Raleigh International is a sustainable development charity. They work in rural communities focusing on access to safe water and sanitation, protecting vulnerable environments and building community resilience. Working in collaboration with volunteers, communities and local partner organisations, Raleigh International challenges and empowers young people and communities to deliver grassroots sustainable development.
One of our incredible Young people recently completed their Raleigh International expedition to Tanzania.Tanzania is in East Africa and is one of the poorest economies in the world and access to safe water and sanitation is rare. They share their adventure.
"Being a community is not about being related. It is about being able to communicate, socialise and live as a group"
"Being a community is not about being related. It is about being able to communicate, socialise and live as a group. I came to realise this during my time as a volunteer this summer in Tanzania. I came home from my two month expedition feeling stronger, wiser and more aware, I truly believe and will remain convinced about the positive changes that young people can have in sustainable development projects across the world.
Before going out on expedition, I was very apprehensive about leaving home and living in a foreign country with a group of volunteers from all over the world knowing that I had no home comforts.
My first phase was a community project. We set off to a small remote village in the community of Kiwe in Southern Tanzania.
I have so many highlights from my time in Kiwe. We held two community engagement days in which we truly engaged with the school population on topics from health and hygiene to a good healthy nutrition and diet. We took responsibility for running the days on both occasions; organising and running the event. We were teaching the children important issues including the importance of a balanced diet and the six steps of washing hands, this was accompanied by singing English and Tanzanian songs, dancing and playing games. Although this was exhausting work, I really bought into each of the events and created a strong bond with the community which carried through the whole time we were in Kiwe. Even on the last day as we walked to our bus we could hear the children singing the songs we taught them.
Over this phase we worked with the fundi on the school kitchen and dining hall, which will be completed in late September and a community garden. There were many challenges involved, including working on a construction site from 8am to 4pm in the heat also designing and building systems which can be easily used by the children.
However, I worked hard and overcame these potential hurdles to establish a garden which will expand over time to provide enough produce to give the school population a fresh portion of vegetables with their lunch every day. I had a truly amazing experience in Kiwe and hope that we have had a positive impact in a community which gave us all so much.
"I felt so humbled and blessed, knowing that I had made a difference"
Coming back from my first phase I felt so humbled and blessed, knowing that I had made a difference. It may sound cliché but it made me realise just how lucky I am to be able to turn on the tap and not worry about it being dirty, or to walk five minutes to my local shop and be able to buy such a variety of different food.
After having three days rest I was feeling fresh and ready to tackle anything that came my way. My second phase was a three week trek through Iringa. For me trek was a perfect combination of community engagement physical activity alongside some well-earned relaxation, trek unfolded over three weeks in the Southern Highlands in Iringa. I was pushed to the edge of my comfort zone. Whilst at the time it wasn’t always the most pleasant experience, it helped me better myself as a person.
The first week of trek was probably the most difficult challenge. The beaming sun, blistered feet and the diet of crackers and corned beef were things that I had to push through. My body had not yet adjusted to the intense physical activity I was ready to throw in the towel. Luckily, I don’t believe in quitting and dealt with the aches through jokes, banter and some lovely sessions of well performed singing and “dancing”. I had grown close with people from all around the world in just a few days that I almost forgot how far I was walking.
As the first week and a half of trek seemed to go by at the speed of light, it was only fair that the week after our food drop (halfway point) went by at the speed of light. By that point, our Alpha was full of pro trekkers, water pumpers and we could all pitch a tent with our eyes closed. Iringa was a great challenge with brilliant rewards and I am ecstatic to have completed and experienced it.
"I cannot sum up how amazing, life changing and remarkable my experience was. I have come to realise there is so much more to life than socialising and sharing beauty tips"
I cannot sum up how amazing, life changing and remarkable my experience was. I have come to realise there is so much more to life than socialising and sharing beauty tips. I have truly been inspired and am open to change and being creative as our ideas and opinions will shape the future.
By the Bridge Young Person