Tuesday, November 27, 2012

From Trash to Treasure - Buckets for Ukerewe

Hello again,

Steve Pratt has kindly written this blog for us.

Having volunteered in Africa twice before, we know the value of empty plastic containers - more specifically 5, 10, 20 and 25 litre buckets - and if they had lids that fitted, that made them even more desirable.

Prior to our first visit to Ukerewe, there were plans to start a bakery producing bread, and as Pat and I live just up the lane from Thomas the Baker's factory, we went to see them for advice.  The bread-making didn't materialize on that trip, but we saw that their mayonnaise, jam, mincement and syrups all came in 5 to 25 litre tubs - all with lids!

Why were we so excited?  Because if you don't have proper storage for your food, the mites, insects and other pests will soon find and contaminate it.  (This trip we also needed some large buckets for the briquette making project we had planned).

When the container is getting a bit battered or the lid has been lost, it can then be used to carry water.  This is usually a job for the women and children, and they have to carry containers with 15 -20 litres of water (thats 15 - 20 kilos) balanced on their heads for several miles a day.  The girls are started young with smaller buckets.

With so many empties Thomas the Baker was only too glad to let us have as many as we wanted.  We felt that 20 of each size would be all we could deal with on this trip, so they were collected (with lids) and washed out.  You wouldn't believe how hard it is to clean a bucket that had  had syrup in it, and how the smell of mincement will still be there months later when the container was unpacked!

Chris Chapman, quality assurance manager at Thomas the Baker said "Due to the quantities of ingredients used at the bakery here in Helmsley, we're inundated with large containers and tubs, and its fantastic that they are of use to the residents of Ukerewe and the orphaned children for day-to-day tasks such as carrying food and water.  Who'd have thought our old containers would be making such a difference to the lives of people half way across the world?"

Thank you Thomas the Baker - I'm sure we will be back for more.

Stephen Pratt.

Thanks Steve.  It is heart-warming to think that someone who has so little, can be helped with a simple bucket.  As you can see above, the empty plastic paint containers were soon put to other use at L.V.C.

Until the next time,

Diane and Derek.

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