Blog, Mission Possible 2015: The last day and the dread of leaving. 2nd September, 2015
On the last day of their deployment to Tanzania, our Mission Possible volunteers visited our flagship Children's Eco Village and met some of its staff and children.
As volunteer Zaynab Chhitra describes, the thought of returning to the UK was not one she was looking forward to, and she regards the last day of the deployment as not the end but the beginning of a journey.
The last day had unfortunately arrived. I still refused to accept the reality that I would soon be going back to the UK.
We were going to the Eco Village and all I could think about was what it would be like not being here, not seeing the people I had met every day.
I wasn’t good with saying goodbye, I didn’t want to say goodbye as with it was the thought I may never see these people again. These people with whom I had developed an attachment, I was not ready to go.
We arrived at the intricately detailed gates of the Children’s Eco Village and what awaited us were acres of lush green landscape. Amazing, I thought.
As we walked in, to the left of us we saw the Eco Mosque. We were greeted by Elisha, who was the manager of the Eco Village. We were told that she had come from the US and was here for four years. Imagine that!
She had left her entire life behind, her family, her home and come to a foreign country to look after these amazing little girls and accommodate their every need. Now that was dedication and a woman who should be commended for her commitment to these young orphan girls.
I could think of a million words to describe this place, everything was so carefully thought out. The Mosque, how it didn’t require any electricity, how it was built in such a way that the Imam would not even need a speaker to be heard. As soon as someone uttered a word, the sound immediately reverberated.
The idea that everything in this village was self-sufficient and sustainable was beyond remarkable. The person behind its inception was surely a genius. We were kindly given a tour of the village and were introduced to the girls.
They were all such characters and so sweet and polite. We played snakes and ladders with a group of the girls and they were all so excited. They played with such enthusiasm and me and one of the other volunteers decided that if anyone landed on the snake, we would move their piece as we didn’t have it in us to see any of them go down the snake.
After the games, we had a face painting session with the kids and I couldn’t help but get my face painted too. I thought I would play it safe and get one flower painted on my cheek, but to my dismay one of the other volunteers ran wild with the idea and I ended up looking like a flower garden.
We then went on to plant our trees in the Tree Garden. Mine was a guava tree. It reminded me of the young girl at the Mwembeni School who had given me a guava. This tree that was planted along with the cow that was named after me would be that ‘something’ that I left behind.
Then came the moment I was dreading - we had to leave to catch our flight to the UK. I had learnt so much over the past few days and I was so grateful that I had been part of such a wonderful journey and, above all, I was happy that I had been able to make a difference, albeit a small one.
The people I met, the ones I got to know and love as my own, will forever stay with me. It didn’t take them long to find a place in my heart, I will always remember them. I told myself, this was not the end, only the beginning of my journey.