John and Babs in Tanzania

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Tanzania shown in green


We have been accepted to take part in Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) on a placement in Tanzania which will last for 2 years. Tanzania is on the east coast of Africa (see maps) and had a population of 37million in 2003. We leave from Teesside on Saturday 30th Sept at 0815 to fly to Heathrow, and our connection to Dar es Salaam leaves at 1920. The flight is 9hr 40min. The time difference is GMT +2 or +3 hours (+2h at present).


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The first three days of in-country training will be spent in Dar es Salaam (east coast of Tanzania), including training about money matters, safety, essential shopping places and other house-keeping issues, embassy registration, and meeting various important officials.


We will then spend about three weeks in Morogoro (a town 189 miles west of Dar es Salaam) where we will be trained in the local language (Kiswahili), culture, health and security and more motorbike training for John!!! We then head for a town in the north west of Tanzania, off the shores of Lake Victoria, called Bukoba.


We will be placed at Hekima Girls’ Secondary School and the on-site accommodation is “suitable for a couple”! The most appropriate means of moving between schools for John is by motorbike which will be also useful for the weekly shop – we are researching the location of the nearest Sainsbury’s!


John will be working with Physics and Maths teachers in a cluster of four schools around Bukoba. He will be helping the teachers develop their teaching skills and developing their computer skills including their use of the internet. In common with all VSO placements there is a major emphasis on HIV/AIDS awareness which we will be promoting during our two year placement.


Babs will be teaching Home Economics, also at the girls’ school, but as yet has no idea what this might entail although she does know that the facilities are very basic! At present she is frantically researching what can be cooked using Tanzania’s staple diet of coconuts, bananas, rice and a cornmeal porridge called Ugali. The list is endless…!!


We hope that we will fit into the new culture and community comfortably and will try to avoid catching malaria and bilharzia (worms wriggling around our veins). Babs is looking forward to an interesting new diet and the likely possibility of losing weight in time for Eve’s wedding on 5th April 2007 in Sydney! John is looking forward to all the many new challenges, and especially to being involved with students who appreciate the opportunities that education provides. We are both looking forward to keeping in touch with as many friends and relations as possible. However, since we have no idea what communication problems we might encounter until we get settled, which could be the beginning of November, please be patient!


Our VSO homepage

Our school website



John & Babs
at Helen & Mike's Wedding

This is us at our daughter Helen's wedding to Mike before we left to go to Tanzania to work with VSO for 2 years.

More to come from John and Babs in Tanzania soon.