Little Neema Grace

Last week we were called to pick up a little preemie baby from the hospital. The first time we saw Neema Grace she weighed 1.3 kilos. She was two months old.

Neema Village

Her mom had died and her father was in Kenya. An uncle came to the hospital but could not keep the tiny baby so Neema Village was called. Babies who lose their moms in Africa have only a one in ten chance of surviving to age five. It did not look good for this little one.

Neema Village

We began to take formula and preemie diapers up to the hospital and stay just to hold the baby. The nurses are overworked and do not have time to hold one special baby. Once we got her home she was held almost 24/7. Emily Broadbent giving her bottle in the photo below.

Neema Village

Bekah just weighing Neema Grace below.

Neema Village

Above is Neema Grace with Bekah at 1.5 Kilos (about 3.3 lbs). We have all fallen in love with this little one and there is no shortage of volunteers ready to sit and hold her. We have put her in the isolation room on the warming table and have hired round the clock special care for her. They are waking her up every 2 hours to feed her. Now see what she looks like ten days later!! No bones and a full tummy!!

Neema Village

I can’t even begin to tell you how good this makes us feel.

She will need all the prayers you can give so don’t stop praying!

Live Love,
Michael and Dorris

Fixing Broken Wings

Can I tell you again how much I love this MAP (Mothers Against Poverty) program at Neema Village in Tanzania, East Africa! It is a beautiful thing to see hope come alive in the faces of these women. Eveline, pictured below with the big smile, is loving her new business selling used clothes and vegetables at her shop set up by Mariya Halapi, our MAP director.

Neema Village

Eveline’s husband left her owing months of back rent and two children with little food in the house. She was severely depressed when Mariya, Ema and I first went to visit her. We gave her money for food and talked with her about what she could do to make a business to support herself and the children. She could barely look up while we talked with her.

Neema Village

When Mariya sent these new pictures I couldn’t believe the difference in the two women pictured above! I asked Mariya, “Are you sure this is the same woman!” Mariya has worked out a business plan for Eveline and Neema has supplied some of the used clothes she is selling. She walked around the neighborhood at first selling her clothes door to door but the MAP program has since rented a shop for her and she is doing great. She will have about six months to get her business going and then she will start paying forward her investment for other women in the MAP program.

Neema Village

Mariya is teaching the women in the program how to keep financial records so they can keep track of their sales. She taught a business seminar this week in the Koala Place Mothering Center and most of the women in the MAP program came in for the class. Below is Eveline and Mariya in front of Eveline’s new shop.

Neema Village

The young moms waiting to get their businesses started love to visit with Mariya when she has time to walk down to their homes. For now they are in the Neema outreach program. You can see how these young moms love and respect Mariya in the picture below. She said one day, “I feel like a mom to them.”

Neema Village

Just to leave you with a smile below is a picture of two of Neema’s cutest babies, Peace Joy and Angel baby. We came to Africa to help these little ones who had lost their moms and soon realized that we had to help these mothers of Africa. Bless each one of you who helped us get this incredible program going.

Neema Village

“Without Hope life is a broken winged bird.” I don’t know who said that quote but I know I like it. I think we are fixing broken wings here at Neema Village so these women can fly! You can be a part of MAP by going to and hitting that donate button!!

Jeremiah 29:11 “I know the plans I have for you, plans to give you hope and a future, says the Lord.”

Live Love,
Michael and Dorris

Bye Bye, Sweet Boy

“It’s a Wonderful Life” you have in front of you little one. Abandoned at birth, tiny 5.11 oz Ezekiel came to Neema Village on March 4, 2017.

Neema Village

Today he leaves for home with his new mom and dad. He will never be abandoned again. The family’s home is in Zanzibar and they have his room ready and his new clothes and his toys and they bought him a bathing suit. Zanzibar is the beach resort of Tanzania, a beautiful old city with lots of Arabian history. I’ve told his new mom we may just have to come check on him and she said, “Come On!”

Neema Village

His mom did great. She spent five days at Neema, feeding him his bottles, changing his diapers and putting him to bed. The last few nights they moved down to the volunteer house and we put a baby bed in the room for him so the little family spent a couple of days caring for him by themselves.

Neema Village

Ezekiel was one of our cutest babies, bald but with a smile that would stretch across Montana, our visitors loved to take pictures of him. If you have a cute picture of Ezekiel, send it on to me and I will get it to mom and dad.

Neema Village

So this afternoon as mom cried tears of joy we said goodbye to our little man. His nannies came in to hug him while mom and dad were packing bottles, nappies and toys for the airplane trip home.

