In mid-June 2016, a group of 27 Heriot's pupils ventured into Northern Tanzania with Rift Valley Adventures. We were there for 12 days taking part in community work at a charity called Heshima, a cycling expedition, cultural visits and safaris in many of Tanzania's most famous national parks.
Heshima was founded 10 years ago and helps to educate children aged 3-7. Whilst there, we plastered a new community computer room, fixed the swings, painted the playground area, designed a mural and played with the children. Our £5500 of fundraising money bought the materials we needed and will help to equip their new computing room in the future.
There is also a textile workshop there that employs local women so they can learn useful skills and be more independent. A few of us joined in and helped to make washable/reusable sanitary pads. This is a new project being piloted by Heshima to assist girls to stay in school who don't have access to feminine hygiene products.
For the second half of our trip, we drove around the Tarangire, Lake Manyara and Ngorogoro Crater National Parks looking out intently for any sign of a lion. We saw a variety of incredible wildlife including elephants, hippos, a rhino, warthogs, baboons, giraffes, flamingos, a python, wildebeest, buffalo, lions and more zebras than you can imagine.
We had two very different visits to the Maasai and Iraqw tribes where we learned about their culture and traditions. The Maasai way of life shocked many of us due to their very strict customs and beliefs. The Iraqw people were very friendly (especially our guide Babadingi) and we could see how education was helping them to further their opportunities in the modern world.
Overall, this trip opened our eyes to a different culture and made us appreciate what we have here. We all left with fond memories of Tanzania and it will certainly be a trip we will never forget.