The hike up the side of Mount Meru to the waterfall was a physical challenge. The hike brought us face to face with the local people, the workers, and animals that were harvesting the land. The students were able to see the variety of local products and the basic farming techniques used, they asked questions and experience the hard work required to get the harvest from seeds to the markets that we had driven through on the way to the start point.
The last two activities were by far the most challenging and powerful. Having experience of service trips in the past, the school building and community service projects, were, by far, the best I had seen. The building project was very much in its infancy and the students were tasked with making the foundations for 5 new classrooms. They were required to shovel, push wheelbarrows, mix cement, move considerable quantities of rocks and soil, make desks for the classrooms using hammers, nails, and all this demanded huge teamwork. It was clear to see the gratitude from the local students who were seeing their new school taking shape.
The community project was again different from the other days. Having made our way into a village and we met the local families and we started on the 3 tasks. One was to install a solar light system into the home and allow them to have safe indoor light for the first time. The second created a healthy smokeless stove using local rocks, dust and animal dung. The third was to create a goat shed for the newly donated she-goat. The impact and life-changing tasks were all the motivation required. All students worked diligently to measure, saw, hammer, pat, chop, create, work out, plan and install these simple contributions.
In conclusion, Tanzania Trip 2018 was a huge success. It delivered on its promise of hard work, new challenges and fresh perspectives. It was clear that all the students took away something from the experience. It was more than just a sore thumb and aching muscles. They left Tanzania with a new set of skills, developed their problem-solving, experienced cultures that were nothing like they had seen before, made a lot of new friends and, most importantly, impacted on the lives of people who remain less fortunate than themselves.