Neema Village

We’ve loved and cared for him since he was born, mom and dad, you can take over from here. It’s what Neema does best.

May God’s Richest Blessings be with you little one.

Bibi and Babu (Grandmother and Grandfather)

Sophia’s Mapocho Pocho

Neema Village photo

Meet Sophia and her little love, Martin. When Martin was born, the father after seeing that the baby had some disabilities, left the family to fend for themselves. Big Mistake Man! This beautiful young woman is so industrious that she will soon be making all the money she needs to support herself and baby Martin.

Neema Village photo

Above is Mariya Halapi, our MAP director, in her office at the new Koala Place Mothering Center. After Sophia’s husband left she began making breakfast mandazis (like a donut without the hole) to sell to people passing by. She would get up at 3am to make her mandazis and would be sold out by 10am.

But Sophia knew she needed more income so she talked with Mariya who designed a business plan for her where she now sells breakfast, and a lunch of chapati and beans and dinner of rice and meat.

Neema Village photo
Neema Village photo

Above are pictures of how the shop looked when we first rented it for her. It rents for $25 USD per month. Now below see what it looks like after the MAP makeover!

Neema Village photo
Neema Village photo

Volunteers Jackie and Ian Barter from England and their daughter Sarah are in front of the newly painted shop in the picture above. Below Sophia is cooking outside with the two helpers she has been able to hire.

Neema Village photo

She cooks outside and has her customers sit inside to eat. We will extend the tin roof to make an outside shaded area where she can cook and wash dishes and maybe set up more chairs and tables for customers.

Neema Village photo

There is a small medical clinic across the road so Sophia, on her own, decided to walk across and tell the employees about her business. Good business savvy!

Since Safina, our volunteer cook is off on Saturdays the Neema volunteers walked down the hill to Sophia’s shop for breakfast. Nadine, Kathy and Jackie are pictured below.

Neema Village photo

Sophia served us chapati and deliciously spiced Chi tea. Mapocho Pocho means lots of good things to eat.

We think she is going to do really well, I have stopped by twice to buy her mandazis and both times she was already sold out!

God is able to do far more than we ask or think!

So Dream Big, He can handle it!


What’s Happening

Just to get you caught up on “What’s Happening” at Neema Village we had a busy start to the new year 2018. With twenty eight volunteers for the month of January it’s shaping up to be a great year. Just a few of the volunteers for this month are pictured below.

We have had five adoptions in the last few months, Destiny, Jade, Bethany, Jack and Brim with one more, Ezekiel, pending.

We are always so happy for these new little families.

Kristina, Mohammed and Aneth all three were able to return to their homes. We work through Social Welfare for all these placements and neither Neema Village nor Social Welfare receive money from adoptions, just happy hearts.

Baraka, our shop manager, has been helping Mariya with the MAP projects. He is helping Mama Pretty choose her chickens for her egg business. This is what Hope looks like!

I think we have now made four Pape Chicken Coops with Baraka overseeing the projects.

The latest one is for Mama Pretty who came to us a few months ago, depressed after one of her little twin babies had died. The babies were named Pretty and Precious, but little baby Pretty did not make it. We are so happy to see Mama Pretty smiling again.

Larry, the little calf wasn’t put up in his shed last night so got out and drank all the milk from both our milking cows, we got up to no milk from our cows this morning!! But Ramah said the little calf slept all day with a full tummy.

The gardens are looking great, getting lots of eggplant which the cooks put in almost everything they make in the kitchen. I have also been frying some at the volunteer house. Safina learned to make eggplant parmesan which was delicious. We couldn’t find parmesan cheese here so just used the mozarella and it was perfect. If you have a good recipe for eggplant let me know. I take the kids to the garden almost every evening and we pick and eat something from the garden. The cucumbers are coming along, too. Pickles would be nice, if you have a good recipe please send it on.

Michael leaves tomorrow for 3 weeks at home to get caught up on some business! He is not looking forward to that.

As a dear friend said, he is the Heart of Neema and is greatly missed when he is gone.

All the babies finally got over the flu like bug that raced through Neema. Mama Frankie had come in from the Maasai village and spent 4 days with us. Her little twins had high fevers and were so sick. It spread to nearly all the babies, volunteers and staff and of course myself. I still have a bit of a cough but I’m better this morning. That is about it for “What’s Happening” at Neema Village. I hope all that is happening at your house is good!


I can’t do this!

