16 Aug Global 4H Summit, Tanzania 2023
Day 1: Wallace Currie (Comms & Marketing Vice Chair)
After flying Glasgow to Dubai with no dramas we arrived in the 1am THERTY EIGHT DEGREE heat. We made sure to make full use of our 3 hours in the lounge with showers, sleeping and even meeting old uni peers!
Come 8am UAE time (5am GMT) it was time to set off on a shorter 5 hour flight from Dubai to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania before what we expected to be the simple 1 hour remaining flight…how wrong we were!!
Arriving at Dar Es Salaam was easy, got in, then started our last minute emergency visa application as none of us were able to apply online…and so it was time for the drama to commence!
First off, we had to go to check if they were eligible, for Jane, Linsey and Paul, no dramas! For Wallace it seemed fine, he then went up to pay and was told ‘your name is Mr Currie, not Mr Ashgada’ and realised the wrong visa acceptance had been issued, a few awkward conversations later, all while releasing our final domestic flight was now less than 80 minutes away.
We were now expecting to head and get our ‘baggage transfer’ from DES to KIL…I should also mention at this point we don’t yet have boarding passes…so that’s fun!
The 4 of us then headed out to walk over to departures in the 33 degree heat and we all began to melt into the gorgeous fauna of the Julius Nyerere pavement.
We got to departures, went through, no dramas apart from Paul’s belt FOR THE 18th TIME in the last couple days! It was at this point we realised that our bags that we thought were being sent to the next airport were in fact at this one and now with 45 minutes to go, we had to head back to get our cases. At this point we must mention that if it wasn’t for Dickson (seen in the photo with the 4 of us) we would in fact not be leaving Dar Es Salaam!
He took Linsey all the way back to baggage, got what we thought were the 4 correct cases and brought them out to which Wallace said ‘mine isn’t there’…Jane in true Jane fashion said “we don’t have time for your jokes Wallace!” But it was in fact the case!
Wallace was then allowed back to which he said to the lady Dickson had introduced him to that the bag he could see was his, she said this was wrong, he disputed it and after a short discussion in an office and Wallace realising he was wrong the 4 SAYFC representatives headed off with their four cases! Dickson escorted us through the whole place before Paul’s belt caused security to beep one last time as we enjoyed a nice 10 minute seat before the flight to Kilimanjaro!
We then landed and then got in our bus with 5 from Finland and 4 from the states! What a laugh it was! Black dark and buses, lorries and everything else was overtaking with no idea what was next! It was mentally exciting chaos!
We arrived really tired at this stage but pretty rapid we were thrown into icebreakers with 3 teams which involved trying to tick off THIRTY FIVE challenges, such as run round the theatre with someone on your back 5 times, drawing the world, writing every language and SO MUCH MORE. One to note was teach a dance from your country so Wallace had his full team doing an extremely poor Orcadian strip the willow!
What a start! We’re excited to do the organisation proud at the 4H Summit this week!
Day 2: Linsey Campbell (International & Travel Chair)
Our day began with learning about the history of 4H and the 4H summit, with the first global summit taking place in 2014 in Korea, followed by Canada in 2017, a virtual summit in 2021 due to covid which brings us to the 3rd global summit in Tanzania. The 4H goal is to achieve 25 million members by 2025 and the global 4H community celebrates 1st November as a global 4H day.
We then broke for refreshments when we noticed the pool had started to get filled much to Wallace’s excitement, little did we know that this would be at the cost of us having no water in our rooms for showers, taps or toilets and that it still wouldn’t be completely full by the end of our time there!
After chatting to other delegates over coffee we headed back to hear from Ibrahim Yusuf, he had joined 4H while in primary school where he was inspired by small projects like gardening and poultry keeping. 4H provided books for them to keep records and learn from and in his words “that’s where it all began and I wouldn’t be where I am today without 4H.” It is safe to say, that Ibrahim’s words are something we can all resonate with on some level or another. He is now a very proud farmer, and in the process of producing an all natural pesticide called TUMUTU. He has tested his product local farmers fields and has now began lab testing to calculate the shelf life.
