Unsung Heroes Keep Our Village Going

The Children’s Village Mkuranga is a happy home for 70 children.

It was formally opened in 2010, and everything was then brand new. But it takes hard work, patience (and a little money) to keep everything in good repair.

Most of the work falls to the Village Manager, James Kalinga, and his technical deputy, Julius Malimbwi. But some projects are a little tricky for them on their own – so every year Ton Willemsen and Aad van Vliet travel to Mkuranga to review, advise and manage the vital work that is needed to keep our Village as it should be.

Much of this work is never commented upon…it “just happens”. However, this time we decided to share some of the detail so that our supporters get a flavour of what has to happen (and why some funds are required from time to time).

The biggest job this year was to repair the road that links our Village to the main highway. Large potholes had opened up and were damaging the van we use to get food into the Village. The guys put down new aggregate and compacted it with a two ton rolling press before covering this with hot tar. The total job cost around £2,000.


We had used marine plywood in parts of the dormitories. In the alternating intense heat and wet of Tanzania these were splitting open. They had to be replaced with so called “rock panel” that should stand up to the conditions better.

The shower rooms get affected by sediments in the water. These were unblocked and repaired where necessary.

A new solar pump was hand carried from England and used to help irrigate some of our land.

Some of our electrical wiring needed updating as we now get more (not very reliable) electricity from the local grid rather than our own rather elderly generator. 80 new lightbulbs were brought from The Netherlands and fitted where needed.

All door locks and hinges were checked and fixed where necessary.

A proper doorframe was put into a bedroom in James’ quarters (a temporary fix had been in place). All keys and spare keys were checked and replaced where needed. A myriad of smaller repairs were undertaken, involving bolts on the water tower, changing water filters, etc. In total, the maintenance spend was around £5,500.
Towards the end of Ton and Aad’s stay there was a serious discovery. We have become infested by Carpenter Bees. These bees tunnel into wood, and can have many tunnels leading off a single entrance. If not dealt with appropriately, they could end up destroying buildings. We are looking into this issue urgently; it may take a lot of time and maybe money to get this resolved – we’ll keep you posted!