Monthly Archives: July 2015

Three Generations at Neema House Arusha

   Three Generations at Neema House Arusha 
Two years ago we got a phone call and the voice on the line said those three little words we all love to hear, “Can we help?”  Jack and Sylvia Pape after over 50 years in ministry and teaching were looking for a place to put their energy and hearts and the babies of Neema reached out and grabbed them.
They have been coming to Neema for two
years now to hold babies.  Sylvia designed the reading program for the babies, assigning each volunteer 2 to 4 babies to take to a special place or chair three times a week and read to just that one baby.  If you try to read to the whole group, they all want on your lap and they all want to hold the book!  The babies love this and will come and take their reader’s hand and point to a book.  Jack goes to the market with Safina, works on cars and helped Baraka, one of our guards, get his driver’s license.  He is pretty much like Michael, a general all around handy man willing to do most anything.
This trip they brought their son Arnis, his wife Connie and daughter Ann, pictured below with Sylvia.
 That makes three generations volunteering at Neema.  We could become the next best family reunion site!
When I told them I wanted to do a story on them, they protested, “Oh no one wants to read about us.”  They must have been wrong because here youare!
Connie left, holding baby Patricia.
Ann with abandonded baby Shabani Boy right.
“Like Father, Like Son”
Jack and Arnis both doing double duty with Neema’s abandoned and at risk babies.
When a retired couple doesn’t settle down comfortably on the couch but instead devotes hours, days, and nights in a home with 33 crying, spit upping, hungry babies I think that is big news!
Jack and Sylvia kept three little newborns that came to Neema at the same time last year upstairs in their room.  Sylvia says they never all ate or slept at the same time!
Right are the three babies who stayed with Jack and Sylvia.  Dorothy who was left in a gravel pit, Doris whose mom died in childbirth and Dawson who was abandoned in town.
Below are some of my favorite shots of Grandpa Jack and Grandma Sylvia.
                            Real men do socks!
  Jack helping  match up pairs of socks.
Always the gentleman, Jack above left, receiving a giftfrom baby Joshua’s Masai grandmother.
Sylvia above with Bryony who was abandoned in a latrine.
The picture to the right is my all time favorite picture of Sylvia with abandoned baby Dawson.
Jack is also a phenomenal photographer.  Jack and Sylvia don’t normally take time to go to the big game parks preferring to stay with the babies but Jack took some time this trip to show Arnis’s family some of the beautiful animals of Africa.
Biggest Elephant Jack ever saw, notice the size of the car!
If you are still with me after this long picturelog MY BOOK IS OUT!!!
It is a children’s book, the story of Neema’s Elliott who was abandoned at 1.65 pounds.  As our daughter Kim said, about the size of a large baked potato,  Elliott’s book is titled “The Baked Potato Boy.”  It tells the story of a little boy who wanted to be big and that God has big plans for everyone, even the very smallest baby.  All proceeds from the book go to Neema House Arusha. Really they do.
You can order it from the publishing company
Guardian Angel Publishing.
or you can order it from
I will leave you with this blessing from 11 Cor 9:8
God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
May God do some “abounding” in your life for your prayers, support and encouragement to us as we do this work.
Bless you,

A Sparrow Falls

June 24, 2015

A Sparrow Falls

I just finished fixing my breakfast and it made me cry.  I had to throw away a half a loaf of bread because I couldn’t eat

it before it spoiled.  As I let it drop into the trash I thought, we just lost a baby at Neema because she was literally starved to death.  That is what the Doctor said, she was starved.  Does that still happen in our world today?

I have been a little shaken this week by some comments made because we were trying to save the life of baby Noreen.

“Why don’t you save babies in America?” and “Is there really much purpose in saving a baby like this?”

Almost a year old, Noreen weighed about eight pounds, had

pneumonia and was HIV positive when she was brought to Neema House Arusha.  But those were not what killed her.  AIDs is manageable, you can live a fairly normal life now with it and she was being treated for pneumonia.  She died of starvation.  We tried.  We had nannies staying with her 24/7 around the clock, she was in ICU in the best hospital in Arusha and being fed around the clock but it was just too late when we got her.

