Our team of volunteers from Babcock International, the first to participate in the Babcock - Vine Trust Volunteering Partnership, landed at Kilimanjaro airport on Saturday evening, tired but estatic to have finally arrived. The team of twenty-six will spend the next 2 weeks supporting local builders in the construction of new homes, and a new life, for 3 families in the Moshi area.
After a quick dinner at our hostel, the team headed to bed, excited to start their adventure.
Sunday began with a traditional Tanzanian breakfast of chapati pancakes, egg and plantain bananas. The team then took a stroll around the centre of Moshi and its colourful, vibrant open markets.
After lunch, we settled into our in-country orientation and learned the many ways to introduce ourselves in Swahili to the Tanzanians we will meet during our time here. We then sorted through the piles of very generous donations from the team members, their families and friends, to distribute them between the families we will be building for and a range of projects in Moshi. Our busy day was rounded off by a team dinner out to Deli Chez.
On Monday morning we first visited the offices of our in-country partner TAWREF (Tanzania Women Research Foundation), who we work closely with in the construction of individual family homes for vulnerable children and families in the local communities around Moshi. We were welcomed by the TAWREF team with a warm and energetic song and dance and the team were told of the incredible work that TAWREF are doing throughout the region and country. We also found out more information about the three families we would be constructing homes for: Esteria and her 2 grandchildren; Mama Valentina and her two youngest children; and Mama Martha and her grandaughters Maureen and Noreen. The team then split into three groups to head off to the 3 different worksites with anticipation.
Each of the three sites is very different, with its own details and challenges. The first day is usually spent preparing and digging out the foundations, before putting large rocks and boulders in the dug-out trenches, which are then filled with the dirt that has been dug out.
To arrive to Esteria's site, the team travelled to the lower slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro along a steep and winding dirt track. On arrival to the worskite, they were greeted by an incredible view across Moshi town.
Esteria cares for her orphaned grandchildren, Lilian (13) and Isaya (10). Although she is able to provide them shelter in her home, she worries greatly what will happen to her grandchildren once she is gone. They have been gifted a small piece of land beside a neighbour's house, where our volunteers will help build a home for Lilian and Isaya. This will give Esteria (below, with Isaya in blue) the peice of mind that her grandchildren will be sheltered from the elments and remain together in a secure home of their very own.
Supporting the fundis (local builders) the team quickly got to work digging the foundations on the small peice of land using pickaxes and shovels under the watchful eye of Isaya.
The sun was already high in the sky, with no shade covering the small worksite. Despite the heat, the team worked extrememly quickly to complete the digging of the foundations before lunch!
After lunch, the team moved large boulders and rocks from the top of the hill by a human chain, passing each from person to person. Some of the larger boulders were rolled straight down the hill to the worksite.
Once again, the team powered through their task and had filled all the trenches within an hour and a half! The team enjoyed blowing and catching bubbles with Lilian and Isaya before heading back to the hostel.
The 3 teams arrived back from their worksites and chattered together about their time on their sites and the family members they had been able to meet that day. We rounded up the day with a swhaili lesson from Ben & Elly to practice some new sayings for the worksite the next day.
Keep up with our Home-Building Expeditions blog to follow the team's progress!