The NAE trip to Tanzania is probably Dover Court’s most inspirational yet humbling trip of the year. From the moment the students sign up they are involved in understanding and supporting the communities they are going to visit. Each student raised at least $415 for the Seeway Trust, NAE’s charity partner in Tanzania. To do this they undertook a number of activities from selling items, raffle tickets and games at the school's Christmas Fayre to one student inspirationally shaving her head to raise money for the charity.
The realisation of what the fund raising might do and the difference in the lives of the students and the people of Tanzania became clear from the moment we disembarked the plane. It was obvious that the landscape was vastly different from the tropical metropolis that is Singapore.
This became even clearer the next day when the students went to the area of Nazareti and visited a local family. The family's home had no electricity and only one bed for 8 people. The students helped build a goat shed and gave the family a goat which would provide them with valuable milk that they could use for themselves and to sell for a small amount of extra money. Another project was to provide lighting in the house and the students set up a solar power system that not only provided light to every room but also a usb charger. The students worked incredibly hard on an incredibly hot day to complete the project and after meeting the family there was a sense of pride in making a real difference to a family.
The Seeway organisation runs many large scale projects to aid the local community. Our students were lucky enough to work on the enlarging of a local primary school. As we arrived at the school it was clear to see the students were taken a back by the differences between what they were viewing and their own schools. This inspired them to work tirelessly to achieve as much as possible. Building desks, moving cement and plastering walls are not glamourous jobs and hard work in the hot sun, but there were no complaints, just questions of where can I help next. With this work ethic the students were able to make 2 classrooms worth of desks and plaster 3 classrooms and a walkway.
After the hard and inspirational work helping the local communities it was time to go on safari. The students stepped on to huge trucks and set off to the Tarangire national park. In the park the view was stunning and everywhere you looked there were animals. They saw elephants, giraffes, zebra, antelope, ostrich and even a lion. Camping in the middle of the national park and hearing all the animals throughout the night will be an experience I know they will never forget, along with watching the sunrise over grasslands.
This was a truly inspirational trip and it has made a huge difference to the lives of our students. They have built connections with schools from Hong Kong and Mexico, been part of projects that have improved the lives of a community and seen an amazing landscape. They have been challenged from the moment they new they were going and it has been an honour to see them rise to that challenge at every moment.