Would we even be asking those kinds of questions if it were one of “our babies” here?   We would want the doctors to pull out all the stops, do whatever it takes, don’t mind the cost, do everything you can, try something else.  Wouldn’t we?  What makes some lives worth more than others?  I know, I know this is my soap box but really if a child were dying here every minute from drinking unsafe water wouldn’t we be up in arms?  God help us.

And with hundreds of government programs to help the poor in America and ninety five percent of all charitable giving staying in America do we have to hear that question once again!

Unfortunately children still starve and mothers still die at alarming rates in parts of this small planet we live on.  Most of you read my blog because we are friends, you’re not looking for sensationalism and I don’t write for sensationalism.  I just want you to see that Noreen was real, she laughed, she smiled, her mom had dreams for her and she cried more than she laughed.  And I want you to see that hunger is real.  I’m sorry but you need to see this.


Every life is precious, if God knows when a sparrow falls, His heart must have been broken when this little one fell.  We tend to want to blame God.  I think the answer to the question, why does God allow starving children in Africa, is more – He doesn’t, we do.

Is what we do at Neema House Arusha worth it?  Ask these little guys.



Neema’s  Ebenezer






Neema’s Maxine








Neema’s Frankie Boy





Neema’s Elesha

I could go on, about sixty eight more times.

Thank you to all of you who supported us through this trying time with your notes of encouragement.



One Shipping Container, Two Baby Girls and Five Aggies

June 13, 2015
“One Shipping Container, Two Baby Girls and Five Aggies”
What do they all have in common?  They are all at Neema House Arusha now!
The Shipping Container out of Global Samaritan in Abilene, landed in Mombasa over a month ago and has been sitting on the dock racking up a daily charge of $65 dollars a day.  It finally got to Arusha on Thursday followed by a big crane to off load the container onto the pad out at the land.  Unfortunately the crane could only lift 7 tons and our dear friends from Nacogdoches and Temple had loaded nearly 10 tons of goodies into that container.  It was loaded from front to back and top to bottom with building supplies, play ground equipment, power saws, mowers, an incubator, furniture, high chairs, diapers, car seats and even a trailer, to name just a few things.
Jack Pape who was out at the site with Matt writes that it was quite precarious as the crane made some scary attempts to get the container off the truck.  They ended up having to sit it down and unload items out onto the grass to get it light enough to pick up, swing it over and sit it down on the pad.
There is an old song that keeps popping into my head as I write this little blog, “You loaded 16 tons and what did you get, another day older and deeper in debt.”  I’m sure our guys who didn’t get home until after 10 that night felt another day older!  A big Thank You to all involved in another great adventure in Africa!  There is never a dull day at our home for abandoned, orphaned and at risk babies in Arusha, Tanzania.


Two new babies joined the Neema family this week.  Beautiful Patricia whose mother cannot keep her is getting a welcome kiss from Nanny Zawadi.




Noreen whose mom died of AIDs, is eleven months old and weighs just 8.4 pounds.  This precious baby is HIV positive, severely undernourished and is battling pneumonia tonight.  Please help us pray for complete healing for this baby girl.  Psalms 77:14 tells us that God is a God of miracles. We could use one for this little one.


Her medical bills are going to be high this month. It would be awesome for some cool doctor’s office to take on the sponsorship of medical bills for Neema.  There are some months when it is tough to pay the bills.


But I am so glad that Neema House never refuses to take a baby no matter in what condition the baby comes to us.
The long awaited Five Aggies for Christ: Hayley Strawn, Alex Miranda, Cole Dotson, Chandler  Young and Andy Hounsel, have arrived at Neema and from all reports and the happy looks on their faces are having a blast helping with the building, holding babies and doing some volunteering at the local  government hospital.  Whoo Hoo!  Go Aggies!


And finally the “David and Lyndy Edwards Home for Widows” is going up on the land.  It thrills my heart to be able, with God’s help and the generous help of the George and Dorothy Dawson family of Abilene, Texas, to build this home for women who have lost so much in a land where people have so little left to lose.
May the LORD our GOD look with favor upon you.
Dorris and Michael Fortson