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Living Water Childrens Centre

Page history last edited by Rachel Allen 9 years ago


Partner institution: Living Water Childrens Centre



Contributors (2011):

Elizabeth Brookes
Samantha Newark 


Contributors (2013): 

Rachel Sophie Colloby 

Melissa Jade Hardy

Nicola Jay Temperton

Contributors (2015): 

Rachel Allen

Amanda Flowers



Contributors: for details on what is required in each section, please look at the Guidance Notes


Placement Information



Social life

Things to do, things not to do

Useful Contacts

Before you go


Placement Information

The Living Water Centre is home to around 45 children. These are children whose have lost their parents or whose families can not afford to look after them. During the day, these children are educated at the centre, along with local children who visit the centre for school. School is 8am- 3pm and volunteers are able to help out in one of the four classes (baby, intermediate, grade 1 and 2) if they wish. All lessons are taught in English, apart from Swahili which is taught as an additional language. Staff and most Children can speak understandable English. After School is when most volunteers attend the centre the most to spend time with the children, to provide activities and help out with homework. The children are very loving and affectionate, this making it hard to not become attached. All of the people here are truly amazing and really make you appreciate the life you have. The children here range from ages 2-12  however some of the birthdays of the children are unknown and so estimated, these children celebrate their birthday on the same day as David or  Walter (the children of the founders of the centre). There is a separate school which was also founded by the Kimaro family called Yakini Nursery and Primary School. The school is about a 30 minute bus ride away and is home to 170 boarding students as well as a number of day students which brings the total to 530 students. When the children from the centre reach the end of grade one, they progress to the Yakini school as boarding students to continue their education and return to their family at the centre during school holidays. The family are currently in the process of building a secondary school, and aim to one day build a university. 




The accommodation here is basic, however a high standard for African homes. There is available running water at all times although not always hot, however a cold shower can be quite refreshing in 30 degree heat, the plus side is all rooms have an en suite. There is wi-fi available at a small cost, however be prepared for times without internet access and very slow connections. The electricity can be unreliable, especially in rainy season and it can range from being off for 30 minutes to a good few hours. Be prepared to eat and sit in the dark. Mosquito nets are provided as malaria carrying mosquito's are more common at night, all rooms are provided with mosquito nets. Your room is cleaned weekly and bed sheets are changed, the dada's which are their to cater for the family, live at the back of the house where they cook and clean for the family and volunteers, they are always helpful, and will also wash your clothes for you for a small price of 3,000(tsh).


This is the Kimaro house where you stay:




The centre is a small walk away from the Kimaro home, however, it is up hill and so can get quite slippery in the rain so trainers are advised.  If you want to go to the shops, markets or restaurants in Arusha, you will need to use the 'daladala' which is the local bus, it costs 400 Tanzanian shillings, which is around 20p!! Be warned, its hot, smelly & cramped. It is supposed to hold around 12 people in it, but they manage to cram about 25 in which makes the experience even more entertaining. If you don't want to get a bus into the main town, you can always get a Taxi which is about 15,000 shillings (around £5.00), just make sure that you arrange a price before getting into the taxi. The family will often offer you a ride into town if they are heading that way, however, you are required to make your own way back! Deo is someone who works for the family, and is the man who will take you on safari if you decide to go on one. He will always be willing to take you into town if he is free, and drive you anywhere in town that you need to go. Deo will not ask you to pay him, unless he needs money for petrol however it is always nice to give him a tip as he really appreciates it.

A school bus goes to the Yakini school, leaving the Kimaro house at 6:30am and returns just after 4:00pm. However it is very easy to get a lift with a family member, as at least one of them drives to the school each day, you can also catch a 'daladala' to the school, but be prepared to get 3 or 4 and can take up to an hour and a half.


Social life and Experiences

If you are willing to, David is extremely helpful with showing you what Tanzania has to offer. He is very spontaneous in arranging activities, he really wants you to see Tanzania whilst you are there so is always offering to go places.

If you want to climb Kilimanjaro on your visit it is easily accessible as it is in the next town from the centre and David has many connections to help you plan your climb. It is around 2000 US Dollars to climb the mountain with added expenses for equipment and tips and will take up a week of your stay. 


There are African bars and clubs which allow you to experience African music, dancing and can meet other volunteers, the main of these is a club called Via Via. Everyone who is travelling to Tanzania, seem to know that this is the place to go every Thursday night.

At weekends, its nice to go into town (by daladala or taxi) the Masai market is an amazing place to visit- full of tribe members selling artefacts that they have made. You have to barter/haggle else you will get ripped off, but they expect it so don't worry about offending them.

Whilst we were there we went on a safari, we didn't plan our safari before we went, but it is wise to email David if you are wanting to go on safari for prices before you go. We went for 2 days 1 night, and went to the Manyara National Park and the Ngororo crater. We paid $400 and there was 3 of us, the more of you there is the cheaper the price is. If you are wanting to go on Safari longer you can visit the Serengeti and the Tarangire, however they can take up to a day to get there, for a weeks Safari be prepared to pay around $1000.


