Article by Fabafterfifty
Sometimes we want to do more in our spare time than take up hobbies or relaxing holidays in the sun. For many women reaching their 50s can also mean having time for themselves for the first time in years, and the opportunity to get involved in fund raising project.
We featured Rosy Holt in our ‘Fabwoman’ section earlier this year. A lot of readers have been asking how Rosy got on in her trip to Tanzania , so here we have an update.
In late September Rosy Holt , with fellow members of her ladies networking group Julia Sondack and Theresa Bowman and other business networkers set off on a charity project organised by Childreach International to renovate a very need, rural nursery school in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania.
Eight months of fundraising for project
Having spent the last eight months fundraising for the project by organising various events including garden parties, BBQ’s, quiz nights, fashion shows, bike rides, collections in pubs and on the underground raising almost fourteen thousand pounds towards the renovation of the school, the group were ready to go to work, have bucket showers and live under canvas for ten days.
I was absolutely amazed at the support and community this project raised within the groups I run Rosy told me everyone got involved, attended the events, donated money and time and provided all sorts of treats for us to take out for the children from stationery to footballs and school uniform so much so that we had an endless amount of luggage and boxes to check in for the flight out.
But from the moment the mini bus bumped its way up the dirt track after the nine hour ride from Nairobi to see the faces of all the children dressed in their Sunday best who had been waiting two hours with little bunches of Bougainvillea in their hands to welcome us I knew it had all been worthwhile and I was smitten says Rosy, but when they started singing “you are my sunshine” all the volunteers eyes were watering and not from the dust and dirt of the journey.
Ten days and a lot of hard work later the nursery school was finished a picket fence had been made and painted to enclose the area from the larger school, the walls and ceiling of the classroom had been cleaned and painted, the outside of the school painted, the playground equipment installed and painted and the whole learning environment transformed.
All of the volunteers, most of whom had met through local business networking group left the project with a heavy heart from the kindness they had been shown and the wonderful children they had met, children who for the most part walked miles for the seven thirty in the morning start of school, many carrying water in buckets on their heads.
It was a worthwhile and memorable experience and one Rosy at least would not have missed for the world, when I asked her for one memory that stood out above the others she told me that it was of a little girl aged about seven sitting under a tree eating a meal of what looked like diluted porridge in a metal bowl using a half-eaten pencil as a utensil, that one meal for most of the children in the school was their only meal of the day.
At least 3 ladies fitted into ‘fab after 50′ category’
At least three of the ladies on the trip fitted into the “fab after 50” category, was it any harder for them that for the younger and perhaps fitter volunteers I asked, “well sleeping in a little tent isn’t something any of us will be adopting permanently nor do squat toilets and bucket showers feature highly on our list of must haves but you soon forget all that when you are overcome with the sense of doing something really worthwhile that will make such a difference to the children’s lives “ I was told.
For more information on projects in Tanzania and how you can help or take part in a trip next year please contact. Childreach International, www.childreach.org.uk
Rosy Holt is the Regional Director of the South East Herts and Enfield for the Athena Network,