Tarbert Comprehensive has been involved in fundraising for Concern for 26 years. All this time Ms. Brid Carroll has co-ordinated this fundraising. This year the school won a trip to Tanzania as top school fundraisers in Ireland. Ms. Brid Carroll accompanied by two students Aisling O’Carroll and Erin Moriarty witnessed first hand how the monies raised have been put to work by Concern. Continue reading for Aisling’s account of the trip.
We left Ireland on the 5th of July for Tanzania with preparation from Concern in Dublin weeks before hand. We had big expectations from this trip and our experience went above and beyond that.
For our first few days in the City of Dar es Salaam we got to see the markets there and what people could sell or buy. It ranged from household goods to fruit and vegetables and dried up fish to feed the animals. We also saw the concern office and saw some of the work they do there. As part of the trip we met up with five Americans two from Chicago and three from New York and shared our Tanzanian experience with them.
We travelled eight hours to get to Mtwara where we saw three villages and a secondary school. These villages were called the Mnopwe Village, Mijelejele Village and the Ulungu Village. There, we also met the people working for concern and the type of jobs assigned to them. There was one thing the three villages had in common and that was that they had a farmer field school which was for both male and females over eighteen years old. At the fields the main item they grew was called a cassava plant and they could make it into many things such as bread or rice. We also got to have a question and answer session with the people working for the farmer field school and got their insight into it, was it helpful or not, all of them said it was, because they could pass down the different farming methods to their children. Personally, my favourite village was the Mnwope village because they also had an empowering women programme. The women were pleased that the roles for men and women are changing because they now have more of a say in things such as finance and that gives them more independence.
We went to a secondary school and we could relate more to the people here because we are secondary school students also. It was eye opening to see the conditions of their schools and how long they have to travel to get to school, the average length walking was 5-9km. The ages of the students were 14-20 many of the older students were boys because the girls drop out early to either stay at home and help or get married. There were 84 students in total with 7-24 students per class. Looking at their school timetable they have similar subjects to us. They were delighted with the presents we brought for them including the Tarbert jersey, Irish flags and books. The students were intrigued to find out many answers in the question and answer session such as, what our punishment would be for doing something wrong or what we would like to do in college. Both Erin and I were surprised to see how good they were at Gaelic football when we taught them the rules even with the language barrier.
We travelled back to the City once again and the difference between the villages and the city was massive, it was if they were two different worlds. On our last night we reflected on the past week full of opportunities. We were sad to leave because it was such an amazing once in a lifetime opportunity and an experience we will never forget.