Other volunteers have had the opportunity to accompany David and the social worker when collecting some new arrivals to the centre. They were shown their homes and living condition and saw why they were coming to the centre. This can be a difficult and emotional experience, these opportunities make you appreciate what you have compared to others. If you ask David or the family, they are willing to show you files of the children at the centre, where you can learn their background story and see why they are at the centre.

There is also opportunities to go to the church with the children on Sundays, you don't have to be religious to go it is just a really fun experience. All the children dance and sing in the aisles and it is a very happy environment with very joyful songs. After church on Sundays, volunteers who'd been there a while had got the children into a routine, of baking and watching a film. We would bring 8 children down to the house from the centre, and bake cookies as there is a small oven in the Kimaro house and then the rest of the children would come down and we would watch a DVD. This is a special treat for the children each week, and they loved it. You can get ingredients from local shops, but the best place to go is the supermarket in town called Nakumat where you can buy everything, it is really cheap and costs around £5 for all the ingredients. 





Things to do, things not to do

It may be helpful to learn a few Swahili phrases before you arrive, however it is a very easy language to pick up while you are out here, we were having conversations with locals within the first week and David and the Kimaro family are willing to give Swahili lessons if you ask. Many locals can speak basic English too, and are willing to help you learn to use basic Swahili phrases too.

Mambo - Hello

Shikamoo - Hello (to elders)

Asante - Thank you

Hapana - No

Pole - Sorry

Sour Sour - Ok


Locals are not used to seeing white people and will come up to you and talk to you in the street. Some of the the English speaking people will have conversations with you, whilst others will just say hello. The locals are really friendly and just want to say hello to you- others may just want to touch your arm and know where you are from. Locals are not familiar with white people, so people will stare and people will shout 'mzungu' which means white person. The children at the centre have their heads shaved so they do not get lice, so you may find if you have long hair that they just want to sit and play with it because they aren't used to it.

We recommend that you bring entertainment of some form whether this is DVDs and a laptop to play them on or a book to read as you tend to get spare time in the evenings, especially if there is no internet!  Don't expect to have amazing internet, the more people using it the slower it is. We would recommend taking activities for the children to do, such as colouring books and colours, they also love making bracelets out of wool, they enjoy doing anything that does not involve chores. We would also recommend taking sweets for the children for the end of your stay because they will ask for them, and there isn't much choice for you to buy in Tanzania.


Don't drink the water! It seems obvious but the water here is not safe to drink. At the Kimaro house, they have a water machine, which is boiled water so that safe to drink, and cheaper than buying lots of bottles of water, a box of 12 1.5 litre bottles is about £5. We preferred to get bottled water as it is easier to take on day trips and to the centre.

Don't take good shoes- they will get ruined! You will do a lot of walking, at its hot- so we found its a lot better to wear comfy flip-flops! We would recommend bringing a pair of slippers or house shoes as during rainy season it is courteous to take off your shoes before entering the house and the floors can get quite dusty, meaning you are constantly having to wash your feet!

Don't make too much noise at night, the grandparents of the family live in the same house, and it shows a sign of respect for the family.

The plugs in the Kimaro's house are English so no need for adapters however bring a serge protector as the electricity supply is more powerful and can damage your electrical items. We would advise bringing a torch for when the power goes off, and ear plugs for when your are sleeping as people get up very early in the house and will make a lot of noise preparing breakfast and having conversations. 


Useful Contacts

David Kimaro- he is in charge of volunteers, his English is excellent & he can give you advice about day trips etc. watoto04@gmail.com 



Before you go

Pack a torch, Electricity is limited, so you will spend nights in the dark there if you don't

Take US Dollars, You can pay for the accommodation when you get there, or before you go, its up to you. However, the currency they use out there is Tanzanian shillings, but you cannot get them in England, so its best to get them changed out there. There are plenty of bureau changes (David will take you) and the exchange rate is really good! But they do not accept notes issued before 2006 for some reason, and there's a better rate on $50 and $100 notes. Tell your bank you will be in Tanzania as it is very easy to get Tanzanian shillings out of cash points but your card will be declined if you don't tell your bank. 


Injections and Vaccinations - We all took Malaria tablets, you should shop around for these though as different chemists set very different prices, we used Malarone which on average is £2 a tablet but is the most recommended

You will also need a yellow fever vaccination which is around £55 but again shop around as different doctors charge different rates. and hepatitis B is a course of three injections I paid £30 per injection at the uni doctors but elsewhere do a combined A and B injection which is free. I also had the Hepatitis A and Thyphoid but they were free at the uni doctors.Contact your doctor and they will tell you everything you need to know. 


Have 50 US Dollars in cash as you enter the country as you are required to pay for a Visa on entry, you will also need an extra 200 US Dollars for a volunteer Visa, which David will help you get, for this you need 2 passport photos.It is recommended on the information sent from David that you dress modestly, however, vest tops and shorts are fine to wear in the house. But at the centre and when going into town they want girls especially to dress modestly, so we would recommend covering up your legs and shoulders.


You can get a transfer to and from the airport from the family for $50 each way. For 1 week it cost us $162, and this involves all your food too.





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