Wow, what an incredible two weeks it’s been here in Tanzania. I knew it would be, but my excitement beforehand never quite manages to live up to how amazing my time here is.
This is the third year in a row I’ve been lucky enough to have this experience and the friendships have grown stronger, my ability to eat an incredible amount of rice twice a day is getting better, and my love for Tanzania has filled my heart so much I fear it might pop!
It’s been the best of times and it’s been the hardest of times. I’ve seen so many people now having access to clean water, hand washing facilities, solar disinfection to water in schools, and brand new solar lights in their homes! The thousands of people whose lives have been touched never fail to amaze me. Not getting sick from dirty water means money which was spent on hospital visits and medication can be better spent and time of school is reduced meaning a better education, and less time off for parents meaning more time for working!
However, we’ve seen some things which are beyond upsetting. I can’t put a word to it. I’ve cried, I’ve felt so disappointed in the world I live in. It’s 2017 and people still do not have access to water or a toilet. I’ve stood and watched people collecting water from traditional water points which I know is dirty and contaminated and will make them and their families sick. I’ve watched as a woman filled her water bucket with a small bowl, taking hours just to fill a single bucket, while another woman waited in line behind her who had already been waiting 5 hours, knowing she would probably be waiting there the best part of the day.
Coming from England I’m racked with guilt at times, the worries I have fade away as I’m reminded how lucky I am, I spend £3 on a take away coffee when people here spend that on a doctors visit, for my birthday just before I came I spend money eating out which would have bought solar lights for people that have no light after the sun goes down. On my first trip here I was told that we shouldn’t feel guilty for coming from a richer county, what matters is that we are grateful-these words have never left me.
Every day I’ve been here I’ve thought about Ellie and how incredibly proud she would be of what’s been achieved and the work that’s currently being done, she’s popped into my thoughts numerous times a day, and although our darling Ellie, with her infectious cackle and her bad influence on me for drinking too much gin, is no longer physically here with us, I feel so connected to her each time I come out here. I see her in the beautiful fabrics being worn by everyone, I feel her in the gratitude of the people we have been able to help and I hear her in the laughter of the children.
Off we go tomorrow to Dar es Salaam for a couple of days and then back home! Asante Sana to everyone who has been with us on this trip, I love you all xxxx
Amy, September 2017