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Neema will attend Notre Dame in Arusha, Angela, Kifungilo Girls’ Secondary School near Tango, Francis has been invited to join the most prestigious boys’ secondary school in the country, (Ilboru Boys’), and Georgie will join Tengeru Boys’ Secondary School.
Rose graduated secondary school and is halfway through her first year of university studying education . . . Nelson, in 2018, will finish his undergraduate degree in agricultural engineering at Sokoine University in Morogoro. Omari will finish secondary school next June and then is off to university!
Godlove and Joseph are shining at Kisimiri Secondary school and we wait for performance results for Issa and Joseph (Form IV) and Vitalis (Lohai’s brother) (Form II).
And speaking of Lohai, he became a husband and a father in 2016, with congratulatios to him and Joy on the birth of their baby girl Evalite . . . and Mary and Frank and Nicole (2 years old in May) welcomed little Kelvin into their family! Mama Eva just had a little girl . . . I will send pictures when I meet her!
I marvel at how blessed we have been health wise this past year. One HIV+ child had to change to second line ARV medication which is a concern, but all are otherwise healthy and strong and Tumaini Australia is working to find money for more frequent CD4/viral load testing . . . We had no broken limbs, no malaria, no serious illness in our family . . . no deaths . . . thank you Lord.
When you next visit us at Tumaini you will come to our NEW home! I am writing this from my seat in the plane over north Africa, so we will land shortly and celebrate New Year’s with the children (can you imagine anything better?), then tomorrow (after our New Year’s celebration), we will begin packing and hope to be settled before the end of January! We have TONS of space and monkeys (yes our monkeys will play with monkeys)! You know, we keep feeding these children and they just keep growing! They seriously needed more room and we can now give it to them! A lot of work you say, moving our family? Come, come . . . we’re only 65 . . .
Raymond continues to settle into his new role as Tumaini’s administrator . . . time will tell if this is his future as he endeavours to effectively manage his responsibilities and establish healthy working relationships with staff and children.
And speaking of our children! They are incredible! I am beginning to see their developing characters, who they are becoming as human beings and this is my reward for seven years of hard work . . . Kind, supportive of each other, sharing, sensitive and concerned young people will contribute much in this world in their futures. Some need to “pull up their socks” somewhat when it comes to academic performance but for the most part . . .
Our dada Tine from Belgium has been invaluable by assisting in the development of a more streamlined financial reporting system which allows better and faster communication, transparency and understanding.
Tumaini Australia is working to find sponsorship for our milk campaign . . . Tumaini Holland not only helped us purchase our car, they raise funds in support of school fees (as does Belgium), salaries, sponsorship, etc. and Tumaini USA is developing as a strong support mechanism wherever we need them and to the boards of directors for these organizations thank you.
I consistently marvel and must reach out and thank each of you, our sponsors, our donors, our friends, some of whom have loved (and supported) us, all of these seven years. Many of you sent me in August of 2009 with a contribution to what would develop into Tumaini . . . many of you have opened your hearts and your purses regularly since, in support of these blessed children. This mama is very grateful.
As 2017 unfolds . . . as each of you set your goals, envision your dreams and make your plans for another new year, I hope you will take a second to pause and reflect upon the goodness you have provided us. Nothing good will happen without you, without your hearts and your skills and yes, your money . . . but, WITH all of you, not only is hope, but EVERYTHING is possible! Here’s to a 2017 full of EVERYTHING good . . . for you, for our children, for this world we live in . . . Happy New Year!!
Great big birthday wishes go out to Pendo and Rukaya (June 10) and our own Mama Korosho (June 11).
Our secondary school students are home on break and most have performed remarkably! Vitalis (younger brother to Lohai), Ayubu and Rosie awaits her results for advanced level secondary results before we apply for university! We are incredibly proud of her efforts as our strongest performing Tumaini female thus far but I expect Angela will challenge her!!
Upcoming Tumaini Fun(d) raising events include “Corks ‘n Canvas”, at Whistling Gardens, Sunday June 26th. Sip on Burning Kiln donated wine, nibble on Jensen’s cheese and learn to improve your “strokes” by artist/instructor Amber Wardell! A beautiful setting, wonderful cause and all proceeds will go to helping our little ones!! Please contact Bonnie Wardell firstname.lastname@example.org for further information!
Saturday and Sunday July 9 and 10, our Blue Hair Medium, Ms. Kathryn Louise will host guests for your own psychic reading at my cottage in Port Ryerse. A tranquil setting where Kathryn will guide you through your private communications with your own angels. Pre-booking is required so please contact email@example.com and again, proceeds benefit our little own little angels at Tumaini!!
REMEMBER to save the date (or register early) for our 5th Annual “Hillbilly Hoedown” themed Tournament of Hope, Sunday September 25th, returning to Springview Farm Golf Club in Waterford! For registration or further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org! This is one of our biggest annual fundraisers so please be sure to join us!!
And not everyone heard about Junior catching (with proper form) and bringing a chicken to kaka Raymond for slaughter (if you look closely you will see his cohort in crime Elisha had run to the house for a knife in order that kaka Raymond could perform said deed). Polisi!!!!!!
