On-site visit: A plot for the Hope Home

Half a year has passed again and so it is time for Welherz to visit the Hope Home. Like the year before we (Denise and Nina) set off together for the 16 hour flight to Tanzania.

With more than 60kg luggage and bags full of presents and souvenirs for the children, we will travel from Munich Airport via Dubai to Kilimanjaro Airport in mid-August. The excitement and anticipation increase with every kilometre travelled. We are very happy to see the children again – and this time we are pursuing a very special mission: We want to buy a plot of land for the Hope Home.

A few days after our arrival, we take one of the large buses from Hope Home to Chalinze in the east of the country. What we don’t know at this point is that a bus ride of more than twelve hours is waiting for us. We already expected that the Tanzanian time data (5 hours for 500 kilometres) would not quite correspond to reality, but we were not really prepared for twelve hours. Shortly before midnight we finally arrived – completely exhausted – at our destination: the home of Sarah’s and Joseph’s friends Hangi and Getrude, from where we wanted to look at plots of land for the next days. Rarely have we experienced such hospitality in our lives. We are their first guests from abroad and are spoiled through and through – with our own room and shower, delicious Tanzanian food and even a private driving service with our own car. Hangi is a lawyer himself and so already on the first evening there is a lively and eager conversation between him and Denise – “Wakili msomi” as Hangi calls it in Swahili and which means “learned sister and brother”. Also his little son makes friends with us after the first fear, because we look so unusual “white”, and a few German Maoams with us. Getrude herself runs a preschool and so we can get valuable tips for the construction from her and Hangi.

The next morning we meet a real estate agent to visit plots. Currently the Hope Home is at home in the Kilimanjaro region. In the region, which is comparatively touristic because of Serengeti and Kilimanjaro, many orphanages and international aid organisations have been built in recent years, which is why the government is closing down rows of houses and not allowing the construction of new facilities. After many discussions with social workers and the Youth Welfare Office, Sarah and Joseph therefore suggested relocating to Chalinze, where the need for orphanages and schools is much greater.

Purchasing land with obstacles

The first property inspection strains quite nicely our nerves – six of us squeezed into a car the real estate agent guides us cross-country for miles over stick and stone – neither streets nor power lines or other houses are to be seen far and wide. The car is really damaged and for a short moment we doubt that it will survive this trip. But then suddenly what we didn’t dare to dream up to this point happens: We already find a great property on our second visit that meets our requirements.

It is only eight kilometres away from the somewhat larger town of Chalinze on the edge of the village where the former Tanzanian president now lives. It is located on two roads and close to a hospital. We can hardly believe our luck! The surface is even and little overgrown and the soil is also perfectly suited for horticulture. Now only the price has to be right. We leave the negotiation to Sarah and Joseph and so we agree after about an hour. We can buy 5 “fields” (70×70 meters) and even have the possibility to buy more land in the future. We are very pleased that we have come a good deal closer to our future project: Full of strength and drive we are now starting to build a new home for the Hope Home and in a following step the construction of a school!

Puzzles, child make-up and baking in the Hope Home

Of course during our visit we are again a few days in the Hope Home, where we are warmly welcomed by a crowd of excited and happy children. Together with them we celebrate the holiday “Nane Nane” (Farmers’ Day), which means “Eight Eight” in Swahili. On this day the important contribution of the farmers to Tanzania’s economy is honoured. Early in the morning, we will travel with almost 20 children to Arusha, where we will visit a big agricultural fair on the occasion of the holiday. The children should learn something about animals, the cultivation of vegetables and fruit and agriculture in general. But also for us the visit is worthwhile: We taste delicious Tanzanian honey from the Ngorongoro crater, see exotic animals and get to know the Tanzanian horticulture of “bag gardening”. Here seeds and plants are planted in old coffee or cement bags – due to the African soil conditions in some regions the only way to grow vegetables and fruit. The company Knauf from Iphofen and twiga from Heidelberg are also encountered here in the form of discarded bags.

In the next two days we spend as much time as possible with the children in the Hope Home. In addition to playing football and badminton, puzzles and children’s make-up are also very popular – the souvenirs from Germany are extremely popular. Most of the children and teenagers have never done a puzzle in their lives and spend hours concentrating on “Der Sendung mit der Maus” in 28 pieces. We notice clearly that our support for school education is already bearing fruit. Especially the children who attend private schools have made great progress. But also for the others the regular private lessons in the afternoon have paid off – they now speak English really self-confidently and diligently, which was unthinkable half a year ago. Also the water tank, refrigerator and washing machine, which we were able to buy last year thanks to our Christmas donation campaign, visibly make everyday life easier for the Hope Home.

Finally, Joseph asks us to teach the children how to bake bread. They love white bread with their tea, but since the regular purchase of packaged bread is expensive, Sarah and Joseph want to bake their own bread with the children in the future. At first somewhat perplexed, since we have never baked white bread ourselves, we approach the task with zeal. Without measuring instruments and with simple Tanzanian ingredients, we finally manage to bake a bread that is not only good-looking and deliciously smelling – it also passes the taste test!

After only three days in the Hope Home it’s time for us to “Goodbye” again. And what we already felt in the last days is confirmed here: The bond between us and the children grows from time to time and somehow we already belong to the “family”. For the first time we see tears flowing as the children say goodbye to us. But we know: It is only a farewell for a while and very soon we will see each other again.

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