Saturday 8th September was I think the hottest and sunniest day of summer. Wow, were we lucky and so were the 45 children who came to enjoy the magician, bouncy assault castle and water sliding and a lot more.
The guns were on fine form and enjoyed the lagers as they tried to hit the clays and quench their thirst at the same time! We had 10 teams of 5 guns and although the competition was fierce Peter Pitman’s team “Not a Chance” cleared the table winning both the Top Team and Team Flush competitions. Nick Baird also won “Top Gun” for the second time! They have been top of the leader board for the last couple of years now – come on you lot surely you can rustle up a team that can smash them in 2013!
Everyone was in fine form and this was very evident when it was time for bidding in the Auction. Tom T-D as usual was on fire and wouldn’t let anyone get away lightly. Thanks to this wonderful skill of his the auction made a huge amount of money for Sausage Tree and the day raised just over £8,500!!!
Huge thank you to everyone who helped make it such a fantastic day and helped raise way more than we had ever hoped for.
Our 4th London quiz was another great night. 80 fantastic supporters joined us at The Bedford in Balham. We were lucky enough to have a wonderful new quiz master: Eddie Latter who did an incredible job and is thoroughly brilliant and available to hire for any occasion!
Mikey Morrison was an awesome auctioneer and with the help of some very generous bidders the evening raised a massive £5,900!
At the end of 2011 plans got underway to build a new boys dormitory at Mfuwe Secondary School. This was made possible thanks to Erin Hurst and her Kilimanjaro crew. The dormitory was completed last year but more funds were needed to furnish it. Twyford Pre Prep and Valkyrie Festival made this possible with their phenomenal fund raising efforts.
A sponsored walk and cake sale carried out by the whole of the Pre Prep managed to raise just over £2500! Valkerie Festival hosted by Jo and Rupert Spice last September also raised £2000. The new dormitory is now home to 48 pupils who were previously sharing 4 per bunk. They moved in January and are chuffed to bits.
A huge thank you to everyone who supported the Kilimanjaro crew, Twyford Pre Prep and Valkerie Festival. You have helped make a huge difference to many young people who will need accommodation to finish school successfully – you have improved their quality of life as they go through school.
This will be taking place on Friday 26th April at Owslebury Village Hall. We are hoping it will be another fun and enjoyable evening for all. If you are interested in getting a table together please email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your place!
Sausage Tree’s 5th London Quiz Night
We are planning on hosting our 5th London Quiz night towards the end of the year. If you would like more information or are keen to help please email email@example.com. More information to follow soon.
This will be taking place on Wednesday 18th April at “The Bedford in Balham”. We are hoping it will be another fun and enjoyable evening for all. If you are interested in getting a table together please email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your place! More information to follow soon.
Sausage Tree Clay Shoot
The 7th Clay Shoot will be held on Saturday 8th September. Same format at always but this year there is even more extra special entertainment for the kids.
The last school I visited during my trip was Mfuwe Secondary School. I had never been before but the team out in Zambia – Haggai, Andy and Lisa are really keen to help it and it really does need a lot of help!
I couldn’t believe how little there was; there are currently 603 pupils and only 2 classrooms. Incredibly the government has provided 22 specialist secondary teachers, but they have nowhere to teach! Most of the teaching is done in the primary school next door and in what is meant to be the dining room; it is on a rotational basis with teachers planning and marking work under trees! However there is hope – the new head teacher, Mrs Beatrice Chabala, is doing wonders.
She has rallied the parents to donate funds to build a triple classroom block. This has already begun and Mfuwe Lodge (the team I work with) and one other safari company have matched this and in total 3 triple classroom blocks are currently being built. This is fantastic news and will really help the school establish itself.
They also showed me the boys boarding facilities; these are in a horrific state. The building is almost falling down and 4 boys/young men share one bunk bed! There are no storage facilities so they store their belongings on the rafters. The team out in Zambia are eager to change this; 2 new blocks need to be built as numbers are increasing and sharing beds is far from ideal.
There is however a long way to go, the classrooms are being built but now funding needs to be found for desks. It costs £39 for one double desk/bench; this has to be made from metal as wood comes at a cost to the landscape. The need for firewood is huge but it is not a never ending supply and villagers are having to walk further and further to find it. The school’s library is in a box on top of a cupboard; there is no science lab so the children are failing their science exam; there are very few books and resources and no sports facilities. Hopefully Sausage Tree and other donors will find the funds and help make this school a success story.
