The dogs and roosters continue to serenade us through the night . . .

Mwaka Mpia kutoka Tumaini . . . Happy New Year from Mama under the Net . . . 2:18 a.m. Jan-3-13We’ve arrived! It was not the easiest of journeys this time (technical error preventing us checking in our seventeen hockey bags – 24 hr. delay in Amsterdam – and either food poisoning or a NASTY 24 hr. virus for three of us, Charlene, Lohai and myself after Kelvin woke at 5:00 a.m. on departure day with a raging fever), but we’re here and we cleared customs, bags and all, without event. We’ve struggled through a couple of shaky days but are up and at ‘em, finally.

The children are so BIG! Teeth missing when I left have grown in and new ones are missing, everyone, except Gerhad (whom we have discovered comes from an exceptionally SHORT family) have grown tons and only Liadi is sick with a flu which he may have caught from us/me on arrival. He is sleeping beside me . . .

There are so many people to thank for everything that has/is/will happen here that it is going to take me weeks to get through, but please know, I am terribly grateful for all that each of you has done to help us love our precious Tumaini children.

Glory and Rashid (both +) are struggling with some ugly rashes and MOMENTS after I assured our new volunteers that no one is currently suffering from ringworm (a nasty fungus which usually grows on the children’s heads and is terribly contagious) I discovered some on Gerhard’s head! Big mouth mama . . . Mwanhamisi has what looks like impetigo and Mary’s ears are bothering her but Dr. Lyimo was closed and so they will see him today. Antony is doing so well academically and medically, that we are sending him to a regular school with his Tumaini brothers and sisters.

There is a new seesaw and some of our walls have been muralled with beautiful children’s animations and Australian volunteers Emily and Isabel are working hard on yet another section . . . I’ll send pictures. The rains have begun but like everyone, we worry . . . they are short and will not sustain us if they are replacing the much needed long rains. They are early and so we hope are only a precursor for some good rains to come.

Things are chaotic . . . all of our primary students are home as well as some of our secondary . . . we have one week to pack trunks, check uniforms, complete medical updates and prepare those children who board for their return to school. (Ema, Lazaro, Eva, Margaret, Mwanhamisi, Angela, Vitalis and Paskali, brothers to Lohai, will be joined by Eliza and Martha head to Haradali. Harriri and Kelvin will go to Amani which performed outstandingly well again this year. Reports for all of our children will follow but Katy and Oddo had our first grade children attempt the monthly exams for 2nd grade from Amani and most of them shone! Our little ones are healthy AND incredibly SMART and Christina? Our Christina whom we initially believed learning challenged due to some behavioural issues? Well she is something truly special. Christina can rhyme off everyone’s birthdates . . . EVERYONE’S! She remembers EVERYTHING, and has a practice of tapping the back of her head when we give her some new information . . . sort of “locking it in”, and so we’re thinking of giving HER the task of remembering our incoming volunteers’ arrivals schedules . . . we are confident she won’t miss a beat! Seriously, although there are no testing options for her potential here, something wonderfully amazing is running at full speed inside that little head of hers . . .

I have not had a moment to sit with our mamas but they look well and Dada Margie will bring a little brother or sister to her son Bryson in the next few months! There have been some problems here in my absence, some serious issues of theft we need to address and I will report on them shortly after they are confirmed, but I hope I am not naïve in my deepest wish to correct these errors of bad choice and preclude their repetition.

On this journey we soberly carried the memory of Susan Wells, the Canadian missionary who was murdered shortly after her arrival here, in our hearts as we reflected upon her final hours . . . her last flight . . . her arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport, clearing customs, driving along the Moshi/Arusha road. Once again we send our condolences to her family and friends on their tragic loss. Little has been said here about her killing, excepting gossip which runs rampant . . . once again, we are so very sorry.

We have a full house this month! Emily and Isabel are here from “down under”, Alison from Canada/US has just returned to us after a Christmas trip home suffering from malaria, Mama Lisbeth from Norway returned to us for her second Tumaini Christmas and had the children prepare a beautiful welcome home door for me, Leneka from Denmark just arrived yesterday, Kathy from Canada arrived today, Mama Korosho from Canada came with Lohai, Kelvin and I and nursed me through the last hours of our flight before she went down with whatever we had (thank you) and of course Katy, our precious girl has been holding court, patiently waiting for recruits! To Georgie and Fay (sp?) and Tine, I don’t stop hearing about the fine work you did while you were with us . . . thank you so very much.

Oddo is well and his kitambi (belly) is looking healthy although he promises he is trying to reduce. His family suffers from diabetes which is an enormous medical issue here behind HIV and cholesterol. His family and especially baby Reuben are well. He tells me that Reuben cannot be left for he changes locations at a high rate of speed these days!

Electricity has been “erratic” today and we continue to struggle with water. These are ongoing issues at Tumaini.

Baba David Egles (HES Home Energy Solutions) Canada and friends will come and climb Kilimanjaro in two weeks and they still look for your support. Please visit their site at if you’d like to help them help us get on with building our school and we’ll have a couple of young university students climbing again in April if anyone would like to join in. Dave and friends will also be installing our much anticipated solar energy system here at Tumaini and we cannot thank them enough . . . and Mr. Jake Burnett, Kelvin’s principal at Glenlyon Norfolk School in Victoria BC, arrives for two weeks to visit us at Tumaini, tour some of the schools here, and investigate options on how we may establish a long term relationship, working together for the mutual benefit of children here and in Canada.

As you know Lohai returned to Canada this year and stayed with my family again and as winter approached and things got colder we would teasingly say to him, “Karibu Canada” “Welcome to Canada”. Well, he is home and as the deluges of rain fall or the heat builds with the sun he smiles and retaliates with, “Karibu Tanzania”, and Kelvin snagged Mama Korosho and ran her outside our gate to show her Tanzanian “snow”. . . matope – mud! We are well, we are working, we are home at Tumaini . . .