Thursday, 30 October 2008

''You can leave Tanzania but Tanzania will never leave you''. by Emily

Spending 2 months in Tanzania this summer (and a month last summer) was the most amazing experience I have ever had! I thought I’d give you an idea of a standard day and then tell you about other activities I did!

Most mornings it was an early start with a walk down the hill, over the river and across the maize fields to Uchira Primary School. Along the way there were always lots of children desperate to meet a real live Mzungu (White person), hold my hand and test out their English. Being white does make you the most popular person in the Village! I taught English and a bit of Maths (in Swahili!) at the school. Sometimes I helped the teacher in classes and other times I took the class myself or with other volunteers. Teaching a class of 50 children who couldn’t speak English seemed a daunting idea at first but I soon settled in to it and discovered that knowing a little Swahili can go a long way! Volunteers are an invaluable resource as often teachers were absent or the English teachers didn’t fully understand what they were teaching so volunteers could explain it to them. We also introduced more interactive ways of learning so the lessons were more enjoyable for the children. I spent break time in the staff room eating bagier (sort of Yorkshire puddings), drinking sweet tea and talking to the teachers, who were equally excited about there being Wazungu (white people) in the school, about life in England.
I usually left school about 1pm and headed back to the house where I would help Jenifa finish cooking lunch and we’d have a chat, half in English and half in Swahili, so we’d both improve. Meals generally consisted of beef and sauce with rice, fried bananas or Ugali (which usually needs to be eaten with a “learn to love” attitude) and fruit. I spent most afternoons either painting the Kindergarten or the ward, or helping Freddy (Mr Soap) in the garden. After a long hot day a bucket shower felt like luxury and was always enjoyed! English class ran two nights a week over the summer where there were children and adults all wanting to learn both English and about life in England. I ran the adult and secondary children’s class. We covered a variety of topics and grammar as well as chatting about England and how it differs from Tanzania as well as making some great friends and having a good laugh. It was a great opportunity for us to decide exactly what to teach and how to teach it. After dinner I often walked down to Village Inn and met Gasper, Gerald and Jerald and a few others (who all live in Uchira) for a drink and a bit of a chat followed by my forth walk up the hill of the day! It was always worth the effort as there was no electricity at the house and sitting in candlelight all evening had little appeal!

Saturday nights were my favourite night of the week. They usually consisted of a nice meal in a restaurant in Moshi followed by a few pubs and the dancing the night away at La Liga or Pub Alberto with other volunteers, V2V staff and a few other people we met. Tanzanians are undoubtedly the most amazing dancers and so Jenifa (the best dancer of the Tanzanians), Konyagi (the spirit of Tanzania) and the Bongo flava music kept me dancing until the early hours!Weekends usually meant trips somewhere. Most Saturdays I went into Moshi for shopping, mzungu food and internet. My favourite trip was to Miwaleni springs were I swam and got laughed at by locals because they thought the water was freezing and didn’t understand why people would want to sunbathe! Other trips included Hedaru orphanage, Lake Chala and Marangu where there is a museum about a local tribe.I also spent a week in Zanzibar after my time in Uchira where I went snorkelling, enjoyed vast quantities of fish, went on a spice tour and generally acted like a tourist! Zanzibar is very different from Tanzania. It has an Arabic feel about it and is a great way to end the trip abroad. Through volunteering with V2V I learnt about a totally different culture and way of life. Volunteering with a small charity meant I got the opportunity to work alongside, and make friends with, Tanzanians as well as make a real difference. I loved the chance to learn the language and making a small effort gained me a lot of respect. Tanzania is a beautiful and very welcoming country and has become a huge part of my life. I will definitely return to Uchira in the near future so I can make a bigger difference to the people. When I first considered volunteering with V2V I remember a quote in the handbook. “You can leave Tanzania but Tanzania will never leave you.” This quote perfectly sums up what Tanzania now means to me.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

what do you have to share with us

People work hard to meet their targets and plans at the required time. This develop a desire to find a place where nature allows full exploration as you enjoy and play with your beloved family when it come to holiday. This is one of the attractive waterfalls in Tanzania, where volunteers can mark as a place to remember when visiting.

