The last few days have been fairly relaxed. After a packed week in Uganda, I arrived into Tanzania last Tuesday afternoon quite a few days before training begins. I have spent the last days relaxing with some really lovely people, getting to know each other before we all head off to our regions.
Yesterday we linked up with two Tanzanian locals who had become friends with the first group of READ volunteers who have been training over the last few days. We took a local Tuk-Tuk into the centre of Dar Es Salaam which was the first foray into the central area as we have been staying in a relatively built up area on the fringes of the city.
After walking for a very long time, we took a bus for 8p and ended up in a small village on the opposite fringe of the city. We weren’t really sure where we were going; all we knew was that the place was called the “Happy Centre”. It ended up being a place which had been set up to train young street children and teenagers in the art of drama, music and acrobatics. We were treated to a show firstly from the younger children who were just starting up, as well as a very impressive performance from the men who had ‘graduated’ from the Happy Centre. They showed us backflips, acrobatics and an extremely amazing show on two tall poles.
It was extremely inspiring to see people in the local community setting up an initiative to provide an outlet for the gifts and talents of young people who have few opportunities in their lives. The young people are encouraged to go on tour and are given opportunities to make a living for themselves. The unfortunate thing about their situation is that many of the children are not in education because either their parents cannot afford the fees or they are told they have to stay home and work.
I only hope for the dreams of the young people, that they can be actualised in a way which is fruitful for them. I hope that they are able to, at some point, have access to an education which is much part of the reason I am in Tanzania in the first place.
Last night we found ourselves sitting on a beach in Dar Es Salaam watching the opening ceremony to the Olympic games. It was surreal enough being there thinking of how much talk and hype will have been surrounding the presentation let alone the whole bar erupting when the Tanzanian Olympic team joined the parade towards the end of the ceremony. It made me wonder how many young people will be given an opportunity to perform in the games and how many will train and never get there.
It made me smile to see there were 7 people representing Liberia and quite a large team representing the Philippines, places which I have huge affection for. Yet, I am left wondering how many were given the chance of an education and how many athletes in developing countries have missed out on joining their team and still haven’t had an education.
It made me realise the importance of providing time and effort using our own gifts to help those who don’t have anything. I have never considered the goals of READ in this way before, and I have a refreshed motivation for providing the resources we have collected to provide a necessity for young people, so they have the freedom to practice their sporting, or musical, or theatrical ambitions and achieve a well-rounded experience so that they can truly live their lives to the full.
We begin training tomorrow morning (Sunday 29th) before myself, Chami and Yemi head to Tabora in Western Tanzania for the beginning of the project.