I am off to Delhi District Secondary School this week to receive the proceeds from a “Pie in the Face” fun(d) raiser benefiting Tumaini . . . I hope there were pictures!! Stay tuned!
In case you haven’t heard . . . Lohai is getting MARRIED!!!!
Did you know . . . that our very own Francis is wearing glasses now? He was experiencing pain in his eye . . . a result of having been beaten (prior to Tumaini) with an electrical cable until he lost partial sight in one eye . . .
And Ibrahim (see photo above) who joined us earlier this year after four years of outreach assistance, which just wasn’t sufficient (he is positive and despite our help, wasn’t receiving enough nutritional support) spent the night in the hospital last week on an I.V. drip (Raymond was up all night with him) . . . still no definitive explanation. PS. We are still looking for a sponsor for Ibrahim!!!
And P.P.S! Sometimes a volunteer comes to Tumaini, gets bitten right in the heart and goes home to begin doing wonderful things for our children. . . Tine (Migerode, from Belgium) is one such former volunteer but has become a daughter to me and a sister to the rest of Tumaini. Welllllllll, she (and boyfriend Tom) will be visiting us here in Canada next month so come see us and meet an extraordinary, love filled couple of Belgians who continue to bring so very much to us at Tumaini!!
P.P.P.S! Rumour has it that our very own Raymond will be returning to Canada soon also . . . fingers crossed as we await his visa!!
As always, thank you! You loving support is critical to our very survival and we are so very grateful for your continued care . . . there is a serious sugar crisis in Tanzania right now and our volunteers and Tumaini family are not feeling so “sweet” about it . . . but we are all sweet on our Tumaini friends and ever thankful to each of you . . . be well!!
This is a tough story to share but one I think I must. I have always tried to be completely transparent with you, our Tumaini friends and that must continue now.
Three nights ago Tumaini was invaded by armed thieves. Shots were fired. Our Tumaini family was terrorized. All of my technical equipment, Raymond’s new laptop, a laptop Dada Tine had converted for the children, my ID and money was stolen. Most upsetting is that I believe I have lost all of Tumaini’s earliest photos as they were thrice backed up but all sources were taken. That, and two very personal chains, one from Francis and one from Mama Korosho.
The thieves know us. Five or six young men, two with guns and the rest armed with pangas (machetes). They targeted my office only, leaving the main house where our children were, blessedly, untouched.
They burst through the gate and ran to my office grabbing Vitalis and Ayubuwho were studying and slapped them around. They found my office, tore things apart, snatched what they wanted and departed. Most of our children watched from the upstairs windows and porch.
As terrible as this story is there is a blessing or two. Nightly, since my arrival in Tanzania,Raymond and I have worked late in my office, but not this night. Oddo had been sharing stories of his first safari outside Tanzania and we were in the main house celebrating his return, along with Raymond’s graduation, with a cake. Raymond then went upstairs to help settle the children and I ran across the street to the volunteer house to tend to a sick dada Holly. That is when all hell broke loose.
I cannot express the depth of pride and gratitude I have in my hero Raymond. He managed the children upstairs while also screaming for help. He is sick now, has damaged his vocal chords shrieking until he had no voice. Nobody came to help.
I also cannot begin to explain how incredibly brave our children and volunteers were. Everyone, to a person, did exactly what needed to be done and listened to instructions.
We marvel and we thank God, that with all of the violence we experienced here that night, not one of us, not a hair was injured . . . except of course Raymond’s vocal chords. We pray for a peaceful Christmas season and we thank all of you for loving us as you do. We know we are in your prayers and thank you for that. God is good . . . all the time.
Buckled in and waiting for departure to fundraisers with Tuchifo Belgium and Tumaini Holland and then down and home to Tumaini!
Whew! What a whirlwind European visit on our way back to Tumaini! Dada Holly and I have been joined by my Tanzanian brother and Tumaini partner Oddo who is on his first ever safari outside of Tanzania!
We began our tour with a choral performance celebrating Remembrance Day by the Abadabukileyo Choir with proceeds going to help us at Tumaini!
Dada Tine of Tuchifo Belgium with host Tom VanDriessche welcomed more than 150 people to our Kaas en Wign (Cheese and Wine) evening where Oddo and I were invited to share the story of Tumaini!
Enroute from Belgium to Holland we stopped to say thank you to Wereld Missie Hulp (World Mission Help), an organization who collects gently used clothing, either donates or resells it as fabric and uses the proceeds to help mission projects such as Tumaini. They donated almost six months of beans and maize to our kitchen and we stopped by to say “Asante”!
Last night we attended a dinner evening in Eindhoven, Nederlands at a “teaching hotel and restaurant” in Eindhoven called, “De Rooi Pannen”, where secondary school students learn to professionally cook and serve in the restaurant and to operate a hotel.
Guests at dinner included sponsors, donors and friends of Stichting Tumaini Nederlands and all of us enjoyed a wonderful dinner and evening!
