Home visits with visitor’s from home!

I had en email from my sister in law Marg yesterday announcing that her niece on Carm’s side was in Tanzania climbing Kilimanjaro and wanted to visit us . . . we connected yesterday when Laura’s (and new friend from Toronto, Patricia’s) driver Ally delivered them to Tumaini House.  We gave them the tour, they met some of the children and we sat down to talk about the goings on around here . . . I’ll ask Laura and Patricia to send me an email and share their thoughts with you directly but when I invited them to join me on my home visits today they both jumped at the chance as did volunteers Jenna and Lucy who doubled as our photographers . . .
Laura and Patricia’s driver delivered them on Tanzanian time, which is about an hour late and we headed out to the village.  Jenna took the time to share her observations today and so I’m going to pass her words along to you . . .

From Jenna – Today Mama Dee took Lucy and me on home visits along with Mama Grace. On my way there I did not know what to really expect but even my worst fears were as bad as how some of these people were living. All of the people that we visited today belong to a local group of people that are HIV positive. Mama D the wonderful person that she is helps these people when they want to open their own businesses. They have to draw up a business plan and then Mama D loans them the money and as they can they pay it back.

Right now all of these people are “day workers” which means they take what they can get and they don’t have work every day. On average these people will make 70 cents Canadian a day which is 1000-2000 t shillings (not sure if I spelled that right), but just a little tidbit a – pop costs 1000 t shillings The first house that we stopped at was the home of a husband and wife. They lived in a two room house (which is not even as big as a one car garage!) This house has no roof what so ever. They tarps filled with holes. No the problem with that Mama D explained to me is that the season with long rains is coming soon and these people will end up getting very sick. It rains so bad that you cannot see two feet in front of you! When I walked in I felt like I was in the size of my bathroom at home and this is how these people were living.

The Second house that we went to was a home for a mother and three kids. It also had two rooms but was no bigger than the first house. This woman has three daughters and one son! Even though the son is away at school (which her other family members pay for) the mother and 3 daughters all live in this one tiny house. Her husband died of AIDS in 2008, and ever since then they have been poverty stricken. The husband was the bread winner, and once he was gone there was nothing left. What she was looking for was help because they did have property and she wanted to farm Maize (which is like corn back home) the only problem is that she does not have the money to get started. The only good thing about her situation is that yes she is positive but none of the kids are.

 The Third house that we went to was another single mother who rents a small on room house which could not fit everyone into it. She also has kids. One is already married I believe but the other two are in school which she pays for herself which leaves her with nothing. She has to work 4 days just to be able to pay her rent. She has been the story and the person that hit me the most today. She did not even have any food or money for food when we asked her! It is just so heart breaking because she is a true mother! Putting her kids above all else even if it means she has to starve.  The last place that we went to I am going to be honest I could not stay at for more than a few minutes. It made me sick to my stomach to see someone living like that.

Mama D warned me but even then I was not expecting what I saw. We stopped at the home of a single man with full blown AIDS. He is 29 years old and cannot even get out of bed or walk without help and a wheelchair. He has no bug net which protects from the Malaria, he has no mattress and was just sleeping on the wooden bed frame. This caused him to have massive bed sores. When I went in there I think he was just so embarrassed because of course Lucy, Mama D and I all took pictures as well as two other visitors who were just there for the day. It breaks my heart just thinking about him because who knows what kind of care he is getting when Mama D is not on her way!  I will be posting the pictures from my home visits so keep an eye out for them within the next couple of days.  I love you all, Jenna.

A new roof for the first family is going to cost approximately $150.00 if anyone can contribute to it.  I asked that the mama wishing to farm put a business plan together so that we might assess the feasibility of making a small business loan . . . the third mama is going to need approximately $200.00 to start her maize business (which she will pay back) and I am afraid to say that our young man will not make it.  I think now our job is to make him as comfortable as possible.  He needs a mattress and a net and food and all of that will cost about $100.00.  Would someone be able to help us help this young man die in some measure of comfort?  These are one time contributions we need in order to help these families help themselves, in one case, to die.  I dislike sharing sad stories with you but this is part of the reality of poverty in Africa and I would be irresponsible if I didn’t give you the full picture . . .
On a happier note please let me tell you about Anna, who, by the way, still requires a sponsor.  Anna is a wiry, energetic and very beautiful little girl (and she is tiny for almost five) who is always smiling and very lovable.  She is a bit of a monkey insomuch as she loves to cuddle and then “hang” on her cuddling partner which can be a bit of a problem sometimes when one is unsuspecting.  She is fast and “darts” about in play and is always busy and “full on” with energy.  Truly, it is difficult to catch Anna without a smile and hers is one of those that include the eyes . . . her entire face lights up with her smile and her eyes shine!  She loves the bicycles, playing with a ball, (or anything else for that matter) and we struggle to keep her from being destructive with our flowers and plants . . . she is elastic, springing and bouncing and full of energy and we need to let her burn some of it off . . .
lly kind and will share with other children and because of her disposition and her tiny stature, is loved by everyone at Tumaini House.  She is an average student in our primary class here, but has had to work hard when she joined us in March because she spoke neither English, nor Swahili when she arrived from Songea.  Anna’s mother (accidentally) killed Anna’s younger sibling, was arrested and is still in prison leaving Anna and older sister Martha who is also a Tumaini child without a caregiver . . . Oddo’s family shared the story of their plight and we arranged to bring them here.  Anna has been a joy to us from the moment she arrived!  Care for her costs $144.00 monthly, but a partial sponsorship is welcome if the entire amount is not affordable . . . would you please consider helping us help Anna?
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