Tuesday, 10 May 2011


Last night I slept at school!! I was a little nervous all of yesterday, despite being used to sleeping at a boarding school with my old job this felt different. We normally leave around 6 after playing games with the children, yesterday we were doing the Tanzanian version of hopscotch which Mama Hamish was very good at! Once the rest of the ‘crew’ left I took my bag of clothes and pillow up to the room where I would be sleeping. The boarding facilities are split into four; there is a three storey building with the younger boys on the ground floor, younger girls in the middle and older girls at the top. The older boys sleep in a separate building next door. Each room has 20 bunk beds in so up to 40 children can sleep in their but not all the dorms are full. Each bed has a locker and at the end of the big bedroom is two separate rooms, firstly a storage room for all the children’s suitcases, secondly the bathroom which has three showers, three toilets and some sinks.

Eating dinner of rice and beans with the girls

I was sleeping on the top floor with the older girls, the Ayah (Care Staff) had kindly made up my bed and given me a new mossie net which I was pleased about as the nets over the windows are broken so there are a lot of mossie but felt bad that they were using it for me, hopefully they will now give it to one of the girls. The girls made me feel very welcome and took me under their wings in showing me their routine. At 6.45 we had dinner which is cooked outside over charcoal and is always rice/ugali and beans. It is served out of giant pits by a couple of the boys. I was welcomed onto the table I always sit at when I eat with the children and I am lucky to get a seat as there is only four tables in the room- another thing on the Tanzanear Wish List to buy. After dinner I was shown were to wash up which was outside using a tap, everyone swills their own bowl.
With dinner over I was shown where to have a shower, I showered in the Ayahs bathroom as the girl’s room is open showers and I’m sure none of them want the shock of my very white tummy!! As the pump is broken all the children have to carry buckets of water to their bathrooms and use them. I carried mine up the three flights of stairs-not balanced on my head as many of them can do- I don’t know how they do it! I showered with a bucket and old butter pot but it did the job. Just as I was getting dressed the power cut out and we had no electricity for the rest of the night!!

Showering finished a lot of the children were outside just talking a relaxing- bearing in mind it is pitch black!! They all thought my skin was amazing as it ‘glowed’ and it was easy to see me signing. At 9pm the children went into their room brushed their teeth and started climbing into bed. Their mossie nets were tucked in all using the phone light of the Ayah in charge of that dorm. Some of the nets are so holey I couldn’t believe they bothered, I suppose something is better than nothing- another thing to be added to the wish list! I had to hug all the girls good night then I was tucked in. As it had been raining the temperature was bearable without the fans (some of the dorms don’t even have fans). I had a disturbed sleep but I think it was mainly because I had a terrible headache and forgot to bring tablets.
Waiting to get water out of the well for a shower. Cold, raining and the kids are wearing very little

We were woken up at 4.45am, got up and made the beds, then the long queue for the water started again- ready for the morning showers. The tap that was supplying the water had broken so we had to use the well with one person using bucket and string to bring the water up. Just to paint the picture, it is still dark, there is about 60 children queuing for water and it starts to rain. I helped the little ones carry their buckets as they are almost as big as them. Once showers were done, teeth were brushed, chores started, sweeping the floor, washing the classrooms and dormitories floors, ironing their school uniform and work around the sight. Some of the older ones help the little ones get dressed. At 7am teachers and day students start to arrive ready for the start of school at 7.30am. I can believe how much they do before 7am, all so happily (apart from a few scraps from the little ones over that’s my bucket-no its not it is mine!) I very much enjoyed staying over despite having little sleep and felt I understand the workings of the school much better. You may have noticed I haven’t mentioned breakfast, that is because they didn’t have any. Normally they have a cup of chai (sugary tea) for breakfast – no food but today they had run out of charcoal. They didn’t have any food or a hot drink until 10am; I found some of things that I saw over night quite sad and have spoken to Judith about ways we could improve the care.