And today! Kaka Wil Van Der Linden took us on a tour of D’n Bolle Akker, an incredible retirement and care center, a combined residence and farm for retired persons AND learning challenged younger people where they are taught how to manage animals, gardens and themselves, coexisting and thriving together. Enormous thanks to Stichting Tumaini Nederlands director Harry Wenting for guiding us on our tour where we acquired some wonderful design plans for our own Tumaini home!
Wil invited us on a tour of Vencomatic Group, an Agro supply company providing the most animal friendly innovative methods in poultry production. Vencomatic’s building has been recognized as the “most sustainable building in all of Europe” and we thoroughly enjoyed our tour!
We leave in the morning for a visit with Dada Minke and Dada Kim and their church family and then on Monday we are off to Tumaini to prepare for Raymond’s graduation ceremony and Mary and Frank’s wedding!
And thanks are needed to Minke’s family for hosting us overnight, to Baba for sharing a tour of historical Wageningen (some patriotic pride is involved here), where, in 1945 German occupying forces surrendered with a little help from Canada!!
We are enroute to Tumaini with hugs and love from our European families (plus a little chocolate and cheese)!!
There are so many things we are thankful for at Tumaini this past year.
First of all, that our children have remained safe and healthy and all are advancing in their development. Our support staff too is doing well for the most part and provide quality care for our little ones.
Raymond graduated (as you know) and Mary Minja is getting married and her new little girl Nicole will be a bridesmaid! Reward started a new business (www.bingwasafaris.com) and many, MANY of our children are shining in their academic efforts.
But none of this would be possible without the loving support we receive from people such as yourselves . . . many of you have been sponsors since the beginning (Asante sana), many of you return to Tumaini again and again to help us help our little ones and as we say in Tanzania, “I have nothing to give you to express my gratitude . . . only God can thank you properly”. I hope He showed you His grace this past Thanksgiving holiday. (Thanksgiving is a national holiday we just celebrated here in Canada, giving thanks for the blessings we have enjoyed in the past year.)
We are working hard to complete a survey on our land (YES OUR OWN LAND) and with the assistance of Belgium, Holland, Australia and the U.S. we expect to begin building our forever home and school in the coming year! This has been a six year dream for Oddo and I and Rotary, here in Simcoe (Canada) with hopefully additional Rotary support from other clubs) has committed to assisting in infrastructure development to help ensure our success! One club in Holland has made a donation to Tumaini also, thank you!
Simcoe Rotary just donated $8,000.00 towards the expansion of our solar array at Tumaini (which will move with us to our new home) and Dave Egles of H.E.S. Home Energy in Ontario and B.C. and Hanwha Solar Canada have been working together to collect what is needed for shipment and installation at Tumaini House . . . how do we say thank you for solving our laundry NIGHTMARE, when we have electricity only half the time, and water only some of the time. H.E.S., Hanwha Solar Canada, Dave Egles and team and of course Simcoe Rotary . . . thank you!
And . . . in order to first care for our children and then gather money to BUILD our new home we have been hard at work with our 4th Annual Scotiabank Tournament of Hope (thank you Chairwoman Bonnie Wardell) which was a resounding success netting us more than twenty thousand much needed dollars towards our ongoing operations. We are so very grateful for sponsorship support for our little ones but that doesn’t cover all of our costs . . . AND, please remember that every Tumaini supporter is a volunteer. Only our Tanzanian staff is remunerated!
To Scotiabank Simcoe for continuing as our Title Sponsor (even though they didn’t get to golf at the tournament due to a memorial service conflict due because of a local tragedy). Thank you also to our sponsors, donors, golfers and volunteers AGAIN for making this year another resounding success! Please visit our “Fav Photos” section on this site for tournament photos!
November 12th in Tillsonburg will be our third Tumaini Fashion Show so mark the date and let me know if you need tickets! Debbie’s Basic Black from Paris and Bennett’s Men’s and Ladies Clothier will outfit our models and we will have an update presentation including our own Kelvin who will have a few words to share with everyone attending.
I will miss the fashion show unfortunately, as I depart on November 9th for three months in Tanzania (sorry Steve) after a whirlwind campaign in Belgium and Holland (thank you so very much hosts Tine, Wil, Mia, Kris, Minke and European sponsor/donors) and our very own Holly Gleason from the U.S. will be accompanying me after completing HER big fundraiser towards the purchase of a new vehicle for Tumaini! This is my year for Christmas with the children so sponsors please get me your VERY SMALL Christmas gifts/cards/letters before November 5th so that I might complete my packing.
All of us are building on strong futures for our children. Oddo and I shared dreams of making a small difference in a few children’s lives in Tanzania and YOU help us to do that. I have pledged, as has Oddo to always do our utmost to ensure your dollars are spent well. We continue that pledge with Raymond’s help now that he has joined our administrative team!
About Mother Mary who I told you about in a previous blog. Here is her story: Mother Mary immigrated to Canada initially in late 2014, (no passport, no visa required) but she came with an injury (she was broken) and had to return to China. She returned to the U.S. (my sister’s house in Ohio – think free shipping) healthy and ready for a great adventure but FIRST her safari!
