Saturday, May 18, 2013

Shikamo Babu

When I was 18 I went to Tanzania for 8 months to work as a teacher, teaching English to primary school children in the foot hills of Kilimanjaro. It was the most amazing year of my life, I can't put into words how special and important it was. The project I worked for was the Village Education Project (Kilimanjaro). It is a small NGO that works on a grassroots level and has made enormous achievements and improvements within the villages and schools it works with. It is continuing to grow and develop and it is doing real, tangible good. Please pop over to their website and look at some of the amazing work they do. (Village Education Project Kilimanjaro)  and of course there is a way to make a donation to them on that page too.
Katy and Dilly are the co-ordinators of the project. 
They were the most wonderful friends to me while I was in Tanzania, I spent a lot of time with them and loved their company. I have seen them a few times since my gap year project, in the UK and in Tanzania also, but it has been about 12 years since I have seen Dilly and 7 since seeing Katy last. Imagine how thrilled I was when they said they were coming to visit me here for a week. 
It was just like old times, only better! They arrived very late from the ferry last Saturday, so we had a lovely lazy Sunday strolling in the woods,
having coffee in the owl cafe, catching up and playing.
 There were lots of people they wanted to visit, so during the day while we were doing the school run, homework etc they took themselves off and we met again in the evenings to eat together, play with the kids and then to sit together over wine catching up on a decade of life and stories.

On their last evening with us the kids and I decided to have a Birthday party to show Dilly how we celebrate birthday's here.
 Rebe and Benny gave Katy and Dilly presents they had made,
 we played pass the parcel
 and pin the tail on the donkey
 we had birthday cake with candles and singing, jelly and ice cream
 and we finished the party with a particularly rowdy game of blind man's buff.
 At bedtime Dilly told the kids stories. He told them a wonderfully comic tale of himself as a naughty little 7 year old boy, and another evening he told them about mwewe (vulture) and kuku (hen) in kiswahili and then translated it into English.

 My heart is so full of love and respect and awe of these 2 wonderful people, I feel so lucky and privileged that they came all the way here to stay with us. I hope we will be able to meet them next year at the final gap year reunion and there is also a tiny seed of a dream of taking the kids to visit them in Tanzania...

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