Monthly Archives: December 2017

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

Home for Christmas

Yesterday our four Australian volunteers,

Sam, Alex, Tara and Jess along with Mariya our MAP coordinator and Safina and Ema went to Joshua’s Maasai village to take Joshua home for Christmas.

We loved seeing the pictures they took of how excited the family was to see Joshua. As the car pulled up Joshua ran across the dirt path as fast as his little legs would go to his grandfather and grandmother while others from the village ran to see him as well. You can see this sweet homecoming on the video link below. It is worth a look.

They all grabbed him and hugged him while grandmother cried and cried. The four Aussies said it was one of the best things they got to do while at Neema. Thanks for the great pictures guys!

I always love seeing the bright colors of the Maasai clothes. In a brown and dusty land they are like brightly colored birds flitting through the trees. You can also see behind the women the way this family has decorated their home in the mud plaster outside.

Below it looks like Bibi has made a new purple outfit. They love reds, blues and purples. Beautiful!!

Joshua has been in preschool at Neema since August learning Swahili and English. He is living with Safina at her home. He has done really well at school and learning his colors. When he first came to us in August he could not speak Swahili or English, only Maasai. He spent the first couple of weeks wandering around confused and not being able to communicate with anyone. Now he runs to you, gives great hugs and talks all the time in a mixture of Swahili and Maasai with a little English thrown in. Below is Joshua in front of the family kitchen and wearing one of the new outfits from America.

His father who never got to go to school wanted his boy to have an education but there were no schools available for him in his area. Many Maasai children do not go to school. As you drive out to the villages you can see young boys, sometimes as young as five or six, watching their cattle. That is their life.

Joshua’s mom had died at his birth and Jacobo, his father, had brought him to Neema when he was just a few days old. He saved his life by doing that. Without clean water, medical care, electricity or formula, nine out of ten of these babies will die. Below are eight of our toddlers who are Maasai and their mothers died in childbirth. Back left: Maria, Saruni, Nengai, Sharon. Front left: Joeli, Osiligi, Jackson and Zawadi.

Joshua lived with us for 2 years before his dad remarried and he was able to return home.

We brought him to town in August a year later and moved him in with Safina, our volunteeer cook who speaks perfect English. Joshua comes to work with her and attends our preschool. He is a little behind our other children in class but he will catch up. We are so happy to be able to do this for this beautiful family.

Thank you for helping us.

Dorris and Michael

The Happy Place

Neema Village Image

Michael and Mr. Chandu inspect the new Chicken House above.

We were excited to return to Neema Village last week and find the gardens are growing, the cow is giving milk, the Mothering Center is being painted, the chicken coop is finished and the babies are getting big!

Neema Village Image

Bekah, Maria, the Volunteers and the babies on the way to church.

Yesterday we dressed seven of the babies up for church in cute dresses that we had brought in one of our nine suitcases this trip. A couple from Belton, Texas had donated 20 handmade dresses. They were so cute!

Neema Village Image

Nengai, Maria, Patricia, Destiny, Kristina, Sharon and Zawadi

With the recent rains everything is green and beautiful and we are eating fresh vegetables from the gardens.

Neema Village Image

Mo, one of our little abandoned fellows that we have had since his birth, is pretty excited about picking his first carrot which he got to wash and eat on the spot.

That is kale, above, growing next to the Blessing House. The nannies saute it with onions, grated carrots and butter from our cow. Mmmm delicious.

The baby home pictured above was built with cement blocks and a tin roof for $24 a sq foot, but still incredibly beautiful.

We continue to hear from surprised visitors that we are not your normal African orphanage. Yes, we are definitely not a “dirt floor orphanage.” The children are well dressed, fat and happy, the home is clean and there is laughter everywhere.

It is The Happy Place. Just ask our toddlers in the cute video link below.

Neema Village video on YouTube

Have a happy day!
Michael and Dorris