Pam (Tumaini U.S.A.) arranged for her safari to our farm in Canada. We packed her carefully (amidst several dozen [donated thank you Holly] soft plastic water bottles and wrapped her in yoga mats [also donated thank you Amanda]. Tucked comfortably into a [yup, donated thank you Gerry] hockey bag she was on her way BUT was a tad large! Mary met up with the check in crew at Toronto International Airport where KLM immediately directed her to “OVERSIZED” baggage. Now you know that since most of our packing is done in hockey bags we are often “oversized” but Mother Mary presented as a new precedent. We had to send her through x-ray and the inspector shared her concern over Mary even “fitting” through the already super-sized x-ray machine. I expressed my own concerns because Oddo, and the church (where our Catholics attend) in Usa River have been waiting for her arrival! Well! Once I explained who was inside, the inspector began encouraging Lohai and Kelvin to PUSH!!!! Mary would just have to SQUEEZE through x-ray! “She’s beautiful”, exclaimed the inspector and rubber stamped Mary straight through to Tumaini . . . no hassle, no extra charges, hamna shida!!!
I shared this story with Oddo, who then shared it with the parish priest, who THEN shared it with a congregation of about 800 who were ECSTATIC to have a new and special prayer site (and Mother Mary) at their church. Hundreds and hundreds of people came up to greet us, to kiss Mary (and some of us!) and to celebrate her arrival! We (Oddo, Raymond, myself and our catholic children) stood for almost 45 minutes shaking hands and receiving hugs, all the while being “blessed” (think showered) by our priest with holy water!
A grotto was constructed with an altar, benches and a small garden for outdoor prayer and contemplation and Oddo is a local hero (he is used to wearing that hat). This was a gift from Tumaini to one of our churches and the powers that be ensured her very safe (and inexpensive if I may add) arrival and installation in Usa River’s parish! The church was built in the 1970’s and until her arrival had never welcomed Mary to live with them!
Happy birthday Francis!
There’s a story about a man named Cal . . . just 35 years old but trapped in the body of an 82-year-old . . . coming up! Be well!!
June wishes from Mama with special thanks to Dada Tine for, among so many
other things, providing most of these photos. Originally from Belgium, Dada Tine has been subbing in for me these past three months at Tumaini and I couldn’t be more grateful! Asante sana mtoto wangu!
Happy June birthday wishes to Jenny (6th), Pendo and Rukaiya (10th), and Canadian volunteer Megan! Rashid’s is our only July birthday (7)!
And so, the good news is I am nicely settled under my net at Tumaini house writing this . . . most everything is wonderful here, the children, staff, Oddo and there is MUCH to be accomplished this visit.
The bad news is that our website has been hacked and I (just the day before I left Canada) and has been down but incredible thanks go out to Robert McCoy of Delta Decisions in Simcoe for working so hard to repair the damage. Delta Decisions Global Website Management!
Before “coming home” to Tumaini, I was fortunate enough to share Amanda’s (my and Steve’s daughter) birthday celebration in Paris, France!
Baba Kaka and the love of his life Mama Jenny.
Baba Kaka and Mama Jenny (Belgian Tumaini volunteers who have visited us in Canada) were kind enough to join us from their holiday in the south of France for a couple of days and we had a wonderful time! Amanda and I both feel so blessed to have had this opportunity to share our Paris experience and thank you Tumaini friends and family for all of the well wishes you sent us! It was a whirlwind journey as I turned around on the following Thursday and returned to our Tumaini family here in Tanzania!
Part of my excitement in returning is, of course, my first opportunity to meet my new granddaughter Nicole! Our own Mary and Baba Frank delivered a beautifully healthy little girl on Mother’s Day and I look so very much forward to holding our newest addition to the Tumaini family!
More good news! Raymond is in the midst of writing his final exams in these next two weeks and will return to Tumaini in early July, graduating with his undergrad degree in Public Administration. Considering where Raymond began, (feelings of hopelessness at the end of his primary education about the possibility of ever attending secondary school for lack of support), BUT then, meeting first Oddo, who pulled one of his miracles and got him enrolled without the need for tuition for the first year, then, joining our Tumaini family and, capitalizing on the opportunities presented him, performed to the best of his ability, completed his ordinary levels, then advanced levels in secondary school and now will graduate university and join us at Tumaini, training to take some of the pressures off Oddo and I!
brother Reward is growing his new safari business “Watoto wa Bingwa Safaris and Tours” Bingwa Safaris and Tours – before he died, their father drove for a beer company called “Bingwa” and he acquired the nickname – “watoto” means children! (Are these the ramblings of a very proud Mama?)
And Vitalis (younger brother to our beloved Lohai) is home on break along with other secondary students and has brought us one of the very best report cards I have ever seen!
There has been a “bug” travelling through Tumaini and it has taken down its share of children and adults, (fever, lethargy). Only time, liquids and meds for the high fevers seem to do anything and so we wait for it to travel through the family . . . unfortunately that can take a long time in some cases. Thank you again Dada Tine for providing loving care to our little ones!!
