Not many people get to say how they made a tangible difference in the world. Not many people get to talk about how they laid bricks and mixed cement to build a school, or changed the life of a family by building a goat shed, or providing a stove and solar panels that will improve their quality of life. A group of 20 risk takers from Northbridge International School Cambodia spent an amazing week in Tanzania from 3 to 11 November 2019 and did all of that and more while they made friends from all over the world.
In preparation for the Expedition, our students fundraised in order to buy the materials required for their work in Tanzania with the NGO SEEWAY. Events and activities began in September as soon as the Expedition Team was formed.
We are grateful to parents, teachers, students and all Northbridge members who supported our students in every possible way. Some of these activities involved selling food and drink, artwork made by them or donated by other students, photos and books. They also organized a Teachers Jeans Day, movie nights, a Nintendo tournament and an amazing concert.
The Seeway Citizenship Expedition to Tanzania gave students an opportunity to see a different country, learn from their way of life and, in many cases, as they said, change their perceptions about a country that, in their words, “is much richer than we ever thought''.
SEEWAY is a Tanzania-based organization that has partnered up with Nord Anglia Education (NAE) to give students from the NAE family the opportunity to take part in long-term projects in Tanzania.
One of them is building a school for Tanzanian kids in a rural area near the city of Arusha. During two days, each one of the two groups of students (from Northbridge and Madrid’s ISC) had to mix cement, lay bricks, carry rocks and more than anything… drink water… lots of water.
One of the highlights of this activity was the moment when some of the little kids that will attend this school in the future, showed up and started to help. We were working together to build their school! Some of our students then led a game where everyone from the three schools (Tanzania, Cambodia and Madrid) joined and shared an unforgettable time.
The second big project that SEEWAY has that we had the opportunity to help is donation of goats and installation of solar panels for families in need. Divided into smaller groups, students spent a whole day with a Tanzanian family and build a smokeless stove, a goat shed and installed solar panels and lights for their houses.
This year, for the first time, Irish goats were donated as they adapt really well to the conditions of the region and they can provide an income source for the families as well as very nutritious milk.
Goats are very valued and students built from scratch a shed for the donated animals. At the same time, other groups were building stoves from cow dung (how amazing!) and installing solar panels and lights that will make those homes safer.
After all the hard and rewarding work building the school, the goat sheds, stoves, installing panels, and so on, the group headed for a well deserved safari where we were able to see an amazing variety of African animals.
The path of the safari took us through different landscapes where zebras, giraffes, warthogs, mongooses, lions, vultures, eagles and many other animals were spotted all the time. Our very knowledgeable guide, Jhon, taught us so many amazing facts about wildlife in Tarangire National Park.
The group came back to Phnom Penh safe and sound after 24 hours of airports, security checks, long waits but more than anything, as many of our students said, they came back with a whole new perception of what Africa is, their people and culture.
They learned about the importance of community work and the role of education to give young people a better future. This once-in-a-lifetime experience gave Northbridge students new friends, new perspectives, new skills and unforgettable memories.