One of our lasting memories from our very first trip to Tanzania in early 2008 was the beautiful fruit – mangoes, bananas, papaya, watermelon and pineapple, when in season. Invariably, it is sweet and delicious. Following on from last week’s blog on the new kitchen at Arise School, we thought you might like to know how the school is looking to grow its own source of fruit for the benefit of the children.
Generally, in rural communities in Tanzania, the diet is pretty basic – rice, beans and vegetables, with some chicken or other meat for special occasions. Although fruit is plentiful, unless you are fortunate enough to have land with fruit trees growing on it, it is still beyond the means of many of the local population. Many of the children at the school miss out on its nutritional benefits.
Now that we have been able to start to provide breakfast everyday for the children, as a result of your support for our “Buy a Breakfast” Campaign, the school are serving the porridge that they previously enjoyed mid morning at lunchtime. Supplemented by some occasional local donations of rice and beans, Atu, the school cook, is now able to begin to vary their diet a little.
Once or twice a week, Atu goes to the market in the nearest township to buy vegetables and, occasionally, a few watermelons which can be cut into small pieces for the children to enjoy. In the longer term, the hope is to be able to grow sufficient fruit on the school’s land to supply enough for the childrens’ meals and, perhaps, to sell any surplus, however small, as income for the school.
Even as the first classroom was being built in 2012, Frank took the initiative to plant some banana and papaya trees which fruit relatively quickly. Although, situated on the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro, there is more water than most parts of the country, in order to preserve as much as possible, he came up with the idea of recycling the water when the children wash their hands! As a result, the trees have become established and are already beginning to crop.
Hopefully, it will not be too long before Atu is able to vary their diet even further. One thing we do know is this – just as there is not one grain of rice left by any of the children when they eat their lunch, nor will there be a single piece of fruit wasted!
Please help us to buy more fruit trees and develop this initiative. Please donate now!