My fundraising target was £2,080, which I managed to reach in 14 months through fundraising events and daily posts on social media. After 17 injections, an extremely emotional goodbye and a 21-hour journey, I arrived at Kilimanjaro Airport to begin my experience as the youngest ever solo volunteer at African Impact Moshi.
After laying awake on the first night questioning my decision to volunteer, I headed out with the other volunteers to my teaching based project. I was assigned two classes of 21 children and a nursery group for children aged 3. I followed the set curriculum, teaching on topics including jobs, weather, seasons and basic English greetings. On top of this, I taught a Basic English Foundation class, focussing on grammar and tenses. I had a translator to help me due to the language barrier from English to Swahili.
During my time in Tanzania I also had the opportunity to work with the Maasai Tribe town group where I learned a lot about the cultural norms of one of Tanzania’s largest tribes, as well as the inspirational Wakipa women, who have all either been in abusive relationships or widowed. They have set up their own catering company and travel all over Tanzania cooking for events.
I also met the Wazee, a group of people with no families who have become homeless or ill. Every day I would visit them to bring them fruit as the meals were limited. We would talk with them, share stories or do gentle exercise with them.
While with them I was able to donate the money that I had raised at the Stanley House Evening of Entertainment towards funding for physiotherapists and medical surgery costs. The time spent with the Wazee affected me the most and made me realise how grateful I am for the education I receive.
Many people asked me the clichéd question of ‘Did it change my life?’ and the simple answer is yes. Seeing the difference in lifestyle compared to mine was astonishing. We had only occasional hot water, electricity that cut out at night and there were HIV signs all around town to bring awareness to what is a huge issue in Tanzania. I made four best friends from fellow volunteers, some being 55 years older than me, and made friends with the students who I am still in contact with to see how their English is progressing.
I am already looking forward to be working with African Impact again on my gap year.