Jambiani Clinic - ZAP visit and Film Crew report

ZAP continues to support Dr Hamza in the village clinic. On our recent trip we took out a Blood Glucose testing machine for diabetes, very kindly donated by our local G.P., with which Dr Hamza was delighted. He works extremely hard in difficult circumstances with serious shortages of drugs, and no Lab. technician for the past six months. His malaria testing equipment ran out during our visit to compound the problems. Sadly, there have been several more cases in the area. Pat spoke to the Secretary to the Minister of Health who said that testing equipment was on order, but there were problems with its manufacture (?!).

On a more positive note we were thrilled when, on our last day, Mr Pandu appeared with Wadhifa – a young male nurse whose four year training at nursing college was fully funded by ZAP. Donning his white uniform, he signed in at the clinic for his first day, fortuitously just in time to be filmed by the Californian documentary crew (see article). His timely transfer from Stone Town to Jambiani, following some hard lobbying by ZAP, provided an exciting and emotional moment for us and made us feel that we were fulfilling some of our key aims.
Dr Hamza’s motorbike continues to be financed by ZAP and remains vitally useful in his job. Sadly, since our departure we had some depressing news – the clinic had been broken into during the night and some equipment and drugs stolen. ZAP paid for the replacement of urgent supplies and a large consignment of Paracetamol has been promised by the US film crew, which we hope will arrive soon. It appears that the Ministry of Health has strongly recommended Hamza to employ an ‘askari’ or night-watchmen; needless to say they will not provide the funding for this, and expect the villagers, the majority of whom never know where their next square meal is coming from, to step in. Regrettably, this is a very typical Jambiani situation.
Two days before we were due to fly home to the UK, we received an urgent request from a film crew from Chapman University, California. They had been forced, in transit, to divert from Uganda, where they had been due to make a pre-planned documentary on two small charities ‘doing things differently in Africa’. Terrorist attacks in that country had made it unsafe to travel, and they were at Heathrow, crowded around an airport internet screen, desperate to find another comparable subject.
They found ZAP through a Google search, sent us a pleading email, and after some initial reluctance on our part – our schedule being already overcrowded – we agreed to be filmed as the new charity. Nine young Americans arrived in Jambiani that evening, exhausted and bedraggled after their prolonged journey to a slightly tetchy welcome from an apprehensive ZAP team. Our fears were groundless, for their enthusiasm about ZAP’s work and the fantastically photogenic qualities of Jambiani itself made them easy and rewarding to work with.
With the guidance of young student Mohammed Pandu, who speaks excellent English, they were able to penetrate behind the scenes as they filmed all our projects including, fortuitously, the very moment that the new ZAP nurse arrived for his first day at the clinic. Dr Hamza proved a ‘natural’ in front of the camera, and the colourful life of the village a visual feast which they had not expected.
Now we can only hope that the finished documentary, which should have world-wide coverage on TV in November (albeit in rather esoteric programmes, one suspects) will bring the benefits which they assured us have accrued to the charities featured in previous films. Their genuine enthusiasm for ZAP, and what we have achieved, gave us a real boost, and we have returned to the UK feeling re-invigorated as a result.
REPORT by a member of the Californian Film Crew
When our small Cessna aircraft landed in Zanzibar our group was disembarking from our 3rd aircraft in less than 36 hours. After being re-routed from Uganda to Tanzania, we found ourselves amidst an ample amount of jet lag, confusion, and excitement for what was to come ahead in the following days. Finally reaching Jambiani, we knew we had come to a place that was going to be not only very fruitful for our documentary but would provide us with lasting memories of a village and its people.
We had come at the last minute invitation of Zanzibar Action Project (ZAP), a small UK charity working very effectively to improve the lives of a desperately poor fishing community. During our short time in Jambiani, and with the guidance of their Manager, Mr Pandu, and his son Mohammed, they gave us the opportunity to film all their projects, probing beneath the surface of this beautiful village to encounter the stark poverty below; observing at first hand what ZAP has achieved with their dollars, and how intelligently their funds are deployed.   Their long-standing relationship and mutual trust with the community enabled us to interact with the personalities which make Jambiani such an amazing place. Visiting the medical clinic, for example, we were able to meet the staff who, in spite of the serious lack of resources available, still manage to provide medical services with the most positive attitude imaginable; we were privileged on that occasion to witness and film the re-orientation of a ZAP trained nurse as he arrived at the clinic on his first day.
We were astonished at the resilience of the people and their stoical attitude towards life. Despite, or perhaps because of, their extreme poverty, the people of Jambiani have a wonderful sense of community and are incredibly warm and open to strangers. Never before has our group felt so welcomed so far away from home. Truly Jambiani is a place and a people that touched the lives of our group, and hopefully, when our documentary of ZAP is finished, will also touch a much wider number of people. 

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