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The Eagle Has Landed – January 2011

The container we sent off four months ago has finally arrived at the school site. After several false starts  and two extra weeks waiting on the quay at Dar es Salaam the container was passed through customs and made its way by road to Namanditi. There were taxes due largely because of the delay in setting up the NGO and in future we would describe the destination as an NGO rather than a school since schools are only tax exempt on books and computers. Anyway, all debts are now paid and now that the goods have reached  Namanditi we can celebrate and try to forget what a struggle it was to get it all there.  

 For family reasons as well as the delays in getting the container through customs Baraka and Ntimba have spent almost a month in Dar es Salaam and as a result we are behind schedule with the opening of phase one, which was planned initially for early in January. However we can now complete  the final process of registration and the school will open in February.

This will be such an exciting year for the  20 sponsored children many of whom will have had no schooling before. The children who are boarding will be placed with the matron  in a nearby house where there is water and electricity and they  have  a  short walk to and from school each day. We will pay for a year’s rental and the bunk beds donated by Tayside recyclers will be put up there. Later, once the new dormitories are built at the school the children will be able to sleep within the school grounds. The children will be notified soon that they are being sponsored and will be measured for school uniforms and supplied with books and jotters etc ready to begin. 

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Confirmation of sponsorship interest has not been straightforward and in these uncertain financial times, three of our original sponsors had reluctantly to withdraw at the end of the year. Fortunately we have been able to find new sponsors so that all the children we interviewed last summer will have a sponsor. In some cases friends or work colleagues have joined forces to sponsor a child between them.

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Alice and Louise are booking tickets soon to travel to Tanzania in July and it will be one of out tasks to take photographs of the children at school to send to their sponsors when we get back. As a trained primary school teacher, Louise hopes to spend some of the time teaching the children, as well as discussing the curriculum with Baraka Ndakidemi.

Meantime the fundraising continues and we are soon to have discussion with Ken Anderson from One Solution in Glasgow whose offices were converted into an art gallery and jazz club for the Auction in November 2009. We hope to have another large scale event there in October this year. At the end of last year we had a successful raffle and we also sold jewellery and kangas and raised a further £1021.50. We thank all those who supported us both by buying raffle tickets and Christmas presents from our stall. A considerable share of the money was raised thanks to first year Foundation students at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and to one student in particular, Sharon, who proved to be a very effective sales person.

There are various initiatives whereby students can sign up to help a charity, as a paid or unpaid work placements and we are following this up, within Duncan of Jordanstone and also in the wider University of Dundee. A  Volunteers Fair in Dundee on the 23rd February 2011  allows students to get more information about a range of different  charities and allows the charities to gather the names of students who may wish to help in the future. We will have a stall at this fair and hopefully we will find some students eager to help in fundraising, organising future events or in making improvements to our website. Although we do not have a set target in mind for the school project  I guess we will need a minimum of £50,000 to build the remaining 4 classrooms and dormitories.

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