July 2024
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Update on the Namanditi School

During this year’s dry season the first two classroom block has been roofed with clay pantiles from the Magima village ceramics factory. A second classroom building has its brickwork completed and  the roof timbers in place. An administration building and maize mill house also have the brickwork completed and the toilet block foundations have been laid.

A licence was obtained and one hundred timber trees at Mhukuru, a little over 100 kilometres to the south were felled and the timber cut to size. This saved 25% of the cost of buying the timber from local suppliers.  They have also made bricks for the building on site having constructed a 100,000 brick kiln.

9 comments to Update on the Namanditi School

  • da best. Keep it going! Thank you

  • Louise Johnstone

    Just to say that Alice and Louise leave for Tanzania on Sunday 14th June. Where possible we hope to write a few comments here to document our visit. it will depend on the availability of internet access and of course electricity.

  • The best information i have found exactly here. Keep going Thank you

  • Louise Johnstone

    Hi Folks, Alice and Louise have arrived safely in Dar es Salaam. It is too hot to think. We have spent the first day buying lovely jewellery , bone spoons and carved Noah’s arks with the animals going in one by one! Today we searched for Paradise (Bongoyo island) but the weather was wet and the boat did not sail. We have a fabulous guide called Paulina and she is helping us to change money and is a great bargainer when we need to shop. Last night we had the most amazing return journey in a moto vehicle with only three tyres and no doors. We took ‘short cuts” this meant riding along the pavement at high speed while women with babies and old men and children had to leap out of the way or end up in hospital. It was like being on a fairground ride with no safety rules – my insides have not yet settled and my eyes are still crossed, but it is all part of a big African adventure. As we drove by the children cried; “Wazungu wawili” (white people there are two of them!).

    We hurtled towards the bus station to buy a ticket and before the motorbike taxi had stopped four ticket touts had attached themselves to the outside of the car and were competing with each other, trying to persuade Paulina to buy a ticket. After much shouting and gesticulation, Paulina calmly got out of the taxi and bought her ticket from someone else. This city is chaotic, the people move slowly while the traffic is scarily fast. You take your life in your hands every time you cross a road. Tomorrow we may try again to find paradise(a volcanic island a few miles off the coast of Dar es Salaam, in the Indian Ocean). If we get there we will swim in our clothes and that will be them washed. We are being careful with water but have been drinking fresh juice as well and eating fish. So far all is well and we may start to get a bit more daring in the food department once we have flown to Songea on Thursday morning. I have adopted a stuffed giraffe or twiga as we call them here it lives at a roundabout and helps me find my way back to the house of Rosemary Nyerere whose father’s portrait photograph is smiling at us while I write this message to you.

  • Louise Johnstone

    Hello All, We are still alive and contrary to expectations I am very well unlike Alice who is a big softie.I will be returning as a women of traditional African shape. I am eating for Scotland and have three huge meals daily with no ill affect. We have visited the school and taken photos and video to show when we get home. It looks all set to open for the first nursery class in September. We have also met up with ten children so far for whom we hope to find sponsors back in Scotland to help them to go to the school. The children we are choosing have very little and if you ask them what their favourite food is they will say ‘any’. They all deserve a chance and we hope to help them to make something of their lives. We have also spent some time at Magima to help the workers to make the most of the business and to understand how best to organise themselves. Their next order is to complete the school classrooms need for September. The roads here are even wilder than those around Dar and you will have to see the photographs to believe that cars travel along them. Alice and I are being really well looked after and although the local witch doctor was busy on the first few nights after our arrival, she has been quiet since, so we are able to sleep. When she is busy the drumming and weird cries and whoops go on until the wee small hours. The children of the family we are staying with are really friendly and not at all scared of our white faces unlike those in the villages where we can sometimes start a panic and watch the children run for cover when we appear. Alice is called bibi and now so am I – that means granny. The children laugh and sing a lot and we have made a tape of their voices. They are not scared of us but they are frightened of the dog and when he is let opuit they climb the nearest adult – even me. As I write this I am trying not to be distracted by the spider or the cockroach, both of which are crawling in and around a computer that is an antique. Alice and I are feeling a bit sad because we go back to Dar tomorrow and will have to leave our friends behind. Paulina will travel on the bus with us and we will tavel through a National Park. This will be my chance to see a twiga or better still two ( twiga, wa wili!) and pehaps some elephants (tembo). We will try to write again when we get to Dar es Salaam.

  • Morag Henderson

    Hi Louise,
    So glad that you are well, and enjoying the adventure.
    It will be great to hear all about it on your return to sunny! Scotland.

    Take care

  • Jamie Drew

    Hi Louise.

    I took a quote from your last update and posted it on facebook with a link to your website. Hopefully it’ll generate interest in sponsorship!


  • ruda

    Alice and I are safely home and life is getting back to normal – whatever that is. Back at work for me the concerns of academia and restructuring soon take over into my time and energy. I have resolved to write a full record of my time in Tanzania before the memories begin to fade. I wrote a very basic diary while I was there and that will be the starting point. I am already missing my new friends and hope we will meet again next year when I plan to return to the project and perhaps teach for a while in the school. One of the great qualities of our friends in Peramiho is there kindness and generosity, you are welcomed into their lives and made to feel at home. They have such a difficulkt time trying to get things done, dealing with officials within government buildings. It makes you appreciate how lucky we are here to have the basics of life provided for us and government support for health and education for all. I have a new appreciation for the National Health Service. I have begun to prepare the sponsor packs for people here who would like to support a child through school and it is not proving difficult to find willing sponsors. Having met the children and seen their living conditions I feel more determined to try and make a difference, even though it is always going to be too little.

    The school building needs to be partially fenced off , to keep the children safe, and raising the money for that will be the next focus for our fund raising activities. We still have the issue of getting a container full of donated school equipment and books out there for which we have raised a third of the necessary cash. So it is going to be a busy summer if we want the school to open in September.

  • Hello, can you please post some more information on this topic? I would like to read more.

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