We’ve arrived . . . safe and sound! Racing out of town and just beating the snow and -15 c temperatures and after a two hour delay in Amsterdam, again because of the weather (they were unable to tow the plane to the gate because the snow and slush was making things slippery – I guess one doesn’t want a plane sliding past the gate and into the airport itself, hmmmm?) we arrived about 1.5 hours late. No problems at all clearing customs! We were greeted by Grace and Oddo, Peter, Raymond, Evalin, our homegrown volunteer Katy, and Yusuph. 11:30 p.m. in Kilimanjaro . . . stepping off the plane and onto the tarmac, into a 72 degree balmy evening. It is about a 40 minute drive home from the airport and I stopped to pick us up a case of water and arrived somewhere around midnight.
A few of the children were asleep but most, bleary eyed with exhaustion had insisted on waiting up to greet us. They had a song of greeting, welcoming us (Mama Cindy, Baba Kal and myself) and Cindy finally got the chance to touch the children she has loved for over a year . . . it was beautiful. For myself, hugs all around, tickles and giggles and cuddles and then off to bed. Neema had prepared sambosa . . . a favorite and we enjoyed them and then we retired. Unfortunately I awoke after about two hours of sleep and began unpacking. . . my thanks, first to everyone who has so very generously contributed to our need to pack 19 bags, and second, to my daughter Amanda, who packed most of them. We will enjoy a beautiful Christmas this year.
The children look amazing and are so very happy! They grow stronger and bigger. They speak more English and we are working on a special gift for all of you (thank you so much Katy for starting this project) but it is a surprise and so you’ll just have to wait . . . Liadi has lost his baby-ness since I left in September. He is now a little boy. Little Mary continues to improve. She is still so very tiny but every day gets stronger and we just found out she has passed her national exam and will be going on to secondary school. We couldn’t be happier! All of the children are home now (except for Mary and Reward and some of our secondary school students who will join us soon) and already we are planning great adventures! We want to take our family and the orphans of Mana OVC swimming over the Christmas break and we’d like to take Mana OVC on their first safari (our children went during my last visit if you remember).
School registrations and report cards are coming and as Mama, I couldn’t be happier for the children! (As an aside, it is 5:23 a.m. I’ve been awake since 2:30, talked to home on Skype – set it up and call me if you’re so inclined – gave up trying to sleep and began writing.) Once again the roosters are crowing in the background, an occasional dog barks, our own chickens which are virtually right outside my door do their thing and Lawrence, our security guard just put the fire on the make chai (tea) for the children before their tuition begins at eight. He’s a coffee drinker, so I made each of us a cup and our days begin! Cindy and I had a meeting last night and Liadi fell asleep in my arms – a bit clingy since I arrived – perfectly okay with me – and is in my bed – just woke up with a bit of a cough, gave him a sip of water and he’s back to sleep – for those of you who know me well – I feel like such a Mom – it really doesn’t get any better than this does it?
We have some administrative problems we need to correct here at Tumaini House and we need to make some decisions on moving to Majengo Village and making it our permanent home. There is much work to do so I’m off. Once again, thank you . . . for loving these little ones who need us so desperately. Have a great day! P.S. the photo is of the wall above my desk which Raquel and the children made as a welcome gift . . . some of the little hands say that they are thankful for Mama Dee . . . hmmmmmmmm!