Our wonderful Volunteer, Beth, has just spent some time at Malezi and kindly wrote this article to give you all some first hand information all the way from the Malezi Children’s Centre in Geita, Tanzania.
I have just returned from a wonderful six week visit to Malezi and am excited to share some information about everything that’s happening. I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to get to know Mary and to see first hand what has been achieved at Malezi. It is amazing to see what a difference it has made to the lives of the children living there, and encouraging to hear about future development plans.
Firstly, and most importantly, the children are all happy, healthy and well. They were on their school holidays for most of my visit and enjoyed filling their free time with games, drawing and running around! Besides the children who actually live at Malezi, Mary supports others from the local community, whose families struggle to provide food and basic school supplies. She donates food from the farm and invites the children to spend time at Malezi during the day, where they can eat a full meal and enjoy some time with no responsibilities. While I was there there were usually at least five or ten children visiting. It was great to see that, although Mary is limited in how many children she can reasonably accept to live at Malezi full-time, she is still able to reach out to many more in the wider community.
There has recently been some very promising news: the Geita Gold Mine has agreed to drill a new well at Malezi free of charge. During my visit they sent surveyors to locate possible sites, and although there are still many things that need to be confirmed and prepared, it seems very hopeful that these plans will be finalised in the coming months. This is obviously hugely significant for Malezi, and will make an enormous difference to life there. Drilling the well will require heavy machinery to be brought to the site, which carries the additional bonus that the Gold Mine will clear a proper road to Malezi. This will be useful further down the line once transport for the children is available. The other facilities at Malezi are also doing well, and I am pleased to say that the new solar power is working perfectly.
The farm is in good shape and the recent harvest of rice provided plenty for Malezi and some local families, with enough left over to sell. Mary is constantly looking for ways to increase the yield, and the men working on the farm were manually levelling the recently harvested rice ponds in order to improve the next harvest. This is backbreaking work, however, and there is a need for a tractor to improve the efficiency of the farm. In the long-term, Mary is also looking into new agricultural projects, such as building a fish pond and bee-keeping. The African Inland Church of Tanzania’s Geita Diocese runs a project in which they train local farmers in bee-keeping as a simple and low-cost means of increasing their income. They have provided Mary with training and equipment, so in the future she should be able to sell honey along with the other farm produce.
I had a wonderful time at Malezi with the children and Mary and feel very grateful to have been able to spend so much time there. It is incredibly inspiring to see how much has been achieved already through sheer hard work and the generosity of everybody back in the UK. There are still challenges to overcome, but everything is moving in the right direction and I look forward to following the progress.