Letters under Lockdown

Letters under Lockdown

For the last two months, almost all our Malaika Kids have been shielding at our Children’s Village just outside Mkuranga, a large town 30 miles south of Dar es Salaam. They have not been allowed to leave the Village, and we have been homeschooling all of them, aged from 2 to 20 years, in the interim.

15 of the older children have emailed us, telling us of their hopes, fears, questions and experiences. We hope you will enjoy reading some of their thoughts.

“I hope you are fine, Coronavirus appeared in Tanzania in Arusha after one woman came with the virus from another country. This corona it affects a big number of people in the world. I am now learning many things. I help with the baby class and help some of the younger children with their homework.”

Many of the children were concerned about us and anxious to tell us, in case we did not know, about the symptoms of coronavirus. We need to watch out for a cough and a fever. “Please stay at home and wash your hands with clean water. It is a very serious disease. Look after your families and protect yourselves.”

Others had serious questions for which they needed answers…

  • How many people have died in your country?
  • Is the condition very bad in your country?
  • Who was the first person who discovered this disease?
  • How do you feel during this period?
  • Is it true this year you may not come to Tanzania to see us?

We have replied to each of the children’s emails individually.

Every morning the children have had at least three hours of homeschooling, a programme run by James and Emanuel and Mama Zailatu, assisted by one of our older girls who is a recently qualified teacher. Uncle Julius has also helped out with some of the children who are more scientifically minded, supporting the Maths, Physics and Chemistry studies.

In the afternoons the children have been helping each other and also getting on with some essential maintenance. Our two school rooms have been completely repainted and repaired

Meanwhile, at the Reception Home in Dar es Salaam… they are also taking sensible precautions.

Now Tanzania is moving to the reopening of schools and colleges this month and in July. We are concerned about this as clearly the virus continues to spread in Tanzania. We will adhere to the government’s pronouncements while making sure that all of those under our care understand that they must continue with good personal hygiene and, where possible, with social distancing. Our children and all our staff have so far behaved very responsibly, and this will need to continue for a very considerable time.

As one child told us: “We will work together to protect every child against coronavirus.”