travel bursary reports
I have just got back from Musoma, in North Tanzania after 6 weeks with the charity ‘Go Make A Difference’ or ‘Go MAD’ as it is often abbreviated to.
I was not entirely sure what to expect before I left, but have come back with so much joy from what can only be described as an incredible experience. The primary focus of the trip was humanitarian aid, partially in the form of assisting building projects. The charity was originally set up when the founder Graham McClare went to Musoma to help build the Anglican cathedral there, but was concerned by the terrible water conditions and wanted to make a difference.
My trip to Tanzania was absolutely fantastic. There were moments of happiness, stress, heart-break, pure joy and exhaustion! I was working with a small charity called Go Make A Difference (Go MAD) in a town called Musoma and the villages surrounding it. Musoma is right on the edge of Lake Victoria in Northern Tanzania.
During the 6 months, me and my team of nine got involved with loads of different projects, thanks to the amount of fundraising support we received in the lead up to the trip! One of the main things we got involved in was the building projects. Overall, we built seven water tanks, six goat sheds, a toilet for the teachers at a primary school, a house for a woman and her six children, and a couple of other little things. We loved doing the water tanks as we thought they were the most important and most needed in East Africa. They also worked slightly differently in that most of the work was done by the local people and we paid them to do it. So as well as receiving clean, safe rain water to drink (drinking from the Lake is highly dangerous and is riddled with the disease, bilharzia), the local people got work and received a fair, much-needed salary. The other building work was done by our team; I have learnt a lot of new skills, including concrete mixing, brick laying, sawing wood… I actually loved doing these projects as we felt like we had really made a difference in people’s lives and after all the hard work it was so satisfying to see the finishing products.
The organisation I went with is called GOMAD Tanzania (Go Make a Difference in Tanzania), who run the trip in conjunction with Tearfund. GOMAD was set up by Graham and Irene McClure, who are based in Blackheath, England (St. Johns Church), with a vision to firstly make a real difference to the lives of the people they serve in Tanzania, and secondly to give volunteers like me the opportunity to be changed by the experience. Graham gave up the running of a successful building firm in order to go out to Africa and serve God, and so is an amazing example to follow in terms of giving worldly things up for God.
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