Author: david_sausagetree

The London Prudential Ride – August 10th 2014

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Richard Master brilliantly rode for Sausage Tree and one other charity in the London Prudential Ride this August. The ride is usually 100 miles, starting in London and winding its way down to Surrey and back incorporating the Olympic cycle route. This year however, due to bad weather they cut out the 2 big hills and it ended up being 86 miles.

Richard nailed it in 5 hours in horrendous biking conditions and has applied to do it again next year so he can ride the 2 big hills! He raised over £1000 for Sausage Tree – Huge thanks – you are a star!

Sausage Tree’s 1st Sussex Quiz Night

Friends of Sausage Tree organised this successful night on 11th May 2013. They did an amazing job – got all the drinks and food donated and even made a “sausage tree” to put in the corner of the room. For most, it was their first quiz night and on arrival they seemed rather nervous; however they quickly realised that it wasn’t as serious as maybe they thought it would be and started to relax and enjoy the not quite so conventional questions!

An example question – “What percentage of the population can expand and contract their nostrils (to the nearest 10%)? Answer 30%!

Wonderful food was served and they all really enjoyed the evening. Thanks to their generosity and the great organisation they raised £3375. A huge amount considering only 50 people could fit in the room! Thank you for your support!

Hursley Charity Family Fun Run – 5th May 2014

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This was a new fund raising event for Sausage Tree. They teamed up with friends wanting to raise money for Brain Tumour Charity and all funds raised were split equally between both charities. It was an enormously successful afternoon – helped by good weather.

The 3 routes (2.4k, 5k and 10k) on private land in the South Lynch Estate were enjoyed but 200 runners who were amazed by the beautiful views around Farley Mount but not so amazed by one particularly large hill! The run started at 2pm and was followed by a BBQ and children’s entertainment.

We managed to raise a massive £5998!!! Huge thanks to everyone for their support and sponsorship.

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Sausage Tree’s 6th Hampshire Quiz Night

Sausage Tree hosted its sixth Hampshire Quiz night in Owslebury on 21st March 2014. We had another brilliant night and packed the village hall to its limit! The first round was a guess the drink round which really got everyone going. Chilli was devoured at dinner and the end of the night found us at tie break for the winning team. This was decided by a quick drinking game and the team that downed their drinks the quickest took the coveted prize of the mortar board hats!!!

Tom T-D did a great job on the auction and everyone was extremely generous. We raised a massive £9305 – so much more than we had ever expected. Huge thanks to all our supporters for being on such great form!

London Parks Half Marathon Quiz Night, October 2013

London Quiz Night

This October 6 super fit and wonderful people – James and Amice Lock, Bonnie Mahler, Ian Cox, Luke Marshall and Guy Rudd decided to run the London Parks Half Marathon for Sausage Tree.

To raise extra funds each runner got a table or two of supporters and came to Bumpkin Restaurant in Notting Hill for dinner and a Sausage Tree Quiz Night. This was a fantastic evening, everyone truly entered into quiz night spirit with a lot of backhanders going on in return for answers from the losing teams! It was a small and intimate affair (7 teams of 8) which raised an extraordinary amount of money thanks to everyone’s generosity. The quiz itself raised an enormous £8436.

It doesn’t end there because the runners also set up sponsorship pages and this meant that the total sum raised by the Parks Half marathon crew was a whopping £13246!!!! Huge thanks from Sausage Tree.

Zambia Visit 2013: Mfuwe Secondary

News boys dormitory at Mfuwe Secondary School

Mfuwe Secondary School looked totally different when we visited this September. There had been a lot of building work carried out since 2011 and this along with a dedicated head teacher has really transformed the school. The head teacher Mrs Chabala was so proud to show us around and was eager to get us up to date with all the facts and figures. There are currently 800 pupils (in 2011 there were 603!) of which 500 are boys. In 2006 there were only 2 classrooms and the school had to borrow classrooms from the neighbouring primary school. Now there are 11 classrooms of which one is a science lab. One of the triple classroom blocks was donated by parents thanks to the heads enthusiasm and the others funded by local charities and safari lodges. Incredibly the government have provided 28 specialist teachers, however there are only 4 teachers’ houses.

Lu with Mrs Chabala outside the new boy's dormitory

They now have 2 new dormitory blocks each sleeping 48 boys, they still sadly have to use the old dormitory too as the numbers of pupils and boarders has increased from 150 to 250 in the last 2 years. The number of girls boarding has also increased and their accommodation has also been hugely improved by other generous donors. In secondary education the number of girls drops off hugely as many have to stay and work at home, there are also high teenage pregnancy rates and many get married at a very young age.

There is a huge push to try and empower girls to go to secondary school in the area at the moment which is wonderful to see.

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There has been an incredible amount of progress at this school over the last 2 years and it is wonderful to see, however there is still a long way to go. They still need 4 more classrooms and would love a school hall which could be used as a dining room during the rains, for sports, afterschool clubs and a number of other activities. There are only 4 teachers’ houses which is far from ideal especially as there are 250 boarders on site.

Elephants are a problem in the area and do to a great job of stopping boys and girls mixing after dark but having more staff living at the school would be a huge advantage to everyone. The school are also very keen to start Agricultural Science as one of their subjects. For this to be achieved they need funding for electric fencing and all the planting equipment and resources. Sausage Tree are particularly keen to see this happen and are currently actively fundraising for this project. The local community really need to gain a greater understanding of crop production and management. The balance between wildlife and humans is very fragile.

