Braitches field trip to Jambiani

The following is a fascinating report from Joe and Mary Braitch who visited Jambiani in November 2012. They kindly helped with ZAP projects, as well as making excellent progress with their own specialist areas of support.

"This was our fourth visit so we are beginning to feel very much at home in Jambiani, and it was lovely to be so warmly greeted by our old friends there!  Wadhifa, the male nurse trained by ZAP now working away at Makunduchi Hospital, invited us to his new home (luxurious by local standards) and we felt very honoured as he proudly showed us around. 
 
As usual our time was filled with meetings, visits and problem solving activities – but we managed to find time to relax and enjoy ourselves too, of course!
 
ZAP projects:
Although ZAP is in the process of managed withdrawal, they are ensuring that their core projects are sustained with the aim of being self-supporting in the future.  We were therefore able to deliver a laptop to Amour, the very successful ZAP-trained electrician, and external CD/DVD drives for computer users at the secondary school and at the 6th formers’ boarding house in Stone Town.
 
We had also been asked to oversee the change of use of the Jambiani Autoworks into a general centre for all the tradesmen (Jambiani Fundis) since it had become clear that the merger with Pamoja Garage in Stone Town was not going to happen.  However, we were to receive an eloquent and passionate plea from Kassim, ZAP trained mechanic, fora final chance to make the Autoworks into a profitable business.  After communication with ZAP back in the UK, a satisfactory deal was negotiated -  all the fundis with their various technical trades (air conditioning, electricians, carpenters, plumbers, car mechanics) will share total responsibility for the new venture under the leadership of Moh’d Simai, with Mr Pandu as overall manager.  ZAP will continue to provide limited support for the immediate future, but the long-term success of the enterprise will be entirely the responsibility of the ZAP trained fundis themselves.  As we left Jambiani we were delighted to see the site being cleared of weeds and rubbish, and meetings being held to plan for the future. Recent emails confirm that the gates have been repaired, signs changed to reflect new use and we hope that the business will begin very soon. 
 
We visited the new boarding house while we were in Stone Town.  As we arrived the heavens opened and drenched us in a sudden downpour of rain – but the roof of this new building is far superior to the old one, and inside everything was dry. Other improvements include larger dormitories, a kitchen (which doesn’t need to double up as a library) and a pleasant study room with a table and chairs.  The solar light system had been brought from the old boarding house and the students had been very grateful for it during power cuts but various lights were not working due to the damp atmosphere.  An hour of showing the students how to clean connections regularly had the system fully operational again.
 
Our own projects:
The solar light project in Jambiani, which we set up over a year ago, had stalled once again, although over 100 households (out of 1000) now have solar lights.  While most people paid for their lights under a micro-finance scheme, some seemed unable or unwilling to keep up their payments, and therefore insufficient money was available in the system to buy new lights.  At the suggestion of Moh’d Simai, we were invited to an open meeting attended by both Shehas (village leaders) to try to find a solution.  After much discussion, a local woman suggested setting up small groups of neighbours or workers, so that good old-fashioned peer pressure would shame people into paying up. How fitting that it should take a woman’s intelligence and common sense to come up with such a good idea……although it has yet to be proved, of course! 
 
Water (or lack of it) is a continuing problem in Jambiani, particularly for the farmers who have to dig deep wells to find any.  Joe has done extensive research on the internet into building a cheap but effective wind pump (costing less than £200), using natural or scrap materials from the local area, and this project will continue on our return.
 
We also presented five farmers with a trial batch of Groasis Waterboxes (www.groasis.com for full details) which we discovered in a display at the Science Museum in London. We hope they will help them to establish many new plants and trees with a 95% chance of success instead of the current 50% (many die in the first year due to the long dry seasons).
 

We are also funding the digging of wells on two farms as it takes the poorer farmers up to three years to dig down 25-30 metres to reach water in the coral rock (normally they have to carry water in 5 litre containers up to 2 km from the village if there is not a well close by). £200 employs a gang of ‘well diggers’ to do the job in 2 weeks. The farmer can then increase his yields many times with readily available water even though he spends half his time hauling water up in a bucket. He then needs a 1000 litre polytank storage unit and pipes to irrigate his plot, plus as phase 2, an effective wind pump to bring the water to the surface, doubling again his effective farming time. All of this happens in stages due to the investment required (a total of £500) but the farmer is transformed for life from just keeping his family alive to becoming a small business and employing other villagers.

Our final visit was to the hospital at Makunduchi which is the local facility for Jambiani residents.  We had been given a consignment of 400 pairs of glasses by the Lions Club charity in Chichester, and were delighted to be able to present them to a grateful Optometrist and Hospital Manager who will put them to very good use.  Apparently thousands of pairs of glasses are collected each year by the Lions Club, sent to Durham Gaol to be cleaned and graded by the prisoners there, and then distributed all over the third world – what a wonderful example of recycling! At the last minute the Lions also donated £500 for us to give to the hospital to buy essential equipment.  We also met Suleiman the hospital dentist, a very jolly man who obviously enjoys his work. He visits Jambiani regularly to work in the new Mark Blomfield Dental clinic.

We do enjoy our trips to Jambiani - there is always something worthwhile to get involved in!

Joe & Mary Braitch"
 
Ed's note: We are delighted that the Braitches are continuing with their own projects independently from ZAP’s activities – please do get in touch with them directly if you would like further information. Email: joebraitch@live.com
 

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