Thursday, 31 March 2011

An Accidental Safari

On Monday we set off for Iringa, an 8 hour (not the planned 6 as first thought) journey through the amazing African scenery in a mini-mini bus. Our mission? To visit a different deaf school to gain some ideas of what other schools are like within Africa and to be, hopefully, inspired with ways we can improve the education at Buguruni School. However, we discover that the road we were travelling on just happened to go through a National Park, you can imagine my excitement when I saw this chap wandering along...

There were baboons playing on the side of the road, waiting for dropped food from passing cars, Impala running alongside the bus and then these two lovely ladies... (they may be boy giraffes but I think they look like two gossiping ladies, putting the world to right.) 

Becky and I! If you peer into the left corner you can see three other giraffes, glasses may be needed.

On the return journey we were lucky enough to stop in a safari lodge to eat our lunch. There were zebras chilling out, munching grass, monkeys playing in the trees and wilder-beasts galloping about.

If you look at the monkeys super closely you can see a baby monkey.
Half way through my lunch an elephant emerged out of the bushes very close to us, he (?) was followed by a young elephant, the waiter reckoned less then a year, then finally by the Mum elephant.

I will tell you more of the trip over the weekend. I didn't mean for my last post to bring tears to eyes (Maybe my job when I get back should be writing for soaps) the children's happiness is infection and I don't think I realise how sad some of their stories, and even futures are. (Julie and Jo you are big softies) 
Mart, unfortunately the kids won't be able to email Harry and friends, there is only one computer in the school which is used by the headmistress, and there is often no electricity. I could maybe get them to write a letter or draw some pictures that I can send to you when I get back, or any questions Harry has I can post the answers on here. 
Again thank you for the comments, I really love reading them. xxxxx 

Sunday, 27 March 2011

I have a dongle!

Cannot tell you the excitement of finally getting a dongle!! WOOOP! I have so much to write but have decided that I will do it gradually rather then post a load of stuff all at once, and to upload photos takes a long time.
Well, I got here with no problems and really enjoyed the flights, on the first one I had a row to myself so could lie down, felt as if I was in first class. Got to the convent and it is very peaceful amongst the bustle of the little 'village' it is in. The nuns were very welcoming and showed me to my room which is lovely- will put pics up in a future post.
View from my bedroom door into  the courtyard of the convent
I went into school after a really nice sleep and got introduced to the children, although it is a Primary School the kids range from 4 to 19 years old. In the morning they all stand in lines and sing/ sign the national anthem and the school song. I then had to stand up in front of them all and be introduced, it was all very overwhelming as I was still jet-lagged but they were incredibly welcoming and just a sea of smiles.

Some of the girls at the school, this was taken just after they spent forever playing with my hair
 The kids are great, very caring and patient. They are teaching me Swahili sign language which is a bit different to British sign language but having previous experience of sign definitely helps. They are amazing as their first language is sign, second Swahili, third English; they will spend 10 minutes trying to explain one word using a variety of methods- they sign it, then spell it, then act it, then write it on your arm, then write it in the sand and if you still can't get it they find someone else to interpret! For people who have nothing or very little their love and kindness is staggering, if I'm ever stood in the sun they move me to shade because of my white skin turning slowly pink!

I just love this photo, one of the kids took it, this really sums up how happy the kids are.
 I've been doing all sorts from helping in class, helping set up the library, checking and cleaning hearing aids, helping the teachers with their English, random jobs that seem to appear and of course playing.

Helping in the nursery class, a bibo is a fruit, the little girl is called Gloria.
Off to bed now, got an early start tomorrow as I'm going to visit another deaf school which is a 6 hour drive away. Hope you are all well xx

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Still no internet....

Sorry folks, still no dongle, hopefully I will be able to get one sorted this weekend. Still going well, can't wait to tell you all the news properly but once again borrowing someone else's internet so don't want to take the michael!! LOVED reading all your comments, can't wait to reply properly xxx

Saturday, 12 March 2011


Jambo translation - Hello

Just a quick one to say I have arrived safety and will hopefully be getting a dongle in the week. Thank you for all the comments so far. It has been great, a little scary and it is only just sinking in that I am staying here for three months. The kids at the school are great, so welcoming and smile all the time. As most know I have been staying in a convert and the nuns are great, looking after me. It is super hot, my hair hates me and I look like a lion most of the time.

I better go as I'm using someone elses internet but will do a proper blog very soon xxx

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Mary Hare

On Thursday I went back to Mary Hare School for the deaf, where I used to work as Care Staff. I caught up with Viv and Michelle who had just come back from the Buguruni School in Tanzania. They were really helpful, telling me top tips on things I may need to take, giving me some essentials and showing me their pictures. I was able to ask them questions so left feeling a lot more prepared.
I then enjoyed a great evening catching up with news, gossip and hugs! It was so good seeing the boys I worked with again- bet they can't believe I'm saying this but I do miss them!! It was good seeing all the staff too, I ended up leaving at 11.30pm instead of the forecasted 10pm, getting up for work the next day was a challenge. Well, getting up any morning is a challenge to be honest.

Footballs, skipping ropes and crafty bits from Lianne (aka Canada), a bag of goodies from Kiri and the Coles Diner Workers, Chelsea shirt from Lee and balloons from Amanda.
Over this week people have donated all sorts of bits and pieces for me to take over for the young people in Tanzania. I hope I can fit it all in!!

Becky and me out for dinner to celebrate the trip and birthdays!!
Off to pack some more, not long now.... xx

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Getting Organised

Over the past three weeks I have been gradually working through an ever lasting list of things I need to be doing, it actually is ever lasting as I keep adding things to the bottom of it.
Firstly I booked my flights and am flying with Emirates on Monday- (wooooo!!) and coming back on the 30th May. I am flying to Dubai, waiting there overnight then the following morning flying into Dar es Salaam. Other bits I have been doing include.... going to London to get my visa from the Tanzanian Embassy (well and catching up with some of the "crew") and sorting out insurance.
I have had to have 7 injections for the trip, 3 rabies, yellow fever, hep B, typhoid and meningitis, I also need to take malaria tablets every day that I am there- that is A LOT of tablets!!
My Malaria Tablets
Now, anyone who knows me knows how much I am a miserable shopper who normally walks through the shop to the shoes then back out again declaring that there is nothing in there for me! However I have been pretty good with getting bits and pieces, as the part of Africa I am visiting is 50% Muslim I have been advised to bring clothes that cover my shoulders, waist and the top of my legs. I have therefore been buying lots of t-shirts and longer shorts- it seems that green and white are the colour theme for this trip!!
I want to say a big thank you to our Halmore and area Family Friends who gave me a big surprise which I received over the weekend. It was incredibly heart warming and touching that people could be so kind and generous- thank you.

Anyhoo, will blog again soon, another shopping day tomorrow for the essentials like shampoo and body wash, better take those otherwise the kids won't want to come near the smelly English girl!
Charlie x