September Newsletter from Peter
The recent African visit was extraordinarily successful, with meetings with Government officials,sail demonstrations on beaches with fishermen, “Safety At Sea” seminars in classrooms and maritime buildings and navigation discussions with charts and compasses.
Government officials were enthusiastically supportive of the whole Program and suggesting ways that they might be able to assist. Hundreds of fishermen have given their names for sails and equipment supplies. Kenyan representatives at the meetings came from the Kenyan coastline from Tanzania to Somalia and included villages and maritime community leaders.
“Train the Trainer” type seminars were conducted with these fishermen and they were very keen on learning. They represented many times their number and were amazed by the strength of the Australian sails and appreciated their manufacture, size, durability, shape, quality and resilience.
Individual fishermen on beaches were given a sail, maritime chart and compass as samples to use and show to other nearby fishermen.
There are some 6,000 boats in the locations visited and the Program shall try to supply sails to half of those. The Program seems to be adding another zero each time sails are supplied to a country – Western Samoa started with about 30 and the Seychelles with over 300.
One fisherman from Madagascar with his son led us through a swamp at low tide (that was “great fun” ) to his boat on the beach.
A sail was fitted to his boat and he was very impressed with receiving it. He is please to live and fish in Zanzibar and away from the war in Madagascar. Pandu Hamis has three girls and a boy. He lives and fishes near the Old Saltans’ Palace (Wu Vuvi Maruhubi) on Zanzibar (Unguja) Island. We fitted a sail to his boat and he was very happy.
Many fishing boats in Eastern Africa have up to five crew and even cook meals in their small open boats! Their existing sails are of poor quality cotton pieces sewn together and generally last until the next good breeze, when – after splitting – they are taken down and sewn back together again.
We met Anwar Sadat – a very young Principal of Zanzibar Stanet (private) School – one of the very few on the island. He is a very bright young man who asked me to try to fix the only school photocopier machine they have. Taking it apart was no problem but there seemed to be more pieces left over when I attempted to put them back together again. The photocopier was definitely post war – though I’m not sure which war! He has 600 students spread over three campuses on Zanzibar and if anyone would care to donate some money to him to fix – up the photocopier or buy a new one for the school I’m sure he and the whole school would be most appreciative. His e-mail address is:
hawana(at)yahoo.com and his postal address: Zanzibar Stanet Schools PO Box 2294 Tanzania phone 0777 600039.
The Program is gradually receiving sails in from all across Australia and will continue to build – up the contents for the next steel container load to be shipped overseas. The next consignment will include other items besides sails, namely aluminum/steel masts, spars, booms, halyards, life vests, etc. – so if you are “clearing-out” any old sail lofts/lockers please contact the Program and we will forward a “Certificate of Appreciation” for any donations received.
I hope everyone is enjoying their sailing.