Monday, 28 July 2014

What a busy and wonderful day. Maimi started our workshop playing her recorder to the children. Then we did lots of percussion stuff, followed by parachute fun. Then we learnt colours in Swahili and English. 
We've found that Herbie and Maimi's favourite place for lunch is a very local cafe called Octopub-thanks to Matt Nicholson for introducing me to it last time! I'm astonished that Herbie and Maimi love it-but they do. We have to constantly swat flies and try not to tread on all the pregnant cats around us. But the food is great and at less than £2 for a huge plate of food-we can eat out there every day we're at the hospital!
Then it was back to the hospital for a visit from a local clown. This was a bit of a demo to see what the kids made of it. There were a few little children who we're very afraid of his multi coloured wig-but when he ditched that and got on with the show-it was brilliant! They all joined in his games and fun and we're beaming from ear to ear by the time he'd finished. They were left happy and exhausted.

Ps-did I mention last time that the key broke in the lock of the classroom. So that was 5 days ago. Anyone you ask has no answer as to how to sort this out. It just needs the lock changing. So we're back in a tiny room or spilling on to the hall and risking getting chucked out if we make too much noise. I seem to have lost my frustrated gene-as it's pointless to kick up a fuss. No-one reacts, no-one sees the need or urgency. If it's still the same next week I think Chris will sort it himself-he hasn't lost his frustrated gene!


Sunday, 27 July 2014


Half way through our 6 week adventure we took a break and went to what I think is my favorite place in the world-Zanzibar. We saw red and blue colobus monkeys and swam with dolphins. It's a beautiful yet complex place. We also met my lovely friend Tina for lunch on our travel days (It was the best food we've eaten since being in Africa!) thanks so much Tina.
Back to work at the hospital tomorrow!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Gradeoneathon money raised

So this is exciting. The first place a small amount of the money raised from the Gradeoneathon will go is employing 'clown doctors'. 
Let me explain- clown therapy is a program involving visits from specially trained clowns. They are not doctors, they're usually performers and entertainers in their own right who go through a 40 day training program specifically for work in hospitals. They use techniques such as magic, music, story telling and other clowning skills to empower children with doses of fun that can help them deal with the fear, anxiety, loneliness and boredom. Perfect for our children cancer ward. 
During August and September, 20 young artists of Dar es Salaam will participate in this training course. A few will then be chosen and employed by the hospital for regular visits-paid for by the Gradeoneathon!
Cool huh!
I'm just sad I won't be here to see it in action. But we have been promised photos when it's up and running.

Here's some photos of today's fun. We had an English style birthday party. With pass the parcel, pin the tail on the elephant, jelly and cake. Also I had to show you the little ones we spend most lunch times with-maimi and Herbie adore them. They're very easy to make laugh!

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Letter day - I love it!

Before we could begin the key broke in the classroom door so we ended up in another tiny classroom. Eventually we spilled out into the corridor. So gradually other various children joined in from other wards. It was chaos when I got my balloons out!

Letter days is always such a fab day. This time I had so many letters from British kids, it gave the teachers a huge amount of translating work to do. The kids loved hearing from the British kids.

Then it was their turn to write some letters-here's a sample of a few
'My name is Felix. I like football. I am 13. I have 3 sister and 1 brother. I like flowers. I hate disease. Pray for me. One day I will be alright.'
'My name is Godbless. I am 5 years old. I hate disease. I believe in Jesus Christ. One day I will be well. Thank you for everything. Welcome to Tanzania.'
'My name is Mariam. I am 12 years old. I like swimming, reading, story books, praying and to chat with my friends. I like doing exercise. Thank you for your gifts. God bless you.'

This one is from my own wonderful daughter Maimi. She wanted to take part and this is what she wrote.
'Hi everyone, we are having a great time. I have made lots of new friends. Friend in Swahili is rafiki. There are lots of cuties. One is called Raulian, he is a real cutie. There's one called Sophie and Dismass. Last but not least Rihanna. At the children's home I have a new friend. I think she is my best rafiki. She is called Anett. Jambo Anett this letter is for you.xxxxxx'

That made my day-the kids are really getting under her skin and so I think is Africa.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Beads and face paints

Another lovely day with songs and arts and crafts. Then we went to visit the bed bound children with lots of boxes of snap cards. They're bloody bored up there, so things like that and puzzles and loom bands are brilliant ideas. All stuff donated by my wonderful friends!

The wedding

Well that goes down as one of the most bizarre places to play. I think they liked it......
The children's home kids did some dances and songs. Actually I think everyone had a turn in the spot light, dancing or singing! It started about 2 hours later than we thought-which was fine as there was loads to do, then the line up, one by one- literally dancing into position, then more dances and cake ceremony and saying hello and having a photo with every single person individually and more speeches and more saying hello to everyone and then 2 English people playing a couple of tunes (that's us!) Quite an experience. 
Finally we ate. Herbie and Maimi were so hungry by then they wolfed down the goat and rice.
It was a great evening that we'll never forget.
And it was Chris's birthday.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Bagamoya children's home and pre school

What a fantastic 2 days we've spent out near Bagamoya, at the children's home I visited last year and the little pre school. Both were built and are run by Robert the only violin teacher in Dar and Mary his wife. They have also built many other schools in the area.
Both days we started with a short work shop in the classrooms at the pre school. Thank you to everyone who donated the Teddy's as lots of them went to these children. We then played games and had fun at the children's home for the rest of each day.  Herbie did not stop playing footy for about 6 hours and Maimi made so many good friends. There were about 5 children there with club foot in different stages of treatment. Mary and Roberts charity pay for their care and they stay at the home which is nearer the hospital. They we're incredibly adaptable fun loving kids.
Ps-they've invited us back there on Saturday for a wedding. Chris and I are going to play at it. We can't wait.