I am up early this morning having one of my “I can’t do this” moments. We are driving to Moshi to put Malikia in Blind school today. We have to do this, I know that.

It doesn’t make it easier. Will anyone there know how precious this child is. It is going to be so hard for her, even though she is very smart and learns quickly, it is a whole new place for her to learn how to get around in, how many steps to the bathroom, to the table, where is class, the playground, etc. I cannot imagine how hard it will be without Joycie or Angel to lead her around. If I don’t return tonight you will know where I am!

We have had this special little girl since she was just a few days old when her Maasai grandmother walked she and her twin Julius in from the village. Her daughter had died leaving the little twins without mother or father and so she walked them in to a big orphanage outside the town. They don’t take babies so they brought them to us late at night. She didn’t tell us one of the babies was blind.

But we all fell in love with this spunky little baby and her brother Julius. She has given us so much joy with her songs and smiles.

But she is a big five year old now and ready for school. I’m just not sure I am ready.

If you’ve never seen the video of Malikia dancing in the rain you will love this. It was the first time she had felt rain.

Today will be another first for her, please say a prayer today for this special little girl in Africa.

“May you always see the Goodness of the Lord”


2nd Annual Kilimanjaro Charity Climb

Neema Village Announces
2nd Annual Kilimanjaro Charity Climb
Climb Dates: July 5-12, 2018

Neema Village Image

Details of the climb are still being worked out, but if you are interested in joining us as we climb the tallest mountain in Africa, 19, 341 feet, you need to begin planning now. It is a fantastic experience and challenge.

Factoring in travel and a day or two before the climb and/or after the climb to visit Neema Village and/or take a great safari, climbers will need to block off the first two weeks of July.

This Charity Climb will benefit Neema Village. Climbers from the 2017 Kili Climb were able to give Neema Village about $40,000 by soliciting donations!

Costs for the climb are $2170 for climb fees (food and lodging included), about $2000 for airline ticket, and your incidental expenses which vary depending on the climber’s tastes.

Trevan Hiersche from Billings, Montana, was scheduled to be our climb coordinator, but because of health concerns for his father, he has had to cancel.  Our new climb leader is Dr. David Vineyard from Nacogdoches, Texas.  David climbed Kili last year, so he is very experienced and can answer all of your questions.  Michael Fortson will help with planning and coordination.  If you are interested in signing up or receiving more information, please contact Michael by email at:

If you have any interest at all in joining this year’s climb, now is the time to act.  Don’t delay!

Please pass this information on to others who you think might be interested in climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, East Africa.


Volunteers Change Lives for Women

We just finished the first two women’s seminars in the beautiful new Koala Place Mothering Center in Arusha, Tanzania. Wow! Were lives changed this week at Neema Village! Not only the students but the volunteers lives were changed by the impact of their efforts. The gratitude of the students was evident in spirited songs, tears and letters and even one letter from a grateful husband for the new confidence of his young wife.

Neema Village Image

Debbie Chai, from Billings, MT taught a fun conversational English class for local Tanzanian women. Most days she had about 15 women in her classes. Volunteers Brenna and Blayne helped in the class.

Neema Village Image

It got a bit rambunctious in the class at times with Chocolate M & M Bingo and learning the body parts with the Twister game. But I think they learned some good English phrases that might come in handy someday and they formed some good friendships. Our daughter, Kim with two of the young mothers in our outreach program are pictured below.

Neema Village Image

Below are three of our little mommas in our outreach program with their babies on their backs.

Neema Village Image

Below is Krista with another one of our mothers. Mama Pretty is in the outreach program as well as the MAP program. Mama Pretty had two babies, one named Pretty and the other named Precious and baby Pretty did not survive. Mothers are called by their oldest child’s name in Tanzania. I am Mama Kim here. We are loving seeing Mama Pretty smile these days. The MAP program is giving these women so much hope.

Neema Village Image

Krista Davis, above in the picture, from Billings, taught the sewing class with some help from Aldonna Blaine. It was fun to walk into the room and hear all 7 treadle sewing machines pedaling along.

I wish you could have seen Tumaini, a young Maasai woman learning to sew. She is the second wife of Joshua’s dad.

Neema Village Image

She had just finished the yellow skirt and I love the look of accomplishment on her face. The Maasai people are so very poor, it is such a joy to be able to give them something that will really help them. Tumaini wrote us a letter after the class thanking God for all that Neema had done for her and her village. Yes, it made me cry.

