Volunteers from Switzerland
Cordula "Cora" Heggli
Co-Founder & President
In July 2008 I followed my wish to go to Africa for humanitarian reasons and travelled as a volunteer to Tanzania for two months.
I was warmly welcomed by my host family in the village of Ngaramtoni, far away from the hustle, and lived a little bit of real Africa – without running water, cooking over an open fire and having only limited access to power. There were weeks filled with inner peace, gratitude, joy and cultural exchange. I found contrasts every day, but there was no restriction, it was an enrichment!
The organisation gave me the job to help out in a daily school and teach the babyclass, but I realized quickly that I was not suitable to do so. I felt unsure about what I should do during the next weeks then, and I remember well, how I sat down outside of the building and thought about the options. To fail to teach 30 children at age from 3 to 6 was a disappointment, but before I could ponder further, there was a little girl who came to me, lifted up my arm and snuggled herself into me. A boy followed her and sat down at my other side, and it just took a few minutes until I was surrounded by kids, who touched me with their soft hands, looked at me with their big eyes und gave me a smile, which touched my heart.
It appeared to me as being the determination of my stay to be there for the children and give them warmth, affection and time. I liked my new “job”, the children seemed to feel comfortable and I had wonderful hours with them. It made me cry when they learned a traditional Swiss children’s song from me and presented it later, when I joined the service in the church where I was allowed to witness all those people, who where rich due to dancing and singing, and when the kids were playing with my hair very carefully.
Together with other volunteers we took the children to a hospital in Arusha to enable them to get a medical check up, including HIV and tuberculosis. The investigations took a long time, we needed to be very patient and to have nerves like steel, but after one week all the children were tested.
There were several other projects, which I organized, and the time passed by very fast. I sometimes reached my limits, as corruption is widely spread and not all of the local persons did support us; some of them tried to enrich themselves.
But in every moment of doubt followed a ray of light, and I turned home very satisfied and with a heart full of wonderful memories. I stayed in contact with Pastor Herry, who was always keeping me updated about his plans and told me about the foundation of his organisation Home of Hope. So it was that I turned back to Ngaramtoni in January 2011 and stayed with Herry and his family for two weeks. I supported him and his work for Home of Hope, and due to many sponsors I could build a toilet, a kitchen, I could buy material for the school, and some other small things. Also, it was possible to help some families with some important basics.
Herry and his family gave me a home, I was part of their family and my solidarity grew; with them, with the children, with Ngaramtoni – with Tanzania. It was a great feeling to do something good and useful, having Herry at my side, and that I found someone local, who I could trust in.
I experienced a lot in this short time, and I came back with pride and the good feeling, that I have done something sustained. Many things, which are self-evident for us, are not to find there. But with low effort, it is possible to move much, and the people give back a lot, although they have only little or even nothing.
Recently, my husband and I spent 3 days with Herry and his family again, to check the situation, to see the land plot, where the primary school should once be built, and to organize everything for a coming tailoring class, which will enable young women to get an education and to give them a chance of earning money in a good way. It was our first action for the association PROJECT NEEMA, it was a very good start, and we are sure that it will go on!
If I close my eyes and think of Ngarmatoni, I see the children and I hear them laugh. It does not take much, to get them laughing – a ballon, a hug, a raise in the air… these children do deserve a better future, that’s what I am working for!
I have made it my task to support Herry for the children and the families, as they own a place in my heart.