Giving Your Life to Make a Living
April 23, 2019
I was just walking into the office here at Neema Village this morning when I was told that the Village Counsel was begging for me to come with our tractor. There had been a cave in that had covered up some of the diggers of volcanic ash.
Now, let me tell you, we live in the shadow of Mt. Meru, the fifth tallest mountain in Africa, at almost 15,000 feet. Mt. Meru is a dormant volcano, but in eons past it was quite active, spewing volcanic ash over the whole country side. You can dig just five feet deep on our property before encountering the volcanic ash, which is called moram. It is valued for roadways and building projects. So, all around us, hundreds of men dig with shovels every day to make a living from the moram. The trucks hauling the moram make coming and going from Neema Village quite a challenge.
When I heard the news, I immediately called our shop manager, Baraka, and told him to fill the tractor with diesel, and that I would be coming to get it right away. I ran back upstairs to our apartment to change out of my sandals, which I normally wear, and put on some sturdy shoes, then I ran to the tractor barn and started “Roy” our little red tractor. I say little, but the tractor is actually a big 85 hp four wheel drive tractor with a front end loader. As quickly as possible, I drove to the site of the accident, accompanied by several of our workers. Approaching the site of the accident we saw hundreds of people walking to the same place, and as we got closer, there were also many motorcycles and vehicles. When we topped the hill and got our first view of the cave in, I was awestruck. It was huge, perhaps one hundred or one hundred-fifty feet wide. The people said that they thought there were two trucks buried, along with their digging crews. There were thousands of people there already, many using shovels to try and get to the buried men. Truthfully, in my 76 years of living, I have never seen anything like this. I was totally dumbstruck.
Our tractor was the first machine to get there, and we immediately started working to move big rocks and piles of moram. It was tough going on sloping ground, and one time, with a full bucket of moram, I felt the tractor start to tilt. It was a scary moment until I could lower the bucket and ease out. One of our workers, who is an experienced tractor driver, offered to take over, and I reluctantly allowed him to take my place. That, however, was a good decision. I thought that it would take days to remove all the rocks and moram. But soon, the cavalry arrived, as bigger front end loaders came streaming in, followed by giant backhoes. “Roy” the little red tractor was dwarfed by the bigger machines. Soon there were too many earth moving machines and it was so crowded that we backed away so that the bigger machines could do the work.
In the huge crowd that was there, were all the important officials of Arusha, including the Mayor, the Regional Commissioner, Members of Parliament, and the top Police official. They all shook my hand and thanked me for trying to help. I told them that I was from Neema Village, and we always want to help, and explained that we were also helping the babies of Tanzania.
By late afternoon, they had recovered one truck and three bodies, and they declared that was all. I hope they are right and that only three people lost their lives. As the rest of the cave-in is cleared away in coming days, we will find out. While we are thankful that it is only three, what sadness three families are going through today. We pray that God will give them comfort and peace.
In a country like Tanzania, where there is such poverty, men will do anything to make a living. Using a shovel to fill trucks with moram and earn less than $3 per day is all that some can do. As for the three who died today, they gave their lives to make a living. We pray that it will not happen again.
Neema Village Announces
3rd Annual Kilimanjaro Charity Climb
Climb Dates: July 4 – 11, 2019
Watch the Video! You too can do this!
It is not too late to sign up for one of the most challenging, exhilarating, and rewarding experiences of your life. Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa, 19, 341 feet (5895 meters.) All of our previous climbers will attest that it is one of the most exciting things they have every done! Our success rate for the Neema Village Charity climb is that 28 out of 29 climbers made it to the summit! That is almost 97% success! You can do it! Plus, you can help raise needed funds and awareness for Neema Village, a rescue center for orphaned, abandoned, and at-risk babies.
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 2018 Kili Climb were able to give Neema Village over $20,000 by soliciting donations!
Costs for the climb are $2350 for climb fees and three nights at Moivaro Lodge (food and lodging included, based on 10 climbers), about $2000 for airline ticket, plus your incidental expenses which vary depending on the climber’s tastes.