Meeting new people to share ideas and experience is one way of learning new things. Here are volunteers with local Africans trying to share different information.

what can you offer to help people in need

Volunteers playing with orphans from KIKUHE Orphanage Centre. Orphans need support to live like any other person in this world. How many of us have shown even a little concern on orphans? If we all join hands like the picture above don’t you think this world will be a better place to live? Look at what you can do and come up today, these children are waiting for your support and you can change their lives.

There are number of African Youths who have got talent and skills but do not have support and opportunity to develop as their career. We should start supporting our children to prepare their career no matter where they are. We should give opportunities to people in villages to improve their talent and skills by providing them with facilities.

Most people in Africa find it difficult to spare time for personal reading due to different number of reasons. One of them is lacking access to the main libraries which most of them are in urban areas. Village to village has come up with an idea of a mobile library which will be going to villages and give access to villagers. Any support to improve this library is well appreciated

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Annika's story

Thursday in Uchira

Had such a nice day today and seeing as I’ve had zero contact with the world for a week I thought I’d write a little blog and make the effort to find some internet tomorrow.

It’s absolutely boiling in Kilimanjaro at the moment, like about 35 degrees, but this morning was a little cloudy when I got up so it was fairly cool. I got up at 7 and had a refreshing wash in a bucket haha - no attempt to wash hair as fruitless task. I then ate some bananas and watermelon and had three cups of tea (they were small cups).

Trecked up the (excessively dusty) hill or about 25 minutes to the building-site to find very little action except an old man watering the trees. Apparently they are trees – I can’t tell the difference between them and the weeds, but what do I know? Helped Gerald to carry a massive water barrel over to the site and then spent about an hour and a half waiting for various men to arrive to help connect it to a pipe. Finally managed to get it to start irrigating a bit of land but then it started leaking. The general response was to empty the entire barrel again and get inside to see what the problem was. I gave up at this point and went on my merry way.

Then went to visit a group of women who are making batiks (the charity funded their start up costs and helps them do marketing etc). I helped them to design a cool bag out of Kanga material which I actually want myself!

Trotted back for lunch, by which point it was absolutely boiling. Lunch was on the table when I arrived back (which was wicked!!), had rice, green beans, spinach and a fish head. Then I had a meeting but this was not the most exciting part of the day because I was falling asleep with the heat. Only managed to come back to life by drinking a fanta passion in Kimambi’s bar, which was full of colouring, flavouring and sugar, and sorted me out!

a nice town view from one of the hills in Uchira

We then held a meeting in the church hall to present some research about HIV/AIDS that one of our volunteers (Frances) has been doing. Lots of people from the local community were there, including the village chairman, various religious leaders and some school teachers. We talked about how big the problem is in the area, how is hidden so much by social stigma, and discussed the growing number of young people that are left without their parents. We talked a lot about how various organisations could work together more effectively. We also planned a big event for World AIDS Day, where we are going to provide free HIV testing and stage a march through the village.

I then went to play football, which was hilarious (I am rubbish at football). About a million kids and teenagers turned up and we all ran around like twits while the sun set over Kilimanjaro (gets dark at 7). Football turned into netball, and then sort of random running around and general banter. Then it was too dark and I kept falling over rocks so we had to stop.

On the way home we stumbled across a massive disco that was taking place at the market – it was some quite random Christian music which was pretty funny but there were some pretty impressive flashing electric lights! Danced with my friend Jenifa and some of her girlfriends for a bit and various people laughed at me (white person lol).

Going to have some dinner now and then trot down to the road for a beer or two with my good friend Ernest. Looking forward to the weekend – going to get a bus into Moshi town I think tomorrow for some ‘Club Alberto’ action! Basically about 500 hot black men grinding against you inappropriately. Ideal.

I think I’m going to do a skydive on Sunday!!!!!!!!!! Ahhh!!!

Nitakuwa furahi sana kusema kwa wewe badaye! Kwa heri,
Love Annie xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Tuesday, 21 October 2008


TANZANIA WITHOUT HIV/AIDS, IT’S POSSIBLE. V2V has got a role to support the war against this epidemic disease. This was during the HIV/AIDS day in Uchira where people gathered to show their support against the spread of the disease.

“Education is the key to life”. As the country is fighting against illiteracy, V2V has involved itself in a number of ways to show a support on this. These are some of the volunteers in Tanzania trying to encourage students to focus and plan for their future.

