40-year Bonds Strengthened with a visit

Kenilworth town councillor James Kennedy and his wife, Kit Lawry, visited Uyogo from 12th – 15th October 2019.  Kit is a committee member of the Kenilworth-Uyogo Friendship Link (KUFL).  She and James have a particular interest in Tanzania having met each other there 40 years ago while both were volunteer teachers.

Village Chairman Mr Owden Mwakanema and Ms Margaret Simons, Head of the Women’s Committee in Uyogo.  Teacher’s house built with KUFL funds on the right, and a new pole for the installation of mains electricity in the foreground.

Primary school classroom built by villagers with donations from KUFL, awaiting government funding to complete

This visit was to strengthen friendships with the Village Committee, meet with district government leaders, review projects that Uyogo, Kenilworth and the district government have collaborated on during the 40 years of this Friendship Link and listen to villagers’ current priorities. 

Working in collaboration with local government and Uyogo villagers, each partner contributing one-third of the cost of a project (sometimes in kind; villagers usually make bricks and do the building and carpentry), KUFL has improved health, education and water supplies significantly by building a mother and child clinic, a village dispensary, with nurses’ houses, a borehole and several rainwater harvesting tanks (water is a problem in the dry season), a culvert to strengthen the road leading to the nearest market so it can be used in the rainy season (when too much water presents problems), primary school classrooms and teachers houses.  They have also facilitated links with Bees Abroad, a charity based in Stoneleigh, to support the development of bee-keeping in Uyogo as an income earner for villagers.

There has been two-way visiting between Uyogo and Kenilworth over the 40 years of the Friendship Link.  Tanzanian government officials and liaison people for KUFL have visited Kenilworth. KUFL Chair Peter Fisher and his wife Ann have visited Uyogo several times, together with former Kenilworth residents Beryl and Harry Starkey.  Kenilworth School teacher Mohammed Nahal, and several KS students and former students have also visited Uyogo.  In 2015 two Uyogo secondary school students, together with the local primary school Headteacher, visited Kenilworth, invited by Kenilworth School.  They stayed with Kenilworth School and KUFL families, enjoyed trips to London, Stratford, Warwick and around Kenilworth, and still remember the names of their kind hosts and student friends here. 

Both Agnes and Jumanne are now at university in Tanzania, both still inspired by their trip to Kenilworth. 

My name is JUMANNE the 2015 Kenilworth Visitor, my visit to Kenilworth in 2015 is very important to remember, the great thing I remember in Kenilworth is the wonderful hospitality and care which I enjoyed from Kenilworth people like Ann & Peter Fisher, Kit & James Kennedy, Mrs & Mr. James Sparks and others and I appreciate Hayden Abbott & Matt Snape and the other Kenilworth school staffs for allowing us to attend some classes like music class, and thanks for students like Tom Pugsley cared us so warmly at school, I was so happy from their care to us thank you for that. Both Agnes and Me are at university learning the Courses of Education and Management Respectively. The 2015 visit inspired me more to work hard so that I can become a successful person in order to make the privilege for KUFL as their support to Uyogo will also be realized also through my success.

Dear KUFL’s members. In 2015, we visit at Kenilworth School and we learn how different materials can support learning process, how to care students, also in Kenilworth castle we learn how to conserve historical houses for future generation and we learn on how whites people use knowledge to struggle for good and better life. Now am studying Bachelor Of Art with Education (History and Kiswahili) at Mkwawa University College of Education (MUCE). Many thanks, all the best to all KUFL members. Agnes

Jumanne James (in the white shirt) with his family

A highlight of Kit and James’ recent visit was meeting Jumanne’s parents, under a tree outside their very small mudbrick house with thatched roof.  Jumanne’s father is a peanut farmer and they had 8 children but one died last year.  Their quiet dignity, their thanks to the people of Kenilworth who had looked after Jumanne in Kenilworth 4 years ago, and the warmth of their hospitality despite a lack of material goods, was deeply moving.

Kenilworth Town Councillor James Kennedy presenting the Karen Pittaway print to Village Chairman Owden Mwakanema

Another, more public, highlight was a meeting for all Uyogo villagers, preceded by traditional drumming and dancing.  Speeches were made, gifts were exchanged and Councillor Kennedy presented a framed print by local artist Karen Pittaway to the Village Chairman to mark the continuing friendship between our communities

The Uyogo Village Committee

Future projects planned with Uyogo villagers are: ensuring a water supply for the village dispensary, help finish off a primary classroom already under construction by the local community, and safeguard girl secondary students on their way to and from school each day; some walk long distances to get their secondary education.