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Mission Possible 2018 Blog: School and Livelihoods

10th October, 2018

Having to say no to someone you're trying to help can be one of the most emotional experiences that a young person goes through, as the volunteers on our Mission Possible deployment to Tanzania discovered. It was something they had to do as part of their livelihood project which followed a school refurbishment, as volunteer Saba Yasin explains.

SCHOOL

During the last two days, we’ve begun a project on redecorating the school and one classroom completely. Seeing the school in the state it was in was quite saddening.

Children were going to a dull, horrible dungeon-looking classroom which none of us saw as fair, as schools are supposed to be a happy place for children to be excited to go to and learn at, and at this school that wasn’t happening.

Initially we were planning to paint the outside of the school, which we have now started to do. We entered the classroom that was being rebuilt with a new roof and tables etc.

There was a load of rubble on the floor which we had to pick up, so we started picking it up and it would have taken us hours to do but all at once the children came running in to help us.

They were barefoot while we had masks, walking shoes and helmets on, which felt quite bad especially when I took my mask off and a little boy came and told me to put it back on. This just goes to show just how kind-hearted these people are.

LIVELIHOODS

Another part of my team’s tasks was assessing and deciding which of six potential beneficiaries would receive a “cash cow” to help them provide for their families by selling milk.

This was particularly hard for me and my team because we had to decide between six people who were all more than needy, but it was more about being logical rather than emotional.

One particular case got to us the most; there was a man, Lamick John, with a disabled arm who was trying to provide for his wife and 4-month-old baby.

We came out of that thinking he definitely needs a cow but when we thought about it logically, it was decided that giving him a cow could create more problems for him than opportunities.

This case was particularly saddening for us as we really wanted to help him, so telling him no was definitely the hardest thing.

We also handed out solar panels and bikes to people in the village to help them build some businesses, while the bikes were for children who were previously walking two hours barefoot to go to school. The smiles on these people’s faces made our days so much brighter and everything so much more worthwhile for us.

When we were giving out the goats in the second village, one of the beneficiaries of this particular livelihood project walked up to collect them. It was none other than Lamick John. We were so unbelievably happy that he was getting something, as that was quite important to us.

So far we’ve had a really emotional experience as there have been some instances where we felt helpless, but at the same time we’re learning a lesson that gives us the motivation to do something more for people.

We’ve also learnt that there are some people we have to say no to, some people we say yes to and this leads to changing their whole lives.