February     Fundraising has been slow but steady and we should have enough to cover some of the ideas which were discussed with the Headmaster last October.

March         Toothbrushes and toothpaste, donated by an Orthodontist in Florida, have made their way to me in UK in the suitcases of friends.  These will be taken to the children on the next trip to the school in June.

June           Tour to Kongwa

A group of 12 visited the school in June – ex-pupils, their friends and even a lady who was born at Kongwa Hospital when it was first built.  Although the visit fell during school holidays children turned out in their hundreds to welcome us with their singing.


The trees planted over the past few years are flourishing and brightening up the dry grounds.

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Chatting with Headmaster (in pale yellow shirt)


LIBRARY  :  We picked up Swahili text books, pre ordered in Dar es Salaam, and took them with us to Kongwa.  The boxes were placed in the library so everyone could have a good look.


 Primary School books, purchased by Peter on behalf of San Diego State University,  were very well received.

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Maidenhead Nursery School’s donations went towards the purchase of the books for the Kindergarten. These were received with delight by the teachers who excitedly looked in the boxes which had been placed in the Library.


POWER TOOLS  :  A member of the tour contributed power tools for the Technical Department – a power drill and a circular saw which we bought in Dar es Salaam before we set off for the school.  He worked with the Technical Department teacher to make sure all safety precautions were understood and in place before thoroughly testing the equipment.


DESKTOP COMPUTER : During discussions with the Headmaster and teachers last October it was thought that a desktop computer with large screen would be an asset to classes held in the library where educational material could be viewed by the whole class.  After lots of advice from our computer “fundi” one was ordered in Dar es salaam and picked up on our way to the school.  This computer was generously donated by an ex-pupil who had attended at the school in the 1950s and who was on the tour with us.  What excitement this caused!

MAIZE : We heard from many sources that there will be a severe food shortage at the end of this year lasting well into 2016 due to the unusual rain pattern during planting/growing of the maize earlier this year which devastated the crops in the Kongwa area. The rains came at the usual time and all the seeds were planted.  The maize grew and was flourishing when the rain suddenly stopped and a hot wind blew for over a month drying up the maize plants.  A few weeks later a huge storm came and over two days the crops were washed away.  There is evidence of this destruction all around Kongwa as you will see from these photos.

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We have secured a supply of maize meal to be delivered to the school – enough to provide porridge lunch (with goat’s milk) for the 671 children on school days from January to May 2016 when, hopefully, the next crop will have flourished.  The maize will be purchased from a reliable source in August (before the prices rise due to the shortage) and the school will store it until needed. 

WATER SUPPLY : During our visit in June it was made apparent that two further water tanks were required if drinking water and a vegetable garden are to be sustained.  To this end we were able to commission the building of the third rainwater collection tank, thanks to Peter’s Grant via SDSU.  This tank 14,400 litre tank is to be completed before the next rains in November by the local tank builder, Mika Msongo.    If the lunch programme is to run successfully a fourth tank will be needed.  14,400 litres per tank.  To supply 612 children with drinking water and water a vegetable shamba you can understand why four tanks are required when rainwater can only be collected in two or three months of the year.   Fundraising has already begun for this fourth tank.


GOATS:  The milk goat herd is growing – with the addition of some kids born during the year and the ones we purchased in June the herd now numbers 37.  We purchased our goats this year from Mlanga village where the villagers presented us with their best selection.  The village folk think we are quite mad when we select a goat, tie a label round its neck (name of purchaser) and then take a photo!!      

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Three bales of mosquito nets were given to the school.   Headmaster and teachers will identify the children most at risk and hand these out to them.

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OTHER PROVISIONS :  Two ink cartridges for the photocopier/printer were provided.  This is their most prized possession and is kept in the Library with its cardboard box put over it when not in use to stop the dust getting into it.  I think not having to write out 671 exam papers by hand is a real treat!

GOODIE BAGS :   A little candy striped bag (biodegradable) with toothbrush, pen, and a few goodies was handed to each child. 

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SCHOOL TRIP   At dawn on 11th September 60 children and 4 teachers set off on their first ever school trip to Mikumi Game Reserve. The children are in their final year of Primary School and had just finished their exams. They’ve never seen the animals of their country . . . until now.

This trip was a huge success and I give thanks to all those whose generosity made it possible.

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They stayed overnight in dormitories, another first for them, and went on many game drives to see the animals.

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The photographs are provided by Andrés Mira Bleda, a volunteer at the school, who went along on the trip specifically to photograph the event.

Andrés then travelled to Dodoma to have the photos printed and is now helping the school children to make a book as a record of their trip.

Here the children excitedly choose the photos to use and the book begins:

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An elder from the village heard that rain ponchos had been handed to the teachers.  He trekked up to the school to see if there was one for him.  He tried it on, was pleased as can be and there was no way he was going to take it off, despite the heat! 20150611_154107_resized










KONGWA  views:

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Click to go to 2016