Zambia Visit 2013: Chilongozi School

Chilongozi children arriving for school
Children arriving for school

Our visit to Chilongozi school this September was truly wonderful! Mum and Dad came to see all the schools for the first time since Sausage Tree started in 2001 and they were totally overwhelmed by this school in particular. Its extreme remoteness along with the passion of the teachers makes it an inspirational place to visit.

There are currently 210 pupils and 7 teachers at Chilongozi of which Sausage Tree pays for three of them; and the school now teaches students in grade 8 and 9 enabling children to stay at school longer. The nearest secondary school is so far away that they would have to board and many struggle to afford the cost of boarding. At the beginning of the year 53 pupils registered for grade 9 – a huge cohort, which is wonderful to see and highlights the fact that the children are really realising the importance of education if they want to support their families currently and in the future and to try and live with less uncertainty of when the next meal will be!

Headmaster's office in Chilongozi
Headmaster’s office in Chilongozi

There were two particularly memorable parts to our visit in September; the first was arriving unannounced and the second walking into the head teacher’s office. Because of its remoteness Haggai our colleague on the ground out there had not been able to contact them to tell them of our arrival. After a three hour drive on a dirt track we arrived on their first day of school to see it buzzing with children in class and others who were arriving for the afternoon session. We were shown round by the deputy head Mr Matanda who has been at the school for a long time and was eager to tell us about all the good things they were going.

On walking into the heads office we were thrilled to see a hive of activity. The room was full of signs and posters with all sort of information about the school on them. There were lists of documented books, school rules, clubs and so much more. He even had a large locked and barred cupboard for the exam papers!

He was keen to tell us about the successful exam results the children gained in last years grade 9 exams and was thankful to Sausage Tree for paying for 3 students each year to go to Secondary School. He expressed concerns about what might happen to the current grade 9’s next year as many of the 53 pupils will not be able to afford the fees for boarding school which is there only option as there are no secondary schools in the local area. He also expressed concerns for the girls at grade 10, informing us that 2 girls had passed last year but were unable to go to Secondary school as their families had married them off.

It was a really informative and positive visit and we look forward to developing even stronger relationships with them.

Zambia Visit 2013: Chiwawatala School

Classroom at Chiwawatala

It was great to meet the new head teacher Mrs Misozi Phiri at Chiwawatala this September. It was their first day of term and it was fantastic to see a well resourced school running efficiently. We even saw the books and resources that we provide them with each term stacked up in the library ready to be given out. The contrast is huge compared to our first visit in 2003 at which time there were only 4 teachers teaching 600 pupils in 7 grades. There are currently 817 pupils being taught in 10 classrooms by 18 teachers (2 of whose salaries are paid by Sausage Tree), a ratio of 45 pupils to 1 teacher. Due to such high pupil numbers they still need to teach on a rotational basis. One session starts at 7am with children finishing at midday. The second session starts at 1pm and finishes at 5pm.

Mrs Phiri, Head Teacher
Mrs Phiri, Head Teacher with Lisa who helps run Sausage Tree in Zambia

Conservation Science Africa (CSA) still farm 2 vegetable plots at the school and continue to educate the community in sustainable vegetable growing and a percentage of the profit made from selling the vegetables to local safari lodges is given to the school. Lisa who runs our projects out there also continues to hold tree planting competitions as firewood is becoming a huge problem. Many people are now having to travel great distances to get it as there is none left close to the villages, this can be a very dangerous job as the areas they tend to go to support a large elephant population.

During our visit in September we also learnt that the World Food Organisation (WFO) who provided a meal a day to all the children at Chiwawatala has sadly stopped funding this project. Thankfully the Luangwa Conservation and Community Fund (LCCF), of which our team on the ground are members of, now provide each child with a meal of Sampo each day. This is basically refined maize meal with oil, sugar and salt added to it. Without this some of the pupils would not be guaranteed a regular meal each day which is crucial but not always possible at home.

Sausage Tree’s 5th Hampshire Quiz Night

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After a two year break, Sausage Tree hosted its fifth Hampshire Quiz night in Owslebury on 6th April.

We had a brilliant night and packed the village hall to its limit! Questions were answered, drinks were drunk very quickly and everyone ate a wonderful Paella. It was a very noisy and amusing night and raised a massive £7667.

Huge thanks to all our supporters for being on such great form!

Minimum wage increases in Zambia

President Michael Sata
President Michael Sata

All is going well in Zambia although there have been a lot of changes which present fresh challenges as we continue to help this rural part of Zambia. The most recent hiccup has been a change in government – this has bought about the introduction of a minimum wage.

This has had a huge impact on the economy and subsequently fuel prices have rocketed. The implications for Sausage Tree are huge as this year our yearly ongoing support is now costing us any extra £6,000 to do exactly the same as last year – pay 5 teachers salaries, provide books and resources for 2 schools (1000 + pupils) sponsor 36 vulnerable/ orphaned children through school and train 1 teacher. Because of this I plan to visit Zambia this September to get a thorough understanding of the politics out there and make plans for the next few years.

The Secondary School is the community’s big focus at the moment which Sausage Tree is fully behind. The children in the Luangwa Valley are now receiving a good primary education – by helping develop Mfuwe Secondary School the children might now realise their dreams and even qualify to go to college.