ZAP Newsletter

This time our Field Trip Team consisted of Daktari Pat, Baba Andrew and Mama Janie. Pat and Janie arrived on Jan 12th – to be welcomed by Martin and Avril, who were on the last day of their holiday, and thus were able to give us some valuable updates - and were joined a week later by Andrew.
Andrew was a true sport, as we had sent him an SOS telling him that there was a cholera outbreak in the area, and although it was concentrated in Mfumwe, an area in south Jambiani, nevertheless we were a little nervous and asked him to bring out emergency supplies of vaccine for us, antibiotics and lots of re-hydration powders. The situation had worsened by the time he arrived, and we had to be very careful indeed – not eating out anywhere, and making sure that our water supply was pristine and all our supplies fresh and clean. Jambiani suffers still from fairly frequent electricity problems, sometimes being cut off for 24 hours at a time, so our generator was pressed into service to make sure the fridges worked.
It was a very interesting and enlightening time – if rather nerve-wracking. Pat is writing fully about the whole nightmare under separate cover, but it made us realise that the veneer of civilisation in our village is frighteningly thin; ZAP became, for the time being, a humanitarian aid charity and we did our best to support the emergency clinic which had been set up, in addition to giving daily moral and financial support to the heroic Doctor Hamza. We had to buy fish, rice, chlorine, kerosene and torches for the poor medical staff who were coping extremely well. But more of that under separate cover (where you will also find a very interesting document; a plea or ‘Request’ for International Aid in funding improved fresh water supplies put together by the villagers themselves).
As usual, our main report falls under the headings of the various Projects which ZAP is funding:


Unfortunately, we had to say good-bye to Rama, our Librarian soon after arriving. He has been replaced by Aisha, a relative of Mr Vuai the Computer teacher. He is kindly helping her to improve her internet skills, and she is working hard at her English. We have always wanted to have a lady working in the Library, as it encourages other ladies and children to come and use it and read books together. (This has already happened, and the children love their new little reading books, in Swahili and in English).
The book situation is improving; Kendra purchased samples of Readers, both in English and Swahili, along with a useful English Grammar book and several other excellent reference books. ZAP now has about 750 books and we shall be purchasing more soon. Everything is ‘pole pole’ (slowly, slowly) in Africa, it is true, but we are gradually getting our message across and will also be holding Internet and computer classes in the Library. The value of the Internet as a resource was brought home to a very bright boy, a protégé of ZAP, who is determined to become a doctor; he wanted a mobile phone to ‘ask my teachers questions’; we refused, but showed him how to ‘Google it’ and he was completely taken aback to receive over 3 million answers! Now we cant prise him away.........

ZAP has 5 students now in training at Karume Technical College in Stone Town, studying electricity, refrigeration and car mechanics. Pat, Andrew and Janie visited the college and met the excellent new Principal who escorted us around to see the classes. All 5 young men seem to have settled in well and are enthusiastic about their courses. This is in no small part due to the pastoral care of Mr Pandu who has supervised their boarding arrangements, bicycles, uniform and necessary textbooks and tools, and continues to keep a fatherly eye on their welfare.
We discussed the students’ long term ambitions and realised that some of them would benefit from higher training after their initial first ear. We took this on board and have decided that ZAP must continue to assist them to achieve a high level of competence.
Our 2 plumbing students are at a different college where they have had to complete a gruelling 3 months of military training before beginning to learn their trade. (Don’t ask!) Needless to say, they are looking forward to getting down to business.
We discussed their future with the Principal and made him aware that we anticipated their return to Jambiani eventually, but not before they were fully capable of working on their own in their respective trades. They may need some time of apprenticeship, and will certainly need a financial ‘leg-up’ when they start work proper – for that reason, we have decided not to put fund any fresh students until these 7 young men are well established.
We also visited the Nursing College nearby where we have a young man in training – Whadifa. He is in his second year and progressing very well. We were greeted by a couple of extremely helpful and polite young students, and were very impressed with the atmosphere in both colleges. (See latest photos)

Sorting out the new room in the Skuli for these has been a major, quite costly and extremely lengthy process, but finally we are there; the electricity was connected, the room thoroughly cleaned (under the excellent leadership of Baba Andrew, who is very handy with a broom), and the sewing machines and clothes rail moved from the Library, together with some large tables and new plastic chairs. Janie purchased sundry raw materials in Stone Town, and at long last all was ready. A splendid ‘opening ceremony’ with the new intake of ladies, plus their 3 teachers, was presided over by Mr Topu, Village Development Secretary, with long speeches all round, mainly designed to encourage the ladies to make the most of this great opportunity.
Hadija is now the ladies’ new head teacher, but we have arranged for 2 other experienced teachers (Hafsa from Stone Town, and Haji Miraji from Jambiani) to give the occasional lesson, and to report on progress to ZAP. There is a long queue of ladies waiting to join the classes; one must expect ‘teething problems’ for a while, but we hope that eventually the ladies will form a co-operative to market the clothes they make to local hotels, to western visitors, and perhaps even back in the UK. Watch this space!

