Eleanor Frame, ex Explorer Scout at 1st Stoughton, and now Network is safely back from Tanzania’ She told the District all about it at their AGM.
On the 25th July, I travelled to Tanzania as part of an expedition run by Hampshire scouts. My team consisted of 16 scouts and 5 leaders and our aim as to build doctors accommodation to go alongside a medical centre in a rural village called Iragua. This was to encourage government funded doctors to come to and to stay in Iragua.
The first time it hit that I was finally in Tanzania was travelling from the airport to the hotel in Dar es Salaam. The scenery and surroundings were so different, there were people walking in road, motorbikes swerving between cars, buses packed full of people and buildings made of timber. It was amazing to see the difference between Tanzania and England and it was my first time seeing a less developed country.
Travelling to Iragua, our project site, was a long journey, however it was made easier by looking out of the window and taking in the scenery. To get there, we had to cross a river on a ‘Ferry’ which was packed with cars and people.
When we arrived, we were greeted by lots of children who were very excited when we played with bubbles, balloons and sang songs. The feeling of finally being at the project was amazing! It was great to finally start our project and get hands on, but it seemed like a long way to go before it would be finished.
Our project involved lots of sanding, sweeping and painting. It was much easier to see the progress we were making when painting. After around 12 days we finished the project! While we were at our project, there were many births at the medical centre. Some of us were lucky enough to see a 5 hour old baby, which was amazing! Also, during our time in Iragua I was able to take in the local lifestyle during village trips after lunch, at a church service where there was lots of music and singing, and while on a day trip to Ifakara. The day of our opening ceremony was one of my favourite days in Tanzania. Firstly, we went to the church for a mass with the local people, who were all very grateful, as expressed by the cheers and smiles on people’s faces. The building was then opened and blessed by the Bishop. After this, we went to a celebration where there was food and music. We danced with all the local children, which was so much fun! I also spoke to some school girls, who asked me to dance and showed me some of their dance moves. After the celebration, we donated loads of medical equipment to the medical centre and the nurse was very happy! In the evening, our team relaxed. We looked up at the many stars and the milky way as they were incredible. I managed to see 3 shooting stars and really wanted to take the sky home with me!
On our last full day in Iragua we played a football match against the locals. It was good fun, but very hot! When we finally had to leave, it felt strange to leave our project as it was the main aim of the trip. We then went on safari in Mikumi National Park which was great. We set up camp in the National Park! We did two morning and two evening safari’s in open topped vehicles. While on safari, we were lucky enough to see zebra, impala, wilder beast, warthog, crocodile, hippos, giraffe, lions and jackal. I found being on safari so relaxing.
Next, we went to Morogoro, the location of the NationalScout Campsite for our Jamboree. It was nice to have all the teams together again, as well as some Tanzanian scouts. We took part in activities, hiked and swam in the river on site. Each evening we had a campfire where we sang both British and Tanzanian songs. The Tanzanian scouts also showed us some marching.
The last few days we spent in Tanzania, we stayed at Kipepao beach. We spent these days doing activities, relaxing and reflecting back on our trip. One of the activities that we got to do was kayaking, which I really enjoyed! Also, we went snorkelling and swimming at a nearby island. It was amazing, the sand was so white, the water so clear and the view was great. We were also able to shop at local stalls for souvenirs. Spending time at the beach resort was a nice way to finish the trip and relax after all the hard work. The expedition to Tanzania was such an amazing experience I feel like I’ve made a positive impact to Iragua and the surrounding area, I was able to see the differences in a less developed country, I made some great friends and made some awesome memories. I definitely look forward to both travelling and volunteering in the future.