Keith and Lesley two of our trustee’s have just returned from their annual visit to the disabled children’s centre. This year Norman Allen joined them to see what happens at the centre.
It was after Lesley and Keith heard that I had been to Tanzania earlier this year that they asked me if I would like to go back only this time with them so as to help with the work that they have been doing over the past11 yrs at the Centre. February 2016 was when I went on safari; September 2016 was another adventure, only this time a completely different one.
The main job during my stay was to assist with the building of a new Chicken House; it was just like old times except that I had not ventured into Chicken House building before. A local bricklayer and his son removed the old house, dug out the footings and commenced laying the bricks "sort" of to my drawing. I should tell you here that as there were a pile of bricks left on the football pitch from a previous project, it was decided that they should be moved to within the reach of the new site. No sooner had Keith and I started overcame the lads, one on crutches and others on their wooden wheeler trikes which they loaded up and took across for us. I was at the loading end whilst Keith was at the stacking end. You have never seen a more willing bunch of lads, maybe the carrot that Keith had dangled in front of them had something to do with it as he told them that once the bricks were moved they would be able to get their football pitch back, and we played that afternoon.
You need to witness for yourself just how wonderful these disabled children are. On one occasion I was playing football with the lads, plus with a typical African football, plastic bags all crammed into a bag and tied up with string and tape. On my side I had one lad who only had one arm and leg but boy could he manoeuvre himself plus score goals. All the lads have some kind of disability including one with no legs below the knee, so they remove their false limbs and shuffle around on their backsides and use their fists to hit the ball. I think that the biggest surprise was when I saw one of the opposition come dribbling the ball towards me and he was on a pair of crutches. Each and every one of them had their own problem but none of them let that get in the way and boy were they competitive even to shoulder charging the guy on crutches. After an hour of running around on their African "Wembley" pitch, I have to admit that I was relieved to see the ball go over the boundary fence of the neighbouring hospital; it was my chance to pop off for a welcome cup of tea. I had lost count of the score but nobody seemed to care as they were all having fun.
I will not forget my time at the Centre, the gratitude that the staff and children showed towards us was quite amazing and now they tell me that my name is on the Chicken House door, fame at last. A part of their thank you was when they put on a show and a dinner for us before we had to leave, that was very special and will always remain a very happy memory for me.
Knowing Lesley and Keith as well as I do I can assure you that ALL of the donations sent to this charity do go to the Disabled Children’s Centre and we paid all of our own expenses to do this trip, and it was worth every Tanzanian Shilling.
This year the centre looked very different the new fence and gates give a neater and well cared for look to the front. As soon as you come through the gate the building that faces you and used to have the kitchen at one end and mini class at the other is transformed by making the whole building into a hall the windows have been enlarged with new modern grills to let in light and air. The new hall allows all the children to eat together and there is room for visitors to join them. The moving of the kitchen to a purpose built building with stoves that have chimneys and use wood efficiently is a big improvement reducing the smoke that drifted across the centre. The Trust gives thanks to Polio Children for their help by funding these improvements.
The chicken’s numbers have increased to over 125 and there are also a few ducks. To stop the newly hatched chicks being taken by the magpie type birds and the local cats, the `Norman chicken house’ has been built, it will have a run covered with a wire roof so they are safe from predators. The centre intend to increase chicken numbers to 200 then start to sell eggs and chickens as well as using some for the children. Vegetables are being grown using recycled washing water, there is enough for the centre but the shortage of rain water means that although they planted extra it has not matured and cannot be sold to raise badly needed income.
Calendars are now available
From Lesley or Keith Wright
All the £7.00 is sent to the children in Tanzania
Post and packing please add £1.20