12 students and 4 staff were selected to go on a mission trip to Kasulu in Africa in July 2017 with the help of community donations.
Thank you to everyone that donated to the Mission Trip! Please see a highlights video below from our trip.
Miss Morley's Africa account:
After two years of careful planning and an epic amount of fundraising, on Tuesday 18th July the Africa Team 2017 began the long journey to Kigoma, Tanzania. Three nights later, some travel sickness and a nap in Dar Es Salaam airport, we had made it.
Our arrival at Kigoma airport felt like the start of the adventure. We were met by members of the Diocese of Western Tanganika, who mastered the art of smiling, shaking hands and carry- ing our bags whilst chattering away in Kiswahili and English with precision. This was the famous Tanzanian hospitality that we had heard so much about. We were also introduced to Khamisi, our mini bus driver for the trip. As rst impressions go, he was reasonably intimidating – but his size and presence would soon become something that the team would appreciate and rely on!
As we left Kigoma airport, the team were a mixture of over-tired and overwhelmed. It is hard to describe our rst bus journey, as there was so much to see and to take in. People were bustling up and down the road; cars, trucks and people balancing full length planks of wood or bananas on the back of their push bikes, with little thought for traffic laws or personal safety.
After a quick stop at our first accommodation, a wing at the training hospital, with surprisingly comfortable rooms and en-suite bathrooms. Bizarrely, the sink taps had no running water. We made our way to our first school, Archbishop Kahurunanga, where we were met by the entire school lining the drive. There was a scrum at the door when we tried to get off the bus, so many people wanted to say hello and shake our hands. Mr Pinless was working the crowd like a pro, with the entirety of the school trailing in his wake. After the greetings and gratitude’s, our team were introduced to their rst buddies, students from the school who had been assigned to look after the ASA team. The team took everything in their stride and were soon chatting away to their new friends.
Over the next few days, the team threw themselves into the challenge of attending a Tanzanian school. The school put on several performances for us, including traditional dancing, talks on evolution and an interesting debate on the importance of education. The All Saints’ team taught some lessons on English vocabulary and spiritual leadership. The afternoons were dedicated to sports, this was an excellent bonding opportunity for the team. Net- ball and football are already popular in Tanzania, so Mr Pierce and I were able to coach the school’s teams. We also wanted to introduce some new sports to the Tanzanian students and over the two afternoons had great fun explaining the rules of tag rugby and rounders.
Everyone in Tanzania seems able to hit, throw and catch a ball, so the games were fast paced and excellent fun. We had a Volleyball match against the staff which felt like the entire school were watching. At the end of the two days, we were extremely happy to present Madame Rose, the headmistress of Archbishop Kahurunanga, with half of the sports equipment and kit that was kindly donated by our sponsors.
Our first weekend in Tanzania provided us with some free time to explore the area around Kigoma. We set out to Ujiji, a town on the banks of Lake Tanganyika, famous for being the site when Henry Stanley, an explorer and journalist, met Dr David Livingstone, a missionary and explorer. Where they met, there is now a museum and we were lucky enough to have a tour from the very charismatic Babu (Swahili for ‘Grandfather’ and a term of respect for older men). We then ventured to the Lake. Local children from Kigoma dived naked in and out of the water and wooden boats bobbed on the surface of the lake. Fishermen were bringing in the catch and it was all so busy and exciting. We headed back to Kigoma to explore some of the shops and the markets, before starting what turned out to be one of the most hilarious and terrifying road trips to the rural town of Kasulu. Our mini bus, whilst not small, was incredibly cramped with all of our gear. Tanzania’s roads are an experience in themselves - even the potholes have potholes! It was also in- credibly dusty and visibility was non-existent. Khamisi did an incredible job in navigating but Miss Wellington still kept being hit by Chris Screen’s giant holdall every time we braked. In desperation Mr Pierce seized a hard hat from somewhere to protect him- self should the TV come flying off its bracket. Miraculously, we made it to Kasulu aching but in high spirits.
Our first Sunday in Kasulu, myself, Mr Pierce and Mr Pinless were up before day break to attend the rst of two services at Kasulu Cathedral. We travelled there with the Bishop and Rev. Helen Sammon, a vicar and qualified doctor who attended the last trip and was a key member of our team. When we arrived at the Cathedral, it was touching to see how revered the building was. Christmas lights and decorations were up all year round, with lace bunting and silk sheets adorning the walls. We were expected to sit at the front of the Cathedral on the dais (a low platform for a throne), with the Bishop and the rest of the church officials. Things were all going well until Rev. Helen got up to preach her sermon, leaving us stranded with the Kiswahili hymn book and no one to follow! Rev. Helen preached her sermon and, during the collection part of the service, received a chicken as a gift from a member of the congregation. The collection is an important part of Tanzanian church services and, unlike the slightly furtive donations made in English churches, people parade down the aisle to add their donations to the basket.
