After much time spent organizing the perfect experience for Anna and her group of retired teachers we decided to set up a relationship with the Mkombozi Organization. I met Herry (the head coordinator from the Mkombozi Organization) and his team in Arusha to discuss this possible relationship and to organize a day for our Jenman clients to experience a day in the life of a street child here in Tanzania.
We decided that they, our clients, could visit a local government Secondary school where some of the Mkombozi children are placed as well as a local orphanage that houses street children.
The situation in Tanzania is very sad for these children as many have lost their parents to AIDS, violence, sickness etc. Many of the children at Mkombozi still have their parents around but are on the streets because their parents cannot afford to look after them. Government School, believe it or not, has to be paid for by everyone, which means that there are lots of children on the street, because their families cannot afford to pay for their schooling.
Mkombozi works day in and day out on the streets of Arusha and Moshi, getting to know these children and building relationships with them, through things like sports and music. They firmly believe that the right place for a child is to be at home, and measures are taken so this can be achieved. Only in the worst case scenarios are the children housed at the Mkombozi center in Moshi or other places like the Wototo Foundation that we visited here in Arusha.
The day started with Herry and his team meeting all the Jenman Clients at their hotel in Arusha, introducing them and explaining the Mkombozi concepts. The clients were already in tears, hearing about the struggles and triumphs that this amazing organization deals with on a day-to-day basis.
Herry and his team then took us off to a local school. We visited the class where the Mkombozi children attend, all in Form 1. There are around 75 children per class. Once we were introduced to the very friendly academic staff we headed off for Form 1A’s classroom. It was an amazing experience for all. The children knew that they had visitors and we asked them to prepare any questions they may have. As custom to Tanzania, we all introduced ourselves including the 75 pupils. The Jenman clients, from Canada, talked a little about life in Canada and what it is like in school there. The pupils sang a song for us and in return the clients sang a Canadian song for them.
Prior to the clients’ visit I emailed Anna, the agent, to ask if the clients could bring some presents “zawadi” with them. Old toys, books, clothes, sports equipment, pens and pencils. We had a whole car-boot full, which we planned to share amongst the various different children involved. Not easy to give something to every child in the school, so I returned at a later date and donated all the books, some notebooks and pens to the teachers as well as pencils to every child in Form 1A. We also donated some pens and notebooks to the Head Master for allowing us to visit his school. The school has over 1000 pupils so giving to everyone was difficult.
Once we finished the tour of the school with its resident cow, we headed off to the Wototo Foundation Orphanage. Here we visited a boys’ transitional home where boys stay for approximately 3 months before heading off to a bigger organization in Moshi. They are schooled on the premises, and the idea is that their academics must reach a certain level before they are allowed to move onto more permanent housing. Many of them cannot read and write so they are starting right from scratch. Having met the house manager on a previous visit, he explained to Johan and me that the boys must be taught the simplest lessons in general hygiene and well-being. They are taught how to make their beds, fold their clothes and cook for themselves. They are also given other lessons in carpentry, gardening and how to look after small livestock like chickens and rabbits. The manager uses music to communicate with them and teaches them how to play the guitar or piano, showing them there are ways to occupy themselves other than what they might get up to on the streets.
This experience was very touching because there are only 9 boys at the home at the moment and we got to spend quality time with each of them. We had a dance-off between the boys and all of the clients got involved too – Amazing! After donating various sporting equipment we went outside to play with them. nd rabbits. The manager uses music to communicate with them and teaches them how to play the guitar or piano, showing them there are ways to occupy themselves other than what they might get up to on the streets.
I have to say a very big thank you to Mkombozi for giving up their time to spend the day with Jenman East African Safaris and our clients. As well as a huge thank you to all of the Canadian clients who generously donated large amounts of everything we asked for and more. I personally saw that everything that was donated was given to the school, Wototo Foundation and Mkombozi both in Arusha and Moshi. I look forward to working with Mkombozi in the future and hope that Jenman Clients will continue to show an interest in social development in Africa.
Visit www.mkombozi.org for more information on how you can get involved.