The Goat Races
This month’s Tanzanian blog is about the event in which help2kids was selected to participate in as a guest NGO. On the Saturday the 6th of June, help2kids went to participate at the annual Dar es Salaam Goat Races. This was the first time our organization had been invited as one of the beneficiary charities to such an event.
The Dar es Salaam Charity Goat Races is an event that seeks to support small local organizations and charities that are doing innovative and amazing work in providing support, resources and hope for the less fortunate and poor of Dar es Salaam. The races first began in Dar es Salaam in 2001 after the founder Paul Joynson-Hicks brought together the ideas of the UK Royal Ascot and Uganda’s Goat Races together as a means to come up with a novel way of raising money for charities. Since then, the event has raised over 350 000 dollars for charities that are creating an impact in Dar es Salaam in bettering the lives of the less fortunate and poor.
The event was held in Oyster Bay area at a place called the Green on Kenyatta Drive. Once in the grounds, the racing circuit was the most noticeable thing in sight for us help2kids representatives and volunteers with its positioning being right in the center of the grounds adjacent to the DJ stage and VIP sponsor’s tent. To left of us were a row of tents where selected NGOs that the event was dedicated too, had their tables out promoting and marketing their causes and projects to the public. And on our right was the food court with a wide range of pubs and restaurants courting the public with delicious dishes and fancy bottles of wine. The theme of the Goat Races for this year was the Great Gatsby so everywhere you looked there were gentlemen and ladies pouncing around in lavish outfits fit for the 1920’s. What a glamorous event it was under the African sun.
The first races started at 1pm, which suddenly caused a rush of the masses to the tickets sales offices to place bets and watch the goats being paraded before they raced. There were 7 races over the day with each of them being sponsored by a single company or corporation such as Coca Cola. Within each race there were 10 goats that raced, with each goat being owned for a day by a sponsor or group of people who had ‘brought’ them. The new ‘owners’ were allowed to name their goats for the day, which resulted in some very interesting and ridiculous names. Before each race, there was a parade lead by a Scottish bagpiper in which the goats were paraded to the public with their ‘jockeys’. Once the gun had gone off the goats would huddle in a group with their jockeys behind them motivating them forward with a barrier so the goats would go forward. The goats would run around the circuit twice, and the winner announced once it crossed the rope. The winning goat was then taken to the winner’s podium and its ‘owner’ given a winner’s cheque which was usually donated back to charity. The winners would then leave and the beneficiary NGOs of the race would come up and receive there certificate and cheque. This definitely created an atmosphere of all smiles for such a delightful afternoon and cause.
help2kids was the beneficiary of the last race of the day sponsored by CBA Sparkers. Jessica Isham went up to the winners podium as the representative for help2kids and was awarded a donation of 5000 dollars from the representatives of CBA Sparks and the organizers of the event. help2kids would like to say thank you to CBA Sparks and the organizers of the Goat Races, Paul Joynson-Hicks and Karen Stanley, for such a generous donation and to have to the opportunity to be part of such a great and inspiring event. This was the first time we have received funding from the Goat Races and continue to appreciate all the hard work they put into raising funds for local causes in Tanzania. We will definitely use the donation to make a significant and sustainable impact on the work we do at the children’s home, the two schools we support and our health clinic with the aim of benefiting the wider community within which we work in.