An Excellent Expedition
Last month we hosted a 13-member-expedition-team consisting of members from different parts of the U.K. This is keeping in line with a tradition borne and shared between ASDF and Excellent Development; a UK based charitable organization and our strategic partner. Expeditions are held at least twice every year and this enables visiting teams to interact with the SHG members we work with and get to share their experiences first hand.
Expedition members have admitted that this is a noble, sociable and most fulfilling way of spending a holiday, albeit, at times quite exhausting. This is because part of the expedition includes assisting a selected self help group in constructing a sand dam, which most confess, is no mean task. However, a good part of the period is spent visiting ASDF implemented projects and witnessing the life changing impacts they have had on the communities.
The August 2015 expedition team visited a great number of projects. They learned the process of constructing a rock catchment and saw it first hand in Kyalimba S.H.G, were mesmerized the food security and income generating opportunities created by sand dams by enabling agricultural activities in Kee S.H.G and saw the amazing possibility of setting up a fish pond in Kyeni kya Thwake S.H.G’s sand dam in Tawa. They learned the mechanisms and workings of a complete rock catchment, seeing the impacts it has had on the community in Malaika S.H.G’s complete rock catchment, saw that it was possible to establish and maintain a tree nursery with a sand dam in Kakai S.H.G and were wowed by the bull and goat projects in Nzwii S.H.G which are meant to change the local breed into more productive, more climate tolerant cross-breeds.
All the while, they had been assisting Isunguluni S.H.G in the construction of their fourth sand dam. This is considered the highlight of an expedition as it exposes the group to an actual African community working on a self empowerment project together. It demystifies the sand dam technology and terminology and leaves the members cognizant of the dynamics of sand dam construction. They interact with an African community for a whole week, and inevitably pick up bits of their dialect, tradition and culture, however tiny they might be. Few expedition members leave without learning the meaning of “Waamukata” or “Watindata”!
On the last day, they were treated to an African party. They joined the community in an evening of binge eating, merry-making and laughter as they bid each other farewell. They were presented with some gifts as a sign of gratitude for assisting the group in constructing their sand dam. After spending a whole week together, inevitably a bond had been created. It was a jolly evening to sum up a jolly week of learning, sharing and laughing.
Maybe you should come on an expedition!
Expeditions are held at least twice every year and this enables visiting teams to interact with the SHG members we work with and get to share their experiences first hand.