Falkirk church talk inspired Anne’s African home build mission

Anne, second from right, back row, with fellow volunteers and local people on the project's building site in Tanzania.
Anne, second from right, back row, with fellow volunteers and local people on the project's building site in Tanzania.

A Falkirk office worker inspired by a Guild talk at her local church decided to volunteer for a home-building project in Tanzania.

Anne Stirling (60), found herself heading for Moshi, close to Mount Kilimanjaro, after hearing a lecture on volunteer opportunities from the Vine Trust at Falkirk Grahamston Church Guild.

Anne, left, joins volunteers working to turn a pile of bricks into a family home.

Anne, left, joins volunteers working to turn a pile of bricks into a family home.

She later spent two weeks in searing heat helping other volunteers to build a family house from scratch.

The Trust operates in Tanzania and Peru, providing homes, healthcare and education services to communities facing challenging circumstances.

Anne said of the project she helped to complete: “There were three houses in total. The one I helped to build was the first to be finished.”

“We started from the foundations working up. By the time we left we were up to the lintels.

“We all mucked in. The builders told us what they wanted then we did it.

“They also gathered beds, bedding and furniture for the house, so it’s not empty.”

One of the biggest challenges was the heat, as the temperature hovered around 34 degrees.

Anne said: “In the morning it was cooler, but by the afternoon it was really hot. We had a lot of water breaks.”

She has been a Guild member for five years, joining after a friend suggested she come along.

“I would definitely recommend the experience,” she said of her Africa trip. “I was thinking about going back next year.”

Louise Campbell, Programme Manager for Overseas Expeditions at Vine Trust, said “Vine Trust’s volunteers are key to the work we do in Tanzania and Peru.

“Without them, we wouldn’t be able to empower our local partners and the vulnerable communities we work in together.”

“It is always wonderful to hear our volunteers sharing their experience and the impact it has had.

“We are delighted that after Anne’s first experience on a Vine Trust expedition she is already excited to return!

“We look forward to supporting many more volunteers take part in home-building expeditions this year, helping Vine Trust to connect people to change lives.”

Vine Trust was founded by former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland Very Rev Albert Bogle in 1985.