Mtwara Districts

Mtwara Districts

Masasi, Nanyumbu, Tandahimba, Newala, Mtwara Rural & Mtwara Municipal

Our book distribution project covered all of the districts within Mtwara. In order to distribute books to some districts we were required to stay overnight due to the distance from Mtwara Municipal (main town). We stayed overnight at Masasi, Nanyumbu and Newala although staying at Tandahimba would have been a good idea also. In each district the District Education Officers would arrange transport to collect us and also accommodation, which we paid for due to the resources allocated to education. Here is some info on Masasi and Nanyumbu:


We reached Masasi from the Lutheran in around 2 hours with a rather deadly driver, and were to visit 7 schools over 2 days. The District Education Officer was very pleased to have us visit Masasi, which was good to hear and lifted our spirits after finding we were to have no water in our accommodation- a squat toilet in your room which does not flush doesn’t smell too pretty. Around another 2 hours later, or a typical Tanzanian ‘5 minute’ wait, we were on the back of an open truck with the books on our way to the first school. The people in Masasi seemed more stunned to see us than in Mtwara town and the school pupils were overjoyed to receive the books.

At the last school of the first day the pupils had to wait two hours after school for us to get there- we didn’t know they had been told they could not leave and we felt quite guilty but they seemed very happy when we arrived, and we took them all home in our truck when we left which they loved- time for a sing along! After a fairly terrible nights sleep at our hostel courtesy of a cat that seemed to be dying a slow but noisy death, we were to visit 4 schools the next day. Sitting on the back of the truck had been okay on the first day as we started in the afternoon however, on the second day we were on the back of the open truck for the entire day with the sun on us and the red dust covering us- one of our team became very ill with a virus from the dust due to the lack of sanitation in rural Tanzania (the dust is therefore made up of all household, including toilet, waste).

We momentarily forgot our sunburn and travel sickness at the last Masasi school, where we met the most inspirational and hard working headmaster. Wearing a balloon print shirt and a huge grin he greeted us at his school and called an assembly for us to present the books. He was under the impression we were bringing reading books only, and when we informed him we had brought around 10 boxes of text books he shouted ‘hallelujah’ and could not have been more thankful. He also talked us through the schools statistics, which showed many girls never completed their secondary education due to pregnancy, financial difficulty or a need for domestic help at home. We were inspired and impressed by this head teacher’s attitude to education and his dedication- he lived over 2 hours away from his wife and child in order to teach at the school which was extremely rural. Once we had completed the seven schools in Masasi, we were to travel straight to Nanyumbu which is a further hour from Mtwara, to distribute to the three schools there the next morning.

Photos from Masasi:



The District Education Officer of Nanyumbu collected us from Masasi and drove us to Nanyumbu as the sun was going down. In the car he was telling us about Nanyumbu, a ‘typical Tanzanian village’, when we asked him to elaborate he said there were many poor people and no electricity. The DEO also remarked ‘sometimes in Nanyumbu, we say there is no God’ –not the best way to put four girls (one feeling ill) at ease. Our accommodation was similar to that in Masasi, we paid 5,000 TSH each for both of the guest houses.

The following morning in Nanyumbu, two of us visited the three schools with the books and the other two remained in the accommodation due to illness, which the Nanyumbu medical centre confirmed as not malaria. The three Nanyumbu schools were very far apart and extremely remote, we travelled hours into the bush and would often not pass people for 10 km. It was late afternoon when we returned to the guesthouse, we grabbed some chipsy mayai (chip omelette) from a street vendor and got in a jeep provided by the DEO to take us back to Mtwara –never had the Lutheran Inn looked more welcoming.

Photos from Nanyumbu:


One Response to Mtwara Districts

  1. Graham says:

    Good work! I visited Ndanda Secondary School in Nov 2010 to find out whether Read International had taken A level text books there. You had so I was very pleased. I went to teach A-level Maths there in 1992 with VSO and I loved the place and have been back twice.
    Best wishes and thanks for the blog. You’re absolutely right about the lack of info about Mtwara Region!

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