THANK YOU!!! To Debra Mather, General Manager and Scotiabank Simcoe, Ontario for honoring Tumaini yet again with being our Title Sponsor for the 4th Annual Tumaini Tournament of Hope, Sunday September 13th and thank you (again and always) to Bonnie Wardell, committee head and golf guru who has added some new and exciting curves for this year!
John, Lisa, Charlene, Bonnie or myself will be contacting last year’s sponsors/golfers to invite your preregistration and newbies are invited to contact Bonnie Wardell (email@example.com) for registration information!
AND MORE THANKS go out to Mrs. Hammond’s 11th grade (Delhi District Secondary School) family studies class for inviting me back again this year to tell our Tumaini story and collect some much needed blankets for our little ones, and to the United Steel Workers Retirees Association for YOUR invitation to share our tale! Asante sana!
Most of you know that a large percentage of the support Tumaini receives comes from sponsorships and I would like to thank new sponsors, Amy,
Gleason family, and Bobbi Jo and friends for making a commitment to help us help our little ones . . . I go on and on about this but when Oddo and I began Tumaini we took on the responsibility of providing care, safety, and a healthy future to twenty four children. That number has grown to closer to one hundred people if we include our outreach families and it would be impossible (and I lose sleep over this) to provide that continued quality care if YOU didn’t reach into your pockets and help us and I regularly pause to thank the BIG GUY for giving you the hearts you have. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I have previously mentioned that we began a milk program at Tumaini in order to ensure our children get enough and that program provides two glasses of milk to each member of our Tumaini family daily. We need 18 liters daily and that costs about $275.00 monthly. We are still looking for sponsorship to support this . . . can you help?
And American Tumaini Friends . . . Did You Know? That with our recently acquired American charitable status we are able to issue you a tax receipt for your one time donation or sponsorship contribution? Did you know that should you wish to organize a fundraiser benefitting Tumaini that tax receipts are available? Please visit us at Tumaini Children’s Foundation USA! and thank you!!
And so, should you like to send a letter to your sponsored child or organize a skype visit please let me know via email and we’ll make it happen and on behalf of Oddo and myself (and my “other” daughter Tine who has so wonderfully helped out at Tumaini these past few months) we’d like to say thank you and God Bless!
How do we thank Roberto DiFrassineto and Matteo Salvaneschi for . . . welllll . . . hmmmmm . . . for riding their motorcycles around the WORLD in their efforts to expand awareness about the needs of children? How do we thank them for raising $7,000.00 with another $1,000.00 promised? I do not know so . . . THANK YOU! . . . GRACIAS! . . . ASANTE SANA!
I ask you to visit their site www.mototravellers.com to truly appreciate this incredible feat which began in 2011 in Italy and encompassed 15,000 km. to Mongolia. The second leg of their journey was from Mongolia to Japan and then through the Americas. Leg three began last year and took them from Cape Town, S.A. north through Africa and back to Italy and we were chosen to be one of the lucky beneficiaries of their efforts! Thank you again Roberto and Matteo!
Lauren Fulton is a young lady who visited us at Tumaini and I asked her about her perceptions upon her return to Canada. What had she enjoyed? What did she not enjoy? What struck her heart? In her own words . . .
Jambo! My name is Lauren Fulton! I’m 18 years old and I live in Port Ryerse, ON just a five minute drive from Mama Dee’s house! I want to tell you a little bit about why I chose to go to Tumaini Children’s Foundation this past March!
When I was in grade ten, Mama Dee came to Simcoe Composite School, where I go to school, to speak to a group of students who were participating in a leadership day. She showed pictures of the children at Tumaini and I instantly fell in love with them. Before I even met those kids, they had touched my heart. I saw the smiles on their faces in the pictures and immediately knew that I had to go and see it for myself. For two years, I looked at the website, reading the stories of each child and falling more and more in love with them. Finally, I decided to make my move and plan a trip! On March 6th, 2015 I hopped on a plane from Toronto to Amsterdam and then Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro!
I arrived in Kilimanjaro on Saturday night and was greeted by Oddo Ndonde who took great care of me until I got to Tumaini! I met the volunteers when I got to the house and immediately knew that I would be friends with them! And boy was I right. I made the most amazing friends there and they will be everlasting. I met a girl named Holly from the USA, a girl named Tine from Belgium, and a couple from Belgium named Baba Kaka and Mama Jenny. I will cherish and remember them and hopefully stay in touch with them forever.
The first day was just as I imagined it. I went to into the children’s house and was welcomed with “Hi Lauren!” “Lauren, come see my room!” “Lauren, will you come play with me?” As a camp counsellor, I expect kids to want to play games with you and be around you so I was not shocked by that. I went to the Catholic Church and oh what an experience that was! Picture sixty children singing in Swahili for an hour. It was amazing!