V2V is supporting a number of local initiatives in Africa, as you can see the batik products from one of the group in Tanzania being advertised in one of the V2V exhibition in UK. This is to empower local talented people who make their living through their skills and talent but lacking support and market for their works.


How good is to learn something new by going through it? These are some of the volunteers who wanted to experience some of the agricultural activities done in the country. This helped them to learn some of the local ways of doing things.

Volunteers are on their way to start doing some agricultural activities. Volunteers when in the country are involved in different activities as they choose, this depend on the knowledge and interest of the volunteer.

As they work hard with V2V, volunteers also get a chance of exploring the beauty of the country. Look how beautiful it is being in Tanzania. The country has got a lot of attractions of which you will never forget once visiting.


How safe is that water? How much do you think they get after selling these vegetable bundles compared to the risk they take passing through this dirty water? Do you think they like going through that? You might not be able to change this, but what could you do to help women like this?

Come rain or shine we must earn our daily bread’. This is all they have to keep them surviving. Look at the products they are all nutritious but why are they sitting on stones or buckets, no shade, on the dust. For how long do you think they have been going through this? Should we wait for someone from outside to improve this market? Let us come together and improve our own living.

Looking critically at the background of this picture I don’t see any nearby house, that means these people are travelling far to fetch this water. Now look at where they fetch water from. is that water safe? How many litres do you think they need per household for daily use, and how many trips do they make to get enough water per day? Is this a daily routine? Before pointing a finger to somebody else let us think and decide whether we can change this situation by ourselves.

Monday, 13 October 2008


Dear Blogger welcome to village-to-village (V2V) blog. This blog will mainly discuss the following issues;
-the activities V2V does
-volunteer experience and stories
-general development issues

Village-to-village is a small charity (no 1120360) and company ltd by guarantee (no 6308771). We aim to alleviate poverty in rural Africa by working in partnership with local organisations and building on local initiatives. Our work cuts across three main areas -

DEVELOPMENT: We work in partnership with local organisations in Tanzania which aim to create sustainable livelihoods and advance the rights of disadvantaged groups.

EDUCATION: Development and change is complex yet poverty in this interconnected world is down to us all. We work with schools and universities on development education.

VOLUNTEERING AND COMMUNITY BASED TOURISM: We organise volunteer placements and short stays with our local partners, this gives people the opportunity to learn about the culture and contribute to development activities.Make Poverty History.- Community groups and individual initiatives can improve life in rural Africa.- Such groups are often lacking in access to resources and self confidence.- Through building links with schools and local communities in the UK we are able to increase the capacity of our partner organisations to take effective action.- We are also able to give direct grants to organisations in Africa to finance projects in health, education, sustainable agriculture and small enterprise.- We are committed to working with the people we help and not imposing our values and ideals on them.For more information on volunteer opportunities and the other ways you can assist Village-to-village's work, please contact us at: or visit our website at


As V2V has been sending volunteers to Tanzania we would like to use this blog as part of sharing experience and stories from volunteers who have been in Tanzania. Through this blog volunteers will be able to let us know how their life in general was in the country. This may include their interaction with Tanzania community, their amazing moments, what did they learn from the country, what difficulties did they face and how did they go through it.

The planet earth is a global village where human being come together and share different ideas to make this planet the better place to live. Through sharing ideas, experience, knowledge and talent people learn from each other. As V2V we believe “together we can”.

As the animal giraffe, Tanzania is the very beautiful and peaceful country. Did you notice that beauty when you were in the country? Tell us your story.
Coming together as one regardless of your colour, tribe, gender, social and economic status will always help to bring solutions in our society.


A number of issues to be discussed under this umbrella. Bloggers are welcomed to share different articles, true stories (with the positive impact), testimonies or any kind of discussion which aim at boosting people’s living. Our discussion will mainly tackle issues like poverty eradication, improve people’s living and fighting against diseases.
This is what is happening in rural areas when it comes to transport system. Most of people in villages are risking their lives for the sake of moving from one place to another. What do you think we can do as individuals to get rid of this situation?

How many miles do you think these women walk everyday on their way of making the living? How many tonnes of dust do they consume when it comes to dry period? As a Tanzanian or a poverty fighter wherever you are which role have you played to improve the living of these people?

Why is this child taking such a risk? Is there any adult looking after him? In any cut who to be blamed? Do we need other people to come and take care of our future generation? What role does today’s society play on grooming our future generation?