An insight into the role of Field Coordinator
Our Field Coordinator, Avitus, describes his time supporting our Tanzanian and UK volunteers on the ground this summer:
I was with my phone in hand when I received an email from READ asking me if I was ready to work with them as a Field Coordinator, I can’t remember how fast I was to answer back that email that I am absolutely ready!!!
It was 15th September, when for first time I walked to the READ office, and started my first day of training. I had three teams to coordinate: Msafiri Secondary School in Rufigi; Mchinga and Mtama in Lindi.
I made an arrangement for all of the volunteers to travel in a comfortable bus and in the morning I went to see them at the bus terminal, to see whether they were all okay. Soon, the bus left with two Lindi teams, and I remained behind with the Msafiri-Rufiji team.
Once we reached Msafiri, we left the bus and in front of us were the smiling faces of five students and one teacher who came to greet us. The amazing cheering by the students in classes broke out, followed by the faces of the men who were in front greeting us. It was the headmaster, Mr. Mwita who led us to his office and the guest book was in front of us to sign as teachers, village government officials, and parents gathered.
Day one with the volunteers ended with a team meeting to have a little plan of where to start, and I advised the team to prepare an action plan for the project. Day one had ended, and I had the best sleep ever!
Hey!! Avitus, good morning, are you coming with us to school?? it was a knock at my door accompanied with that voice, and it indicated that it was already morning. I had to wake up and go with the team to school, where we started the project!!
The next day, I had planned to travel to Lindi Mchinga to see the other teams. After a 9 hour bus, I made it to Lindi. I held a team meeting to see what they had already done, but also to look over their future plans. In the morning we went to school together, where I saw the volunteers introducing themselves. I heard a wonderful speech by Steph, not only in its content but also the tone and articulation of words. Almost all students and teachers understood, and at the end it was cheers by the students as they understood why we were there, as I heard some of them say, ooohh kumbe wamekuja kututengenezea maktaba!!!
Business as usual on the second and third days as the work began. Now the team was striving to collect all important materials, and negotiate services they wanted to involve. I was only playing an advisory role, and negotiations went well, the carpenter was there, the mason had started removing the old floor, and some of the team had gone to Masasi for some quotations. The project was underway!
Next day, I travelled to see the other team, in Mchinga. Two buses to get there, and the team were happy to see me. After eating, the team meeting started as usual. In the morning with the team we walked to school, which is located in Mchinga 2, a small fishing village, it took us 30 minutes to get there via a river!! I appreciated how great the students were to walk this distance through a river to get to school daily. I did not think it was a good idea for the volunteers to get there this way, so I booked a bus to pick and drop them off each day.
From then it was business as usual: collecting information and sending reports, coming from here to there, visiting educational officials, advising on the phone and at meetings. By 25th August, the project was successfully completed in all schools!!!! Had we been in the army, we would have said, mission completed!
What a great experience to undertake a project with the help and effort of two quite different cultures! Thank you to our Tanzanian volunteers, our UK volunteers, and READ INTERNATIONAL!!
AVITUS Mwombeki Tehingisa
University of Dar Es Salaam, Faculty of Law, 4th yr-2013/14