I'm an ex-Perth Australian contract geologist, who married locally and has been living in Mwanza Tanzania since 2001. I am the sole provider, responsible for 15 much loved family members. I am stuck in Africa until I find work, hopefully in 2018.
Since early 2013 there has only been a months work, so that’s more than FOUR years of unemployment.
To survive I have had to burn through all of my life savings, spent all of my superannuation pay-out, sold my Nissan Patrol, and borrowed money from friends and family. My Visa and MasterCard are both maxed out.
For tax purposes, I have been a Non-resident since 2001 and therefore illegible to receive any Centrelink payments - the dole in Australia. I get nothing from the Australian government while living in Tanzania. My wife gets nothing from the Tanzanian government
I'm married with three of my own children; Greg aged 16, Jarad 13 and Vanessa 10. All are attending the rather modest and struggling Isamilo International School here in Mwanza. The school is closely associated with Cambridge University in the UK. The two boys are consistently achieving above average academic results. Our girl would have gone to a 'special needs school' if there was one. It’s roughly a thousand US dollars a month for the three kids. But that's just the fees; it doesn't include Cambridge exam fees, transport expenses and extra school related costs. The school is located on other side of Mwanza from home.
My wife is a Tanzanian from an extensive family network in the villages of the northwest region, they're all relatively poor. From this extended family we have ended up with various children due to deaths, separations, neglect and abuse. I have two small African style houses on one oversized plot on the outskirts of town. Years of lack of spare money has resulted both houses being run down, as well as remaining unfinished.
Our home is almost like an orphanage except its not an NGO funding it, its just me the mzungu! Currently there are 8 girls from aged 12 to 19, one boy, a mother-in-law and a sister-in-law, living with my family. Those still at school attend public schools. The older girls want to go to either college or government university. None of them are able to work yet. Tanzania has very high rates of youth unemployment. We have a refugee Congolese teacher who we pay small money to teach the kids French and maths.
During this last four years I have relentlessly searched for work through the internet, contacting fellow geoscientists at LinkedIn and former employers and friends. The world of mining is only just this year showing signs of climbing out of the doom and gloom of low commodity prices. In Australia people tell me that the job market has improved, however this is not yet evident in East Africa.
Due to my efforts I have managed to attract the attention of several interested potential employers. Unfortunately there is very little expectation that work will materialize this year, but rather early in 2018.
I am utilizing GoFundMe to appeal to kind souls to help me fund my kids' school fees and provide enough monetary support for our extended family of orphans to get through to early 2018. I'm expecting work here in Africa to start in 2018, as the world commodity prices recover.
Fully realise that I'm not the only exploration geologist going through tough times but I have no support here and any from Australia is now extremely limited.
Without help very soon the lives of my extended family and I will be severely and possibly irreversibly disrupted. The family break-up would start with the selling of the family home at 'forced-sale' prices, me being forced to return alone to Australia without a job to go to. This would leave most of the family back in Mwanza into poverty and in time some homeless and destitute. Some of the children would be reabsorbed back into the extended family network in the villages.
Five years ago this scenario was totally unthinkable, but now it’s staring me in the face. Me staying in Africa, holding the family together and waiting for the widely expected up-turn in the mining / exploration industry, is the only viable option. For that I need your help.
- Azalea Consulting
- Sebastian Bordage
- Brian Rudd
- Andrew Spinks
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