Matongo Valley in Mara Region’s Butiama District is home to 10,000 people with no local health care. They felt forgotten. Mothers to be had to trudge 15km over high hills to get to a clinic. Many did not make it. ‘Samuel’ (not his real name) never got polio immunisation and was disabled by the disease. But he is not a bitter young man and is a keen advocate for a clinic in the valley so that other youngsters do not suffer as he has done. It is a privilege to meet him.
TDT has been involved since 2011. We built the staff house and the local Council promised to build the clinic. But it was the usual story in Tanzania, as in our own country, with the many cuts our Councils have had to endure. The full Government grant was not paid and the Council’s promise could not be kept. We at TDT were moved by the spirit of the local villagers and much of the labour to build the very large Clinic was donated by them. So, in 2017, we agreed to raise the money needed. We were much helped by the Hilden, Laing and Bothwell Trusts, All Saints Sanderstead and our American colleagues, Friends of Tanzania.
The Clinic was almost completed and to be ceremonially opened by Mama Nyerere, wife of Mwalimu Nyerere, Tanzania’s Founding Father, when it was hit by a hurricane and much of the roof ripped off. We have sent the money for repair and are waiting to hear from Butiama Council about a new completion date and opening ceremony.
It cannot come too soon for the long-suffering people of the Forgotten Valley.