Field Trip to Africa 2021. What Was It Hard and What is Not?

Tools For Solidarity go to a Field Trip to Africa at least once in a few years. Most of the times our workers have a huge list of tasks to accomplish. But year after year they successfully do so.

This year our partnership worker – Manon – and Tools workshop coordinator – John – went to Africa right after New Year. Although it was an uncertain time with the virus, they both arrived in the country safely! And now have an unforgettable experience for the rest of their lives. The duration of the whole trip was a bit more than 3 months and John and Manon worked super hard to achieve all goals they set.

In this article, we want to share Manon’s experience with the work in Tanzania. So we hope you will enjoy it!

What was the hardest part of the trip?

The field trip is an amazing time but definitely challenging from time to time. The main goal of this trip was to set and open the Njombe project. The hardest part for me was to start all the project procedures from the scratch. And I have to confess, it was really something I’ve struggled with, especially with the timescale that we had.

Many might wonder what is so hard about it? But the thing is it’s never something that you expect! I mean, you plan and schedule everything, but then it all goes simply not the way that you wanted to. For example, the electricity is not working for a few days and you’re not prepared for it. You simply didn’t think about it because here in Belfast we’re so used to having it all the time.

Therefore, the main problem for me was the lack of knowledge on the way life is over there. You do have an overall idea before arriving, hence you think you can expect and manage everything. But actually, you’re not. So you have to find a way to move on, find solutions, get used to what you have and keep working efficiently no matter what. Plus, it makes you realise the differences in the world and that you should be grateful and appreciate what you have.

What is the best part of the field trip?

That the best part of the trip was probably to work with the partner that I’ve been in contact with for 1,5 years and to finally meet them. I also had an opportunity to guide our Njombe workshop coordinator – Janeth – and teach her everything about the project. Even though I mentioned how hard it was to set up the Njombe project, it was a pleasure to work with dynamic and motivated people there. I really believe Janeth will carry the project in a good way with her colleague Micheal.

I’m so thankful to Tools For Solidarity, especially – Stephen and John – for giving me the chance. This experience taught me a lot about work overseas, the world in general and plenty of things about myself in many positive ways. I’m very proud and happy to have had the opportunity and spend 3 months working in the field that I love and value: solidarity!

It was an amazing time that I will never forget.