Sunday, 12 August 2012

It's raining it's pouring!

It's raining!

Only Brits abroad can bring rain in the dry season! But how welcome it is. 

Team update. 

The rain today has certainly tested the new guttering for any leaks. Although not yet connected to the tank (it's not finished yet) you can certainly see how effective it will be in collecting the rains from the roof of the Lay Training Centre to the 60,000 litre storage tank. This should make the LTC self sufficient for water throughout the year which is great news. There was only one leaky joint and the guttering team had great pleasure informing me that it was the one  done by Robert, the local workman ( Fundi). 

The hospital painting is progressing well. It's not easy painting  walls in gloss paint but the team are doing great and it is already looking much brighter and cleaner. Liz, an American helping to run the new Pre School, is particularly delighted as she is intending to paint helpful health and nutrian tips in Kiswahili on the OPD walls so that patients can read them while they wait. 

The work in the Orphanage has grown from painting a couple of murals to completely decorating the dinning hall and bedroom corridor and then painting murals. The Team have steeped up to the challenge and have already got two coats on the walls and ceilings and are almost ready to start on the fun bit, the murals. I'm really looking forward to seeing them as they look fantastic on paper and will I'm sure delight the children as well as Ute the Orphange Director. 

On Thursday we had the second of four Kids clubs. The first started with only a few chidren but gradually built to around one hundred by the close. It was a good start and the team gained confidence as the afternoon wore on.  The craft was particularly appreciated but did take a little longer than expected as children here really take their time to do it well. This ment that the games had o be extended and improvisation was called for. The message of Noah and the Ark was narrated and re-enacted  by the team and translated by Ruth Mgego the hospital directors wife. With songs and fun the club was off to a good start. 

The second club was about Jonah and saw the children creating Jonah inside the big fish (which looked suspiciously like a whale!) for their craft. The parachute games were a particular success and they caught on very quickly at what to do, I can only imagine that someone has done this before. This time the number of kids had grown to over 180 and as before everyone went away happy having enjoyed themselves and learnt about another important Biblical character. More news on Saturday's club later. 

BREAD update

I haven't had this many meetings since I left work. The only difference being I am really enjoying them. I spent a very pleasant couple of hours with Cannon Chiahamba and his assistant Frank Masengisa discussing the activities and challenges for the Lay Training Centre and was particularly delighted to hear that they have four people from the Masi tribe and two ex Muslims studying at the school. 


On Friday I visited Tunguli Medical Centre, a remote clinic managed by Berega Hospital. It is a 50k journey over unmade roads and as I said at the beginning, it was raining, which meant at one point we got stuck in the mud at a precarious angle. But the Land Rover was up to the challenge and four wheel drive won the day. We did however turn back and use an alternative route. The clinic faces many challenges, not least due to its remote location. It is very sadly lacking in facilities and equipment with only a few solar lights still working to help them during the night. The clinic provides a vital service to this remote region with many babies being born in the very basic delivery room with just one low power 12v bulb to illuminate the dark room. Patients with complications or the need for surgical intervention are sent to Berega Hospital. This in itself can be life threatening as the journey is often made on the bcak of a motercycle (Piki piki) as there is no regular transport service to the area  If you would like to know more about Tunguli and ways in which you can help please contact me, Gary Mann, at 

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Interactive 360° Panoramas

Here are the interactive panoramas as promised.

Click on an image to open the viewer in a new window.

The River

The Airstrip

Berega Orphenage

St Mary's Church

Lay Training Centre

SONAB - School of Nursing at Berega

Hospital Maternity Waiting Home

Hospital: Outpatient Centre, Maternity Ward

Hospital: X-Ray, Theatre, Infusion, Wards 2&3, Offices

Well 1

Well 2

Well 3

Rock Of Contemplation


Sunday, 5 August 2012

The English Choir

Sunday 05th August

St Mary's church Berega extended a warm welcome to us today and sent their greetings to all at Merland Rise Church and Holy Trinity Redhill. The team or English Choir as they are now known, sang three choruses as part of the communion service. The service took just under three hours and despite not uderstanding everything happening we all enjoyed the Berega choir singing and the partly translated sermon. 

In the afternoon the team prepared for the four kids clubs and then enjoyed some downtime with the local children. The day was ended with a time of worship and reflection together and a few games. Tomorrow they will be painting and fixing gutters for rainwater harvesting. 

The Wells - 360° Panoramas

This will be my last update from in-country. Below are the panorama photos of the Wells.