Right, so a huge THANK You for the offer of games, I am really keen to follow this up and am currently talking to Judith about the best way to do this, unfortunately there isn’t really a great postal service here, I think there is one central post office that you go to, no delivery so you have to know something is coming also a lot of stuff goes missing. I will get back to you all about the best ways to get stuff over here. Also Miss Kiri I can speak to the committee about your donation because we can specify where you would like it spent any requests? Thank you so much for raising that much. Sorry I haven’t been blogging, again my internet is broken- grrrrrrr!!!! 
Rod and Martin, lovely to hear from you two in Australia, I can just imagine you two sat around talking about old times, I'm glad that you are enjoying the blog. I hope Harry has enjoyed his work experience, sounds great, Rod, that is so good Dad is coming over in September, might have to do some nagging to see if I can fir in his suitcase. Tommy and Faye - the comedy stories keep coming!! Dad- glad the Easter egg is safe thanks for the update, Hello Mum, yeah I do mean jigsaws sorry! Hello Ruth and other Knights of Norwood, weather is hot and rainy at the moment. Hello Lau, Baby Erin must be getting big now. Loving all the comments today thanks, love you all and missing everyone this week. xxxxxxxxxxx ps on the salmon licence yes please Dad.


  1. If you need stuff sent out here get it sent to the Chef's PO Box, I am sure he wont mind. Love Lola

  2. My goodness sounds like quite a night and such an early start for those children and with nothing to eat or drink, what an insight to their early daytime routine, it makes the convent sound very comfortable.

    I feel sure there must be a way we can get things over to the school, mossie nets sound like a real need, perhaps we could have a bit of a mossie net fund raiser when you get home sometime.

    The thought of the little children lugging buckets of water up the stairs every day to have a wash/shower with an empty tummy makes me feel quite tearful, you must feel so very emotional at times even if you are always greeted with a huge smile and a hug.

    Such a nuisance with the internet not working again I will not be in a hurry to complain about ours being so slow at least it works.

    Take care mu darling and speak soon...
    Mum xxxxxxxxxxxxx

  3. Hi Miss Charlie - sorry the donations wasn't more feel like those poor children need a lot of things bless them - what do you think they need more of and when I write the letter and send the cheque I will specify the request. We are holding a summer fete again this year and I will see if we can have a stall to raise funds for the school so we can send a little more over. I read this to finn and tilly and finn gets sad too and wants to draw pictures for the poor children to make them smile.

    I do love hearing what you are up to - but it makes me feel sad too that the children have such different lives and the children here really have nothing to complain about our everyday grumbles are nothing compaired to your childrens daily life.

    Keep smiling and glowing!!

    love Kiri, finn and tilly - (finn wants to donate his pocket money to the poor children he is very worried about the mossies too) xxx

  4. Hey Charlie
    I'm really enjoying reading your updates. Has your trip been anything like you'd imagined it would be? It shocks me that the children start their day on an empty stomach and yet they do so without complaint. Just thinking about it makes me cry!! They are all amazing as are you and the work you have helped them with.
    Big hugs Charlie x x

  5. Charlie! you are doing so many lovely things I think you are going to be bored of us lot when you get back!!! Hope you are as happy as you sound in your posts, miss you lots! xxxx

  6. Oh Charlie this is the saddest post you have made! We really should appreciate what we have more. ANYTHING you think I can do or we can do at school, just tell me.
    So you know (and this seems ridiculous!), the cinema room is in regular use, the frame with the stars in and the amazing newspaper holder has been put up by LeeBee, looks fantastic.
    Missing you so so much, love you xxxxxxx

  7. Hey Charlie,

    I can't tell you how much i have enjoyed reading your blog. It is so lovely to know what you are up to and makes you feel not so far away. The pictures on the blog and facebook have made it all so real that you are out there.

    That sounded like quite a night. I can't believe you were up so early and able to function. I was quite surprised about the mossy nets. You would think they are a bare minimum requirement!

    Not too long til your home now. Really can't wait to see you. I think you will be missed greatly out there as you are super lovelable and it sounds like you have been making an impact.

    Missing you x