Tumaini Thanks You!!

Six year old Kendall Mychajluk, at HER birthday party, asked, not for gifts but Crocs and socks to be donated to our children at Tumaini!!  Big, big thanks go to her, brother Carter, Mom and Dad and her party-goers who collected more than fifty pairs of shoes/boots and more than 150 pairs of sox!!!  Asante Sana Kendall and Happy Birthday from watoto Tumaini!!

John (and Diane) Cooper

Incredible thanks to John Cooper, of Strawberry Tyme Farms,  (and Mama Diane who visited us at Tumaini House and fell in love with our children), who celebrated his 50th birthday recently where, in lieu of gifts, asked for donations to Tumaini Children’s Foundation!  I was still in Tanzania awaiting our container arrival but heard that fun was had by all and more than $2,000.00 was raised to help our children!  Oh yes, and a goat!  Thank you so very much John and Diane for loving us!!

St. Stephen’s Elementary School, Caledonia, ON

Enormous thanks to Mrs. Wuergler and St. Stephen’s Elementary School in Caledonia where the young and caring students pictured above raised more than $750.00 to help us at Tumaini!  From our children to each of you . . . Asante Sana kwa upendo!!  Thank you very much for your love!


Thank you SO very much to cousin Dianne and her team, Mamas Becky, Diane, and Kathy who attended and spoke about their experiences at Tumaini House for a wonderful and love filled luncheon where support monies were raised to help our new Neema (dangerously close to full blown AIDS and horribly malnourished) and Rashid who is fighting AIDS now and also suffering from terrible malnourishment!!  Thank you to supporters who so generously donated door prizes and gifts!  Asante Sana!
 Asante Sana to Mama Lisa (sponsor of little Tony and Tumaini director) for organizing our first euchre night!  Tumaini dada Katy and friends joined in with friends above for a fun filled evening where much needed monies were raised to help with the ongoing care of Neema.  Thank you so much for caring and sharing and to CD989 and Gerry Hamill for visiting us and broadcasting live!

And just a bit about our little ones . . .

Our youngest little man Liadi (now four) was recently ill, vomiting. We are extremely pro-active with our youngsters because bacteria, malaria, dehydration is so devastating, so he and Christina were rushed to Dr. Lyimo’s office and treated.  No answers yet as to what it was but both are on the mend!


Our precious Mary . . . you may remember when we first brought this wonderful young lady to Tumaini that she was in failure with her ARVS.  (Mary is HIV+).  Her CD4 count (used to measure depth of infection) was just 21, and she was deathly ill.  Her meds were changed to a second (and final) tier.  Mary suffered quite an adjustment to her new medications, with continual stomach pain, bloating, nausea and fatigue, BUT, she has mended.
With the love and sponsorship of Aunt Mayre (who has supported Mary from the beginning) and Tom and Diane Goodman, Mary thrives today.  Her CD4 had climbed to 403 from that terrifying 21 and she is a happy young lady.  Mary just this week experienced a setback and Oddo rushed her to the Nkoranga Hospital (where Harriri had his surgery).  She was treated and released and is feeling better today.  Without you Aunt Mayre and you Tom and Diane, this little girl most likely would not be with us today . . . for your love and support . . . Asante Sana!


I shared with you earlier that Christina recently struggled with malaria.  I can understand why, as she is a “flailer” when she sleeps and often, a foot or an arm are hanging outside of her mosquito netwen I check on her.  Our girl was treated and recovered from that, only to fall ill more recently with vomiting from some unknown source.  Vomiting, in Christina’s case is particularly scary for us caregivers because she suffers from hydrocephalus where excess fluid produced in her brain builds up pressure, eventually killing the sufferer.  In Christina’s fortunate case she has a plastic tube running down the side of her skull and neck and into her abdomen where the fluids are drained and expelled with normal body waste.  The fearful part in her case is that vomiting is an indicator that her tube has malfunctioned and pressure is building in her skull.  Luckily, Dr. Lyimo is familiar with her case and explained that in this case, her tube was fine.

