Sailors from HMS Northumberland spent a day helping to revamp a community centre in Tanzania during a break from anti-piracy patrols. Members of the Kigamboni showed their appreciation for the frigate’s efforts at the day’s end by performing a stunning acrobatic dance.
During a break from anti-piracy and maritime security operations off the east coast of Africa, a party from Northumberland headed to the Kigamboni Community Centre while their ship was berthed in Dar es Salaam.
The community centre was set up in 2006 to offer shelter and education to children, but also runs a mobile library and promotes adult learning initiatives.
The 25 volunteers from the ship helped to install windows and doors, repair fencing, and build ‘hougle beds’, which will be used to grow vegetables in dry conditions.
As a sign of their appreciation the community centre members performed an impressive musical and acrobatic dance – demonstrating just some of the skills they’re taught at Kigamboni.
The centre’s founder, Festo Chengula, was fulsome in his praise.
“The place looks great after all the hard work. The centre members love having guests and you are all welcome to visit again.”
In an exchange of gifts HMS Northumberland donated 85 football shirts, courtesy of the Royal Navy Football Association, together with a rugby ball, football and Northumberland crest and commemorative coin.
The ship’s LPT Andrew Davidson said:
“All my shipmates were moved by the day at the centre. We felt a great sense of achievement knowing that we’d helped in every way possible.”
His Commanding Officer Cdr Paddy Dowsett added:
“Our visit to Dar es Salaam has been a real success. Not only has it reaffirmed and strengthened the commitment the United Kingdom has to Tanzania, it has also allowed my team to give something to the local community.”
His ship is still in the early stages of her patrol of the Indian Ocean. She’s due home in Plymouth in May.
Naval Today Staff, January 9, 2013; Image: Royal Navy