1. Goat Shed
We were split into groups and taken to different households where we built our very own goat shed. We were told that the goat shed will be part of the service works in the Tanzania Expedition and will greatly help families to support themselves financially.
As the goat shed was built from scratch by our very own hands, it was an intriguing yet exciting experience. We received guidance, instructions and help from an instructor, and piece-by-piece the goat shed slowly took shape. Some of us were busy hammering while some had seemed to take a liking to specific jobs like sawing planks of wood or hitting nails.
It was a long process but as all students and instructors started to work together, it seemed we had formed a whole new community – through service and the act of working for a good cause and helping families. Though the day and weather was hot and exhausting, I believe all of us can proudly brag that our goat shed looked perfect!
By: Hui Ying Chan
2. Service Work
The construction work undertaken by students at a local Tanzanian Primary School was definitely very physically challenging for some of us, yet it provided a sense of satisfaction, knowing that we were making a difference to the sustainable development of the local community by improving their education.
At first, students were asked to reflect on the differences between our lives and the Tanzanian students’: although there was common awareness of the educational disadvantage in the continent, many of our anticipations were still overwhelmed by the harsh reality we faced when we arrived at the local Primary School. We found that students had to learn in large groups, in overcrowded and poorly equipped classrooms, and many even refused to go to school due to the occasional lack of lunch. The reality we experienced forms a tremendous and distinct comparison to the conditions of our own school, which reminds us that there is still much to be improved in this world.
Throughout the two days, students rotated around different stages of the construction of a new classroom: cement mixing, digging and wheel-barrowing raw materials such as pebbles, and paving the floor with cement. The tremendous workload was made easier by dividing it, collaborating with others in small groups – along with the opportunities to mingle and connect with students from the British School of Beijing (BSB). Although the construction of the classroom only lasted for two short days, the connection that BSG students were able to make with both Tanzanian students and BSB students undoubtedly endowed us a wider global perspective. Besides temporarily undertaking work, we also learnt the development of empathy, communicating different perspectives and global responsibilities as crucial to making a difference in helping the less fortunate. Naturally, the Tanzania expedition had certainly shown us a whole new world, as many students returned to Guangzhou with their minds more committed to charity and more open-minded towards global visions.
By: Angie Wong
3. The Safari
The safari was the most unique activity in our entire trip, as it allowed us to unwind after the strenuous physical exertion of building schools and goat sheds. After standing in the Tanzanian heat for four days, having the option to sit down for hours was a welcome change.
Our group was halved and we boarded our respective safari trucks. The car ride was long but not unpleasant. It was interesting to be able to experience Tanzania away from the camp in which we were mostly confined to. We stopped for some well needed bathroom breaks, and when we finally arrived at the national park, it was around lunchtime. Whilst eating our packed lunches, we already began to see signs of animals; several monkeys surrounded us and attempted to steal our lunches!
After that amusing experience and taking a few pictures, we got in our trucks and thus began our safari. We were also given a sheet for us to complete — we had to mark down all the types of animals we saw. The purpose of this was that the people in Nord Anglia can create an estimate of the composition of animals that make up the national park, and how this changes after a period of time. We were also supplied with a file with interesting facts, for example, an elephant’s trunk can hold up to 5 litres of water! This really helped us understand the wilderness that the students, living in a city, don’t have many opportunities to encounter. The first animals we saw were a group of elephants. At first there weren’t many animals and when there was, they were too far away for us to take a good photo of. Then we began to see several up close, ranging from giraffes to caribous to baboons.
After countless photos and an exciting day traversing the landscape of the national park, we retired to the campsite. The tents were surprisingly accommodating and large, and dinner was beef stew. Despite being in the middle of nowhere, the range of foods given to us were huge, including hot soup and dessert. The next day we woke up at around 5am to see the sunrise and continued our exploration of the park. The undisputed highlight of our trip was when we saw three adult lions.
At last it was time to depart from the base camp, but not before we bought souvenirs at the local store where we had to polish our bartering skills. In summation, the safari was an experience that seldom can be replicated elsewhere other than Africa, and for this reason it was the most interesting and fun activity of the entire trip.
By: Sum Yi Yiu