The Luhimba Project...
and St Katharines
(from the Chew Valley Gazette)
Pupils at St Katharine`s C of E Primary School in Felton have
recently been gaining an insight into the way people in a remote African
village live. The school has joined the Luhimba Project and has formed a
link with the village school of Luhimba in East Africa.
Most of us will not have heard of Luhimba, but to
Paul Temple, a teacher at St Katharine`s, this Tanzanian village has
almost become a second home. Paul has been involved in a project to
support Luhimba for the past fourteen years, and during that time he has
seen the village move forward in so many ways. The project, which was
started by Michael and Angela Carey of Wrington in 1984, has focused on
education, health, clean water and agriculture, and has achieved
wonderful results in all these areas. For example, a new dispensary with
a qualified medical officer was opened last year. The villagers have
called it The Angela Carey Dispensary, and all the children born there
seem to be christened Michael or Angela! When the project was started
the villagers shared a water hole with the cattle. Now there are
nineteen water pumps in Luhimba.
The outstanding success of the Luhimba Project is
largely due to the fact that every aspect of the scheme has been at the
request of the villagers. At no time have the organisers imposed western
ideas. Everything that has been done has been within the culture,
tradition and understanding of the villagers. It has been a true
partnership, and consequently personal friendship and mutual
understanding have built up over the years.
Paul recalls his first visit to Luhimba - It was
a true culture shock. I found myself in this delightful mud-hutted
village, with no electricity, running water, vehicles or shops. I was
given such a wonderful welcome, and received hospitality which I had
never experienced before. I now return every year and live with the
friends I have made in the village.
Being a teacher, Paul has concentrated his work on
the village primary school. In the early stages the school was a very
run-down building with mud floors, very few desks, minimal resources ,
all of which were reflected in the low morale of the teaching staff. The
first job was to create a much better working environment, and this has
largely been accomplished. Floors have been concreted, walls plastered,
and there are desks for all children to sit on. The project has also
succeeded in building a second primary school in the outlying area of
Likarangilo. But there is still a desperate need for teaching resources
in both schools.
During his visit to Luhimba earlier this year Paul
was accompanied by Helen Sweet. Helen is at university in Bristol and
joined the project last year. She is planning to spend some time working
in Tanzania when she qualifies as a teacher next year. Both Paul and
Helen are committed to helping the two primary schools in Luhimba and,
with the support of North Somerset Education Authority, have set up a
sponsorship scheme amongst schools in the area.
schools have pledged £50 per year for three years to help provide
teaching resources for the Luhimba Schools, and in return receive the
benefits of a real, ready-made international multicultural link,
including direct communication with the Luhimba children, sets of
artefacts, displays, updates on progress - in fact a real insight into
the way of life in a remote African village. Paul explains, It is a
wonderful opportunity for our children to be involved in such a project,
and to know that their efforts will have an immediate impact on the
lives of children in a developing country. Every penny raised goes to
the schools. It has always been the policy of the project leaders not to
take anything out of the funds for administration, travel etc. All these
expenses are met from our own pockets.