I didn’t have a lot of expectations going into the trip because I honestly I had no idea what to expect. I did expect to see some poverty in the village and cities. I was correct by expecting that. I expected to love the children, and I did. I found amazing things in every child and they are all unique in their own way. I did not expect to be welcomed the way I was. Everyone was so friendly and showed me around so I could get started right away! Most of the children who live there are truly orphans and some are in the care of Tumaini because it is safer for them to be there than in their home. Although it is, by definition, an orphanage, it is more like a home with a bunch of kids running around having a great time.
When I was there, I brought a new set of skills that they have never had before.
I am a swimming instructor here in Canada and with the help of Oddo, we were gifted the use of a local pool so that I could share the skill of swimming with nine of the boys there! After school, I took them to the swimming pool and taught them how to swim! Due to their lack of experience in the water, the first few days were quite interesting. Most of the boys would sit on the side because they were afraid, and water is scary when you aren’t used to it! We worked on being comfortable in the water and becoming confident walking around in it, blowing bubbles and dunking their heads under water. After a few days, most of them became comfortable in the water and we were able to start learning some skills such as floating and kicking. By the end of the two weeks, they were all comfortable being in water and they had all gained skills that could save their lives!
As a mini vacation in my amazing trip, I went on safari with Reward Evance and his company Watoto wa Bingwa Safaris! It was a great experience. We travelled to three National Parks in three days and we stayed at an extravagant safari lodge called Bougainvillea Safari Lodge. The lodge is like stepping into a small piece of heaven. They serve you four course meals for dinner and there is a pool and beautiful rooms. I would recommend staying there to anyone! I felt safe during the whole trip and really enjoyed travelling with Reward. He is a great guide and has a great sense of humour (I’m still worried that the lions in Africa only eat Canadians, though!)
Mama Dee asked me write about what got my heart. I can honestly say, what didn’t get my heart? To begin, the kids appreciate everything you do as if it is the biggest thing in the world. Even if it is just asking them how their day was, they will sit down and tell you all about it. That is something that we don’t see in Canada very often. In Canada, we take the little things for granted because sadly, we think we have better things to worry about. Another thing that really got my heart is the happiness basically everyone has. Most people are living in poverty yet they are grateful for what they have. That is something we, as Canadians, can learn from Tanzanians: gratefulness. There are honestly so many things that I could write about that got my heart. In general, Tumaini Children’s Foundation got my heart.
I plan to return to Tumaini in the near future. I am still working on the details of my next trip but I am hoping to make it in this calendar year. One of the main reasons I am planning to go back is because I fell in love with everything and everyone there. I want to go back to experience the amazing love, acceptance and culture that I experienced last time I was there.
I am finally on the mend (after falling ill for almost a month – I won’t bore you with the details but MUST thank my Canadian family, especially Steve, for your loving care and to ALL family and friends, Tumaini or otherwise, for your prayers and well wishes) since returning from an important visit to Holland on the return leg of this last trip to Tumaini. (GREAT news of our visit will follow!)
After one of my best (think beautifully positive development in our children) trips home to Tumaini (there is so much good news to follow), Mama Korosho, (Charlene Cleland) and I made a three day stopover in Holland to visit with our Tumaini Van Der Linden family there, to speak with Rotary about them potentially helping us with pending construction, and to meet the Board of Directors of Stichting Tumaini Nederlands, and new friends who support the Dutch leg of Tumaini, caring for our little ones!
First of all, the children, for the most part are remarkable! Growing and studying and working hard at becoming incredible young people. There are exceptions (Nasma and Liadi and Marko come to mind), but generally, it was beautiful to witness personality and positive character development in our youngsters and each of you, volunteers,
sponsors, supporters, PLEASE take a moment to reflect on your contributions to us and THEN, on behalf of my “brother” and partner Oddo and myself, please accept our deepest gratitude for your continued love, support and care.
To Baba Kaka (Valentin Leyssen) and Mama Jenny Driesen from Belgium who returned for a THIRD trip “home” and stayed with us for three months,
working tirelessly with and on behalf of our children, (and a certain mama who benefitted from a rebuilt desk chair AND a computer cover!), thank you SO very much! To Mama Korosho, my travelling and office mate this trip, for foregoing fresh air (or any air some days) or walking or exercise of – well – any sort actually, for two months and instead helping me with data entry DAY AFTER DAY AFTER DAY AFTER DAY – thank you! We are ahead of the game because of you dada!
To dada Pam, who is B.I.C. of Tumaini – USA and who brought not only herself (AGAIN thank you Gary), but much needed goodies for our kids along with her spirit and energy for incredibly hard work, thank you sweet lady!
To our young’un Holly Gleason for returning waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay sooner than Mom, Dad OR I expected and for MY gifts (you shouldn’t have) but more importantly, for the much needed supplies you brought us, thank YOU!!!
And to my other daughter Tine Migerode head of Tumaini Belgium (yup there was a time the Canadians were outnumbered by the Belgians!!!) who moved into my rooms upon my departure . . . for your continued inputting of records, for ALL you brought us, for keeping this mama up to the minute to date, for your heart and your work and your commitment to our children until my return
in JUNE!!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you! We have current reporting going on! We have report cards forthcoming! We have sponsor letters and pictures and Tumaini children improving their social studies because of Tine and friends! Asante sana mtoto wangu!!
