Personal Experiences

Bravo to Mehayo Centre, a personal experience from a mother

I am glad to have the chance to let the public know how much I was hurt when my son Silvesta Kassama, 20 years old and born with learning disabilities, experienced great injustice in our community due to his handicap. My son Silvesta has lots of potential. He can work very well, is a good sportsman and can do lots of others things. Many people in my neighbourhood let Silvesta work for them promising him a salary but at the end there was no payment. The local football team sometimes organises matches where the winning team wins a goat or a chicken. But he never gets his share when his team wins. I am really disappointed. Why does everybody take advantage of my handicapped son? I tried to change the situation but failed.

When MEHAYO Centre started I did not believe that it would be rewarding for our children and us. But now I see the fruits through my son being in their programme. He spends most of his time at MEHAYO. He has learnt lots of things; gardening as well as making art. He is becoming a very useful man, not only to himself but also to the community we live in.

I believe other parents had the same problems. So on behalf of them I wish to express my sincere gratitude to MEHAYO Trust Fund for establishing these services. They are wonderful. This is a start. I believe we shall reach a better destination as we go along. Congratulations!

Ana Muya, parent



A personal experience from a volunteer

Six weeks have past since I arrived at Morogoro and started the voluntary work with another Finnish volunteer at MEHAYO centre. My first experience with MEHAYO was an astonishment of the beauty that surrounded me; the green land filled with different vegetables, fruit trees, flowers, butterflies and a variety of singing birds. Some happy faces on the field were welcoming us with warmth and joy. I could hear a loud trumpet sound from a cowshed – a greeting from the cow called ASANTE -(which means: thank you)– and from that moment I knew that MEHAYO is quite a good place to stay for 2½ months, perhaps even longer.

The next few weeks passed as a time with a lot of questions and uncertainty. What could I do for the people so that I would become more a helper than a burden? The answer is still in process. I feel every day that I receive more than I give. But certainly the time will come that my skills and knowledge that I have gained here will be of use when I am a nursery teacher or a teacher in special education. My study at the University of Helsinki still continues.

With my poor Swahili I try to get to know the youth better and better every week. The best way is to spend daily life with them; work in the garden, play, sing and help them to make postcards using banana leaves, fabrics and sand. I admire their amazing ability to concentrate and be in peace when working or making art.

I have heard from every youngster that they enjoy being at MEHAYO. Some of them are eager to come and live here. No wonder this centre makes everybody feel important and special.

Jenni Ruoho, Finnish volunteer