5 MINUTE READ - check it out now! See exactly where your donations go. Amazing work and lives changed in Kaloleni (Tanzania)
Amazing Volunteer Video - The best insight into Kaloleni and the work that Team Vista is doing. Many thanks to Ash Watson!
This amazing video has been created by Team Vista volunteer - Ash Watson. She worked extremely hard with Team Vista, helping out with many different projects, putting her heart and soul into everything she did. The pictures and short video clips that she took really do provide an incredible insight into the Kaloleni region and all of the work that Team Vista is continuing to do.
If you have ever climbed Mt Kilimanjaro or are considering climbing in the future, then please read Dean's diary entries from his 5 memorable days away conquering the 'Roof of Africa'.
Many thanks to Dean for letting us share his journey and to Tanzanian Trails (www.tanzanian-trails.com) for making the trip possible.
Day 1 Kili -
First to arrive at Machame Gate (1800m) but as per the Tanzanian way things didn't go according to plan. A miscommunication meant we didn't have the money to pay for the park fees so we were waiting for many hours to get registered and pay. Funds eventually got transferred and we were on our way however were the last to leave. It was 11km to our first base camp (Machame camp). Starting last out of all the groups wasn't too much of a worry as we set a good pace early on and eventually started overtaking people who left before us. The total time up to the camp was probably around 5 hours which included a stop halfway for lunch for about 15 minutes. Camp was all set up when we arrived (which is the job of the porters. Had a hot chocolate and popcorn when I arrived and that was followed by dinner which was a stew and a piece of chicken. Overall the body is feeling good, however I pulled my hip flexor on contiki and could definitely feel that during the walk. An early sleep is on the cards and because my guide Nixon is happy with my pace we get a bit of an extra sleep in tomorrow and won't be leaving until 8:30am. Went to the toilet just before bed and the stars above me are probably the most incredible I have ever seen. I wish my phone could capture what I am looking at but I guess it's one of those moments you just have to take in.
Day 2 Kili -
One of the first to set off today was only going to be 5km total, however, it was gonna be around 4 - 5 hours which meant the incline was a lot more than yesterday. The weather was great as we were above the cloud line and there was nothing but blue sky. This allowed for some amazing views along with the fact we were making our way to 3750m above sea level. We finally arrived at Shira Cave Camp around 12:30 in the afternoon. They have so far fed me like a king and just keep bringing me food at each stop. Had a nap after lunch and then went about another 200m up to acclimatise a bit more before heading back down to base camp. Already some people/groups are having to make their way back down as they are too unwell for the climb. It's all a mental battle so far! Hamara Kama Simba (strong like a lion)
Day 3 Kili -
Toughest day yet. Strong headaches and a bit of an upset stomach meant the climb today was rough. We walked 7km to lava tower where we had lunch and we rested there for around 20 minutes. That sat 4600m above sea level which is the highest we have been so far. From there we finished the rest of the day with a 3km trek to our 3rd base camp, Baranco. Baranco only sits 3900m above sea level which is why we went to lava tower first to acclimatise. I have finally taken an altitude tablet in hope it will set me back to normal. Motivation is low, headache is still here, no appetite whatsoever and am already in bed at 6:30pm. Tomorrow is a new day and I hope I'll be ready to climb!
Day 4 Kili -
Woke up feeling much better! Body is still feeling a little off but overall ready for the day today! Just have to keep reminding myself why I took this trip and what it means to me. I just want to get as far as possible up this mountain! Left Baranco camp and the first challenge was not so much walking, but rock climbing up part of the mountain. We climbed the first part and then the incline got less, so it was more of a hike. That part stood at 4200m before we kept making our way to our lunch stop which was Karanga camp. This stop for some is a night stop where they set up camp. However for us we stopped for around an hour, had lunch and then continued on to our final base camp. This walk was only around 2 and a half hours from our lunch stop. We finally made it to the final base camp - Barafu Camp. This stands 4673m above sea level and is our final stop before we trek to the top of Kilimanjaro! We leave at midnight tonight to begin our climb up to Uhuru Peak which is the top of Kilimanjaro. If all goes well we may even reach the top and head all the way back down to the bottom and finish the mountain a day earlier. Only 5km/1200m/7 hours until the top.
