Margaret Mead once said: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." This sums up perfectly the week we spent in Tanzania. What a privilege it was to spend time with our students in a very unfamiliar environment and witness their commitment, resilience and enjoyment whilst completing the tasks they were set. It was by no means easy. Under the African sun, students from six Nord Anglia schools, from all parts of the world, set about building goat sheds, stoves, fitting solar lamps, plastering walls, making desks, smashing bricks and levelling out the ground. All of this in such a short space of time! The harder it got, the more they worked. The bigger the challenge, the more determined they became to complete it. Plastering walls was a prime example of this. The plaster was difficult to work with. After hand mixing it, students had to flick it onto the walls and smooth it out. Does it sound easy? Most of the time, the plaster would fall to the floor, which meant there was often more plaster there than on the walls themselves. A highlight of the week was seeing our students ‘stick’ at this task for hours. They eventually found a technique and the walls began to look smoother. Watching personalities grow and friendships develop was another highlight. One of our boys excelled at fitting solar lamps and after just one day felt confident to speak on behalf of his group during the evening activities. Some girls were soon joining in with the girls from Mexico as they led the group through a song and some of our boys worked as a team to clear a classroom ready for painting. Seeing the smiles on their faces, when they had the chance to meet children from the different schools we visited, was priceless. Our students’ natural ability to engage with those less fortunate than themselves made me burst with pride. We took some amazing photographs, however, the best ones are those left in our mind.
Samudra Prasetyo’s Diary of Tanzania (9A):
Day one: Today was our first day of work and we went out to the Nazaretti Primary School after we had breakfast at 08:00. We were divided into groups to do different jobs, such as installing windows, chiselling walls, sifting sand and plastering. We rested at lunch and then continued with our work until the students in the school had finished their lessons and we played football with them, which they and we really enjoyed.
Day 2: We were back at Nazaretti School to finish off our work. The children were not there as it was the weekend so we were much more focused than the day before. The work really came along and we had fun doing it.
Day 3: Our group set off on safari early with breakfast at 07:00. We saw lots of fauna, such as monkeys, baboons, impalas, zebras, giraffes, elephants and many more. The guides were very helpful and we stayed in a wild safari camp over night.
Day 4: We woke up super early so we could catch the sunrise over the savannah. We finished our safari with more animals and then went on to two shops. The first was a traditional carvers and the second was a charity organisation to help disabled people.
Day 5 and 6: The next two days, we were split into small groups again and had to complete community service. The people we were helping do not have much so we helped them by building a goat shed and giving them a goat, building a smokeless stove to reduce the respiratory diseases and putting solar lighting in the house to help the children study. That evening, we had a disco, which was a lot of fun! We got to hang out with different Nord Anglia students from all over the world.
Day 7: The last day of the trip was sad. We had to leave our friends, the coordinator and the camp. It was a really amazing experience!
Salma El Jassim's Reflection of Tanzania (8A)
My experience in Tanzania was amazing! It was the first time I have travelled alone without my family. This made me feel much more confident and responsible. I challenged myself to help the children so they could get a better education in the future and the tasks we were set did just that. I really enjoyed working on plastering the classroom at the school. It was great to mix with students from other Nord Anglia schools and nice to make friends with girls from Mexico and China. This experience has made me want to become a volunteer for a charity.
Zamzam Al Humaidi's Reflection of Tanzania (10N)
During my stay in Tanzania, I learned lots of things about the country as well as other countries, thanks to the friends I was able to make. The children in Tanzania have a secret that lets them be happy all of the time. When you see them, they make you feel happy just by the way they look at you. Every time we waved our hands, a big smile would appear on their faces. I learned that whatever happens, I should be happy because there are people who need more than me and are just very happy with what they have. We need to stop thinking about ourselves and think about the people around us. We also need to stop asking for more because there are lots of people who cannot afford what we have and we often do not need all of what we have! Another amazing part of the expedition was making friends with students from different parts of the world. They were from Mexico, Florida, China and Vietnam. All of them were really polite and they taught us some words in their language. We also learned a Mexican song! On the last day, everyone was really sad because we did not want to go back to our country and leave our new friends behind.