Mr Amer continues these, and Janie attended on three occasions. Their English is improving; their enthusiasm has been sustained, and they are due to sit an exam in the Spring. Off their own bat, the ladies have requested ZAP to assist them in finding profitable and useful employment where they might use their new skills. They have gained in confidence as a result of their regular studies, which is great to see.
ZAP has agreed to pay for travel and food for 3 ladies who have enrolled at the Aga Khan college for nursery school teachers in Stone Town (they have paid for the fees themselves), and two other ladies requested help in providing ‘porridge’ for the little children in 3 nursery schools in the village.
This is worth explaining in some detail, as nursery schools are ‘fee-paying’, not free like primary and secondary school. Each one has about 90 pupils, and the fees are officially 500/- Tsh a month per child (22p) paid directly to the teachers. In reality, only about 20% of parents can afford this, so the teachers would receive a maximum of 10,000/- Tsh per month (about £4).* Moreover, the children come to school very hungry, as their parents cannot afford ‘breakfast’. After consultation with the Ministry of Health, our two ladies have been advised that the most nutritious food for small children is a kind of ‘porridge’ which they want to cook for them in the schools 2/3 times a week. The recipe is as follows:
Bananas, Cost of raw ingredients for 90 = 5,000/-Tsh (£2.20)
Coconuts Labour charge = 2,000/-Tsh (£1.10)
Flour and water –
plus milk on rare occasions for a ‘special treat’!
Not only does this help with the children’s diet, but it also serves as an incentive for them to attend the school on ‘porridge days’. Although this seems almost incredibly cheap, nevertheless if ZAP provides it free to 3 schools twice a week for the whole year, this adds up to quite a considerable sum. Happily, some very kind friends have personally raised enough money for us to do this – it will be introduced as soon as the ban on cooked food (due to cholera) is lifted in the Village.


*Compare seaweed farming wages of 160/- Tsh per kilo, dried weight (8p)
A further 2 ladies from the English class are training to become primary school teachers in Stone Town, and again we are funding this. Almost all the ladies want to take computer lessons, and about half of them are keen to take sewing lessons also. Mr Vuai has agreed to provide lessons in the School computer room twice a week, and we have put the keen sewing ladies at the top of the waiting list.

We found Mr Maabad in a somewhat gloomy mood on our arrival. Only 20% of his students had passed their exams for Form III; he had hoped for much better results. On the plus side, the school now has a Form IV for the first time. But his headache now is to recruit more experienced teachers for this top form, especially in Maths, English and Sciences. He put together a formal request to ZAP, through the proper channels (i.e. Village Committee) for assistance in this matter, suggesting that we fund travel and board for three new teachers coming twice a week from Stone Town. This is clearly an excellent use of funds, and we have agreed to it for an initial 6 month period – to be monitored, and reviewed on our next visit.
Again on the plus side, we had good feedback from a couple of pupils who had been to English classes with Olivia and Emily in the summer, and all the pupils we know personally, through their families, or the Library have done well and passed their exams.
Mr Vuai and Mr Suha from the south of Jambiani (ex. Skuli teachers) are indefatigable in providing classes after school – between them they give 8 free evening lessons per week, and Janie and Andrew much enjoyed attending some of these during their visit. Andrew attended the first lesson for the new intake of computer students at the school, and was as impressed as ever by Vuai’s exceptional teaching qualities.
Now that ZAP is an accredited NGO (Non-Government Organisation) in Zanzibar, we are able to give more direct help to the school, and we are going to start the rather daunting task of recruiting a VSO teacher to be seconded to Jambiani in due course. Ideally we want someone qualified both as a teacher and a ‘teachers’ trainer’; Maabad has welcomed this idea with enthusiasm. Again, watch this space!

CLINIC (Report by Pat)
On my first visit, big disappointment as much work still to be done and contractors scarpered. After speaking to Mohammed Jiddawi (Surgeon friend, now the Secretary to the Ministry of Health), he was able miraculously to speak to the contractors and workmen appeared. They were sleeping at the clinic and working well, and say they will stay until renovations are completed!
In view of this, I have agreed that ZAP will supply:
1. Generator for emergency electricity (power cuts continue at frequent intervals)
2. Sealed room for minor surgery theatre; installation of aircon unit and supply of surgical instruments and autoclave.
I have stressed to Dr. Hamza and Mr Pandu that ZAP will undertake this work only when building is ready. Costings have been done, and ZAP has the money available.
The cholera outbreak overshadowed our visit, and our work, and I have written a separate report(shown to the right) on this for those who are interested. You will also find a longer piece, entitled ‘Daktari Diary’ please use link at top of this page to read this.
We continue to be touched and delighted with the support we receive from you all, both moral and financial, and assure you that we will do our very best to spend our funds wisely and ‘at the coal face’.
Kwaheri for now! Pat, Janie and Andrew

ZANZIBAR ACTION PROJECT is a Registered Charity in the UK No. 1108030