Day 5 Kili -
Technically still day 4 as its 11:40pm, however have had a few hours sleep and we are going to be heading up to the top of the mountain soon. Have to try and push through these last hours to get to the top. It's definitely in the negatives outside and I have 2 thick layers, 2 lower body thermals, weather proof pants, upper body thermal, 2 long sleeve shirts, jumper and then weather proof jacket on, neck warmer, gloves and a beanie too. My phone needs to stay inside a sock so it doesn't freeze. Soon I will start the final climb. Began nicely, we were one of the last to leave the camp however we gained ground very quickly, everyone was really feeling it and myself included. The next 6 hours were the toughest of my life! I can't begin to explain the emotions I went through as I left Barafu Camp (4673m) all the way until Uhuru Peak (5895m). In freezing conditions which were definitely below negative from the start of the climb I knew it was going to be tough. Just how tough is an experience you can only feel. Nausea, headaches, body aches, tiredness and 0 motivation. It was all about putting your left foot forward and then your right foot and thinking about anything else than what your body is saying. After 5 excruciating hours we were one of the first to reach Stella Point which sits 5756m above sea level. A quick photo stop and the head already felt clearer knowing we only had about 200m above sea level to go which Nixon told me would take around an hour. One more hour. That's all I heard. We got our stuff and continued on passing just one more group. I powered through as I could see the top where the sign was. About 20m before the sign I stopped and started vomiting for about 2 minutes straight. Energy was definitely low, however just had to endure 20m more and be the first up at the peak. I did just that, I became the first group to reach Uhuru Peak (the top of Mount Kilimanjaro and the top of Africa). Nothing can describe the feeling I went through and the feeling I am still going through after completing that. Not only was it the hardest experience of my life, it was certainly the most rewarding! On the descent we passed a few groups who were definitely struggling. Some needing oxygen masks, some crying, some head down and not making any sort of sound other than heavy breathing. One Asian bloke came up to me and was crying. My guide told him it's not far to go, you are almost there. He asked me if he could have a hug and of course I said yes. I can't exactly remember what I said as the whole climb is a bit of a blur, but after that he was more motivated than ever and I knew he would make it to the top. The journey down to the fourth base camp only took around 2 hours as it was all downhill and all quite steep. After a short rest and a feed we started to pack and make our descent to the bottom today rather than tomorrow making it a 5 day journey instead of the usual 6. After a 45 day Contiki, to say I climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro is hilarious to think, and to think I did it in a day less just makes it so much more sweet.
Looking back on my month in Moshi I feel like it has flown by, but at the same time, I feel so comfortable and at home in the day-to-day life that I can’t believe it’s only been four weeks. I have learnt a lot about the workings of an NGO, the reality of the challenges faced in these projects and the dynamics of volunteering in a different county.
Working with Team Vista has been an incredible opportunity. The people behind it are extremely hard working and generous, juggling tasks from the most basic day-to-day activities (getting the children good food and a working refrigerator) to large-scale projects (coordinating setting up new businesses in the community and managing legal cases). All these projects require constant attention to keep the momentum going, especially in a country like Tanzania where things don’t work quite like home. After seeing Team Vista run on the ground, I was surprised by the problems that were faced which were generally unexpected and not what I predicted.
Supplying aid is rarely as simple as recognizing that “a community needing a well” and an engineer coming over and using their knowledge to install one and walking away, problem solved. There are many facets to the issues the communities face and infinite ways to “offer help” as we aim to do. Some such factors which can complicate things are cultural sensitivities, religion, corruption, government or police involvement and associated issues, things rarely running on time, issues with sourcing materials, coordination of people and other external factors etc. Initially, an issue need to be identified, which can be a challenge in itself. Finding the solution is then usually an iterative process with sometimes many, and sometimes frustrating, roadblocks that you just don’t expect.
We aimed to connect a community with fresh water while we here, having eager and able-bodied volunteers to do all the digging and installation. We thought getting the local water management body to come and survey the existing system would take a day or two so we could begin work, but unexplained delays meant we didn’t hear back from them. It becomes difficult to plan efficient execution of projects and generally you constantly need to think and adapt. I didn’t expect the application of available resources to be an issue, but you really need to be proactive in the projects to get them off the ground.
During my time here, I have also gained insight into the dynamics of volunteering in a developing country. Moshi is home to countless NGO’s and aid organizations with funds and volunteers wanting to make a difference. It is admirable to see but also flagged a warning to research and understand how these agencies work. Some companies have made a business in itself of facilitating volun-tourism that can result in misspent resources. This was a disappointing reminder that it is really important to understand where your donations etc are going, as not all agencies are as honest and transparent as Team Vista.
It was extremely rewarding to be a part of a group working on such an array of projects here; building a caretakers hut, helping at the local school, taking the boys from the Team Vista orphanage on outings, renovating and decorating the girls empowerment room at the high school, marketing the hotel and associated enterprises, gathering ideas for future projects etc.
Personally, I was most proud of leaving Moshi with a Days for Girls group based out of Haria Hotel. Days for Girls is an international charity who distribute reusable sanitary kits to developing countries, where the girls miss out on school and work unnecessarily, and not to mention the embarrassment and discomfort which goes with that. Girls in the Kaloleni dump, or the slum like area of Moshi, for example, currently use leaves and other miscellaneous objects leaving them stuck at home or sick with infections. The deaf sewing group (Tatu Rafiki meaning “three friends”) supported by Team Vista, produce excellent quality products and work out of Haria Hotel. During my time in Moshi, I worked with them to make the Days for Girls kits. These can now be produced, sold and distributed locally, providing income for the group and a basic necessity for girls in the community.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here working on all projects. I take away an appreciation for what goes into taking resources donated in our society and turning them into something beneficial in a developing country, which can mean so much. Furthermore the amazing adventures in Tanzania and the people I’ve met. I count myself very lucky to have such an opportunity.
