Thursday, 16 May 2013

Yasiri

Just had to share the good news... The lovely and lively Yasiri who had the leg amputated has now gone home to Zanzibar. After seeing him so poorly on my last day I just couldn't be happier!!!
Yeay!!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Grade one-athon

I had to add a post about this. It's an idea thought up by the lovely Helena Wood and by gum it's a goody!
The rules are-you must take you're grade 1 in an instrument that is alien to you by Xmas. Get sponsored for it, challenge yourself without having to run 26 miles and have a real laugh in the process! - at everyone else!
The response has been fantastic! But I don't know why that surprises me. The musicians network is truly like no other.
So let's watch this space and see how it goes. I've started my trumpet practise!
X

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Your money

I promised I'd let you know where all the money kindly donated before my trip went.
So here it is
£510 donated in total
£40- sodas and biscuits for teachers and parents at the hospital- they were over the moon-a big great!
£25- parachute. So much fun had with that!
£30-paints and balloons.
£115- suitcase excess.
£300-I gave the rest straight to the charity and they tell me it's going directly to buy outside play equipment. They will also hopefully have enough for printer ink and paper.

So as you can see every penny was used. None was lost in admin, or transfer costs.

I can't thank you enough for your help and support. It made a direct difference to people lives, who are a damn site less fortunate than us. Thank you

Ps-incase you didn't see this before, this is the letter I received on my return to England. I must go back and am raising the funds to get me there.
My just giving ad http://justgiving.com/JosTanzania

Dear Joanna Watts,
Letter of appreciation and future plans
27th March 2013
I wanted to write to you on behalf of Children in Crossfire to thank you for the great work you have done during your recent 3 weeks volunteering in our Paediatric Oncology Programme. We do not write letters for all volunteers, but your dedication, enthusiasm and unconditional engagement with the children was exceptional and I wanted to personally acknowledge that.
As you experienced, music can have a transformational impact on children’s experience whilst they are receiving treatment for cancer. This is well known in The West, but in Africa, poor resources mean that these elements of treatment are often neglected.
Children in Crossfire are keen to maintain the momentum of your visit and to integrate a more comprehensive music therapy element into our existing play therapy programme. As we discussed, over the coming year we have funding to establish new children’s cancer wards in 2 regional hospitals in Tanzania, in Mwanza and Moshi. Alongside the clinical services we will work through our local partner ‘Tumaini La Maisha’ to deliver non-clinical services. Part of this will be the play therapy programme.
We would love to work with you to integrate music therapy to that programme and invite you to return next year to deliver this programme and train local staff to be able to sustain the joy you bring to the children.
However, as you know, great ideas need funding and, although we have some funds for the non-clinical services, we do not currently have funds for the music therapy element. It would be great to work with you to develop a plan and budget of what would be needed. Once we have this we can support you in whatever way possible to raise the funds to make it happen. I look forward to on-going discussions that can progress this idea. It is always good to maintain momentum, so lets talk soon.
Once again, from all at Children in Crossfire and the children at Muhimbili Hospital, thank you for everything you have done. Now, let’s do more!
Kind Regards,
Matthew Banks
Head of International Programmes Children in Crossfire

Xjox

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Some more pictures

 The last day was so much fun, singing, dancing and face painting.



 This is Yasiri, it was his birthday the day the popstars did their show.He's very clever, loves art and music, and is such a happy soul! So good to see him having such a good time. That was 5 days before I left. He was not well on my last day and not himself.

 These 2 pictures are from my visit out to the children home in the middle of nowhere built and run by Robert and Mary from Kidzcare Tanzania
 More fun from the hostel
At the International school after our concert with the young violinists. I'm glad I had that experience out there too. As these kids are quite privaleged, but still happy and loving music in the same way as all the others I met.

Please read.

I've just received this letter from Matt Banks at the charity. Please take a second to read it.
I must go back again, but cannot afford to fund it myself this time. Therefore I have set up a just giving page to help get me there in probably about 18 months time. Chris and the children will be coming, but we will be covering their costs ourselves. This is just to cover my own costs of travel, accommodation, and car hire while I'm there. This means I can work at the cancer ward in Dar but hopefully also travel out to the 2 other centres and help get some music going there also.
My just giving ad http://justgiving.com/JosTanzania
I'm on a mission! Please help. The letter....