Neema Village Image

Maria, above in the blue, is a tall Maasai lady and one of our widows in the Neema MAP program. She is a leader in a group of widows whom Maria, our MAP director, is trying to help. We are excited that Maasai Maria will be able to teach the other widows how to sew. Elesifa, the mother of our triplet girls is also pictured above. In the photo below she is pointing to her triplet girls as babies when we kept them at Neema for 2 years.

Neema Village Image

Zainabu, another young widow with her small baby, also took the sewing class. It is hard enough to learn to sew with a treadle sewing machine much less with a baby strapped to your back – or front if the baby is still nursing! We are so proud of this young woman and I think she was quite proud of herself as well. She had just finished making the skirt she is wearing.

Neema Village Image

As you can tell we are so excited about the MAP program, Mothers Against Poverty, and we would love for you to be a part of that program. You can come volunteer to teach something, – anything – that will help these lion hearted women of Africa make money, or you can give so we can buy chicken coops and sewing machines and vegetable stands, and used clothing businesses and computers, etc.

But please remember that if you want your donation to be tax deductible you cannot specify that it is for a specific individual, only to the MAP program. The IRS is quite picky about that.

Below are some of the women who finished sewing their skirts in Krista’s sewing class. Bless you Debbie and Krista and your helpers! You were awesome.

Neema Village Image

The first women’s seminars in the new building began each day with prayer and worship. You will enjoy hearing the women sing in the video below. It is an incredible thing that we get to be involved in a program like this. Come volunteer and join us!! Go to

Love and Blessings, Dorris and Michael

Happy Times in 2017

It is fun to look back and see what God has done at Neema Village in 2017! Adoptions and return homes are some of the best of times for us. We love each one of these babies and are always happy when they find a loving family. My count is 19 babies have been adopted or returned home this past year!! That is more than one a month! Thank you to those of you who sponsored these little ones while they lived at Neema. May God Richly Bless you in 2018.

From Riziki to the left,

and Russell, Pascal, Dorothy, Angel #2, Tumaini #1, Careen, Asha Bella, Nuriath, Mohamed, Bethany, Brim, Jade, Jack, Aneth, Kane, Joan, Faith, Kristina

Thank You!

Michael and Dorris

Transforming Lives One at a Time

We love keeping the adorable abandoned, orphaned and at-risk babies we have at Neema Village but I must tell you, this MAP program (Mothers Against Poverty) is the most exciting thing we have done in a long time!

Our first two seminars, an English class and a sewing class, in the new Koala Place Mothering Center pictured above, are scheduled to begin on Tuesday. Pictured below is the big conference room in the Mothering Center.

Two Montana women are coming to teach the English and sewing classes beginning Tuesday. Below is the sewing room set up for class.

We are busy cleaning and furnishing the house with everything we will need, stove, fridge, chairs, tables, office furniture, printer, coffee and tea pots, plates, cups, utensils, and much more. We are praying it will be ready Tuesday morning but there are still plenty of boxes to be unpacked.

Look at the neat chairs we bought which have “Neema Ya Mungu or Grace of God” on the back of the chairs. Neema means Grace. Love this! Each woman who attends a seminar will be reclining upon the Grace of God! Awesome!

Mariya Halapi is doing a great job interviewing women for the MAP program and inviting them to attend the seminars. Below Mariya is visiting with a new MAP mom, Evaline and her two children, in her home.

We try to make sure the women really are in need and if possible get a reference from their church.  It is hard since basically every woman in Africa is in need! The average income in Tanzania is a hundred dollars a month so yes they are all in need. But we are also trying to work with women that we think will actually work a business as well.

Visiting in their homes gives us a good idea of what they need and what they might can do.

Evaline’s husband left her some months ago. She lives in a one room mud wall hut with a rusty tin roof. She was behind in the rent and was close to being evicted when Neema was called to help. Maria, Fridah, Emanuel and I went to the house to check on the family.

They had very little food so the first thing we did was give her money for food and pay the back rent. She was renting the small room with no water or electricity for about $7 dollars a month. Even though it is a mud hut, it was clean and the yard had been swept. I was touched by how warm and cozy it felt. I was also touched by the look of sadness in her eyes.

After we told her we would help with the family’s immediate needs we began talking with her about how she could make a living and support her two children. We came up with the idea of selling used clothes door to door. Most used clothes are sold in little thrown together wood stands on the roadside. She cannot afford that, plus she has two children to take care of, so she decided she could walk around her neighborhood and try to sell clothes. A door to door business – like Avon – has some to Africa! We gave her ten or so items of clothing and bought a bag for her to carry the clothes. I wasn’t sure it would work. Oh me of little faith!

