Headington School visit to Jambiani - a student's report

‘CAS4ZAP’ July 2010

Ten days in Zanzibar

Report by a student from Headington School, Oxford

We would firstly like to thank everyone who donated to ZAP and helped raise the enormous sum of £3,836.74, all of which went directly to their targets in Zanzibar. We witnessed huge generosity from both the local and wider community, for which we are extremely grateful. From corporations such as PepsiCo (Quaker Oats) who donated £240 to fund the nursery school Porridge Initiative, to individuals who showed kindness on a great scale, the money raised is being put towards Zap projects, in particular vocational training, medical support, teacher training and both practical and academic support for higher education students.

Driving into the village of Jambiani and seeing the piercing azure ocean it was difficult to remember exactly why we had come to Zanzibar; but, as we soon found out, behind the idyllic front lays extreme poverty and severe malnutrition. Walking down the beach, which is the main thoroughfare of the village, our group was soon surrounded with children shouting for Penny School and rangi, not money as many might think, but pens, which we had brought from school lost property. It was surreal to think that what we would so easily throw away or replace could make a group of children so happy. As word soon spread of the resources we had brought, new groups appeared on our door step every day, asking for pens and pulling us onto the beach to play with them.

For the majority of our stay however, we were working in the three primary schools and the Community Academy – a newly developed centre for young adults who want to go onto secondary school and higher education in Stone Town. Accompanied by the current cohort of ZAP funded students studying in Stone Town, a mentor scheme was established, by which we could learn about Zanzibar culture and the challenges faced daily, as well as teach them about our culture, with discussions ranging from weather to British politics! Working in the primary schools in classes of up to 40 children, we covered topics such as numbers 1-10, colours, and body parts, using teaching methods unlike the traditional classroom chanting in an attempt to help them grasp a simple command of the English language, an essential skill if they are to take advantage of the growing tourist industry in the future. With the older students in the Academy, who range in age from around 17-20, we taught communication skills such as informal and formal letter writing, a process during which we all gained a new respect for teachers!

In addition to this we made visits to the village clinic and the Mnazi Moja Hospital in Stone Town, learning about successful projects such as the Malaria Prevention Scheme in Jambiani, as well as the challenges faced by Dr. Hamza in the village clinic, which has not received drugs from the government for four months and is now almost completely out of resources since it was broken into last week. On a more positive note, we witnessed the latest ZAP trained nurse, Wadhifa, arriving for his first day at the clinic at the end of his four year training. With pneumonia being a huge problem in Jambiani at this time of year, and chest infections rife, one of the uses of the money we have raised will be to buy drugs and medicines for the clinic, in particular antibiotics for vulnerable small children. It has also been used to provide proper mattresses and mosquito nets for the Stone Town students, and also those in the Jambiani Community Academy, who often study into the early hours of the morning and subsequently have to sleep on thin mats on the floor.

Despite the poor level of English in the schools, the students we met have big ambitions and clearly know where they want to go in life. We hope to stay in touch with those who gave us a valuable week of their time; and to continue to help ZAP to fund much needed opportunities for them and for all progressing students.

Having been welcomed into the Jambiani community and seen the desperation for learning in the whole society, CAS girls hope to maintain contact with the people they met, and send the next cohort of students to Jambiani next summer to sustain the work that has been started in an area which so badly needs it.

Ruth Eve July 2010 

 


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