Ironically, after we’ve just seen the massive pool being filled with water, Ibrahim goes on to tell us how the biggest challenge he faces at the moment is the lack of enough water for irrigation. Having been on a previous exchange in chile, it was interesting to hear the differences and similarities in challenges the countries are facing.
It had been an interesting morning and after some lunch, we squeezed into a mini bus and started our journey to a snake farm. Having arrived the night before in darkness it was nice to see the landscape around us. Every inch of possible land is cultivated in some way or other, whether it be maize, herbs, sunflowers or plants.
Now, if you’re reading this having just bumped up the road in and out of potholes, I dare say Tanzanian roads could give Scottish councils a run for their money. To help you understand what every journey was like, the only thing I can compare it to is like buckraking on a piping hot summers day, the air con in your tractor has broken and there’s 10 other people squeezed into the cab. Now I’ve set the scene, I’ll tell you about our 6 hour journey on the silage pit. It was the 8th of august, which is what they call “Nane
Nane” day. Nane, meaning eight in Swahili. Nane Nane day, is the day of agriculture in Tanzania and we had hoped to stop off at this en-route to the snake farm. We first headed to Arusha and stopped at a local market, before getting back on the bus to head to Nane Nane. As we got closer, it became clear this was a very busy day and our guide had mentioned it was also a public holiday for everyone, 2 hours later we had moved a grand total of around 3 miles, some kids had pointed in the window to laugh at Wallace’s beard and no one had seen Nane Nane. Everywhere also closed early for this public holiday, the snake farm included, so we made the hour and a half journey back to the hotel, with no Nane Nane and no snake farm visit in sight. The atmosphere wasn’t great on the bus as we were all packed in like sardines but we kept the spirits high by singing some Scottish songs for our international friends!
Once back at the hotel we had dinner and had time relax and mingle with one and other before heading to bet to rest up before the following days workshops.
Day 3: Paul Carruth (Communications and International Travel SAYFC Staff Member)
We awoke to discover that most of the hotel’s water seems to have been directed to filling the pool which has left us showerless and the pool not even filled to the edges yet.
After another ‘interesting’ Tanzanian breakfast we headed to our morning briefing. Where we had a run through of our programme for the day. The opening ceremony that had been planned for 9am was to be delayed as the special guest was yet to arrive. I was informed by one of the organisers what we had already began to assume, that Tanzanians are not the biggest fans of schedules.
We began our breakout sessions at half 9. Unfortunately, the information was slightly cloudy on where we were meant to meet for each session so there were a good number of confused members wandering the halls of the hotel looking for someplace to be.
When we eventually found our way the experience was very rewarding. Each session was led by members from one of the attending 4H’s. They were highly informative and often amazing fun. Over the day we covered so many topics including Climate Projects, Art Exchange, Global Citizenship, Public Speaking and Conflict Resolution to name just a few.
The workshops were so helpful and informative. And I’m sure all the attendees will have plenty to take back with them to utilize in their own programmes and practice.
At 11:30 we were finally able to have our official opening with guest of honour regional commissioner of Arusha Hon. John Mongella. We stood for the national anthem and the honoured guests arrival.
Each group was introduced to the commisioner by 4H president Derek. He explained that the objective of the global summit is to share experience, network and to discuss challenges facing youth and come up with solutions.
The commissioner celebrated the opportunity for collaboration and integration that the conference provides. And praised the work of 4H in Tanzania and around the world. We then gathered for pictures outside. Without any pre-warning so there are some pictures of some slightly unwashed and underdressed scots behind the regional commissioner. It was then time for lunch before an afternoon full of more breakout sessions. After the afternoon sessions, we sat down for dinner where we were treated to some local entertainment which consisted of drums, singing, acrobatics and dancing,
This was all to celebrate the 30th anniversary of 4H in Tanzania. A birthday cake was wheeled out from the kitchen and we sang Happy Birthday. After this, all the team leaders (including Jane) stepped up to help cut the cake and congratulate the association on the achievement.
Once the cake was cut, the entertainment continued, with the performers putting on even more daring stunts as the night went on. Cartwheeling, tumbling, juggling and eating fire, and leaping through tiny hoops. It was like the Edinburgh Fringe but with alot less flyers. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the evening and it was a fantastic way to celebrate 30 years of 4H work in the country.
