We all enjoy being independent and many of you reading this have experienced independence on a deeper level by travelling with us to Africa and Asia. However, it is also an aspect of life that we take for granted. At our community camp in Tanga, Mwambani village, Tanzania. We have been fortunate enough to get to know one of the villagers who is a constant inspiration to all of us and a great help despite him being physically challenged. ….
Mohammed Bakari aka Raru was a keen footballer and trained everyday with Mwambani FC at the local football ground directly opposite our camp. In 2007, the life of young, strong, loving husband and father took the worst turn whilst playing his beloved game. During an ambitious header, he dived for the ball and as it skimmed above him, his head collided with the up right of the goal post knocking him unconscious. His teammates, all eager to help, picked him up and rushed him in a car to the nearest hospital. There, he lay in a coma for one month. Due to lack of qualified First Aiders around him, Raru was not handled in the correct way when the accident happened. It is unfortunate that he had been left paralyzed. Many of the villagers rallied round to help and contributed towards physiotherapy for him, however, this is a very poor village and funds only stretch so far.
When we set up Camp Tanga in 2010, we consulted with the village chief, Mzee Kapera, as to who would be suitable people to work with us. As it is camps policy to provide employment for the communities that our camps are located, he urged us to take on Raru’s wife, Mwanamgeni, as they were purely living on hand outs from the community.
Throughout the busy times at camp, Mwanamgeni was employed as house keeping staff and at the beginning of 2012 we were able to offer her a full time position. With four children to support in school and daily living costs, a monthly wage completely impacts their daily family life.
Over the years, Raru has received a small amount of physiotherapy and has gradually improved his mobility. He can stand up with a lot of determination and the walls of his house as support and has a parallel pole outside to assist with walking but he cannot walk unaided.
As you know, we are building a Trust House in Mwambani which will host a kindergarten, computers, tailoring school, library and general community education learning centre. When inquiring as to where we could potentially build the Trust House, Raru offered a large part of his land for us to build on, almost as a thank you to his fellow villagers for their support. Bearing in mind that the land is all he has, this is a very generous gesture.
With such a resource in the village we would then get our volunteers to be teaching English in the center as opposed to doing it under a mango tree….
Fast forward just over a year and our volunteers have worked tremendously hard to complete the building. The nursery school play area is being cleared and leveled at the moment and by November we intend for this fantastic project to be completed and for children and adults alike to be utilizing the facilities.
Our volunteers have all been touched by Raru’s story, his generosity and determination and have applied a similar mentality when working on the projects in Mwambani. Recently we gave Raru a wheelchair that he can wheel himself and he is chuffed to bits with it. We hope that he will gain strength in his arms by using the wheelchair each day as his previous wheelchair required someone to push it for him. To restore a small amount of independence for someone who has such a big heart is the least we can do and we know that when the Trust House is open, Raru and his family will be regular users, after all, it is next door to their house!
We at Camps have dedicated this story to Raru the true villager!