1 Monday Depart Home
2 Tuesday Arrive Tanzania
Overnight Moivaro Coffee Lodge
3 Wednesday Day at Neema Village
Overnight Moivaro Coffee Lodge
4 Thursday Travel Moshi
Day 1 Climb
5 Friday Day 2 Climb
6 Saturday Day 3 Climb
7 Sunday Day 4 Climb
8 Monday Day 5 Climb
9 Tuesday Day 6 Climb
10 Wednesday Day 7 Climb
11 Thursday Day 8 Descend to base
Overnight Moivaro Coffee Lodge
Option 1 Option 2* Option 3**
12 Friday Visit Neema Village Visit Neema Village Visit Neema Village
Depart Tanzania One day Safari* Two day Safari**
13 Saturday Arrive Home Visit Neema House Safari
14 Sunday Arrive Home Visit Neema Village
15 Monday Arrive Home
*For a one day safari to Tarangeri National Park, add about $225
**For a two day safari to Tarangeri and the Ngorongoro Crater, add about $550
***Longer stays can be arranged for either a Safari to the Serengeti, or more time to volunteer at Neema House.
If you are interested in signing up or receiving more information, please contact Michael Fortson by email at: email@example.com
If you are ready sign up, please open this document link, print, complete, and return the reservation form. Reservation Form
Please pass this information on to others who you think might be interested in climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, East Africa.
Home Sweet Home
“It’s my first lamb!” Mariya Halapi was quite touched yesterday when Mama Iddi gave her a little lamb. I think we were all touched by yesterday’s events when one of our MAP widows, Mama Iddi and her handicap granddaughter got to move into their new home. It was quite a day.
Mama Iddi has been keeping her 12 year old abandoned granddaughter in her home where part of the wall had fallen in and she had hung an old tarp over the hole. There were large cracks in the back of the house and so many holes in the roof that she walked in mud inside the house when it rained. It was unsafe to say the least.
We had been out to visit Mama Iddi with some friends in August and were so saddened by her living conditions that we decided Neema, through the generosity of friends and the MAP program, could help.
We had planned at first to shore up the house, patch the cracks, put on a new tin roof and paint the house. But when our builders got started they realized none of the house was worth saving. So they bulldozed it and started from ground up. We took Mama Iddi and her granddaughter out yesterday to see the completed house for the first time. I realize this may not look like much to you but to this widow living in extreme poverty it is a mansion.
While the builders were working on her house for a couple of months, we had moved Mama Iddi and her granddaughter to a room down the street from Neema. We had also started her in a chicken/egg business through Neema’s MAP program. So the first thing we had to do yesterday was move the chickens. That was fun, feathers flapping and all!
All the neighbors came out to help including this handsome young man. He said he remembered a bible class we had done at his house a few years ago. Emily Broadbent, look how he has grown!
After getting all the chickens together we loaded up the trailer and our car along with the squawking chickens, the chicken coop, volunteers and Mama Iddi with everything she owned in the world and drove to her new home. She had not seen it painted nor the inside of the house, so we were all pretty excited for her.
She looked around at the metal windows, the creamy yellow walls and the smooth cement floor and all she could say was Wow, Wow! I felt like we were on that TV show where they blindfold people and reveal their remodeled house and everyone cries!
After the Wows! were over, we prayed with her and asked God to bless the house and her family with peace and that no harm would come to her while she lived there. Then the builders and volunteers all gathered round and sang, “Mungu ni Pendo”, an old African song that means God is Love.
Click this link to see video of singing: https://youtu.be/MwBQ9bk19PU
We got the hugs yesterday from Mama Iddi but we know those hugs and blessings were really for those of you who made this new home possible for her. We love for our volunteers like Sophie Line (pictured below) and Linda Johnson, (she was helping with the chickens in one of the pictures above), to see the Goodness of God at work in Africa.
Thank you dear hearts for your loving care of widows and orphans. I think surely nothing is closer to God’s heart than these. We are so grateful that every day we get to be Administrators of His Abounding Grace.
Michael and Dorris www.neemavillage.org
For your enjoyment, below are three happy Neema babies, Isaac, Neema Grace and Sara.
October 15, 2018
With sixty one babies and big kids at Neema Village now, I Imagine it is a loud and messy place. It is also quite wonderful. Two new babies came to Neema a few days ago. Emily says they are very tiny and fragile. The top one is named Rachel and the little one pictured below doesn’t have a name yet. I’m sorry to show you the pictures but this is who they are and I want you to know them.