A Message from Mama . . .

Happy Birthdays to Anna (Big) July 21st and Rashid (only) July 5th!  We love you!!   

The children are for the most part, well.  Anna (Liadi’s sister and not little Anna) was fighting malaria AND typhoid but I understand is on the mend. Lohai has just had typhoid and Liadi has gone to the hospital with an interesting but unknown rash like “blisters” on his leg.  Please send them your prayers.  The rest of the brood are busy with studies.

Tumaini is struggling with water again . . . as in “none”, or “little” and bucket showers and severe water management is in practice . . . all of our little ones running around dirty . . . ONLY WASHING THE DIRTY BITS . . Our precious Mary happily reports that her CD4 count has climbed to 495!  You will remember she was VERY sick when she came to us and that it took two years to get her count over 200 from just 21, full blown AIDS . . . this most recent climb has occurred since I left in April.  Congratulations to our young lady!!

Some Hongeras (Congratulations)! Brother and sister Mery and Reward Minja are our FIRST Tumaini university graduates (Mery is home already and Reward will come home on Friday).  Mery has earned a degree in Archaeology and History and Reward, in Information Technologies.  Just a reminder that less than 4% of children complete even secondary school, so, for these two to have accomplished this milestone is most impressive . . . (I suspect further studies are in the works for them . . . I’ll keep you posted).

AND WHAT ABOUT RAYMOND???  Weeeelllllll!  You may remember the story of this young man who, in 7th grade, while being quizzed by his teacher, asked, “Why should I study?  There is no chance for me to go to secondary school?”  Raymond not only discovered hope in a future he could not yet see, but has completed his advanced level secondary education and is today just a “little bit” proud of his successful first year at university!!  I will confirm when I return to Tumaini at the end of this month but I heard hints at one “A” and the rest “Bs”.  Hongera sana motto wangu!!!  Congratulations and by the by Raymond you look more and more like your father!  Such a handsome man!!

And I would be remiss if I didn’t, from the bottom of my heart, thank each of you who have been fundamental in helping these children along the paths of their dreams.  When we look at photos of our Tumaini children today, it is easy to forget their pasts, but each of them came from suffering and I know, because I help do the bookkeeping, how important your continued support of us is.  I processed this month’s paypal contributions and I marvel, (and I am so very grateful to say it) at the longevity, the commitment of your support.  These children, Mary and Reward and Raymond and ALL of our Tumaini children will only continue realizing their dreams with our help so, “AHSANTE SANA”!  “THANK YOU VERY MUCH”!

Our second annual Charity Tournament of Hope is in the works and we look for your support again.  It will be held on September 29th at Springview Farms Golf Club and we are looking both for golfers (another fun filled day planned with a “pimp your ride” contest and a “Swahili styled swap meet”, not to mention two special guests from Tanzania who will be joining us!  See our flyer and get registered!!

And not that all of our volunteers aren’t special but we have a particularly “special” volunteer joining us this December.  His name is Christian and he will join us from Germany.  Chris (aged 22) lives from a wheelchair and it is one of his wishes to volunteer in Africa and, as the stars would align, he and mum Susan have found us and we couldn’t be happier.  You may remember that most handicapped people are isolated and/or stygmatized in Tanzania and our own Esther came to us both for protection and an opportunity to go to school, something she would not have enjoyed in her very tiny village.

Chris, and his very special wheelchair tires will allow our children, and our entire village, to learn that just because a person is white (caucasian/mzungu) does not mean that everything in their lives is PERFECT.  The perception is for many that non-Africans have no challenges and Chris’ energy and presence will help educate us on the realities of life throughout the world.  His and mum’s energy sound amazing and I am so very excited to welcome him to Tumaini!!

And in closing I have been negligent in my thank you to Clark Robinson and friends Jordan McInally and Eric Grice for a) trekking to Tumaini and b) trekking UP Mount Kilimanjaro in a fundraising effort for our benefit, not to mention bringing your teaching skills to local schools in our village AND being incredibly cool big brothers to the children!  Thank you Clark, Jordan and Eric whose efforts raised almost $3,000.00!

I will return to Tumaini and our children at the end of this month.  This has been a challenging time home for me as, with each trip, the children and I become closer and closer and being apart becomes harder and harder.  Despite this, I couldn’t imagine doing anything more fulfilling with my life and I am incredibly grateful to my friends and and family, especially my husband Steve who celebrate my appearances and withstand my absences with acceptance and understanding and to each of you, from the very bottom of my heart, thank you . . . for continuing to love us . . .