The Tanzania expedition was a phenomenal experience for the 6 students who were involved. We finally were able to see what our fundraising went towards whilst helping the local primary school and community in the beautiful area of Lake Natron.
At the base of Ol Doinyo Lengai Volcano (‘mountain of God’ in Massai language) was our camp for the week. Students from NAISAK, Regents International School (Pattaya, Thailand) and BISD (Boston, USA) got to know each other very quickly whilst sharing the cozy two-person tents. Each day after breakfast students prepared for the day ahead either in the community or the local primary school helping to finish building their 2 new classrooms. Class sizes were between 80-100 students so adding the finishing touches to these extra classrooms will really help improve the quality of education these students can have access to. Students helped to paint the inside and outside of the building, paint blackboards, and build 40 desks. In addition to this, students also helped the school to grow their own fruit and vegetables by clearing an area and planting trees whose fruit can later be sold in order to buy more appropriate food to feed the students each day.
In the local Massai community, students were assigned to help build a keyhole garden for a family of 7 wives and 40 children so that they could start to grow their own food. This consisted of students lifting and carrying rocks to build the wall for the garden and mixing and laying 30 wheelbarrows of soil and cow manure; with a little help from some of the local children. As a thank you, local Massai men and women provided a BBQ meal for us and sacrificed two goats in our honour which were shared among us all. After dinner, the Massai tribe then performed a traditional song and dance for us, where we were all able to get involved and feel part of the tribe.
The end of the week saw us travelling for 8 hours off road back to the Shampa Kipara camp to spend our last night together before travelling back to Qatar. All students had a truly life-changing experience that they will never forget. This experience can be summed up in the following quotes from students over the course of the week:
Sama (yr 9) – I never want to leave!
Dexter (yr 8) - This place is wonderful!
Zeiad (yr 10) – I’d stay another week if I could!