Things have been busy . . . we took Harriri to hospital yesterday to have his stitches removed. A very grouchy matron/nurse “greeted” us, and told us a) we needed Harriri’s file number in order to have anything done and b) we needed the doctor’s authorization for her to remove the stitches. His receipt with file number was at home, (no one had instructed me on needing it again) and the doctor was on rounds. We wandered around until we located him and he asked about a video (thank you Tim) I had been watching on my computer while in the hospital of which he had requested a copy . . . we had his copy! Now, I must say that, as a practice, I refuse to participate in bribery for better service here which runs rampant and we usually simply wait our turn like everyone else, BUT, it was particularly wonderful to receive such speedy service from Doctor Julius who, escorted us to the dressing room and removed Harriri’s stitches himself (the stitches juu (up) were okay but the ones chini (down) hurt him terribly and he cried – pole (sorry) little man) . . . we received glares from the grouchy one . . . delivered the doctor’s zawadi (gift) and were on our way! No file number, no subiri (wait)!!
Some of you are asking about Mary. She, along with our five other HIV+ children and eight Mana OVC children who are positive, Amina, (Glory’s and Angela’s mother) Sada (Oma’s sponsored woman struggling with TB), Oddo and a driver all went to a village called Lolionda to pray and try an herbal cure to their sicknesses. I understand it has been a troublesome safari with some bad food causing vomiting and diarrhea. I can only say for certain that Mary, and all our travelers will be happy to get home. They had anticipated a two day trip . . . it has turned into seven . . .
I have shared with you that Mary and Reward were/are home. Thank you so very much to Oma and to Christina, Domi and families for providing financial support to these oh so very special young people just beginning university. First term grades for Mary were straight Bs which she is not satisfied with and Reward earned two As with the balance Bs. Mary needed to have her eyes tested (she struggles with terrible headaches – as do many people here, with a sensitivity to light) and required new glasses and will head to Dar (a nine hour bus ride) later today or tomorrow a.m. after picking up her new specs! Reward will leave at the end of the week to begin classes April 4th. While home they are helping with Mana OVC tuition and with homework here for our children!
And speaking of family Minja (Mary, Reward and Nelson are older siblings to Kelvin), I must share (with his permission) a wonderful story with you. . . We have had some struggles with Kelvin making the right choice to follow the lead of say, Francis, who studies hard and practices discipline, at home and at school, which he will need in order to succeed. . . . there have been times, (two instances in recent months) where Kelvin has run into a problem and then shirked responsibility for his part in it, became angry and blamed others without taking responsibility himself. We had an episode at school which came home where Oddo and brother Reward (by phone) and I spoke to him for almost two hours about opportunities given and capitalized upon, or, sadly, thrown away, as has happened with some of our older boys who have attempted to influence Kelvin and other children, and, as a result of THEIR choices, are now at boarding school. We spoke about choices and how Kelvin has the choice to build a rich, full life, with help from Tumaini and loving sponsor support such as you Laci, Asante. In any event, after a second episode where Kelvin, having been disciplined by Mama Grace and Katy (removal of bike privileges for the day) for his decision to leap onto a moving vehicle (safety issues and bad examples for smaller children) Kelvin raged at both of them, exclaiming that he didn’t have to listen to them. The day ended with Raymond and I talking to him in his room, again for almost two hours about choices and about how he was making some bad ones. The older boys had convinced him that boarding school was wonderful and that they loved it there . . . I asked Kelvin why, then, were they begging us to let them come home? Raymond straightened out Kelvin on the reality of boarding school in Africa . . . the food, the accommodation, the lack of entertainment, the strictness of rules . . . Kelvin’s eyes were opened.
