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Annie in Tanzania (Part 1)

Bosco Volunteer Action (BOVA) is the overseas volunteering organisation of the Salesians of Don Bosco in the UK, a Catholic Religious order. It offers placements for adults to learn through action, serving the young and the poor while living and working alongside Salesian communities around the world.


We currently have Annie over in Tanzania, currently volunteering with the Salesian Sisters. She has been over there for 6 weeks so far and has 6 weeks still to go. 

She has written about her first 6 weeks over in Tanzania.

Week 1

Hello from Tanzania,
Well this first week has flown by! After a few days to settle in and get used to the environment here the quietness was soon filled with the presence and joy of hundreds of children!
June camp began on Monday with the aim to provide enjoyable and educational activities for the local children to occupy them during the school holidays.
We have cared for over 200 children each day giving them a safe space to play games, pray, learn (English and maths) and reflect on biblical topics whilst also providing lunch for them. I have thoroughly enjoyed spending time with the children this week. They are keen to get to know me and learn about England! I look forward to the second week of camp!!
I feel very welcomed by the sisters and I am lucky to share their home with the 5 of them. They have been kind to me, including me in activities and helping to translate the Swahili. It is very peaceful in the house. I am learning a few phrases of Swahili... hopefully over time I will get the hang of it a bit better!
The days have been so long and the heat makes me very tired. I am thankful of the time to rest and reflect over this weekend.

Highlights of the week:
1. teaching the sisters to play connect 4 and frustration.
2. Helping to teach k1, 2 and pre-unit English and maths
3. Teaching songs and actions to the children... including 'little peter rabbit' the Macarena and 'if you're happy and you know it.'
4. Trying new food- fried bananas. A rice/mashed potatoes like carb and lots of green tea!

A wonderful first week, and... So thankful that the mosquitoes have settled... not too many bites now!

Week 2

Salama! (Hello)

Another great week of camp had by all here- the children have really enjoyed the freedom, time and space to play, work and pray. On Friday we had a showcase where all the classes presented a song, dance or play to show what they had learnt during the 2 weeks- they were some great acts!! I tool lots of photos and videos which I look forward to sharing with you!
On Thursday morning the children walked around the local area giving gifts to the poor/sick. I accompanied the K2's and they were so lovely and giving... It was a joy to see them sharing what little they have. Yesterday was the final day of camp and we all celebrated mass together, lots of singing and dancing involved! The children all revived gifts as they left yesterday including clothes, pencil cases, exercise books, games etc. They were very happy... A wonderful end to the June camp!

I really feel very at home here- getting to know the sisters much better, they have a great sense of humour and are eager to help me out and look after me!

Next week (on Tuesday) I will travel to Dodoma and stay there for a week with 2 of the sisters and over 60 youth from Dar Es Salaam. We are going to take part in the Salesian youth movement forum! I am really looking forward to this experience, it gives me a chance to meet people who are my age and share the Salesian ethos together!

Highlights of the week:
• teaching the children songs- over my head and oggie oggie oggie!
• helping the sisters to prepare the gifts to give to the children on the final day of camp.
• Last Saturday we dined by candlelight as the power went off... It was very peaceful to share a meal in this way.
• the children and youth helping me to eat rice, beans and stew with my hands- very strange but liberating way to eat!
•new food= mandazi- dohnut type fried bread. Ktombwe= heavy bread roll type of food made from rice flour!

I have an exciting week ahead... E noting some rest today to prepare! Hope all is well on the home front!?
I will be away next weekend in Dodoma so will update again it 2 weeks.


Week 3 and 4

Mambo?! (How's things)?

Well another two weeks have flown by, it is hard to believe that I have already been here for 1 month! How time flies when you're having fun!

On the Monday before I left for Dodoma (23/6) I met with one of the contacts given to me by my uncle Richard! Barbara and her daughter Emily (who is near my age) took me out for the afternoon to the slipway- a peninsular harbour area of the city. It was so beautiful with some great views of the coast and lots of ships and markets! We had a wonderful meal together whilst watching the sun go down- a magical experience! I am so thankful to them for their generosity and look forward to meeting with them again soon.

Tuesday (24/6) saw a very long, 9 hour coach journey to the capital city of Dodoma for the Salesian Youth Movement forum. There were, however, some great views along the way! Over 200 young people (16-20) gathered from across the province to discuss topics surrounding Salesian youth and how to put faith into action. Me and two other volunteers from Germany (who had already spent 10 months in a community in Moshi) were put in charge of first aid and the rather large task of overseeing food preparation. It was a busy week of telling people to drink more water, giving out paracetamol and allowing them to rest in our little first aid room! A few cases if malaria which required hospital visits but apart from that no big emergencies... Thank goodness!

All of the talks that were happening most days were in Swahili so me and Judith and Ruth (Germans) spent our days in the first aid room and helping to prep activities. I joined in with morning prayers and one of the sisters from Kenya translated for me. Even though there was a language barrier, I really enjoyed meeting lots if new people and especially enjoyed the friendship of Judith and Ruth! During the evenings they had a cultural show... Each community presented something, a song, dance or play! It was great fun to watch... The youth were so eager to share their talents!

So that was my first week... So many stories if Dodoma which I'm sure will be told on my return! A highlight has to be exploring the city with Judith and Ruth and eating pizza!... After rice and beans all week pizza tasted like heaven!