(Water ditch by Evaline’s home.)

After just a few days Evaline was back at Neema having sold all the clothes we gave her! We were so proud of her and she was quite proud of herself as well! She had her notebook Mariya had given her to keep track of her sales and it was filled out with all her transactions. She had seemed so sad and depressed at first and now here she was, excited and back for more clothes to sell! These lion-hearted women of Africa continue to amaze me! I could not wait to hang this beautifully strong picture of the Mother and Child Icon symbolizing the strength and heart of these African women on the wall in the new Mothering Center.

We will try to buy Evaline a “bundle” of clothes at the big market in Moshi to help her get started in her business. We estimate the bundles cost about 150,000 shillings or about $75 dollars. We will continue to pay her rent for 6 months and buy food for the family until she can start realizing a profit and can take over buying her own bundle. Rent and food for 6 months will be $222. and the bundle of used clothing is $75. So Evaline’s used clothing business and monthly support will cost about $297.00

Evaline was like a new person when she came back for more clothes. Hope can go a long way toward transforming a life!

Below meet another new MAP mom.

Josephine, pictured above in the middle, is a 36 year old widow with 2 children. She has a job working at the big flower export plant in Checkerini, a small town just down the road from Neema. But the doctor says she must quit her job because of her damaged lungs due most likely to the chemicals used at the plant. We were impressed that Josephine was still struggling to work even though she was sick with lung disease.

Josephine thinks she can do a chicken/egg business at her home. Below is the Pape Coop design with a really cool sliding door to get to the eggs in the nests.

We will build Josephine a coop which is portable and will hold about 40 chickens. The chicken business is costing us around $450 USD to build the coop, buy the chickens and feeders and enough feed for three months.

A Chicken business for Josephine – $450

A Used clothing business for Evaline – $297

These are two worthwhile women’s businesses if you would like to help I think you will be blessed. Since it is the end of the year you may be looking for some good tax deductions. Neema is always tax deductible.

Remember the IRS tells us we cannot have a specific name of a person on the donation if you want it to be tax deductible. Please just put “MAP program” on the donation if you need it for tax purposes. You can always email me later with more information on your donation. I will be glad to get you in contact with a MAP mom so you can have the personal touch.  It would be a nice way to start out the new year by transforming a life with new hope.

Have a Happy New Year!

Michael and Dorris

Just In Time for Christmas

Four of our abandoned babies have new moms just in time for Christmas! What better gift could we give them at this time of giving. Adoptions at Neema are some of the best things we do! We love them. We have had 32 of them!! It has always been our policy that no baby belongs in an orphanage.

In the last few weeks we have had two babies leave Neema with their new families and two more will leave in the next few days. That is pretty exciting and what an awesome Christmas present for them.

Little Brim above was abandoned outside a market place in Arusha. When he was brought to Neema the nannies got to name him. We are never sure exactly how old our abandoned babies are but we thought Brim was about 7 weeks old. At 9 months now he has a wonderful new mom and dad from Dares Salaam. His new mom came and spent a few days with us while Brim got to know her. We like that. It was sweet to watch the bonding that took place and the love this couple now have for their new son.

They asked that we not use their picture. Brim never had a sponsor while he lived at Neema.

Sweet baby Bethany, one of our happiest babies with the biggest smiles was adopted by a local couple who have lived here in Arusha for years. She had been abandoned by her mother shortly after her birth in the hospital. Bethany’s new mom was our first women’s program director at Neema many years ago. She later started her own NGO and Matt and Kelly are now running that program for her. Little Bethany will have an exciting life with her new family in Arusha.

Two more babies to be adopted in the next few days.

Baby Jack Pape will be going to his new home in the next few days. He was abandoned in May at about one year old. His new mom is staying with us at Neema for a few days to get the baby used to her. She is bathing, changing, feeding him and getting him to sleep. We like that.

Sweet Little Jade, was abandoned outside a mosque and had set on the ground for a long time before people began to realize that no one was coming for her. She was maybe a year old and very tiny and undernourished. She is still such a little thing but is running all over the place now. She will be going to her new home in Dar in the next few days.

There was a Social Welfare worker who lived in Arusha a couple of years ago and was transferred to Dares Salaam. He sends all his prospective parents to Neema to get their babies because he says our babies are the fatest and healthiest. He is right they are!

Bless you for helping us care for these four little ones until the new moms God had planned for them could get here!

Dorris and Michael