Report September 2017
REPORT ON VISIT TO MALEZI
BY GEORGE & DEE SMERDON – SEPTEMBER 2017
We arrived in Mwanza and met up with Mary so were able to travel to Geita with her and catch up on all the news.
She told us about the many new regulations that have come into force since the new President came into office last year. These regulations are being implemented by the District Council. More of these later.
After a day’s rest, we went to Malezi to see the children. As always this was such a lovely occasion and the children greeted us very affectionately and the staff welcomed us warmly. We had taken a suitcase full of toys, games, puzzles, coloured pencils and pens, and various different balls. Also many pairs of pants and socks which are difficult to find in Geita sometimes. We had also some clothing, toothbrushes and toothpaste and a few stationary items. All this was very well received and we’ve left the suitcase for storage purposes! We took a bag and a pashmina for Mary which she loved. Mary had asked us for a volley ball set which we were able to purchase in Geita.
The farm has suffered greatly from lack of rain. The rice fields are dry, but Mary has a sack of rice left from the last harvest. Maize and beans have been planted and, whilst we were there, after some rain, had already sprouted. Mary tried planting some lentils, very successfully, so will plant more next April. Other crops include ground nuts, sweet potatoes, cassava and mangoes. The apple, orange and guava trees Mary planted two years ago are doing well, though sadly all the banana trees have died due to the lack of rain.
Malezi is looking good. The house now has a grilled porch to the front door, and a substantial metal gate into the compound. They have built more outhouses which are being used an office, a couple of storerooms, a toilet and a kitchen. In time the rest of the outhouses will house rabbits, ducks, chickens and eventually a dairy cow. The goats are tethered on the land and look very healthy and well cared for. There are seven kids housed in an outhouse also looking very healthy.
Mary has planted some wonderful bougainvillea bushes in the compound and everywhere was clean and tidy. Last year they had a very unpleasant burglary and as a result the District Council want them to build a wall around the whole house and compound site which Mary and her staff will do themselves. The bricks will come from a small building that is being demolished and they will make the rest.
Mary’s two sons were visiting too. Dr Raymond is already a Clinical Officer but is upgrading to to an MD degree Dodoma which will take five years and leave him with a substantial debt. Robert is a teacher. They are neither of them local to Malezi but visit whenever possible to support Mary and help with work on the farm. They are both Trustees for Mary’s Tanzanian charity- MMCO. Her adopted nephew, Reuben, is resident with Mary and is employed by Malezi. He is responsible for the administrative matters concerning Malezi, dealing with the bank and working on the farm. The children are obviously very fond of him. All three sons are Trustees of Mary’s Tanzanian charity – MMCO.
It was very fortunate that we were able to attend MMCO’s Annual General Meeting. Mary’s father is a Trustee and was also able to attend. The new accountant, Richard from Mwanza was also in Geita and able to attend. They discussed the future of Malezi and were very grateful for our contributions to their ideas.
Mary is required by law to have the following:
- A Licence to run the Children’s Centre. Friends of Malezi have already given a substantial amount towards this. MMCO will pay the rest.
- Mapping of the land. Before Mary can be granted a licence to run a children’s centre, the Malezi site has to be surveyed so that it can appear on an up to date map of the area for what it is; a house, outbuildings, a bore hole and farmland. At present the site appears as arable land only without proper boundaries and no houses. It’s akin to making an Ordinance Survey Map. The government has a plan to do this for the whole country but at the moment this part of the country , where Malezi is, is not a priority, so Mary has had to apply for it to be done as a special case. This will cost extra money but must be done. This process is happening now and will cost TS4,000,000 – about £1,400.
- To employ a Social Worker who would be resident at Malezi. She would be responsible for the day to day care of the children. As the children will be at school, it was suggested that she would also be responsible for washing and ironing the children’s clothes, checking the bedrooms and general duties around the house and compound. This would of course mean that one member of the current staff would have to leave. Since our return we are happy to report that a Social Worker has been appointed.
- With regard to staff contracts, MMCO have suggested that each member of staff would have a three month contract which they would sign three monthly. Richard would implement this.
- To employ two security guards – Malezi already has two guards and three dogs.
- MMCO think they should have an automatic shotgun. This is quite common is rural settings and the government provide proper training for the users. It would of course be primarily used as a deterrent. Their rules and regulations are very akin to the ones in UK, and Malezi would be accountable to the Government and the Police.). The cost of the gun, the licence and the training is TS2, 000,000 – about £700.
- Malezi requires a Fire Certificate. A Senior Fire Officer came to Malezi and gave a very comprehensive talk to the staff and the children on fire prevention and demonstrated how to use the fire extinguishers we had purchased
TRANSPORT IS A MAJOR PROBLEM.
At the moment they have a motorbike to take the children to school. This is very unsatisfactory and also illegal! We all agreed that a car was a priority and Richard and Raymond are going to research the cost of a second hand RAV4. This make of 4 wheel drive car is very common in Tanzania. This will of course necessitate major fund raising for us within the next six months! We will need to raise at least £3,000.
WATER IS FINALLY FLOWING.
After a very long and challenging delay, a new and much deeper bore hole has finally been drilled, for free, by the Gold Mine. It has a hand pump, for the moment, and will provide all the water that is needed in the house and on the land. Mary is confident that this will provide ample water for Malezi’s needs. We discussed the housing for the well head, plumbing to take the water to the house, and piping for irrigation. Mary would eventually like to install an electric or solar powered pump. She will consult the engineer. MMCO will work out all these costs. You will understand the difference this water supply will make to Malezi’s future. How Mary has managed up until now is testament to her resourcefulness, patience and optimism!
We also suggested that MMCO should apply to NGO’s for grants to fund small short term projects in Tanzania. As a UK based charity, FOM are not able to do this. However, we read in the Tanzanian Guardian that donations to NGO’s are down by 50%. We know that Tearfund UK are in a similar position. We are so very grateful that, due to the generosity of our donors, the children’s health, welfare and education are secured for their future.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR ONGOING SUPPORT