Well 1

Well 2

Well 3

Once I'm back in the UK tomorrow I will upload the full panoramas & also have a go at adding Berega and the hospital to Google Maps.


Saturday, 4 August 2012

Things are changing.

Yesterday (Friday) a team of young people from Merland Rise Church Tadworth and Holy Trinity Redhill arrived in the village. I was amazed that shortly after arriving and after a long and tiring journey the first thing they wanted was a football. I think I can just about remember being that energetic. However by 9:00 pm all were tucked up in bed and fast asleep!

Things on the blog will be changing from here onwards. I will still be reporting on any meetings and visits I have associated with BREAD but also I will be keeping you updated on the teams activities and progress for the next couple of weeks. Also the pictures may be less or non existent as I have lost my technical director, Simon, who has had to return home to work. Hopefully next time he can stay for the whole trip. It does mean also that there won't be anymore of those great 360 shots. 

I'd like to say a warm welcome to any parents of the team members. I hope you enjoy keeping up to date with what your youngsters are up to and are not missing them too much. Do please take a look at the BREAD web site and read a bit more about Berega and the sort of work we are doing here. You can get to it from here:  

Today the team have had a tour around the village and taken in the sights, sounds and smells of Berega village and after a lunch of ugali and meat they have gone to run off all their excess energy by playing games on the airstrip. Don't worry there are no planes due today! Tonight its home cooked pizza, as they don't deliver out this far. Tomorrow the real work starts and I will keep you updated as to what they are doing and how they are progressing. 

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

The Wells

The three wells around Berega

Today we  visited the three wells that BREAD sponsored this year. It was very heartening to see them being well used (excuse the pun) and very much appreciated. Whilst at the first well, which is furthest away from the main village, a group of women went past to collect water from the river. This mystified me, why would they use river water in preference to the cleaner, better tasting well water? Their reply was humbling. " There are about a thousand people using this well. It's water is precious and so we only use it for drinking and cooking. We use the river water for washing".

The story was similar at the other two wells. Everyone we spoke to expressed their gratitude for the well and the difference it has made to them. Our guide for the visit, Mr Jonahas, told us that water bound diseases such as cholera and bilharzia are common in Berega because people have to use the water from the river. These wells are helping around two thousand or more people to avoid these potentially fatal diseases.

At each of the wells it was the children and women who were fetching the water, watching them swing the 10 litre full buckets (about 10kg or 22lbs) up on to their heads with grace and little effort was amazing. For most of them there was a good long walk ahead of them and this would be repeated twice a day. The second well we stopped at, which seemed to be in the middle of nowhere was, we were informed by Mr Jonahas, dug there specifically to make sure the children from the nearby (about half a mile away) Primary School had clean water to drink.

It is difficult to sum up how I feel about the wells. On one hand it is delight and gratitude that by the generosity of others we have been able to help a lot of people in a small way. On the other hand it is frustration that I can't do more. Knowing that so many struggle to have enough of the most basic commodity for life is heart-wrenching.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

360° Panoramas

As Gary said in the first entry, I've been taking photos and videos of Berega to make a promo video for BREAD. While I'm here I've also been making a number of 360° Panoramas to allow people to experience something of what the hospital and the village are like.

Below are all the panoramas I have take so far in flat image form. If you click on each one it'll take you to the flickr page where you can view the image in different sizes.

Berega Orphenage

St Mary's Church

Lay Training Centre

SONAB - School of Nursing at Berega

Hospital Maternity Waiting Home

Hospital: Outpatient Centre, Maternity Ward

Hospital: X-Ray, Theatre, Infusion, Wards 2&3, Offices

Although the internet here is amazingly good when you think of where we are it's not quite meaty enough to withstand me uploading the full immersive panoramas (similar to Google StreetView). Once I'm back in the UK next week, I will upload them from there and make another post once those are available.


Power to the People

240 Volt mains electricity is getting ever closer for Berega. There are now Power Poles in the village (No NIMBYism here) with cable running between them. Sadly they are not connected to anything yet! It's hoped that by December this year it will be connected and the hospital at least will be able to enjoy the mains supply backed up by the new generator, which will switch automatically when the mains fails.

