Mission Possible 2017 blog: The Memory of Mohanda 25th October, 2017
As well as participating in the compulsory water trek, the Mission Possible volunteers in Team Charlie - Hiba Ayaz, Shanaz Asif, Taher Ahmed and Tauqeer Abbasi - also had the privilege of meeting some of the potential beneficiaries of the livelihood projects that they are distributing.
The first day in Mtango and after the introductions with local villagers, we started our water trek which was from the village to the nearest water source, a journey the villagers make on a daily basis to get water.
It wasn’t too hard at the start as it was early in the day and the heat wasn’t too bad. The trek was approximately 5km each way; this took roughly around an hour to get to the source.
Once we got to the source we had a filter which was placed on top of the can so the water didn’t spill out. This was literally a hand-made funnel and a jug which was used to get the water from the source into the can. This took roughly around half hour to 45 minutes. The water source didn’t seem very reliable as it was just like a little pond area which didn’t seem like it would last very long and be sufficient enough for everyone at the village to have a fair share each.
After we had all our cans filled up with water, we tied them back onto the bikes - one on each side - and set off back towards the village. At this time the sun was at its peak so it was very difficult pushing the bikes back with the extra weight of the water, especially up the hilly areas, and trying to keep them balanced so they didn’t topple over.
Some of us ended up riding the bikes back to the village after walking with them for around half the journey back, as the heat and the energy used to physically push the bikes was excruciating. When we got back to the village, the villagers’ faces and welcome was well worth the pain.
We all felt as if we had some extra motivation to complete the trek, whether that was to prove to ourselves that we could do it or to try and put ourselves in the villagers’ shoes. We were welcomed by the villagers by a song and a dance which all the volunteers joined in.
This was fun and made us feel like they really appreciated us being there and helping them through this difficult time in their lives. We were also gifted fresh oranges and coconuts.
We then moved onto the CPA meeting with the villagers regarding their timeline history of the village, seasonal calendar, daily routine and a village map. This was to get a feel of what they were in need of the most to better their lives as best as we can. A few of us volunteers then started to interact with the children to make them feel comfortable with us as they looked quite shy at first.
It’s our second day on our deployment and we’re part of the livelihood project. As a team we’ve heard many stories on how hard and emotional this part of the deployment would be, so we decided to go into today with an open mind.
While we were waiting for the chief of the community to greet us, we had the opportunity to get to know each other and discuss why it was so important for us to come here to Tanzania to be a part of Mission Possible. Our task for the day was to interview five potential recipients of aid; three of the beneficiaries were interviewed for the opportunity to receive goods for their shop to kick-start their business, and we also had to interview two disabled schoolgirls who were in need of a wheelchair.
Each of the interviewees were asked about their life at the moment and how the aid we were giving would help them. This allowed us to understand their struggles and helped us make the difficult decision of who would benefit the most from the aid we were giving at this point in time.
It was an incredible experience to be welcomed into the homes of each family as they opened up about their situation and daily struggles. Out of all the families that we met today, one that stood out for all of us was 10 year-old Aishah. Her disability meant that she got frequent hand tremors, which affected her right hand side in particular, and she had a severe limp on her right foot. Despite her condition and the fact that she had to walk a 2km round trip each day to school, she had been doing immensely well at her studies and enjoys school.
Whilst we were not able to give her the wheelchair this time, we were all so moved by her strength and courage. The family did however receive two goats as part of another livelihood initiative by Islamic Help. The project involves giving families two female goats which they can rear and sell in the month of Hajj for qurbani. We are all praying for Aishah and we hope that the goats we provided will help her family Insha’Allah.
One of the happiest memories of the day was handing Mohanda his new stock to start his business. Mohanda had struggled with a disability which has affected his hands since birth. As the main earner in the family of 5, it had been tough to provide food on a daily basis as his only income is the water he collects to sell.
His smile as we were carrying the stock to his new shop will stay with us all for a long time and it was a privilege and an honour to be able to be a part of this new chapter for him. We’re all praying for his success in this new venture.