There is much to report and it is forthcoming but in the interim I would ask for prayers for the family and friends of now, 148 murdered Kenyan university students. I would ask for your prayers that the threats of violence stop, that our Tumaini family remains safe, that Ebola (which has thus far avoided Tanzania) continue to weaken it’s death grip on West Africa and that the many, MANY people who have contributed their time, energy, money (some of them US!), bring this deadly killer under control.
Not one but TWO stories to follow written by Norfolkonians Lauren and Bobbie Jo who volunteered at Tumaini and are sharing their experiences!! For your support of Tumaini, for your love of the children . . . Thank you!
As I said, there is much to share on the children, the land and our future “forever” home, potentially a new and much needed vehicle, incredible fundraising efforts of our supporters and some new updates planned for our website!
I will be in Canada until June and will work to get this information out to you in a timely fashion. I send my love and thanks . . . on behalf of some very, VERY blessed children at Tumaini.
We have begun a new milk program at Tumaini which requires support costing $275.00 monthly. We require 18 liters of milk daily to allow our children two glasses each, one in the morning and one in the evening. Does someone know of a dairy who may be interested in sponsoring our milk program?
Six more children have been abandoned to us at Tumaini and we need help with their support.
Enormous thanks and an update is forthcoming from Roberto and Matteo our Italian/Canadian motorcycling friends who, after Christmas, returned to Tumaini and picked up their bikes to continue their DANGEROUS journey north towards Italy. Before they got too far though, they made sure to deliver to us at Tumaini $7,000.00 for our little ones and our thanks goes out to THEIR donors.
I have an extensive DUTCH report to present and will introduce AND thank Tumaini friends there also.
Prayers of thanks must go out that a recent flood (caused by excessive rains at Tumaini) didn’t damage more than it did. We lost several thousand dollars’ worth of school supplies. Both Oddo and I lost some records and poor Tine found herself in my rooms in standing water to her knees. Bottom filing cabinet drawers were lost and some personal items and medicine but she (and some of the children) stayed up through the night doing all they could to help save everything they could.
Thank you, thank you. For your continued love and support. For your kindness . . . God bless each of you.
I am shamed. If you haven’t been here before you won’t know this but both Oddo’s and my offices are just steps from our junior classroom “taught” by former employee Redlais Makundi. I can no longer refer to her as a teacher after what she did.
We discovered today, after one of our little ones (Malki), finally found the courage to come forward and show us the scars, new AND old, that Redlais inflicted. She has been torturing our children and I am ashamed to share that this has most likely been going on for the better part of a year, right under our noses and we didn’t know it.
Brothers Malki, and Swalehe, two of our day students carry the marks of her brutality, conveniently hidden beneath their uniform shirt sleeves. Scabs and bruises of varying ages cover their upper arms. This silent little boy, on the advice of his mother came forward to show us what was being done to him . . . in our own school . . .
I have no words to express my shock, disgust and terrible disappointment first, in someone we believed to be a professional, but secondly in myself. You see I have had nagging doubts about this teacher and in hindsight there has been plenty to support that doubt. I just didn’t see it.
Liadi, many times last year would come into my office just minutes before class and then begin to cry. Things got so bad that on several occasions we had to drag him into the classroom while he pleaded with me to not make him go. He would cling to my skirt and beg me at least, to not leave my office until after class had finished but he couldn’t tell us why.
Two of our older girls, on separate occasions wet their pants in the classroom
but I thought they were struggling with UTIs. No one ever said anything.
This “teacher” had threatened the children into silence. Children . . . students who should be able to attend class unafraid . . .
We dismissed her this morning (I wanted her charged with assault but Oddo deferred) but the damage is done.
I have so many questions. How can a child learn when they are terrified of their teacher and learning environment? How can a child understand right from wrong when someone they should trust threatens them into deceit even at their own peril? Where does a child learn compassion, respect, dignity, for self and others if not in their home and school? And finally, where does their confidence to step up and TELL come from if their own guardians aren’t protecting them?
There are so very many things becoming clearer suddenly. Why do some of our children just “act out”? Why are there sudden bursts of violence and insensitivity from our little people sometimes? Where does the selfishness come from? Where have they learned cruelty? We, here at Tumaini have been teaching them violence and showing them how powerless they are to stop it
and I am ashamed.
This job is difficult at the best of times. The challenges of providing good care and what I thought was a safe environment for our little ones where they might reach and grow are many, and today I am reminded that, even WITH the best of intentions, it is so very easy to miss important signs, to be duped . . . and when a child(ren) is involved? I just don’t know . . .
We have met with our children and reminded them of their rights, of their voices and further reminded them that NO ONE has the right abuse them. No one has the right, even here where tooooooo often a child is thought of (or not at all) as little more than an animal to be kicked and abused by whomever is bigger. We see it all the time (we just thought we were better insulated from it here) and yet am I so naïve as to hope that there must be a way to protect a child?
