Sunday, 22 May 2011

Part III- Finally

Episode Three.... Sorry for the delay, as with all good cliff-hangers they keep you guessing right until the very end.
First things first... HAPPY BIRTHDAY MUM!!!!! Thank you for all your support this trip and always, love you lots, one week until hug time!!!!

I got up far too early for a Sunday and went to the Church which is linked to the convent where I am staying. I had arranged with a couple of the children from school to meet them, to my surprise I was by about 40 Buguruni kids all dressed in their Sunday best. They were brilliant guides showing where to go as they all sit together in one section as there is an interpreter available for them during that service (better than most churches in England!). I think the thing that struck me most is how many people attend Church here, the fact there was 40 kids from Buguruni ranging from age 7-19 was staggering when I think about how many young people attend church services in England. On a Sunday morning alone they have three services, each one having over 1,000 people attend, there are so many people have to stand outside this massive building listening to the service over a loud speaker. Can you imagine over that one morning over 3,000 people attending Church- just amazing!
The children dressed in their best clothes waiting to go to Church

I was unable to understand most of the service as it was in Swahili even though I caught bits by watching the sign language interpreter, it was very similar to the British services I have attended, readings from the Bible, a collection, time for prey and singing.... well the singing is just wonderful, very beautiful and can sometimes be quite touching. There is a choir that you often hear rehearsing in the Church grounds during the week. When they sing everyone claps and you can’t help but sway along. The service lasts for about 2 hours!! And pews (is that how you spell that word? I don’t think I’ve ever written that before in my life) are very uncomfortable. It was sweet to see some of the children who have very little get up and make a donation to the collection; however most of them had to stay seated. After the service had finished we all walked through the village back to school where we got the skipping ropes out and did lots of skipping games. I then headed back to Alison’s and Neville’s for a delicious dinner.

'The Boys' all in their school uniform waiting for the service to begin

On another note... this week we have been asking the children’s what clothes and essentials they had as we had all noticed that some of the children’s clothes are very dirty or broken. We were mainly concentrating on school uniform, shoes, a set of ‘home clothes’ and bits like washing powder, soap, toothbrush etc. What we found was very distressing and I think we all found it very difficult to see the children with so little. Some had one pair of pants/knickers, others had one set of clothes all together, one girl had one school shirt that only had one button, they had to borrow each other’s shoes, and share plates at meal times. It was difficult to see the hardship the children face. The condition of the clothes was very poor, there was over 50 children who had no washing powder and 20 children who didn’t own a toothbrush. The most frustrating thing was that the Ayahs (Care Staff) had a big bag of washing powder. We have now given every child who needed it washing powder and a toothbrush and are having a meeting tomorrow with the Ayahs and Head Mistress to find out why and how it has got to this state. Judith and I are going to go on a giant trip to the market to buy pants, flip-flops, soap... when I get home I might do a pants appeal so if you are buying pants and it is buy one get one free think of the children at Buguruni... I think the ‘Pants Plea’ has a certain ring. I have found this week quite difficult because of this, all I want to do is scoop up the children- little and big, give them a giant hug, a pair of pants, a bar of soap and look after them they way they deserve. Hopefully this is the low point of this issue and now it has been highlighted the only way is up.

A week today I’ll be in England.... gosh, what a mixed bags of feelings that thought is producing! Sorry I don't think this is the best post in the world and I think the last bit about the children's clothes is probably very muddled but I'm just haven't got the flow tonight..... writers block!!  xxxx


  1. ....definately on your case for the 'Pants Appeal' I feel sure we can get a bit of a 'parcel of pants' started, surely an essential piece of clothing that all children should own.

    The church service sounds amazing and how wonderful so many children turned up to go with you, nothing like a good sing song to lift the spirits.

    Thanks for the birthday wishes I'll look forward to my birthday hug on Sunday.

    Take care always...
    Love Mum xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  2. Hey, you have got it just right! It is never easy writing about something which we just take for granted, but I think you have done a good job. At least, we have been able to help them a little and I have just found 2 more bars of soap in my room so they are in the rucksack ready to take tomorrow - oh damn it, I have just realised there are no Kili trekkers to carry it for me! Anyway, sleep well and no snoring tonight please! x

  3. Mel and Dave x22 May 2011 at 14:55

    Pants to Poverty! I agree, will help in anyway we can once your back, and will add pants to collections of stamps, milk bottle tops and jam jars building here! Maybe a shoe box style appeal is much needed. Looking forward to a long ol natter once your back.
    Try not to smuggle any children home with you.
    big hugs
    Mel x

  4. A pants plea sounds like a brilliant idea, I am sure the kids at school would get involved in that too!!
    Not going to write much as I shall be seeing you in a week! AHHHHHHHH! SO EXCITED! I imagine you are unsure how to feel about that but you could always go back there again, I would love to after reading all your blogs.
    You have a week left and are still dedicated to doing amazing things for this children, you are my hero Miss Hadley.

  5. I enjoyed reading about your experience of the church Charlie! I found a similar thing when I went to South Africa - a lot more people regularly attend church and see themselves as Christians in Africa than they do in England! In a way this isn't surprising because we have so many possessions and are so rich in the UK that people have no need for God in their lives. Whereas in Africa they are so poor that they have a real need for God and a faith to bring them such joy! Their singing must've been amazing - and so informal compared to the UK. I love how they use their Bibles like a percussion instrument!
    The 'pants project' sounds amazing. It's so humbling how such a simple things like that - washing powder and toothbrushes we take for granted! Hope you enjoy your last week, expect it will be quite emotional! Looking forward to seeing you very much, love Ruth xx

  6. Dad again,just getting used to sending posts and the 3 months have gone.Great idea about the pants project i'm sure it'll tug a few purse strings over here,although I need some new ones myself.The church service sounded interesting,so many things you've experenced which would be impossible on a normal holiday,and I'm sure that everyone will miss your imput when you leave.Cannot wait to see you,listen to all your adventures and hopefully see some great photos.Not long now,take care lots of love Dadxxxxxxxxx.

  7. Hi Charlie, Mart & Rod here, Sue left for Canada again today for a couple of weeks, so I've just read your last 3 blogs to Rod, just great, so touching, Rod says "It will not be too long before your Dad will be here and I am sure that he will get the third degree from me and he will hopefully be able to tell me all about your visit to Africa (M "thats if you don't manage to wangle your way on to the plane with him")...but just in case you manage to find your way to Australia, I am sure that we will be able to find a spare bed for you and even though I find it cold at the moment (M "it was 7 degrees at 7am at the lake last thursday") and I am sitting here with a long tracksuit trousers on, feel assured that even though this is supposed to be the Australian tropics and it is now cold, your bedroom is airconditioned, so in case you do turn up, you will feel quite comfortable.
    Lots of love, Rod"....and from Mart & Harry too, of course. XXXXXX
    ps Don't forget to get some decent jocks for your Dad before he comes here, as we have yet to see him light farts in public yet, and without your mum to wag the finger, this might be a great opportunity!