Twas the day after the day after Christmas!

Where to begin with our celebrations this year? First of all thank you, sponsors and supporters of our precious children. This is truly I believe, the spirit God intended for all of us when he told us to care . . . they thoroughly enjoyed Christmas #2 at Tumaini House! Gifts, both given AND received by our children who decorated teeshirts as a gift for another child. Oddo and I each received one, signed by all of the children! Thank you Katy for that!!!

Some of the children made personal gifts for family and each child who visited (if they had someone to) on Christmas day took a kilo of sugar as a special gift! Our children are learning how to give, now that they find themselves in a position to do so, and although it is a new emotion for some of them, many of our little people are inherent givers, sharing from the moment they arrived at Tumaini House. The act of giving allows them a sense of fulfillment and it makes them happy! We see it every day in the cards they create for us and the letters and notes (In ENGLISH!!!) we receive!

Tumaini purchased a chicken and 1 kg. of rice for each family member of Mana OVC, our orphan outreach group of sixty and also for our AIDS support group Langa ya Iruva. No one in our Tumaini circle went hungry this Christmas . . . thank you so much for that!

And we were busy! Christmas for a family this size is a ton of work so sincere thanks go out to all of Santa’s helpers who wrapped, and wrapped and stuffed and stuffed (can you imagine 40 some odd stockings?) thank you Katy, Mathilde, Alison, Mama Lizbeth who not only brought gifts but prewrapped them and not only gifts but face paint and nail polish and some of the best chocolate I have ever tasted (Norwegian!) And to Robyn who would not be outdone and gifted us with Timtams, an Australian staple, Koala bears and chocolate bears for the children!!!

To Jon for whipping up a workshop for Lohai and heading up the painting of our classroom, and Matz for spackling cement, sous chefing for Baker Rachel and for loving our children! Matz joined us despite having been mugged just the week before he came and has travelled to Tanzania with a broken jaw and an immersion blender! It has been an interesting eating experience for him. We baked (gingerbread no less thank you Rachel) and Nana’s Christmas Fudge Pudding (Mama Rebecca, Michael and Rachel), and how do we thank all the McCann clan both here and at home in Australia for not simply embracing Tumaini but working tirelessly on an extremely successful fundraising drive spearheaded by Michael who left two days ago to summit Mount Kilimanjaro with us as his beneficiaries! Asante sana to all of Michael’s supporters, to Mama Michael for organizing and supporting and to everyone back home who has so generously contributed to the futures of our children!! Asante!!!

To David and Jackie and Jordan and Christopher Egles from Canada who took time from their holiday to visit Tumaini and organize the installation of our solar power system which will supplement our electricity which is, as so many people who have visited can attest to, intermittent at best, and for helping us fundraise to pay for it, how do we thank you? Dave and Jackie’s solar business, Home Energy Solutions of Victoria, British Columbia and Barrie, Ontario discovered Tumaini just over a month ago and by accident. We began talking about our need here for solar supplementation and, as it turns out, the family was coming to Tanzania on holiday over Christmas. Being the remarkable people they are, the Egles, (all of them including Jordan who has committed to fundraising to help pay for the project and additionally, Christopher whose classes helped collect and assemble more than 100 pencil cases stuffed with all kinds of goodies for school) decided they had to help us help our children and Dave had his staff race around assembling the components we needed in order to allow them to be included in our container which ships this week! Enormous Asantes to all of you for loving us!!!

Bibi Pat is enroute home after a month with us at Tumaini and she will be missed. She not only orchestrated our first Tumaini Christmas pagent, but made the costumes, doctored our sick (and we had some I’m afraid), and made some home visits, but additionally, lived amongst and loved every one of the children here at Tumaini! We are so grateful for you loving us and karibu tena Bibi, welcome again!!!

Thanks also must be extended to Robyn, Rachel and Rebecca for paying not only for a Tumaini swim and picnic day but also for our sixty Mana OVC children! The children LOVE swimming/paddling/playing and although I was home with a sick Glory who consumed either bad food or water while she was visiting her mother (who, by the way is doing remarkably well of late!) and spent the night and most of the next day vomiting up everything that passed her lips, the rest of Tumaini’s family had an absolutely WONDERFUL time and we must say THANK YOU!

We were not only blessed with one cow this Christmas but almost THREE! We’re rebuilding our stable and will receive “Hold’em” once her new home is ready. “Dorris” (see the photo) arrived just before Christmas. Thank you again to the Fortsen grandchildren and to our other anonymous benefactors. BOTH cows are pregnant and our little herd will grow again within the next couple of months. We wait for our veterinarian to instruct us on how best to deal with sick Mama Ranger, but Tumaini may have some serious beef on its’ hands in the near future if the doctor says so!!!!

Finally, on the home front . . . to everyone who has worked so hard to help us help our children, Asante! In the U.S. for shipping your many donations, for working so incredibly hard and for your oh so generous donation OF the container and the shipping, thank you, thank you! In Canada, for working so incredibly hard to get things together and on their way, and for staffing our little Panorama Park Cider and Donut booth, (thank you Cider Keg and The Apple Place) for expanding Tumaini awareness and raising much needed funds, thank you! As I close, my husband continues to text me, teasing that the porch is filling with much needed towels for Tumaini so thank you for that also!

Glory improves, the children are well and we’ve got almost all of our fungal issues under control. Evalin started antibiotics today for an ear infection and Raymond has come down with a sore throat and a thick chest. Gerhad, Jenny and Martha still have ugly coughs and Mama Michael patched up what was left of the end of Zawadi’s big toe after he stubbed it and tore the skin off the end, but for the most part we are well and more than sated from holiday treats! Dinner included chicken and goat, mashed potatoes (WITH GRAVY), a sweet banana dish which I love, and Oddo’s wife’s wonderful carrot vegetable dish! We all sat around our new dining table(s) together, as a family! It was glorious!

The weather is hot but it has rained nightly for the last three days. We wake to no water but it seems to return in the afternoons of late and the electricity has been “respectful” of the holiday season! Oddo and I go to town tomorrow to purchase back to school supplies and we wait for our container to arrive. How lucky are we to be loved by all of you?

Happy New Year Tumaini friends and family . . . we are so, SO very grateful to call you such!!! Be well!!