I was an abused child. I know what fear and insecurity feels like. Distrusting those who should be closest to us. I think it may be a part of what inspired me to establish Tumaini in the first place, and yet here we are . . . guardians to little ones we are incapable of guarding.
I have a meeting at school tomorrow over an issue of an unfair act bestowed upon one of our children by a teacher who doesn’t like us, (particularly me, for my “she lion” impression last year after Christina and Esther were beaten and I barged into the school roaring). I search for a way to communicate to this teacher (and others), about how corporal punishment just doesn’t work . . . but, experience tells me that once again my plea for an alternative will fall on deaf ears and only instill greater disdain for the children of this mzungu “mama” who must think she knows how to raise an African child better than an African . . . We don’t have all the answers but we are trying . . . And some days are stones.
On a more uplifting note, end of month exam results are coming in. At Tumaini, Liadi was first in his class followed by Karol and I fear I need to purchase a chocolate factory . . . I promised a Kit Kat bar to each child for their best performance and we have a TON of 90+%. Hadija got 100% in Kiswahili! English is strong, math is coming and all of these children are strong because of Teacher Winner who has taught them from the beginning here at Tumaini AND SHE DOESN’T BEAT HER STUDENTS!
Well! The Maasai Market has burned down and for those of you who have visited you can attest to the gravity of this loss. Hundreds of people have booths, jammed side by side and separated by some very old (very dry) wood partitions. Most were covered with a corrugated tin material but many, MANY plastic tarps, covering leaks, fueled the inferno. There was no insurance.
An enormous thank you to Gail Walker and The Runner’s Den in Port Dover for collecting gently used running shoes! Our children, our outreach families, even Oddo, thanks you!! Baba Kaka pictured is teaching Fadhilla to tie
her first EVER pair of running shoes . . . she is 15 years old . . .
To Avondale United Church in Tillsonburg! Avondale’s Sunday school and Youth Group worked alongside parishioners to collect the funding required to support Esther for another year and all we can say is Asante, AND . . .
Sophie Edmunds!! Sophie volunteered with us at Tumaini and was moved to help us help our kids. Doing what she knows, Sophie enlisted the help of friends Rachel Maxey, Ellabeth Little, Sandy Thompson, Monika Papayova, Peter Thompson and sister Rachel and they hosted a concert benefiting us here at Tumaini. Sophie’s orchestra raised 561 British Pounds!!! Asante Sophie and friends and thank you so
much for remembering us!!!
I would like to thank new sponsors Amy (and Dad) for embracing Said, and Sara for assisting our outreach performer Joseph and thank you Heather and Colin for sponsoring the needs of Rosie. It is only with your help that we can continue to provide opportunities for these children and a deserving collection of children these are! Asante . . .
Rashid’s CD4 is 814, Glory’s is 1165 and Mary holds at 423.
We need you Help!
On one of my first trips to Tanzania I stopped at an orphanage in Manyara called the Children of Concern Foundation. I met an employee there named Peter. He struggled to find support for the children staying there and I was
moved by his dedication. A year and a half later Peter came to see Oddo and I. He had begun (and ended) a relationship with a woman who gave birth to a child named Princess. Peter had outfitted the mother with a room, bed, cooking utensils, etc. “Mama” cleared out the room of everything, locked the door and left Princess on the floor. She cried for two days until someone came to help.
Peter brought Princess to us (four years ago) and we were able to place her, as an infant, at the Cradle of Love Baby Home. She lived there until she was 2 ½
years old at which time she was forced to leave. (The Cradle of Love has an age ceiling on the children they are willing to provide care for.) She moved to another orphanage where some underhanded efforts were made to have her adopted without her father’s consent. A judge, in the final stages of the adoption located Peter’s phone number and called, “just to be certain”. Peter clarified the situation, the orphanage became frustrated and Princess has been ousted.
Peter is not in a position to have his daughter at the orphanage with him and his salary restricts his ability to provide her school needs. He has located a respectable boarding school for his daughter and her aunt, Peter’s sister, will welcome her on holidays. What is needed to facilitate all of this is 1,135,000 TZS or CAD 782.00.
Equally critical is the ongoing sponsorship of our precious Bibi (Grandmother) Anna. We met Anna four(ish) years ago when she and her struggle were
introduced to us in an outreach capacity. Her only daughter had died, leaving three grandchildren for Anna. A new stepmother disliked her “extended” family and was particularly cruel to them which was accepted by their father. Anna, in desperation, took guardianship of all three of her daughter’s children, Samuel, Andrea and Jennifer, but struggled terribly trying to find money for their care, food and school fees. When I met her she was washing other people’s clothes in the river for 1,000 TZS daily, or about, 70 cents.
We moved Bibi and the children into a two room house (40,000 TZS monthly plus electricity), help with school fees and provide weekly food for the entire family. Emergency medical care is always covered if needed and we outfit the children and Bibi with their domestic needs. The needs of this family cost 2,140.00 annually or almost $1,500.00. Can you help?
It goes without saying that we thank you for your continued love and support. We can do nothing to care for these precious children without you, so . . . thank you. For your love, for your prayers, for your support, for your money. Thank you. Be well!