People give what they can, and if a monetary contribution isn’t possible, bring produce and livestock to be auctioned off. The chicken named ‘Kevin Ferdinand’ was one such gift and we believe he ended up as part of Ephraim’s, (another fantastic contact that we made part of team) Sunday dinner. The rest of the team joined us for the second service. In the afternoon, we embarked on what Grant described as a ‘mini- pilgrimage’ into the hills outside of Kasulu. In these hills were a series of crosses that depicted the nal stages of Jesus’ life. Our selected Diocese buddies joined us, and the walk was another excellent opportunity to get to know one another. The views were stunning and the walk was a highlight during the team’s reflections that evening.
On Monday we visited Nixon’s school Nyasha Secondary school. Nixon is a teacher at this school and is a close friend to the first All Saints’ group who visited Tanzania in 2014. Our intentions were to deliver a similar program to the one we had delivered in Archbishop Kahurunanga but, as a group, we found our time at Nyasha more challenging. There were some marked differences between the two schools. Archbishop Kahurunanga is a church run school whilst Nyasha is government run. There were a lot more students at Nyasha and at one point, we found ourselves with around 500 students on the sports fields. As with all of the students we had met in Tanzania, curiosity over the visitors was the main factor and several students were being interviewed by groups of Nyasha students. On the second day, the novelty had worn off slightly for the Nyasha students and the All Saints’ team were able to deliver more of the program we had intended, as well as beginning to forge relationships with certain members of the student body. We made donations of sports equipment and kit to Nyasha Secondary School, which were much appreciated by all.
The next day meant we were leaving the Bishop’s compound to begin what had been dubbed as ‘Culture Camp’. The Diocese of Western Tanganyika (DWT) students would be joining us for this leg of the trip, with the aim for both teams to live together for a total of 5 days. Throughout this time we visited Kabanga School and Orphanage, which had a marked impact on the ASA and DWT teams. We also had the opportunity to visit Bishop Makaya High School, the school that is being supported by the Diocese of Gloucester. This was the site that the team of the first trip worked so tirelessly on, so it was a real privilege to visit and see the progress that had been made. We had a tour of the extensive grounds of the school site, and also helped to clear some of the brush from an area that they hope to build on. The ASA team were given traditional Tanzanian tools including a jembe (like a garden hoe), a sickle type tool and machetes. The DWT took great delight in mocking the ASA teams attempts to use.
Bishop Makaya High School will be the only high school in the area of Kasulu, so the uptake of students benefitting from this school will be incredibly high. On this afternoon, the ASA team introduced the DWT students to some traditional sports day type games and races. The ‘over under’ race with balloons was particularly popular.
Another highlight of the trip came on the Saturday, when the ASA team had the opportunity to visit their DWT friends’ houses and families. Two ASA students and two DWT stu- dents made up each group and there was much excitement at the end of the day when the teams were back together and could exchange stories. Some of the boys had crashed a wedding that was happening on the street out- side, whilst others had visited primary schools and our mills. Mr Pierce and I had been invited to Nixon’s house, which was a real pleasure. The 2014 Africa team had made a gift to Nixon which meant that he was able to start building his own home and, because this increased his status, he was then able to marry. He now also has a son, Christian who was named after a member of the previous ASA team! We were fed a large amount of food and soda, and took a tour of the area Nixon now lived, as well as visiting his local church. We left feeling proud of the legacy the previous ASA team had left, and hoping that we could do the same.
On the Sunday, the groups were split again allowing us to visit several churches in the surrounding areas. The DWT team members were a real asset during this process, as we would have all been lost and confused without them there. The music in Tanzanian church services is a real experience. The sound systems are turned up to maximum and the choir, dressed up in their matching out ts, perform intricate dance moves to the songs that they have pre-recorded during that week. When the ASA group met back up we all had gifts that had been given to us, another example of the Tanzanian hospitality. We had several litres of palm oil, 4 huge whole sugar canes and another chicken, Kevin Ferdinand the 2nd, was roaming around the pastoral centre where we were staying.
This Sunday was our final day with the DWT team, and the even- ing included a farewell dinner attend- ed by the Bishop Saddock and other church personnel. This was a wonderful evening, with much singing, laugh- ter and gift giving from both teams. Mambo soasoa, ‘Everything is OK’, had become the team song and the performance was brilliant, with enthusiasm rather than skill being the over- riding factor. Both teams were moved when it came to the nal goodbyes. Once we returned to Kigoma, the team headed to the banks of Lake Tanganyika and the stunningly beautiful Jacobsen’s beach. This gave the team some much needed down time and an opportunity to re ect on every- thing that we had seen and done. The team were determined to learn from their experiences and many hoped to either return to Tanzania or continue with humanitarian work in the near future. We also have hopes to invite our new friends back to All Saints’ Academy.
The team would like to thank everyone who helped and supported us with this project. A celebration evening with videos from the trip and testimonies from members of the team will be happening in January next year.