Visit to Benson’s community : Surubu. By Diana
Leanne and I (Diana) were so warmly and lovingly greeted on Wednesday, 10th October by the beat of African music under the hot scorching sun in the Surubu community, 20 minutes from Tarime township. The music was played by a vibrant young man blowing into an amazing huge gould which wrapped around his tall slender body, being accompanyied by the exuberant rattle of tiny rocks shaking in brightly hand painted old rusty tins neatly tied to the lower part of another joyous energetic young man’s legs. The entire community comprising 300 people, babes, infants, teenages even the elderly were dancing to the beat of the music, dancing towards us, as we arrived in the “Tarime Goodwill Foundation” ambulance. This was our welcome. Imagine how Leanne and I felt, exhilerated, humbled, touched, excited. The moment was magical.
Benson, a handsome eager enthusiastic 26 year old primary school teacher greeted us. Raphael, Lucas, Paulo and Simon Wearne were also with us.
Benson was passionate about his community, he cared deeply about the individuals, their needs, hopes as well as their futures. A hand written itinery was given to us by Benson with an accompanying apology that it wasn’t typed up, because there were no means to do so.
Benson spoke so so passionately about the people in the Surubu community.
Benson shared the story of the men’s group. A proud group of 15 men, dressed in their best ever clothes. They had tried bee keeping, unfortunately to no avail due, to their inability to source the right equipment, skills and knowledge. These men had no way of earning an outside income, what could they do to earn money to release them and their families from poverty? Subsistance farming was their existance, as with the other 80% of Tanzania’s population. The average yearly income is $700.00A of the people living in Tanzania.
The women’s group, slightly larger than the men’s group presented themselves to us, all brightly dressed in their cotton colourful kangas. Due to illiteracy with the women, Peter John was their secretary. The majority of these women were widows. Not unlike the men’s group, their plight was the same. These women wanted self sustaining incomes and businesses. Their question was, how can they accomplish this? They were eager to work, they longed to release themselves as well as their families from poverty. It is near impossible to achieve this in the world’s 5th poorest, country, (Tanzania) with no education, let alone skills.
Benson stood up and pointed to a group of innocent, beautiful, hopeful teenage girls. He said,”what are you going to do about these girls, in December they will be circumcised, then bethroathed to be married. Can you turn you back on this, how can the world walk away”! How powerful were Benson’s words. Tears of anguish and pain for these pretty young girls longing for life’s living freely tumbled down my cheeks. I was so touched and moved by Benson’s words of truth and empathy, as well as his plight for justice. One may question why I do what I do, has not Benson answered the question.
Leanne and I gave out hundreds of back packs donated by Kristy Seymour and 41 Degrees realestate, Launceston, Tasmania to the orphans of the Surubu community. How the orphans loved and treasured them. We were also fortunate to give out exercise books, pens, pencils, clothing, chalk, coal tar soap (thanks to Convict Cutters) and soccer balls to the needy people and children. The elderly community of Tasmania has embarked on a mammouth knitting project for the African Aids Orphans, knitting singlets for these innocent little tots. Leanne and I just loved giving these magnificently brightly coloured singlets out to these orphans.
Once we had finished, we visited the community water, a muddy pond which supplied water for the whole community. Women and children would collect the water for the household daily in buckets. Children, men and women all washed themseves as well as their megar clothing in this water.