Well, two days ago the children were riding the bicycles and brothers Vitalis and Paskaly got into it over one not sharing with another. I give the children one or two chances to work things out themselves now and if they are unable to, then the bicycle is put away and NO one rides. We are insisting they learn to SHARE!! Vitalis and Paskaly couldn’t work things out and I told them to put the bike away . . . Vitalis was walking back to the house when he saw Kelvin approaching on another bike . . . in his anger he blocked the walkway for Kelvin. Kelvin told him to move and Vita said no. Kelvin said to move or he’d hit him with the bike . . . Vita said, “hit me” and Kelvin did . . . at precisely the moment Mama Grace looked up to see impact . . . she called to Kelvin to put the bike away and I, sensing more to the story, asked them both into my office.
I asked both of the boys to explain what had happened and in the process confirmed that Vita had, in fact, wanted to anger Kelvin into “not having a bike” either. Typical kid stuff yes? I explained that, should someone tell me to drive into them after I had asked them to move, I too, might be tempted, that, Vita had exacerbated an already bad situation by instigating trouble with Kelvin but that Kelvin (nor I) would have made the right choice to then drive into him. The boys shook hands, asked each other for forgiveness (procedure here) and life went on . . . EXCEPT here is the beautiful part . . . the next morning, early, I heard a knock on my door. Opening it, I found Kelvin who asked to come in and speak to me . . . remember that, from my perspective everything had been settled the day before . . . not so for him. Kelvin told me, “Mama I must say sorry for makosa, jana (yesterday) but I don’t know (the word) in English.” I responded with, “Kelvin you said you were sorry already.”
“But Mama I must say sorry to you also . . . for makosa.” I checked my dictionary and Kelvin ran to Robinson for translation . . . do you know what makosa is? Mistake . . . Kelvin wanted to apologize to me for making a mistake . . . a bad choice yesterday. I was over the moon and I told him so. “Kelvin! This choice you make today is that of a man and not a child!” I told him how proud of him I was for his decision and that he is headed in the right direction. He felt a little proud of himself also. I could tell by the enormous smile on his face. Kelvin is so very often absolutely wonderful. He helps with dishes, is usually very kind to the smaller children, took the time to teach Liadi how to ride a bike . . . my fear, knowing the other older boys and the bad choices they have made and the consequences attached to those choices and the future hardship awaiting a poor, uneducated person in this country, is/was that should Kelvin choose THAT road, and not learn discipline and responsibility, he too could get lost in a world FULL of suffering. That thought, loving him as I do, for he is VERY lovable, absolutely terrified me . . . and yet, yesterday’s example illustrates that perhaps he is beginning to understand and I need not worry so much for him . . . Asante Mungu!!
And then there is Aisha . . . Aisha is a shining star around here . . . usually, and yet yesterday, being in a bossy mood and telling Jenny and Vitalis they needed to sweep the floor after breakfast, and they, not feeling a need to listen to bossy Aisha, left for church and choir practice . . . AND, left her behind. She was angry and ran to catch up to them. They had almost reached the church which is quite a walk, when she caught up and told them I had told them to go home. She told a lie. And, here’s how God works in Tumaini House . . . The road from our gate to the garden takes less than one minute by car to travel, and had Jenny and Vitalis not made the corner to our house within that minute I would have missed them, BUT . . . that is not how God works here . . . they DID turn the corner within that one minute window and I DID intercept them and ask them WHY they were home when they were supposed to be at church and they explained that Aisha had told them I had said for them to return . . . Oops! I told Jenny and Vitalis to get in the car, we dropped them enroute and instructed THEM to instruct AISHA that SHE was to come home immediately for lying . . . she will stay home for next week also so that she might ponder the value of lying . . .
And, finally, Raymond came home last night . . . he wrote his midterm exams and, although we are waiting for two yet, here is his performance . . . Geography – 85% and #1 in his class of 186 students; General Study – #1, also of a class of 186, Basic Applied Math – 68% and 7th of 38 students; and Economics – B and 5th of 48 students . . . he will let us know about History and Divinity but is headed to graduate from high school Division I which is as good as it gets in this country and will most likely earn a full scholarship to the university of his choice . . .
We are well . . . Haradali students will return home next week for a one month break . . . Mary and Reward head back to Dar . . . our safari goers should return today or tomorrow (I hope) and the rain falls . . . yes, we are well . . .