It’s been a whirlwind of fun, friends, and new experiences for Cumbria-Rungwe Community Link group.

The nine visitors from Tanzania are following a jam-packed schedule, visiting various community services throughout Copeland, including schools, fire and police stations, and care homes for the elderly.

They’re being housed and guided through the three week-long visit by a handful of West Cumbrian students, who are all enjoying learning about Rungwe, Tanzania, as well as discovering a new-found appreciation for the everyday things we take for granted.

Commenting on their time here, the group’s leader in charge, Tumain Ezekiel, laughed and said: “It’s been good, and we’ve had perfect weather, the only difficulty is sleeping ­– it’s too light at 4am, so I can’t sleep!”

Valentino Amachinga said: “The whole trip has been very good though, even if we can’t sleep! It’s been fun meeting friends from previous trips, and everyone’s so receptive here – it feels like home.”

All members of the Cumbria-Rungwe Community Link programme were looking forward to their afternoon at Whitehaven Fire Station, and everyone enjoyed dressing up, looking at the station’s equipment and fire engines, and even dousing cars in foam using a compressed air foam system.

On top of their official visits, including St Benedict’s High School, West Cumberland Hospital, and Whitehaven Police Station, the group has loved spending their free time learning about each others’ cultures, and even exchanging dance moves.

“The ‘Hokey Cokey’, with the putting legs and arms in, is so much fun,” Valentino said. “It’s definitely my new favourite dance!”

Macey Dorgan, whose family is hosting Edwin Joseph, is loving the exchange programme, and said: “The whole group of visitors are so lovely, it’s been great.”

She continued, commenting on the effect the visit is having on her: “It’s really eye-opening – having to explain things that we take for granted, like using the washing machine, it gives you a different perspective, and it’s so interesting.”

Tumain was interested in England’s education, particularly schoolchildren’s access to scientific equipment: “It’s something we don’t have at home,” he explained.

Mary Kipling, Cumbria-Rungwe Community Link organiser, shared her thoughts on the Rungwe group’s visit, and said: “It’s going incredibly well, and everyone’s giving 150%.”

She continued: “Everyone is going out of their way to help, and it’s amazing how many places we’re managing to visit across the community. At our outing to Lowca Community School, I was asked if I was from Tanzania – the children weren’t seeing white or black faces, they just saw one cultural group, which was brilliant.”

Coming up on the group’s “tiring but exciting” list of visits is a beach clean and litter picking session at St Bees, an outing to Aladdin at The Solway Hall, a boat race at Windermere, and plenty more to keep the team busy before they head home on July 14.