Typically we host a party of 6 students and 3 adult leaders for a period of 3 weeks. Students travelling to the UK are chosen by our partner schools based on a judgment of their ability to get the most out of the visit, their performance in their schools and a reasonable grasp of English. They undertake some preparation back in Rungwe where they get to know each other individually and work on the activities, music and dance that they will share with us. The leaders are chosen by our partner committee, the Rungwe Cumbria Community Link (RCCL) and are usually teachers or head teachers.
A programme is organised which includes secondary and primary school visits (link to school visits), involvement in community activities together with sport, music, dance and drama. We visit day centres for disabled folk and care homes where much enjoyment is gained from the sharing of Tanzanian music and dance. We have on recent visits also been able to organise a meeting with our local MP. Our students take an active part in the programme with due allowance made for their own school commitments.
Our Cumbrian students and their families are given the opportunity to host a Tanzanian for a week or more during the visit. This, in itself, is a really rewarding experience (link to hosting). Most formal organised activities occur during the week and hosts have time at weekends and evenings to socialise and maybe show our visitors more of Cumbria and local culture. Visits to the cinema, ten pin bowling, laser quest and such like are always very popular.
More informal get togethers take place between the students where strong friendships are often forged and in many ways the parallel informal programme “organised” by the students is as important as the formal one.
A BBQ and Whitehaven Carnival offer opportunities to gather everyone together and the visit is rounded off with an Afro – Ceilidh to which all those involved in the visit are invited.