REPORT BY CHRIS DUNNING FOLLOWING HIS STAY IN LUHIMBA MARCH-JUNE 2010
After the 14 hour bus journey from Dar es Salaam I arrived into Luhimba during a thunderstorm. This
made the 2 km walk to the village an adventure and my first taste of what life in Africa was to be like!
As soon as the sun rose the next day I was welcomed by excited and enthusiastic children. My first task
was learning Swahili and I quickly got to grips with my 'Shikamoo's' (said to those older than yourself
translating as 'I hold your feet', although I didn't actually get to hold any feet!) and my 'Asante's' (thank
I studied hard for the first 2 weeks while waiting for the Easter holidays to end. I began teaching at the
primary school, classes 5, 6 and 7, which ranged from 9 year olds to 17 year olds. My first lesson was
interrupted by invading chickens, but none of the students batted an eyelid so I figured this must be a
regular occurrence for them!
The teaching was at times fantastic. The pupils especially enjoyed learning and singing songs, which was
all they wanted to do sometimes! The level of English is not great and the students need all the help and
encouragement they can get in order to develop their skills and go on to succeed at Secondary School,
where all subjects are taught in English.
I hope the students were able to take something away from my lessons. At the very least I taught myself a
lot about English Grammar and the correct use of an apostrophe!
Other than teaching, the days consisted of football, cooking, playing with the children for hours and most
of all enjoying the Tanzanian way of life, to which I became very accustomed. This was mainly sharing
food, relaxing, and gossiping a lot. The Tanzanian people are masters of a good gossip! The women in the
village were intrigued to see a man cooking and were very impressed one night when the Chief came for
my goat curry supper!
One of the highlights of my time was playing for the village football team and witnessing the pitch
invasions by young and old alike after every goal, although sometimes I thought I was only on the team so
the village could have a white man playing for them!
I am hugely indebted to fellow volunteers Steven Lister and Carys Evans (who now lives in Luhimba) for
their hard work and patience with me adapting to African life. I owe them both a big 'thank you'.
The residents of Luhimba were incredibly welcoming and I also owe them a massive 'thank you'. Their
friendship and kindness was incredible and is something I will remember for a long time.
Luhimba is a beautiful place; full of wonderful people and they deserve all the help provided by the
Luhimba project. To be a part of the village was an absolute privilege and I already miss it a lot.
I hope to return sooner rather than later. I know there will be a cup of 'chai' and a thousand smiles waiting
Since Chris Dunning left
in March to work for the
Luhimba Project, we
have been awaiting
news from him keenly.
He has now sent this
message which is also
carried on the Luhimba
website, and we hope to
be able to add
photographs in due