The Frontier marine project in Tanzania is located on Mafia Island. Mafia Island is on the east coast of Tanzania as well as the island of Zanzibar and another relatively small island. Mafia Island is mainly part of the archipelago.
The people of Mafia Island are mainly Muslim or Christian who live in harmony without any conflict. The Frontier camp on Mafia is located in the peaceful village of Utende. The village accommodates most establishments in close proximity to the camp. Such as various bars and restaurants that mainly serve simple dishes consisting of eggs, chips, fish and beef. There are also various lodges along the beach which is only a 5 minute walk away. Some of the volunteers go to these lodges to indulge in a variety of meals and to access the internet at a reasonable price, not to say the daily rice and beans on camp is not amazingly good.
The daily routine for the volunteers on camp duty consists of collecting 4 jerry cans of brackish water which is used for washing hands at 2 stations around camp as well as dive equipment. Collecting 4 buckets of fresh water used for drinking, cooking and washing dishes and utensils. The pots and pans from the previous day are washed in the morning for continued use during the day. The kitchen and communal bandas are cleaned and swept. Beans are sorted from those which are edible and those which that aren’t. As the beans are sorted a fire is made to cook the beans for lunch. More fresh water is collected at 5 pm to accommodate for the vast amount of water that is consumed on camp. The last task of the day is making bread for next morning’s breakfast.
On weekends camp life slows down and livens up at the same time. Saturday is the only day when volunteers can break the one beer cap and so Saturday nights are filled with embarrassing stories drunken conversations because Sunday is our day off (that was the livened up part), however those on camp duty don’t go as mad as the others. Sundays we have to cook for our selves because our amazing cook also gets the day off as well. As staff and volunteers cook which can either turn out good or bad most volunteers go out for their meals either into the village or to the lodge where one can get ice cold beer, pizzas, or croque madamme or monsieur but at a price which consists of bad service, dodgy food on occasion and no change.
However life on camp is joyful filled with laughs, giggles and banter at every corner. I have enjoyed my stay here on camp and I hope future volunteers will have an even better experience on Mafia Island.
By Keith Forbes, Marine Volunteer
Find out more about Frontier's volunteering projects in Tanzania.