for one.
In Mrozo for the final part of our mission we began with Rahul giving a presentation on environmental awareness. It was an interactive session with both school children as well elders in attendance. The key message was to do with trees and what they provide.
It seems both the children and elders were aware of the benefits including rain, fruit, atmosphere etc. We raised the issue of the harm that burning trees has caused. Everyone understood this.
The elders said how there used to be so many trees when they were young however many had been burnt which we explained would have led to droughts. Both the elders and children understood the importance of trees.
Following the environmental training session, all the volunteers and some of the villagers went across to the tree plantation area. Here we would be planting 100 mango and teak trees in memory of Nasira's nephew Rehan who passed away in April at the age of 19 months.
Moini showed everyone how the trees would need to be planted and explained the process of looking after them. Some of the villagers asked questions regarding the maintenance of the trees and what was expected of them.
It was explained that it would take at least three years for the trees to grow and bloom and that the fruit cannot be eaten in the first three years of bloom as it will be unsuitable.
Once the three years have passed, the villagers will be able to eat the fruit and sell anything extra for an income. Each team member planted three trees each.
We then ended the day with a good ole friendly game of football between the Islamic Help squad and the locals. They won. Of course that was just a fluke.
Jokes aside, their football skills were super impressive. All our team participated. Kashfa was told to be the central midfielder. Doing a spectacular job as she was, the football came flying towards her and she ducked several times. All in all everyone enjoyed playing and the rest of the village enjoyed watching and cheering us on.
Applications for our 2017 deployments are open!