May I start by wishing all a very happy and loved filled Easter holiday. I unfortunately fell ill for Easter (I am fine now), but our Tumaini family enjoyed mass/church/mosque services, celebrated pamoja (together) and enjoyed the blessings and gifts of many of you whom love and support us here. Ahsante sana for that . . .
Most of us are healthy. The rains are intense when they come and they come frequently now (thank God for we have suffered drought in recent years) and the air is left with a cool dampness which breeds that dreaded mafua (flu). Many of the children struggle with it now, but otherwise we are well and the months of April, August and December are holidays for primary schools and so all of our primary students are home with the exception of Haradali students who will join us this weekend. Children are attending tuition (extra study) to help us continue to improve academically. They attend class in the mornings (lunch is at 1:00 p.m.) and after that we PLAY!! Weather permitting we are out playing football or some other activity and if the rain comes it is CRAFT TIME!! We may squeeze a movie in also or dancing . . .
Now, I would be remiss if I didn’t precede this with the disclaimer that I WILL FORGET SOMEONE! Forgive me in advance please, for it is not my intention to leave anyone unappreciated and I am not always here to witness your wonderful contributions . . . but we are VERY grateful for our Tumaini volunteers.
Having been pre-forgiven for missing a deserving supporter (please) may I share just a bit about a few of the wonderful people who have given their time, their efforts and their hearts to us here at Tumaini . . . we’ve had some extraordinary people enter our gates . . . Michael McCann and Mama Rebecca and Dada Rachel from Australia who not only have returned as a family, bringing their hearts and skills (Michael organized and was part of our second Kilimanjaro summit, raising money for Tumaini with every step), and has established Tumaini Australia, soon to be a registered charity, in support of all the good we try to do here for our children . . . oh, AND they sponsor Gerehad!
To Cindy Pichette who spent hundreds of hours building our website, thank you! To Dave and Jackie Egles of BC who are owed an enormous debt of thanks for not only sponsoring Kelvin and Connie and taking Kelvin to Canada for an extended and very educational visit (Connie will go when she is older), but to Dave and his team who also installed our solar generated power system so that when the lights go out, WE are not in the dark! We immediately became very spoiled and hardly notice when electricity is lost! (It is usually a volunteer from across the street who comes to tell us THEY are in the dark . . . we look up and realize that ours is the only house in sight with the lights on!) Dave and friends Mike, Dave, and Paul were our third team to climb Kilimanjaro in support of Tumaini!
To Bibi Pat who brought not only her teaching but medical and psychiatric expertise and visited and loved us here TWICE, thank you so much! Mariel Goodman from Michigan, USA and her father Tom, an ER nurse, for joining us and updating our medical supply cupboard and tending to all sorts of nasties, and mother Diane and sister Robyn, and extended and church families who have embraced us at Tumaini, helping to support Christina and Mary and have returned (and will this summer) return again to Tumaini as a family . . . karibuni tena.
And what about our precious Mathilde who has come and taught our children, bringing her entire family for a second visit, and Jenna who spent a month teaching Latifa the first half of the alphabet and became her long time sponsor, and Sean (who organized and successfully summited on our FIRST Tumaini Kilimanjaro climb, and Milou and Minke (who joined us here with the hope of making a real difference and HAS, for the lives of two little girls, Mulki and Busainer and their HIV+ Bibi).
And recently we’ve been gifted with Mr. Jake Burnett, Headmaster of Glenlyon Norfolk School in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada (Kelvin attended this school while visiting), supporting teachers and Class 6 students, and, additionally, Mr. Burnett’s Victoria “Oddfellows”, who donated the money needed for us to outfit a Chemistry classroom with laboratory materials (they were trying to learn about chemistry and microscopes, etc. from a photograph), chemicals, models and TEXTBOOKS! We are supporting a wonderful volunteer teacher who is providing exam writing students with much needed knowledge (the students had not seen a science teacher this year, until her arrival) and part of the money donated is helping her with travel costs! We are so very grateful for your kindness Mssrs. Oddfellows of Victoria and to Mr. Burnett and GNS for the enormous future plans we are building together for a mutual and continuous relationship with our two schools!!
How do we say thank you to a young lady (Kris) who, knowing she was coming to Africa (but not knowing exactly where), simply wanted to raise money she suspected would go to a good cause somewhere and, bolstered with support from her mother and father and friends ended up MAKING and selling HUNDREDS of SPRING ROLLS, gifting us with 10,000,000 shillings towards our new school! Ahsante Sana! To my Wing Girl, Korosho, for simply picking up whatever needed picking, wiping what needed wiping, packing, unpacking, organizing, reorganizing, loving, hugging, bandaging, well, you get the picture . . . and still having the time for some girl talk . . . ahsante sana dada . . .
To Valentin and Jenny, psychiatric nurses in Belgium, who joined us here for two months and sewed, (Rebecca you will LOVE Jenny), painted, repaired or constructed just about everything around here, thank you! And a special thank you from Baba Steve when he had to race back to North America to care for Amanda and Valentin stepped in and took over HIS projects! Thank you!! Additionally, thank you for sharing your own special gifts (as “mature” volunteers) for which I am truly grateful. To Kathy Hoey a retired teacher from Ontario, Canada for bringing her remarkable teaching skills to our first graders for January and February . . . and to Mama Lizbeth for your love, your never ending clothing repairs, your chocolate!! Thank you so very much!
To Tine (in yellow) and Faye from Belgium, who have reached out to a group of families left homeless after they were attacked as “squatters” and their homes smashed and broken in an attempt to force them off land they have lived on for some forty years . . . for providing to these families, for loving OUR children here at Tumaini, for embracing us and bringing her (Tine’s) grandparents to meet us, for outfitting our children with new school shoes and finally, for establishing Tumaini Belgium, again in support of all the good work we are trying to do here, how do we say thank you?
To Mama Pam who is spearheading our U.S. delegation . . . for bringing us our second container (and most of its contents), for introducing and talking up and out about Tumaini in her small, Ohio town, and discovering many, MANY people interested and caring enough to support her in what will be Tumaini USA . . . thank you so very, very much little sister.
And finally, although I can hardly call her a volunteer as she has become a fixture and lifeline here at Tumaini, dedicating her life and work (both here and in Canada) to us . . . to the children’s beloved sister Katy who tearfully said goodbye to us today and headed back to Canada to work and to save so that she might rejoin us here in the fall . . . To our dear sister who works tirelessly and without glamour, doing all the things no one else wants to . . . the scheduling, the chore lists, homework, day after day after day. . . organizing the volunteers, dishes, and toilets and wiping noses and kissing knees and doctor’s appointments . . . and the MOUNTAINS of receipting Oddo and I provide her monthly . . . the love, the firm but gentle and consistent guidance she brings each child here. Her heart . . .
To all of our volunteers, shared here or not, we thank you. Each of you has brought an extraordinary something to us at Tumaini and we thank God and we thank YOU for that . . . to each of you from each of us (and to Katy our prayer is that you will rest and not miss us too much for you will return shortly . . . very shortly) Ahsante Sana kwa upendo wenu!! (Thank you very much for your love!!)