We got to see two exciting projects this week. The first project highlighted the striking contrast between Tanzania and Australia’s way of operating in the first. The second project was a completely unexpected series of events and discoveries that unfolded from a simple invitation to a party.
The first project was at the Team Vista block of land at Newlands, a new and growing area on the outskirts of Moshi (as the name suggests). The block had one harvest of maize last year and has since stood empty. Team Vista’s plan for the block is to build a caretaker’s hut with a small classroom facility, a fence to border the block from the random roads that spring up though paths of least resistance, and a workshop, made from shipping containers where youth can undertake vocational training programs for various trades. The rest of the land would be planted with crops and fruit trees, along with a compost toilet and water well.
“So how far is it to Moshi?”
“Well it depends who’s driving…”
And so began our 6 week adventure in Moshi, Tanzania. After 36 hours in transit, including a healthy dose of turbulence, unexplained delays, beautiful airport sunrises and surprisingly good quality breakfasts in Johannesburg, we groggily entered Moshi about 9pm Saturday night (in 40 minutes, definitely on the shorter end of the travel times thanks our speedy driver).
Our group is made up of Caroline (Team Vista director, our guide to Moshi and our contact for everything we’ll do here), myself (helping with Team Vista through a scholarship with W&G), mpenzi Sam (working with both Team Vista and KWEICO providing legal aid), Olivia (teaching English with Team Vista as part of her gap year) and Thomas (volunteering with Team Vista and connecting Engineers Without Borders). We are based at the Haria Hotel in the centre of Moshi, which Team Vista recently took over in December 2014. The hotel is the perfect base with awesome staff, a charming rooftop restaurant and bar and postcard views of Mount Kilimanjaro
How Tatu Rafiki & the Upendo women’s group are sewing themselves a brighter future!
To empower is to make someone stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights.
Empowerment is a concept close to the core of Team Vista’s overarching principle. Our aim is to help empower those less fortunate to build positive, sustainable futures for them selves, by giving them a hand up, not a hand out.
In effort to empower the community of Moshi, Team Vista have helped 7 women off the dump by establishing the Upendo women’s group, who have recently started working closely with our legally deaf master sewing group, ‘Tatu Rafiki’.
Tatu Rafiki is a group of talented, determined and dedicated sewers who have come together because of a handicap and created a bond over a shared passion for creativity.
Due to the corrupt nature of some of Africa’s poorer areas like Moshi, a more affluent ‘mentor’ exploited these skilled craftsmen and women. They were overworked and underpaid. They were unable to provide for their families. Their families disowned them and they were left to fend for themselves.
The name ‘Tatu Rafiki’ means “three friends” in the group’s native, Swahili, and they are a real story of triumph. Tatu Rafiki, are trained in tailoring and business and have become mentors for Team Vista’s Upendo women’s group, helping them improve upon their very modest sewing skills and empowering them to create a sustainable life for themselves away from the rubbish dump, thanks to a generous donation from Adelaide Torrens Zonta group.
Tatu Rafiki work from Haria Hotel creating traditional batik, clothing and bags, which are then bought at a fair trade price by Team Vista and sold in the local community, as well as Australia. They have come up with their own business plan for their ventures, an empowering step to creating a more comfortable and sustainable future for themselves and their families.
Thank you for all your support that allows us to help empower such a courageous community!
Watch this space to hear more about the creative ventures of these two inspirational groups.
This is Siadi. He is one of our sponsored children from Moshi. Saidi has just finished his schooling and is now off to Health College, a stepping stone to his dream of being a heart surgeon.
This is just one of many amazing stories, where children living in poverty receive educational opportunities and a chance at a new life.
To all our donors and supporters of Team Vista, THANK YOU! You truly are making a difference.
I flew into Moshi on the 30th of December and haven’t stopped. I’ve been flat out setting up our newest venture The Haria Hotel. The Haria is a small hotel/hostel in the main street of Moshi. It’s a budget, no frills accommodation with a rooftop bar & cafe and of course stunning views of Mt Kilimanjaro
Team Vista has had a great relationship with The Haria for many years. It’s always been our favourite place to stay each time we are over from Australia. And as of January 1st we are thrilled to announce we have taken over as new managers.
We decided to close for the first few days to get the rooms prepared and it’s been trades person central! So far we have installed a new cover upstairs on the rooftop, set up the kitchen, had new sheets and bed covers made and are in the process of having all the furniture repaired, installing new lighting on the rooftop, general repairs and maintenance.
After a few hiccups (as to be expected), we are making progress. Our landlord, the lovely Mr Haria has been fantastic, helping us to organise painting, new mattresses for all the beds and has been bringing us appliances to use in the kitchen each day.
We are looking forward to Team Vista supporter, Pippa arriving tomorrow from Perth. Pippa is a chef and has worked at resorts throughout Africa. Pippa will be working with our cooks here to set up a new menu and get the kitchen set up in time for our official opening party on Saturday the 17th January. If you are in or around Moshi, please come celebrate this exciting venture with us and check out our hotel website - www.hariahotel.com
Team Vista Blog
Here you will find the latest information about events, fundraising, trips to Tanzania and more.
News Note Archive