2019 Trip Blog #6
Written by Cheri Butt
As the team arrives back in Bondo after spending the week on Mageta Island, we breathe in the seemingly cool breeze. Locals are complaining it is a hot day, but we assure them it is much hotter in Mageta.
It is important for us to stay in the communities we are working in and Mageta Island was no exception. A recently appointed Head Teacher’s shock when he found out we were actually staying on the Island confirms how rare that is.
I am not going to sugar coat it, the conditions are tough – hot days – dust everywhere – absolutely nothing cold to quench your thirst – resident bugs – night howls of what sounds like a symphony of dogs, pigs, goats and whatever other animals are roaming about.
Through it all our team perseveres with light heartedness and joy. We share moments of laughter and tears. At the end of it all we feel privileged to have been able to get a brief glimpse into the lives of the people we serve.
We leave behind us;
- Over 100 Papaya seedlings planted through 5 schools. Peter, our Agriculture specialist, formed environmental clubs at each school, they were the ones to plant these first trees. In a couple of months, the boys in grades 6 and up will each receive Papaya seedlings as part of the Trees for Boys project.
- More days for girls kits distributed to grade 6, providing them with something that will allow them to not miss school, save them money, and leaving them feeling special and important.
- Education for Girls and Boys on their sexual health and reproduction. Kathy and Greg did a tremendous job with their classes. I often heard giggles from the girls as Kathy wiggled her hips, and cheers from the boys as they arm wrestled the Mazunga to break the ice and get them comfortable.
- Hope for the future. Every resident on the Island knows that we, along with Beyond Limitations, are serious about change and helping them achieve it.
Sustainability was a word we used over and over in every meeting. There needs to be commitment from teachers, parents, students, health workers, committees and government officials to take whatever we provide them on behalf of you, our supported and donors, to the next level. They need to maintain, grow and be innovative.
We are taking with us a wealth of knowledge, and are armed with information we need to press various government ministries to fulfill promises they have not followed through over many years.
I read an article that Mageta Island is one that was left behind. We will do your best to have their voices heard and believe they will not only catch up, but lead the way.
Words cannot describe what we are leaving with personally, but I think I can speak on behalf of myself, Kathy and Greg, that part of our hearts have been left on Mageta Island.