Day 4:Jane Strawhorn (SAYFC National Chair)
The fourth day of our trip started off back in “the buckrake” more commonly known as the mini bus. The tyres on this bus are really the MVP of this trip and have made me question how poor my own driving is back home and how many tyres I go through. This bus drive was another great get together with lots of music and culture being shared. The Jamaicans even declared that the greatest Scot of all time was Johnnie Walker.
Today we were incredibly fortunate to visit an orphanage called Aston Vision Support for Needy Children. We brought stationary and T-shirts to donate to the children with the tops being kindly donated to us by QMS. We were able to spend a lot of time with the children and also meet their teachers. The centre operates as both an orphanage with the children staying there as well as learning there. The children were so excited to meet us, as were we to spend time with them, they showed us where they like to play, how high they can go on the swings, where they have school lessons and where they sleep at night. Most of all though, they just wanted to hold our hands and hug us. These children have suffered extreme hardship from such a young age but have so much love to share. The entire experience was extremely emotional but incredibly important and worthwhile.
The teachers are doing amazing things with these children with very limited resources. Two of them are IVHQ volunteers who are volunteering there, one girl is a hairdresser to trade and the other is a teacher back home. The two of them together with the other teachers are incredibly selfless and caring people who clearly love these children deeply.
After a very hard goodbye and practically having to force both Wallace and Linsey back on to the bus we were able to head into Arusha where we got to stop at the Cultural Heritage Centre and do some light shopping for souvenirs and gifts before finding a local supermarket where most of the group went to town on the shelves and shelves of snacks from home. One American even managed to find some pizza to make things feel a bit more like home but Linsey beat everyone by finding highland spring water.
When we got back to the hotel we grabbed a quick bite to eat before heading into afternoon sessions which focused on climate change but not before Wallace and Paul managed to have a quick swim in the pool that is still not full and is taking all of our shower water.
The afternoon sessions allowed us to discuss in groups ways of tacking climate change within our own organisations and the other organisations present. It also allowed us to share ideas and help each other expand on different initiatives and ideas before presenting what we had come up with to each other.
Another fantastic and beneficial day which gears us up fully for taking a trip tomorrow to Mount Kilimanjaro.
Day 5: Wallace Currie (Comms & Marketing Vice Chair)
As we sit in the bus at 7:37 waiting to leave at 6:45 we find ourselves focussing on the one negative of this trip…time management! We will often start 9:30 sessions at 3 but they’re always fun and knowledge filled!
Todays plan is the foothills of Kilimanjaro and the bus journey has been the nicest one yet! Next to the road what’s on offer is maize, gorgeous sunflowers taller than my future and some physalis which is very exciting!
We stopped at a small store on the way to pick up some fancy Buyegi water and as Wallace went to pay for his food which was 10500 Tanzanian shillings (c.4.30$) he took the dollars out of his pocket while asking ‘do you take dollars’ the guys said yes, it’s 10$…convenient that my man!
We made it to Kilimanjaro after 3.5 hours! We are currently 2000m up and if we cross the gate it is an 83$ fine…one I’d probably pay given there is a guy an AK74 about 2m behind the gate.
We got a gorgeous view of Kilimanjaro COMPLETELY hidden by clouds! There is a mini community at this gate with a lot of poverty and it’s hard not to help where possible. I was asked for 100 Tanzanian Shilling which I believe equates to 4 cents. It is surrounded by a lot of natural beauty and I’m sure if we had another 7 days we would have headed to the top in our Birkenstocks and sandals!
After spending some time at 2000m up we headed to the nearby Ndoro waterfall. But first off to get down we had to scale a very steep path essentially down the side of a cliff. But the end goal was well worth it. The waterfall was stunning, flanked by the lush green of the surrounding forest. Despite not bringing trunks, some of the team even headed into the water and tried to get under the waterfall which was easier said than done, the power of the current was immense!
After this we had a journey back to the hotel (7.5 hours in a bus in one day) which brought elation as the pool which had been filling up with a garden hose from empty since the day we arrived was now…HALF FULL! That meant Paul, Wallace and Oskar (from Finland) we’re finally able to use the diving board, with some risk instead of the minor paddling to date.
