German planning meets Tanzanian cosiness

Experience report of our board member Vanessa

After beeing a board member of Weltherz for over a year now, my Hope Home visit in January was more than overdue. I, too, finally wanted to get an idea of the location in order to be able to better assess and represent the needs and wishes. Since Denise has become more or less routine during her travels to Tanzania, I felt very safe and hardly excited.

At the airport we are warmly welcomed and also the children are full of joy. Life in Hope Home is like living in a big Family. Everybody is involved and Sarah and Joseph treat each of the children the same. I also belong to it immediately, even if I still have some fear of contact in the beginning, completely contrary to the children. But they vanish immediately after my first bus ride: The four seats per row are actually not considered full until five people per row have found a seat.

For our one week stay in the Hope Home we already planned a lot at the beginning. I’m a big friend of the fast completion I have to get used to the Tanzanian cosiness. The purchase of a sack of rice can take an hour here, so that shopping and transactions become a test of patience for me. Once again I have to state that waiting is not one of my strengths. But that does me some good!

The days in the Hope Home fly by: Get up, Chiapati (very tasty pancakes!) and then we are on the road all day to work through our to-do list. As soon as the children leave school in the evening, we play, cook and eat.

Water march!

Our first bigger trip takes us to Moshi, where we buy the long awaited presents of our Christmas campaign: a new fridge, a washing machine and new school uniforms for all children. In the beginning we have to go to the market every day to buy food. With the fridge, everyday life is much easier now – and that’s celebrated in the evening, dance performance included. Nevertheless, there is a small damper: the washing machine refuses to work because the water pressure is too low.

The water supply is generally a bigger problem than I suspected. Since water is only available in the evening and on one day a week via a concrete plan, the possible uses are very limited. Showering is done with a bucket – I can cope with that surprisingly well. But when the water supply goes on strike for three days, even the small water barrels are quickly empty. In order to solve this problem quickly, we buy the urgently needed, sufficiently large water tank. It ensures the drinking water supply and generates the necessary pressure for the shower and washing machine. To my enthusiasm, the craftsmen can finish the installation during our stay. Washing machine is running, Sarah is happy.

Not all schools are the same

Another item on our list is the visit of the children to the schools and the payment of school fees. I am enthusiastic about the private schools, which are very similar in structure, size, etc. to those in Germany. However, I am shocked by the conditions at the state school we attend. The classrooms are overcrowded and even during our presence the children are brought to rest with a stick. The differences between state and private schools regarding the English level are also considerable. This confirms me in the fact that we are increasingly committed to the education of the children. You can find more information about the school system here.

I will especially remember the visit of Mary’s new school. She has been attending a boarding school since the beginning of the year, which we can only reach via adventurous routes by motorbike taxi. Behind much jungle we find the school on a green hill. Mary is very happy to see us and shows us around. There is also a lot to do outside of school and I could imagine going to school in this idyll.

A lot done and even more taken along

The result of my first visit to Tanzania: As a big friend of the To-Do list I am very satisfied. Washing machine, refrigerator, water tank, health insurance for all children, school fees, school uniform and rent are checked off.   The stay was also a great human experience. I would describe Tanzanians in three words as incredibly hospitable, communicative and helpful. Be it the wedding at which we were allowed to participate or just a simple visit to the market – we were received very positively throughout and I have noticed again that one can communicate even without many words. In spite of the very simple circumstances, the people seem very satisfied to me. I would also like to take some of this attitude home with me.

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