Mission Possible 2017 blog: The Keys To Livelihoods 27th October, 2017
The Mission Possible deployment to Tanzania is not just about hard work. For the Team Bravo volunteers - Yasir Shah, Naveed Akhtar, Muhammad Tasadiq and Aqeel Abbasi - the focus on Days 3 and 4 was on distributing the means for livelihoods to beneficiaries and some rebuilding work at a local school. But not before they enjoyed a friendly game of football with local schoolchildren.
We left in the early morning and headed to Mtango Primary School. There we were to help plaster the outside of the school as the walls were scattered with cracks, deep holes and fading paint. We finished earlier than expected which allowed us to then have some free time to play with the local kids and schoolchildren.
With the girls we played catch with a ball made from plastic bags tied up in a sock. As the boys came into the game, the girls began to move to the side and a game of football broke out with a ball made from a black bag scrunched up with elastic bands. We all thoroughly enjoyed every minute of playing with these wonderful children.
After lunch, we visited a medical centre where we were going to distribute medicines and equipment. Before the handover, we helped with the refurbishment of the centre; we helped the doctor sort out the stock room of medicines and painting the ceiling. Once the district officer arrived we were ready for the handover and were greeted by the whole village.
We introduced ourselves one by one and explained why we were here to help, with the locals responding with cheers! We then handed over the donations to the village chief and the doctor which was a proud moment for us all.
Part 1: the school toilets
At Boza School we were greeted by the head teacher and staff with open arms, Alhamdulillah. Once our introductions were concluded, the head teacher recalled the difficult times they had faced and come through, and what they are still facing.
The project for the renovation of the toilet for boys and girls was taken over by Islamic Help from the government as funding was running out. Alhamdulillah, Islamic Help is finishing off these much needed toilets and we will also have an assessment for a rain water harvesting system as the school has no local water source and staff or/and children face a water trek across the village to meet their needs.
We were set in pairs – Naveed and Aqeel, then Muhammad and Yasir – with one doing painting, the other plastering the walls around the outside of the toilets.
Starting on the plastering was tricky but the fundis (local builders) taught us to do the flick of the wrist action, throwing the cement on to the wall, and once we got the hang of it was amazing to see how it all came together.
Part 2: Disabled Entrepreneur & Shop Handover
Once we got to our shop which was handed over to a brother named Hateeb, it was amazing to see how they were putting his shop together. We have seen a lot of mud houses/shops in Tanzania but to see one getting built and helping to build was a pleasure, even though we didn’t know what to expect while working on it.
Once we had finished with the building, we handed sandals, flip-flops, women’s shoes, school shoes and new rubber soles, plus tools for re-stitching and some extra strong glue. Alhamdulillah it was amazing to see how humble Hateeb was on receiving all the stock. Words can’t explain our feelings on giving someone a chance at making a secure future Insha’Allah.
Part 3: Beehive Session
After the mud hut session, we made our way to the beehive session where we were greeted by all of the chosen beneficiaries, who were mainly women. We prepped the hives as the women watched so they could understand how to continually take care of the hives and bees.
We started by emptying the hives, which consisted of a wooden box with 12 compartments with a narrow cut out in the middle. Once they were empty, we lit a special type of wood that attracts bees and placed the shavings in the box. That infused the hive for 10 minutes and once this was done we warmed up some beeswax and placed the hot wax inside each cut out.
The wax then slowly dried and once it had done so, we tied a thin metal pipe around the hive which made it ready to hang from a tree. Our team climbed the trees, the rest of the volunteers tied a rope to the 35kg hives, anchored them over the tree branch and pulled the hives up to the branch.
Once they were hanging, it was a proud moment. We just stood back and stared at the hives. We had a sense of achievement and just hope and pray that the hives will collect tons of honey and provide the beneficiaries with this beautiful and sweet resource to enjoy and sell, as well as introduce bees into the local village to help the environment.