Thanksgiving 2015


There are so many things we are thankful for at Tumaini this past year.

First of all, that our children have remained safe and healthy and all are advancing in their development.  Our support staff too is doing well for the most part and provide quality care for our little ones.

Raymond graduated (as you know) and Mary Minja is getting married and her new little girl Nicole will be a bridesmaid!  Reward started a new business ( and many, MANY of our children are shining in their academic efforts.

But none of this would be possible without the loving support we receive from people such as yourselves . . . many of you have been sponsors since the beginning (Asante sana), many of you return to Tumaini again and again to help us help our little ones and as we say in Tanzania, “I have nothing to give you to express my gratitude . . . only God can thank you properly”.  I hope He showed you His grace this past Thanksgiving holiday.  (Thanksgiving is a national holiday we just celebrated here in Canada, giving thanks for the blessings we have enjoyed in the past year.)

We are working hard to complete a survey on our land (YES OUR OWN LAND) and with the assistance of Belgium, Holland, Australia and the U.S. we expect to begin building our forever home and school in the coming year!  This has been a six year dream for Oddo and I and Rotary, here in Simcoe (Canada) with hopefully additional Rotary support from other clubs) has committed to assisting in infrastructure development to help ensure our success!  One club in Holland has made a donation to Tumaini also, thank you!

Simcoe Rotary just donated $8,000.00 towards the expansion of our solar array at Tumaini (which will move with us to our new home) and Dave Egles of H.E.S. Home Energy in Ontario and B.C. and Hanwha Solar Canada have been working together to collect what is needed for shipment and installation at Tumaini House . . . how do we say thank you for solving our laundry NIGHTMARE, when we have electricity only half the time, and water only some of the time.  H.E.S., Hanwha Solar Canada, Dave Egles and team and of course Simcoe Rotary . . . thank you!

And . . . in order to first care for our children and then gather money to BUILD our new home we have been hard at work with our 4th Annual Scotiabank Tournament of Hope (thank you Chairwoman Bonnie Wardell) which was a resounding success netting us more than twenty thousand much needed dollars towards our ongoing operations.  We are so very grateful for sponsorship support for our little ones but that doesn’t cover all of our costs . . . AND, please remember that every Tumaini supporter is a volunteer.  Only our Tanzanian staff is remunerated!

To Scotiabank Simcoe for continuing as our Title Sponsor (even though they didn’t get to golf at the tournament due to a memorial service conflict due because of a local tragedy).  Thank you also to our sponsors, donors, golfers and volunteers AGAIN for making this year another resounding success!  Please visit our “Fav Photos” section on this site for tournament photos! November 12th in Tillsonburg will be our third Tumaini Fashion Show so mark the date and let me know if you need tickets!  Debbie’s Basic Black from Paris and Bennett’s Men’s and Ladies Clothier will outfit our models and we will have an update presentation including our own Kelvin who will have a few words to share with everyone attending.

I will miss the fashion show unfortunately, as I depart on November 9th for three months in Tanzania (sorry Steve) after a whirlwind campaign in Belgium and Holland (thank you so very much hosts Tine, Wil, Mia, Kris, Minke and European sponsor/donors) and our very own Holly Gleason from the U.S. will be accompanying me after completing HER big fundraiser towards the purchase of a new vehicle for Tumaini!  This is my year for Christmas with the children so sponsors please get me your VERY SMALL Christmas gifts/cards/letters before November 5th so that I might complete my packing.

All of us are building on strong futures for our children.  Oddo and I shared dreams of making a small difference in a few children’s lives in Tanzania and YOU help us to do that.  I have pledged, as has Oddo to always do our utmost to ensure your dollars are spent well.  We continue that pledge with Raymond’s help now that he has joined our administrative team! About Mother Mary who I told you about in a previous blog.  Here is her story:  Mother Mary immigrated to Canada initially in late 2014, (no passport, no visa required) but she came with an injury (she was broken) and had to return to China.  She returned to the U.S. (my sister’s house in Ohio – think free shipping) healthy and ready for a great adventure but FIRST her safari!

Pam (Tumaini U.S.A.) arranged for her safari to our farm in Canada.  We packed her carefully (amidst several dozen [donated thank you Holly] soft plastic water bottles and wrapped her in yoga mats [also donated thank you Amanda].  Tucked comfortably into a [yup, donated thank you Gerry] hockey bag she was on her way BUT was a tad large!  Mary met up with the check in crew at Toronto International Airport where KLM immediately directed her to “OVERSIZED” baggage.  Now you know that since most of our packing is done in hockey bags we are often “oversized” but Mother Mary presented as a new precedent.  We had to send her through x-ray and the inspector shared her concern over Mary even “fitting” through the already super-sized x-ray machine.  I expressed my own concerns because Oddo, and the church (where our Catholics attend) in Usa River have been waiting for her arrival!  Well!  Once I explained who was inside, the inspector began encouraging Lohai and Kelvin to PUSH!!!!  Mary would just have to SQUEEZE through x-ray!  “She’s beautiful”, exclaimed the inspector and rubber stamped Mary straight through to Tumaini . . . no hassle, no extra charges, hamna shida!!!

I shared this story with Oddo, who then shared it with the parish priest, who THEN shared it with a congregation of about 800 who were ECSTATIC to have a new and special prayer site (and Mother Mary) at their church.  Hundreds and hundreds of people came up to greet us, to kiss Mary (and some of us!) and to celebrate her arrival!  We (Oddo, Raymond, myself and our catholic children) stood for almost 45 minutes shaking hands and receiving hugs, all the while being “blessed” (think showered) by our priest with holy water!

A grotto was constructed with an altar, benches and a small garden for outdoor prayer and contemplation and Oddo is a local hero (he is used to wearing that hat).  This was a gift from Tumaini to one of our churches and the powers that be ensured her very safe (and inexpensive if I may add) arrival and installation in Usa River’s parish!  The church was built in the 1970’s and until her arrival had never welcomed Mary to live with them!

Happy birthday Francis!

There’s a story about a man named Cal . . . just 35 years old but trapped in the body of an 82-year-old . . . coming up!  Be well!!