A Volunteer in Ngaramtoni
12.09.2013, 08:25 by Belinda Robb
Falstaff Dowling-Mitchell, a primary school teacher from New Zealand, recently spent a week volunteering in Ngaramtoni while he was in Tanzania to climb the great Mount Kilimanjaro. Falstaff describes his experience below:
Through contacting Belinda at PROJECT NEEMA I was able to head to Ngaramtoni and meet up with Pastor Herry, the founder of Home of Hope Foundation. The week I spent with Herry and his family was one of the most inspiring weeks of my life and turned into much more than just learning about the education system. I was able to get a feel for the way Ngaramtoni and its people functioned and observe the work of both PROJECT NEEMA and Home of Hope Foundation.
Herry was by my side every day as I traipsed around a humming little community taking in the sights and sounds of Ngaramtoni. He is clearly a respected member of the community - our days were continuously interrupted by friendly locals yelling out “pastor, pastor!”, or beaming, beanie wearing motorcyclists pulling up in a cloud of dust for a chat.
I observed the plot of land that is to become the location for a primary school. My mind has already painted a picture of the finished product full of appreciative local children learning – in English! Without a solid English speaking base most children in Tanzania are unable to continue their education, as High Schools are generally English speaking. What saddened me about the Swahili speaking school I visited in Ngaramtoni was the huge lack of resources for a group of students that appreciated the little they did have, and so badly wanted to learn.
The preschool and tailoring school are efficient establishments serving a vital purpose in the community and the people involved were only too happy to show off the way the places functioned and the items of clothing they had made from materials donated by PROJECT NEEMA.
Herry, his wife Milka and his children were amazing hosts. I don’t know how Milka got my white shirts (not a good colour to choose to wear in a place full of orange dust) so clean without a washing machine but she did, with a smile on her face. I don’t know how the children put up with me being so terrible at learning basic phrases in Swahili but they did (more giggling with/at me than smiling) and I don’t know how Herry put up with my million questions a day but he did, and he answered them with a smile on his face!
Ngaramtoni is a dusty place, a welcoming place, a home to friendly people full of smiles, and a place where organisations such as Home of Hope Foundation and PROJECT NEEMA make a huge difference to the lives of the people. I can’t wait to go back!
A big thank-you to Falstaff for using his free time in Tanzania to help out in Ngaramtoni!
Remember: Ngaramtoni is only 12km west of Arusha, the gateway town to all of Tanzania’s wonderful National Parks, and only a couple of hours from Mount Kilimanjaro. If you find yourself in the area then please do not hesitate to contact us here at PROJECT NEEMA and arrange a visit.