More than 40 members of High School pupils and staff took part in an unforgettable community service trip to Zanzibar during the summer break.
'Team Zanzibar' headed to Kinuni School, Zanzibar, in late June, to work in conjunction with African Adventures and the Tanzanian Government on a WASH programme (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene). This saw pupils work alongside local labourers to complete the building of new toilet blocks and a separate female menstruation room. By directly improving sanitation and hygiene, school attendance, and subsequently, attainment can improve. The programme included providing training and resources to teachers to make re-usable sanitary pads, lesson plans to teach about periods and reduce the social stigma, with the female menstruation room being used for consultations with pupils and proper washing facilities for the girls. By providing such facilities and breaking down the social taboo, girls are able to attend school each month.
Alongside building the toilet block, Team Zanzibar built a drinking water fountain to provide the 7,000 Junior and Senior pupils of Kinuni School with fresh water each day, helped build a secure perimeter wall that was also plastered and painted, and decorated both the interior and exterior of the school's nursery classrooms. Everyone was excited to take part, come rain or shine, as they learnt an array of DIY skills including tiling, grouting, sanding, skimming, making plaster and cement, and digging trenches to lay water pipes.
Away from the project, the group also had the chance to enjoy some down time during their fortnight on the island, visiting a spice farm to learn all about different spices, exploring Stone Town, learning about the history of the island and it’s role in the Slave Trade, witnessing the majestic red colobus monkeys of Jozani National Forest and taking to the seas on traditional dhow sailing vessels to visit Prison Island, where they snorkelled and enjoyed a delicious BBQ on a sand bank. A simply unforgettable time!
Below are a couple of accounts of the trip from Sixth Year pupils:
The community service trip to Zanzibar over the summer was an incredible experience that I will never forget. From the people, to the sights and the extremely large insects, I was able to experience a whole new culture, while broadening my understanding of the privilege I have. Our community project at Kinuni School allowed us all to work together and have fun through numerous activities such as painting, digging, sanding and even teaching, whilst improving conditions for the amazing pupils we got to know.
By our final day in Kinuni, along with help from local people, we had built a brand new toilet block for the pupils and received a remarkable leaving ceremony where we witnessed many different, astonishing talents from the local people, including about 100 backflips in the space of 10 seconds from an acrobatic group of former pupils!
Overall, the fortnight spent on the island of Zanzibar gave me the opportunity of an unbelievable trip thousands of miles from home which left me educated on new aspects of life that I will always be grateful for.
A small island full of rich history and diverse culture, this summer I had the opportunity to call Zanzibar my home. The HSOG team stayed on the island for two weeks to build a toilet block for Kinuni School. We mixed concrete, plastered, tiled, grouted, painted, dug a trench, and led the children through lessons both in the classroom and outside. Of course, we still made sure to have fun. From the forest walk through Jozani National Park to feeding tortoises and snorkelling in the clearest blue sea near Prison Island, we immersed ourselves in this new environment and explored all the island had to offer.
Personally, this experience was challenging but life changing. Spending a fortnight in a foreign country with unfamiliar food and insects had its downfalls but ultimately, in the final days, as we bid farewell to the school and prepared to leave the island, I knew my time here was going to be remembered fondly. What stuck with me especially was learning to grout using only old flip-flops.
Fortunately, I was able to remain in Tanzania with my family for an additional two weeks, however, my time with the school was the most impactful. The lessons, experiences, and memories that I gained have altered my perspective."