As it was the last night of the summit, the organisers threw a closing disco for all the delegates, volunteers and staff. We all put on our smartest clothes with the ladies in gorgeous dresses, and myself and Paul in a suit and Kilt respectively.
After dinner there was a presentation where Tanzania 4H thanked every team for their participation in the conference. And many smiles and gifts were exchanged. Also it was announced that the next Global 4H Summit will be held in Oslo in Norway.
Once the presentation was over, the disco could begin. Each organisation took the chance to teach the rest of the attendees some dances from back home and team Scotland got the whole room spinning with a massive Orcadian Strip the Willow. It was a fantastic way to cap what has been an incredibly memorable experience for all.
Loving life and looking forward to safari tomorrow and then Rwanda!
Day 6: Linsey Campbell (International & Travel Chair)
On our penultimate day, we all eagerly woke for the safari! The WhatsApp pinged first thing for hopes of enough water for a shower between the boys and the girls room but there wasn’t a drop, but the pool was filling up nicely…
We were all more than accustomed to Africa time by now but had been assured that we would be leaving on time and we did, 30 minutes later. We were greeted by a gentleman called Bori who was going to be our driver for the day and began the journey south-west to Tarangire National Park. In our Jeep we had Oskar, from Finland (who was at this point an honorary scot), Sharon and Alan from South Dakota, Wallace, Jane, Paul and myself. The jeep was a much more comfortable ride than what we’ve been referring to as the buckrake!
On the way we passed some police standing at the side of the road, using tree branches to signal for people to pull in. I asked Bori about it who explained they would be checking tyres and insurance etc. To which we were all surprised to hear were a thing in Tanzania! He added that, the police can be quite corrupt and will often pocket half of the fine, however they aren’t allowed to stop tourist vehicles.
As we ventured out further from Arusha, the maize became less and less and the land became much more barren with herds of cattle, donkeys and goats being moved along the way.
Just under 4 hours later we arrived at the national park and after some confusion over wether our jeep was allowed in or not we finally made it through the gates! The Tangarie national park is around 3000km squared and although patrolled by park rangers and entrance gates is not an enclosed area, so the animals are free to roam the wild uninterrupted from the many visitors that set their eyes upon them daily. Bori had opened up the roof for us all so we could all stand up and get a good view, not long after we came across some zebra followed by giraffe, and then a lot of gasps as elephants crossed infront of us to join the rest of their herd. We sat and gazed in awe at them for a while, watching them break off massive branches that were hanging above them and shovel it into their mouth with their trunk. Bori had mentioned that they used to be heavily poached for their tusks however that wasn’t as much of a problem anymore, which was promising to hear. Over the course of the four hour safari we saw a variety of animals and landscapes, including impalas, wildebeest, water buffalo, various colourful birds, ostrich, gazelle, waterbuck, warthogs (the real life pumba), a leopard through binoculars and a monkey which very nearly had a bite out of Wallace!
As we journeyed back to the hotel, I sat with my head out the window watching the African sun set and couldn’t help but reflect back on the day and our time in Tanzania. I thought back to all of the safari tour companies that we passed by as we watched them lay out their 5 course lunches on a picnic table and how big a contrast that was to our driver sticking “safari” stickers on our jeep this morning. I was reminded of just how amazing travelling with young farmers is and how incredibly fortunate I was to have had these experiences. At no other point will you see these things or meet these people in the same way we have, not with any tour company, or package holiday deal would we have had the, let’s call it ‘authentic’ African experience that we have, and that is the beauty of travelling with YF.
We’d been travelling for a while, with most of the group having shut their eyes an almighty crash came into the back of us. The other jeep that was travelling with us had just managed to crash into the back of us, just before we came up the sign for our hotel being 2.7km away. This actually being the second crash we’d been privy to during our time in Tanzania, which is no surprise really considering there are no street lights, it’s pitch black and the roads are crazy! With everyone being safe and well, we arrived back at the hotel and finished the night by playing card games, watching the Scotland vs France game and saying goodbyes!