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Building a Kindergarten in Tanzania

Well I've only managed to write one thing that comes close to putting into words some of my feelings for Yamba... But I'm afraid it's not a short paragraph ;-) I wrote it in the Village Africa visitors' book, just as I was leaving:

Last night I wrote this in my diary:

Tomorrow I'll get up before daybreak & steal away from Yamba - to all intents and purposes I've seen the village for the last time. I've filled scores of pages writing about it, but I realise now that I have never, and can never, really describe it. I've twice filled my camera's memory card with photos of Yamba, but I could never capture it. In twenty years' time I'll have strong memories of the last 10 weeks, but they'll never be as sharp as they are today, and that's something I'll take a long while to accept.  It's no easier to express my feelings here than it was there.

Giles, fellow volunteers and villagers work on the kindergarten in Yamba, Tanzania.  Gap year program arranged by PoDI've been hugely fortunate to come to work on what must surely be the world's most welcoming building site, and to see such progress both at the Kwemshi store and the new Kindergarten. Being able to say that a small part of that progress is down to me is a real thrill too. But none of that is really important. Nor are the apocalyptic sunsets, the dappled shadows cast by unfamiliar plants, or even the joy of finding the ant that's been biting you for half an hour and squashing it under the steamroller of a triple-A battery. None of this holds real significance compared to the people.

On site I owe everything to Freddy for teaching me, and to Lucas, Giles and friendEpimark, Edward and particularly Paulo for their constant good humour and for making me feel at home. Away from work it's been a pleasure to discover that where you go and what you do says more about you than I'd ever realised, so despite being half across the world with people I'd never heard of, I've made great friendships with the other volunteers. I'm hugely relieved that we live in an age now where there doesn't have to be any question of whether we'll be able to stay in touch. Cosmas has been a great entertainer, both at football and teaching us Kiswahili, depending sometimes on sentence. And Clemencia - how can I express my thanks to Clemencia? All the housegirls have been great, but I think I've been particularly lucky to have her to look after me, tease me, and of course to braid my hair in ever more inventive designs. I'll miss her more than I can say.

IGiles ponders his time at Yamba on his gap year placement arranged with PoD've been signing off in my diary with "NeverLoseYourSenseOfWonder", and now that I come to say goodbye I hope I'll be able to keep following my own advice, back in the ordinary world. Yamba could never be encompassed by anything I could describe as ordinary, I'm quite certain.

Giles Flemming's' placement in Tanzania was arranged through PoD.