Year 12 students returned from their incredible Tanzania expedition late on Monday 11th November. After arriving in Tanzania a week earlier, the students travelled for hours from Arusha, through the rugged wilderness of Tanzania before they reached the untouched and unspoiled surroundings of Lake Natron. It was more remote than we had thought.
Camping at the foot of a rift valley and an active volcano, the Ol Doinyo Lengai (“Mountain of the Gods”) we had no internet connection at all so were out of touch with the world, and our families, for several days. The students adapted and embraced this experience with real maturity and came to appreciate the little things the camp did provide us.
Whilst at Lake Natron, the students spent 4 days and 5 nights working with the local Masai community to create sustainable vegetable and fruit gardens for a primary school, and local villagers. This goal was even more remarkable considering the dry, arid conditions of Lake Natron. The students worked tirelessly, in incredibly hot temperatures, to make this happen and the end results were very rewarding.
Ditches were dug, huge trenches for water supplies created, tons of soil and manure moved and laid, gardens built and protected with fencing. An outstanding effort. The students also worked with the local primary school children surveying the local community to find out which crops the Masai villagers would like to be grown in the gardens we created. These seeds were then planted by the local school children in a symbolic moment when our project work came to an end.
As well as the community projects the students enjoyed moments like cooling off in the spring water river that ran alongside the camp, waterfall walks, having feet nibbled by fish in the soda spring by Lake Natron, seeing the world’s largest collection of flamingo on the Lake (a moment cut short by a huge dust storm that rolled in over the mountains that had us all running to the cars before it arrived), a safari to and from Lake Natron and also being treated to a traditional Masai dance by the villagers.
Seeing our students and the local Masai people celebrating, dancing, and singing together is a moment I will never forget. The whole expedition was humbling and unforgettable for all involved. Jambo, Jambo Bwana, Habari Gani, Mzuri Sana, Wageni, Mwakaribishwa, Tanzania Yetu, Hakuna Matata.