Dear Joanna Watts,
Letter of appreciation and future plans
27th March 2013
I wanted to write to you on behalf of Children in Crossfire to thank you for the great work you have done during your recent 3 weeks volunteering in our Paediatric Oncology Programme. We do not write letters for all volunteers, but your dedication, enthusiasm and unconditional engagement with the children was exceptional and I wanted to personally acknowledge that.
As you experienced, music can have a transformational impact on children’s experience whilst they are receiving treatment for cancer. This is well known in The West, but in Africa, poor resources mean that these elements of treatment are often neglected.
Children in Crossfire are keen to maintain the momentum of your visit and to integrate a more comprehensive music therapy element into our existing play therapy programme. As we discussed, over the coming year we have funding to establish new children’s cancer wards in 2 regional hospitals in Tanzania, in Mwanza and Moshi. Alongside the clinical services we will work through our local partner ‘Tumaini La Maisha’ to deliver non-clinical services. Part of this will be the play therapy programme.
We would love to work with you to integrate music therapy to that programme and invite you to return next year to deliver this programme and train local staff to be able to sustain the joy you bring to the children.
However, as you know, great ideas need funding and, although we have some funds for the non-clinical services, we do not currently have funds for the music therapy element. It would be great to work with you to develop a plan and budget of what would be needed. Once we have this we can support you in whatever way possible to raise the funds to make it happen. I look forward to on-going discussions that can progress this idea. It is always good to maintain momentum, so lets talk soon.
Once again, from all at Children in Crossfire and the children at Muhimbili Hospital, thank you for everything you have done. Now, let’s do more!
Kind Regards,
Matthew Banks
Head of International Programmes Children in Crossfire

Monday, 25 March 2013

The End

So that was it! My last day.

I went in early as planned and ended up spending an hour in the room where they take bloods and change the canular thingys.
Should be straight forward right?! Well each child has so much scar tissue from previous tests and attempts they just can't find a vein.
Poor Yasiri who has had a leg amputated (you'll be hearing more about that from me, because as soon as he's well enough I'm determind to get him a new leg!) he's feisty, artistic and very clever. But today was a bad day for him.
They just couldn't find a vein anywhere. I mean they must have tried about 10-15 times-each time really hurt him. Eventually they put the canular in his thumb. He didn't make it down to the classroom today, so I went back up and sat with him a lot. He felt rotten. He was constantly sick and very weak. Not the boy I met 3 weeks ago, that became my right hand man on his drum.

It was worth seeing what they have to go through before making it down the the classroom. It helped me to understand why some days I struggled to get anything from them. They just felt rubbish and I guess whatever we did and however little they joined in, it still went some way to taking their minds of it.

When it came to saying goodbye-yes it was hard, especially when they all sang me a song and gave me cards they'd made. I hope to never see them there again. I hope they all recover and go home before their next birthdays.

Waiting happily in the bloods cue! So so brave!



Sunday, 24 March 2013

The cancer ward

There is no paediatric oncologist. There is no surgeon. The operations are being carried out by a student surgeon. The survival rate after surgery is not great.

The wonderful Dr. Trish who transformed the ward when she was here ( survival rates going from 12% to 60%!) is getting better herself from her own cancer. She will be back just as soon as she is able. In the meantime they are struggling on without her. There will be some short term cover in the shape of a month here and there. But nothing as consistent as what she gave.

There are some exceptional people working with the children. Like Leonard. What a gentle beautiful person he is. The teachers mostly are great. The classroom on the ward will never look like a classroom as the hospital won't give it to them permanently. There are no desks or tables, just rows of annoying stuck together chairs. The hospital say its supposed to be a mothers feeding room and must be kept like that incase it's needed. So the children sit on the floor, leaning on books to do their work.

The hostel is great, although much can be improved on there also. The Director Janet has only just begun in the job, but has a great drive to get things done and a huge heart. I need to thank David, who you will never see without a small child on his hip. He really helped me settle in and translated in class for me. Again a man with limitless love for these children.

The charity are working so hard to get the word out to remote Tanzania that early detection of cancer is crucial. They just don't know what it is out here. And any cancer left too late will kill you. Hopefully when I come back, the amount of children with such advanced cancer as I've seen will have diminished because of this program.

It is working, but it's a constant struggle with obstacles that only Africa could possibly throw in your way! I know it's on going and they're not going I save the world, but its a good place to start!