We arrived back in Dar on Monday evening after another long day of travel. I was glad to be back with the sisters and especially glad to have a comfortable bed again! It was great to be back in the heat again... Dodoma was very cold in the evenings and had to wear my jumper for a lot of time.




This last week has been spent relaxing, reading, sleeping, cleaning etc. It has been nice to catch up on some sleep and re-organise myself after the week away. I have also been helping to prepare the display boards for school and revive the 'card' box of the sisters! I spent the weekend making various cards fir upcoming celebrations. It has been lovely to be creative and take the time to make them as nice as possible!

The internet has been down since my return from Dodoma so not too much contact with home which has been difficult especially as the community has been quiet.

Oratory on Saturday was wonderful... It was so nice to be back with the children again playing games and having fun!

School begins on Tuesday so looking forward to being with the children more and helping out!

• Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in Dodoma- taize style.
• eating ugali and beans twice a day with my hands during the sym forum.
• laughing a lot with Ruth and Judith.
• The arrival of a new volunteer here in Temeke. It is lovely to have some company!
• A few unexpected family classics/ Lourdes hymns popped up whilst in
Dodoma. It was lovely to hear them- a great comfort.

Hopefully a busy week ahead in school. Hope all is well at home?
It is so lovely to receive your replies... Keeps me going here!

Week 5

Jambo! (Hello)
Wiki njema kwangu!
(A wonderful week here for me)

School started on Tuesday which was great. The children arrived looking very smart in their uniforms. Many of the children recognised me from the June camp so they came to greet me and welcome me which was lovely.

I spent Tuesday with K2 (4-5 year olds) teaching them songs, reading stories and helping the teacher to mark books and plan lessons. I spent the rest of the week with standard 5 (9-10 year olds) teaching them maths and English everyday. In English I taught them how to write a story... Some of their ideas were so funny! They are very creative. I have also been helping with the music lessons... Teaching them songs and the sol-fa method of singing! I have realised that English grammar is so difficult especially tenses! The children get very confused and I'm finding it hard to explain! Any advice or activities for this would be greatly appreciated!!?

Two of the sisters wanted to learn the keyboard so every afternoon I have been giving them lessons. I am teaching them to read music and play some of the hymns we sing during prayer time. It is so nice to share the music with them and help them to gain new skills!

There are now two other volunteers here. Frieda from Tanzania and Anna from Italy. They are both very lovely and I am really enjoying having some company. We laugh a lot and learn from each other... Anna is teaching me and Frieda Italian everyday and Frieda is helping me with Swahili!

Over the weekend I helped to clean the school with one of the teachers and attended a celebration mass for a newly ordained priest from the parish of Chang'ombe. The mass was so colourful and there was lots of singing and dancing... They really know how to celebrate here!

The days are long here and I am being kept busy which is good. All the internet problems have been fixed so it has been nice to catch up with family and friends over these past few days.

• learning Italian and Kiswahili.
• I really enjoyed teaching and marking the children's creative writing!
• learning to speak the Our Father in Swahili.
• getting to know the teachers... They are all very lovely and welcoming!
• attending a farewell dinner for one of the Salesian fathers who was leaving for a new mission.
• A few funny car journeys with the sister... Eating ice cream whilst stuck in a traffic jam! Saying the rosary whilst the road was mayhem- the roads are crazy here and everybody drives all over the place! Music blasting because the sister couldn't work the radio... To name a few!

So another great week. Looking forward to school again next week. Hope all is well at home?

Kwaheri tuongee tena wiki ijayo! (Until next week)

Love and prayers
Annie xx

Ps the Swahili phrases are courtesy of Frieda... I've not got the hand of it that well yet!!

Week 6


Another great, but busy week of school! This week has flown by.

I have been enjoying working with the teachers and pupils if standard 5, especially helping them with English and maths. Their English teacher has encouraged me to teach them new things and to think of different approaches to help them improve their English language skills. On Friday I taught a lesson on poetry... The children were so enthusiastic which was lovely! I really enjoyed sharing with then something which I love!
Throughout the week I have also been assisting the music/drama/ dance teacher to prepare performances with the children for the provincial visit. (The head sister who is in charge of the whole province is coming to visit mid August). I have really enjoyed this, the children are very creative and the teacher is wonderful with the.... Very inspirational!

On Tuesday me, Anna and Sister Vero went shopping to two of the markets in the city centre. It was so lovely to get out of the community for the day and see some of the city! I bought lots if traditional African things to bring home. The city was so hot, dusty and busy and the traffic is awful! It took us over an hour to get back to the house!

The community here is quieter now as two of the sister left to visit their families yesterday. I have been taking the opportunity to rest over the past few days as I am very tired from the busy week!

• watching Annie the musical with Frieda and Anna on Tuesday.
• Evening prayer and adoration by candlelight when the power was down.
•celebrating the birthday of Ruth in std 2- lots of singing and dancing involved!
• learning some traditional African dancing during oratory yesterday.
• The celebration of Sr Grace and Sr Eusebia's birthday on Thursday evening! Lots of cake and ice-cream involved!
So that's my exciting week here! It's hard to believe that I am half way through my time here but I am taking each day as it comes and enjoying every moment!



Love and prayers
Annie xx

Last modified on Friday, 19 September 2014 13:51


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