Ground Breaking at Neema!
After almost twenty one hours in the air we are home once again at Neema House Arusha in Tanzania. For those of you just joining our travel log, Neema is our home for abandoned, orphaned and at risk babies in Africa. Neema means Grace for this is surely all by the Grace of God! Welcome aboard.
This beautiful sight was the Swiss Alps outside the window of our big 747 winging its way to Africa and our home in Arusha. My first thought was “I thought the Alps were bigger!” I guess it all depends on your view point doesn’t it? Surely what must seem so huge and insurmountable to us from our view below must seem like mere sand piles to the Most High God above. I must remember that as we go into the next phase of building at Neema. There are no mountains too big for God.
No matter what time we arrive, the night shift nannies are always up, holding a crying baby, fixing bottles, washing diapers or cooking their own dinner after the babies are in bed. We have 32 full time, 24 hour a day, 7 days a week, Tanzanian employees. Actually Tanzanians are the only ones paid at Neema. The nannies work in three shifts. They work three day shifts then three night shifts and then are off for three days. We also feed about thirty adults every day at Neema so it is a busy place all the time. I love to tell folks it is loud, messy and wonderful at Neema – most of the time!
Here is our famous cook, Safina, feeding abandoned baby Phillip Wood. Phillip weighed just a few pounds when he was left at the hospital. He then spent two months getting big enough to come home to Neema. He is a smiley little boy who is learning to give kisses.
There are 34 babies currently in our care at Neema and we love each one of them. They have grabbed our hearts with their stories and we cry each time a new one comes to us. Some of them were abandoned on roadsides, some on porches, in latrines, the bus station, in a front yard and at the hospital. As a registered NGO, the police or hospitals call us when an abandoned baby has been found. One little baby was left in a house by himself long enough that his diaper was stuck to his bottom and had to be cut off. One little newborn we named Dorothy was left in a gravel pit. The worst was a newborn found in an open pit latrine who had to have maggots removed from his ear. All our babies have a tragic story or we would not have them. They have all lost the most important thing to a baby, their mother. You can read their stories on our website. www.neemahousearusha.org.
NOTE: If you just type in Neema House in your search engine you will see there are lots of churches, orphanages, schools, hospitals and even people named Neema. If you are looking for us make sure you type Neema House Arusha. We have even had some people donate on the wrong web site! Poli Sana if you didn’t get your tax deduction from us!
We left Neema in September last year and couldn’t wait to return and meet the five new babies who have arrived since we left. In all there have been 64 babies come through Neema House, some have been adopted and some have been able to return home to a family member. There are also twelve babies we provide for out in the villages around Arusha as well. Africa is the 16th poorest country in the world and there is lots of work to be done here.
Meet our new babies:
It is not our place to judge these mothers. Neema House Arusha is a place of Forgiveness and Hope, forgiveness for the moms and hope for the babies.
Yesterday was an exciting day for us at Neema House Arusha. It was “Ground Breaking Day” on the new land.
We took three of our bigger babies, Michael, Baraka and Gloria and they got to help dig the first hole.
For almost three years now we have cared for these babies in a large rented house in Arusha. Now we are praying by the end of August to be in our very own baby home on this beautiful land. If you can build, come on!
The children, along with Camille and Tabiltha Erdman, piled up twelve memory stones on the land yesterday just like Jacob did in Genesis and Joshua did at the crossing of the Jordan and we dedicated this new land to God. The stones are to help us remember that it was not us but God who made this happen.
As we step out into this new chapter in the life of Neema, it is a bit scary. I can only imagine how Joshua’s men felt as they stepped out into the flood waters of the Jordan praying the miracle would happen. We are stepping out before the miracle too, praying the rest of the money will come in as we begin in faith to build a new home to care for these incredibly precious and beautiful little “thrown away” babies at Neema House Arusha.
One last picture just to make your day. Below is Gloria all dressed up with her baby on her back and in a new dress made by Doris Rechinthin, a 101 year old supporter of Neema House from Temple, Texas.
Nineteen New Babies in 2014
In 2014 we had 19 new babies come to Neema House Arusha!
Additionally 7 babies were adopted into new homes and 5 were able to return home! You can read the stories of these abandoned, orphaned and at risk babies on the website www.neemahousearusha.com or www.tanzaniaorphanhelp.com, just click on “See Neema Babies.” We thank God every day that we get to be a part of this incredible work!
Neema House Arusha, a 501c3 registered nonprofit in the U.S. and Tanzania.