That is if the hospital can raise the Tsh 5,000,000 (About £2.5k) required to complete the wiring. They have been given funds from an American charity to pay for the connection to the mains and wiring of the Out Patients Department, the Laboratory and the RCH (Reproductive Child Health) area. This leaves things like the wards, operating theatres and the School Of Nursing without mains supply. It is hoped the money can be raised as soon as possible to enable the hospital to benefit from the introductory discount. They would also like to connect the staff houses and enjoy the same discount offer but again funds do not allow this.

There is no doubt that the installation of mains electricity heralds the dawn of a new era for Berega, let's hope and pray that it brings great blessing to the area.

Lazy Sunday Afternoon & Manic Monday!

The Rt Rev Godfrey Sehaba Bishop of Morogoro

After a lazy Sunday, attending the 09:30 service at Church (which started at 10:15!) and a gentle stroll up to the airstrip, Monday was just the opposite. An early start and a 2 hour drive to Morogoro where we met with the Bishop of Morogoro, Godfrey Sehaba. It was good to hear from Godfrey on the different ways in which BREAD has made a difference in Berega and the wider community and also to catch up on news of his family.


Then it was off to the market and shops to get all the project equipment and food for the team of young people coming to Berega on Friday. We bought enough paint to cover the Severn Bridge, actually the Out Patients Department and offices in the hospital and all the associated parafinalia needed.

Food shopping was an interesting experience as it spanned over several markets and shops and many miles! Seemingly there is no such thing as a "One stop shop" in Tanzania. Eventually the Land Rover was filled to the gunnels, including 2 pastors we gave a lift to and several items on the roof. The journey home seemed even slower than going but thanks to mobile Internet I was able to do my emails whilst travelling.  The really rewarding thing was to see the face of Frieda, who is cooking for the team, when she viewed the fare. The rice got particularly  high praise as it is apparently of the highest quality, I'm looking forward to eating it, that's for sure.

The Airstrip - 360° Panorama

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Project update

Out with the old........

And in with the new. The new generator has been installed at the hospital and is providing uninterrupted power between 18:00 and 22:00 every night and for emergencies duing the day. The old one had become very unreliable and was beyond economic repair. It is vital to have a reliable power source as failure during an operation can be fatal, so BREAD was glad to be able to help through the generous donations of its supporters in purchasing this new generator.

This is one of three water tanks that BREAD supporters have sponsored in the past year. It provides clean fresh rainwater direct to the ward, this one is for Ward 2, which helps to alleviate the strain on the rapidly diminishing aquifer of the Hospital bore hole and tastes much better!

The Maternity Waiting Home is now fully operational and bringing great benefit to mum's who may need special care prior to and during their confinement. The recently published annual report for the hospital shows a marked reduction in maternal deaths, some of which may be due to the additional pre natal care enabled by the MWH.

The "River" - 360° Panorama

We are here

We finally arrived in Berega after 30 hours travelling to a warm welcome from Isaac and Dani and a very welcome meal from Frieda. With only minor delays due to "technical difficulties" (men with screwdrivers and worried looks working at the emergency exits) we made it safely and are thankful to God for travelling mercies.

We have been made immediately aware of one of the major problems here in Berega, the shortage of water. With reduced water table and problems with the solar powered pump means we have no water in the tank at our new home "Korintho"  Fortunately there is still some rainwater stored so we can make a cuppa! However, great care has to be taken with this precious resource so baths and long hot showers are out of the question.

It is a good reminder to us when we moan at how much rain we have had of late in the UK that it is essential for life and we should be grateful. It's also a real encouragement for the team that is coming from home and for supporters of BREAD at just how important the rainwater harvesting projects are in helping with this problem. We are looking forward to checking out progress on the new rainwater tanks that are being installed around the village, thanks to people's kindness.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Olympic exodus

Sitting in T3 Heathrow with thousands of others keen to get away from the mayhem!

I have just 3 weeks in Berega and hope that I will be able to carry out a review of BREAD's projects over the last two years and spend time with all key people in the village to discuss the projects effectiveness and what our future involvement might be. Our plan as a board of Trustees is to have regular trips to the village and use these as a springboard to the next years round of projects The idea is to help people like Isaac, the Hospital Director, to plan more accurately.

I've been joined on this trip by Simon Pain who will, amongst other things, being filming and editing a promotional video for BREAD.

In addition to the BREAD meeting I am coordinating the visit starting next week of a team of 10 young people and 5 adult leaders from Merland Rise Church and Holy Trinity Redhill. It should keep me busy keeping them busy!

Im very much looking forward to meeting up with friends old and new in Morogoro and Berega tomorrow.

I'll keep you posted.