Chilongozi is a real contrast to Chiwawatala; it is much smaller with only 2 classroom blocks and 6 teachers as opposed to Chiwawatala’s 16! We got there in record time this trip – three and a half hours down a single dirt track passing a few elephants on the way. Its remoteness still shocks me and makes me realise how cut off from the world they are.
Sausage Tree sponsors three of the teachers at Chilongozi and they were keen to show us round and discuss the good work they had been doing and their pupil’s successful exam results. We were able to see the head teachers house that we built 2 years ago which looked very smart. The classrooms looked good and had all our resources and the student: teacher ratio has improved (1:60).
Their initial vegetable plot had burnt down in a bush fire but they were keen to show us the replacement one which they had positioned near to their new water tank. Elephants are a problem in this area so they are restricted as to what they grow but they are doing a good job of it which is encouraging. Lisa is keen to start the same vegetable scheme as at Chiwawatala as this will provide the children with an important source of vegetables which are few and far between – I think ‘5 a day’ is more like 5 a week at Chilongozi!
The inaccessibility of Chilongozi makes it harder to initiate and manage schemes, but projects that we are considering would be to provide electric fencing around the school so that they can develop the vegetable plots without the interference of elephants, and to initiate a tree planting scheme. During my visit we also provided funds to enable them to participate in the district sports day this year.
Chiwawatala is the school that is based near the airport and closer to civilisation; it is thriving and really established now.
They receive the books and educational resources each term and have a good teacher: student ratio for Africa (1:50)! They also now have electricity, a library and a water tank.
The World Food Organisation have provided them with special cookers which use less wood and every day they provide a meal of beans and maize meal for all 800 children. In the last two years it has expanded and now they teach Grade 8 and 9 as well. I really enjoyed seeing their head teacher Charles Zulu and have known him now for 9 years. He is a great man who now oversees all of the head teachers in the area which is great for Sausage Tree as it means the government are far less likely to move him, which they usually do every few years.
The school has rebuilt the vegetable garden and with the help of Conservation Science Africa (CSA) the children are going to learn about sustainable and environmentally friendly ways of growing vegetables. Currently CSA also has a couple of their own plots on the school campus and the produce is sold to Mfuwe Lodge; a percentage of the profit is then given to the school. The lady who works for them, Lisa, also now works for my team out there too which is a fantastic link up. The trees from the tree planting scheme are growing well and Lisa is going to initiate this scheme again soon.
Mfuwe Secondary School is in desperate need of help. It’s the only secondary school in the area and has really suffered from lack of support and increased number of pupils.
Approximately 150 pupils board at this school as it is too far from their homes to come in on a daily basis. The boys’ dormitory is in a desperate state of disrepair. 70 to 90 boys stay in the dormitory and sleep on bunk beds, generally they sleep 2 on top and two on bottom of a single bunk bed which is far from ideal, very uncomfortable, hot and not healthy.
They store their luggage, books, clothes etc in the rafters of the building. The boys do well in trying to keep it clean and tidy and have a cleaning rota in place but the building is falling down around them. Sausage Tree’s new project and mission is to raise enough funds to build a new boys dormitory.
They are currently ‘borrowing’ classrooms from the school next door to them and even with this temporary solution it has not made matters much better as they have to use the dining room as a classroom and have to have classes under a tree.
The staff also have many challenges as they do not have a staff room and really struggle in the rainy season to mark their pupils work, they only have a mango tree for shelter at the moment.
After speaking to the school officials and the building officer there are plans for a new boy’s dormitory but funding currently is not available.
The new dormitory will actually be hostels that would accommodate approx. 24 pupils so a number of hostels would need to be built, ideally along with an ablution block.
This took place on 12th May and was a huge success. The Bedford in Balham hosted us for the first time and the night was enjoyed by all. Some really fab and generous people came and we managed to raise a massive £4531.
12 tables came and enjoyed a variety of what we hoped, were interesting rounds which included the human body, chocolate tasting, The Royal Wedding and the usuals. We had some fab auction and raffle lots – a house in Cornwall, tickets to the Cheltenham Festival, Luxury B&B, flower arranging course and many more.
Huge thanks to the Morrison clan – Lib for helping me organise it, Mike and John for Auctioneering and the rest for coming along, being great sports and buying lots of raffle tickets and bidding on auction lots! Same time and place next year hopefully!