FYI, Christina, whom we initially thought was learning challenged due to her drooling and behavioural patterns, has become one of our brightest students.  She enjoys making others smile and is constantly writing “love” letters to those she cares about.   Today she is feeling wonderful, in class and possibly anticipating her upcoming month long break from school in August, although, with Christina, and her love of writing, she may not want a break!!


This little man came to us in January on a full time basis.  We had been outreaching to him and our newest “Neema”, two children from Majengo area, very near the Kilimanjaro Airport.  Rashid and Neema, who have lost their respective parents to AIDS, were living and suffering terribly with their grandmothers (Bibis).  We provided milk, eggs and vegetables to them and bus fare which enabled them to attend their monthly clinics.  Both suffer from HIV.
Rashid is initially a quiet and serious little man who opens up lovingly once he becomes comfortable with a person and although quite sick presently fighting AIDS, still finds time for a smile and a hug several times daily.  He couldn’t understand when I said goodbye and rushed away from the dinner table where I was doling out kisses before leaving to catch my flight.  I found him outside sitting on a half assembled play station we received in our container, sobbing quietly.  Rashid’s English is not strong yet (he’s only been with us since January) and my swahili is not great so it was difficult to explain that I had to leave but would return to him and all of the children as soon as I could.  He didn’t understand collapsed into my arms and wouldn’t let me go.  It was a tearful and wrenching goodbye for he, Harriri, who struggled with letting me leave and of course myself.  I cried all the way to the airport.

With the good food we provide at Tumaini, proper dosing and timing of his meds and some time, our little Rashid should be good as new soon!  It took us two years to bring Mary’s CD4 count from 21 to 403.  Let’s hope this little guy progresses more quickly and with the help of new sponsor Robyn (sister to past volunteer Mariel), I am certain he will!  Thank you Robyn!


New sponsors for Esther, Sten, Caroline, Camilla and Lotte Hummelshoj sent beautiful packages not only for her birthday but LEGO for the rest of the children, so they wouldn’t feel left out.  I have to share with sponsors that we’ve experienced challenges receiving packages.  These were “intercepted” once arriving in Tanzania and only released once we threatened further investigation/action.  It is frustrating for you, our sponsors to send gifts the children don’t receive, not to mention expensive.  Please be cautious if you’d like to send a parcel and let us know in advance so that we might follow it!

Our Container Finally Arrived!

After months of waiting, our second shipping container finally arrived at Tumaini!  I will include more photos in my next blog but this is a photo of the much anticipated container backing up to a “ramp” (think large pile of dirt), where we were able to offload our tractor.  It would have been tricky to drive it out the back door once we reached Tumaini and have it drop four feet from the floor of the container to the ground hmmmm?  What an experience being an (old, by Tanzanian standards) white woman driving through town with a beautifully updated, shiny tractor!  It was like a parade with our Tumaini truck flashing in front and my partner Oddo coming up the rear in his vehicle!  The traffic police didn’t even give us a hard time!  More on our container to come but Thank you, thank you, thank you to contributors large and small for purchasing and shipping, filling, filing, following, and then offloading once home at Tumaini!  We are a VERY grateful family!!

My Last Night before returning to Canada . . .

 Many of you ask about my “home” while at Tumaini, my days, my adjusting from there to here and back to there again . . . Above is my bed and netted within are Harriri, Rashid, Glory, Esther and Liadi who ALL “slept” if you can call it that, over on my last night.  I often have sleepovers with a child or two (they rotate), but this was crazy fun and helped ease the pain of separation for all of us.  Not much sleep, but togetherness and some silliness shared.
It is tremendously difficult to disengage from these children I love so much, from my Tumaini family, and return to my Canadian one . . . this last return was especially difficult for me.  Surprisingly so.  My heartfelt thanks go out to each of you for your support, encouragement and patience while I readjusted to fit back in here in Canada.  Special thanks to my family and personal friends for reaching out and providing a hug here and there and here again when I needed one.  This truly is one of the toughest jobs I could imagine and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else . . . thanks to each of you from the bottom of my heart for helping us to make this possible . . .