Article by Mia Vallely, age 11
One night, over dinner I was pushing my food around on my plate because I was apathetic with regards to wanting to eat it.
“Do you know how many kids in Africa that would feed?” my mum said to me. I replied, “I know, I should travel to Africa with you and see for myself.”
I knew for a while that my mum had been planning a trip to Forever Angels baby home, an orphanage in Mwanza, Tanzania in Africa. It had been something she had wanted to do for many years. I was surprised to see her get her computer out right then and there and book my flight; yet she did.
Before we left, we raised £7,500 between us through different fundraising activities for the home. I even attempted to bake cakes.
We went to Mwanza in November 2011. My mum also took one of her mentees who was 16 and another couple who were in their late 20s. It was a long journey. When we arrived, two happy faces greeted me. There was Amy, who runs the baby home and Kate, who’s on the volunteering team. We were taken to the volunteer house where we were greeted by many more happy faces with the biggest smiles. This time most of them were children.
The first few children to approach us were Musa, Layla (Amy’s child) and Abdula. They acted like we had known them for years. Musa barely left our side the whole week we were there. He was an amazing six-year-old boy who was very confident and kind. Layla was deaf, however she could lip-read rather well. It was a new experience trying to communicate with a deaf child, especially as her first language was other than English.Abdula was very shy at first, however when he got to know us he became one of the kindest and most loving boys I ever met.
The kids out there love everyone and show so much affection towards anybody who shows him or her some kindness. They loved us immediately and we fell in love with them all. We were looked after by an 18-year-old student called Gereson. He helped me a lot throughout the whole trip. He even took our group on an adventure where we climbed up a mountain to the highest point. Gereson carried me on his shoulders half of the way.
I got the opportunity to teach pre-school classes. I also went to visit a deaf school and a school for homeless boys. When we came back home, Mum’s company paid for the school to be done up.
This trip changed my opinions on many things. It was a once in a lifetime experience and I’d love to go back when I’m older and hopefully I will get to meet some of these children again.
Mia continues to support the children at Forever Angels baby home. For more information visit the Forever Angels’ website.