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” A Child of Hope is Born”

In trying to communicate with you and say things in more meaningful ways, I’m always on the lookout for a good word. But words are slippery, they can change on you. They can become something totally different over time, like “cool.” Perfectly good words, like “cherish”, get lost in the tons of verbage thrown at us every day. When was the last time you heard someone say “I cherish you.”   Words can dissolve into meaninglessness (is that a word?) by overuse like “awwwwesome”. They can lose their punch when we begin to “love” too many things like toothpaste or a pair of shoes. It’s hard to find a good word nowadays.

Even Swahili words change. Fifty years ago, when we lived in Africa when someone knocked on your door, you would yell, “Karibu” which meant “Come In.” Nowadays it is used almost exclusively to mean “You’re Welcome.” It drives me crazy at a restaurant in Arusha when a waitress brings you something and you say, “Asante, (Thank You)” and she replies, “Karibu (come in!).” I thought I was??

  But Hope, ahhh Hope, now hope is still a good word. Unless it has something tacked on like “less or lessness.” We had a sign above the door at the old Neema House that read “A Place of Forgiveness and Hope.” We still are, but I miss the sign. I loved telling folks we are a place of Hope for the babies we keep and Forgiveness for the moms who had lost all hope. When we lose Hope, “Life is a broken winged bird.” It will never fly. We need Hope. We can never have too much Hope.

All of which is a rather lengthy introduction to my topic, “A Child of Hope is born.” Now there is an awesome string of words!   Said breathless on a snow sparkled night, it can make your heart race. When you add the words “To Us” it can become downright wondrously stunning, awe inspiring and marvelously magnificent! To Us a Child of Hope is Born!

This child who came to live with us, to show us how to be kind and forgive each other, to give us power to live good and meaningful lives, how to not hate, steal or kill, how to hold close the thrown out and abused, how to love the unlovable, and then helps us work it out in his own power, since we have so little power of our own, now this is something that gives hope!

In my own vastly inadequate life, Christ working for and through me in his power is my only hope. I’m not good at “pulling myself up by my own bootstraps.” As we work for these babies at Neema I quite often have to tell God, “You know I am too little to be doing this, don’t you?” To keep a busy home going where 119 babies have found love and hope and provide a monthly pay check for 43 Tanzanian families who work at Neema, it is too big for me. And I am pretty sure Bekah, Matt and Kelly and Michael would all say the same thing.

Without Christ working within us we have no hope of making this work. And without major help I think we are all in the same boat, we are all too inadequate. We need what Paul talks about in Colossians 1: 27 “Christ in us, the hope of glory.”

And Thank God, he promised to stay right here with us, to the end, to be “Emmanuel” which actually means “God with us.” He came on that starry night so long ago to stay and live with us and walk these thorny paths with us so we’ll never have to walk alone. To us a child of hope is born!  Wow! It’s simply breathtaking isn’t it!

And so, I hope you have a Merry Christmas, I hope you get to see all your loved ones, I hope you have peace and joy in your life. I hope you have found meaning and purpose in your life. I hope you have what you need today. I hope you have LOVE and lots of it! And most of all I hope you have Christ living in you, giving you power and great hope.   I really do.

For lack of better words, Thank You for all you have done for these beautiful babies this year.

We cherish you!

“If Jesus is not born once in our hearts, he can be born a thousand times in Bethlehem and we will still be Hopeless.”  Corrie Ten Boon

Dorris and Michael

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“Herding Chickens”

Poor Nanny Elizabeth, trying to get the big babies all on the same path for their morning walk is a bit like herding chickens!  It’s never a dull moment at our home for abandoned, orphaned and at risk babies in Tanzania, East Africa. 

That is the Montana House in the background where the big kids who are unadoptable now live. You can see our banana trees in the back that Julius planted last year.  I think Jack Pape cleared this path for the children to walk.  Thanks Babu Jack!


Although we are planning on buying chickens to have our own eggs in January, our beautiful, happy, funny babies are nothing like chickens!  Below is Happiness at it’s best!    Here for your enjoyment are some of my favorite happy pictures of Neema babies.   Not your typical African orphanage is it?   

 

  

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The babies above are Emmanuel, Jess, Malikia, Joeli, Osiligi, Dorothy with Taylor Wittel volunteer and Maria. 

Could they be any cuter??

We are trying to pay for the paving for the walkways between the buildings at Neema Village this Christmas.  The babies have always loved their morning walks but the new property on the side of the hill had no place for them to walk.  To get these happy babies outside in their strollers on paved walk ways you can help us by buying a foot of path, six foot wide by 1 foot long at $30.  It will make a unique gift for someone you can’t think of what to buy for Christmas.  We will email you a gift certificate you can put in a card for your recipient.
Just go to order provigil australia and click on donate.  In the purpose line put “Pave the Way” and Wallah!  You are done Shopping!
Glad we could help! 

Love,

Michael and Dorris

 

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Announcing….

Pave The Way Campaign

Buy a Foot for Christmas

 

While things are really shaping up at Neema Village, with the near completion of five facilities, our outstanding need at this time is for paved pathways to join the buildings. During the rainy season, our dirt pathways turn to mud. To get back and forth between our structures, we want to have “paving stone” pathways installed. Since we also like to take the babies and children on daily walks, often using strollers, the paved paths are important for that. So, paving the paths is both practical, and attractive.  We already have some of the pathways done, thanks to one of our great volunteers, Rylee.

babies-going-for-a-walk

                                                                                Babies going for a walk

The paving stones are made on site at Neema Village, and laid by skilled craftsmen.  Our contractor says that the cost for a strip of paving stones which is one foot long by six feet wide is $30. The paths are two yards wide.  You can by a foot for $30 or a yard for $90. Buy as many feet or yards as you want!  Our goal is to pave 1000 feet of pathway. We will send you a gift certificate which can be given as a Christmas Gift this year. It will state that you have donated in your recipient’s honor to “Pave the Way” at Neema Village.

example-of-walkways

                                              An example of our paving stone walkways at Neema Village

Keep in mind that your gift will be a lasting one which will bless our babies, workers, volunteers and guests for many years to come. And some day, perhaps you will visit Neema, help with the babies, be inspired by the awesome beauty of Africa, and walk the pathway you helped pave!

It is easy to donate to this cause. Just go to: buy provigil modafinil online and follow the instructions. In the “Purpose” blank put “Pave the Way.” 

May your Christmas Season be blessed with peace and joy! 

Michael and Dorris Fortson, Founders

Neema House Arusha

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I love the Thanksgiving Holiday, don’t you! Crisp cool weather, fall colors in the trees and Holiday baking, mmm some of my favorite things!
I have just finished baking my traditional Italian Cream Cake, in honor of our daughter Bekah who lives in Africa. I’ll eat an extra piece for you, love! And to my three sisters – the cake had no soap in it! (They know the story of a Thanksgiving past when we had to put a whole beautifully perfect cake down the garbage disposal!)                                                    Quite often this year Michael and I have been hit with huge doses of thankfulness. People like you, who have encouraged us in this precious ministry of saving abandoned, orphaned and at risk babies in Africa, you make me all mushy in my heart with thankfulness!

I got a bit teary the other night when a friend texted to tell us about a little boy in her church who had saved a jar of coins for the babies in Africa.  That is Elaine pictured to the right.

And we just have to stop and thank God when we hear of those of you
who have sacrificed and taken on the big projects of building Neema Village; the widows home, the baby center, the new volunteer home, the school/church, the mothering center and the two homes for our unadoptable children. You take my breath away!
(That is Sylvia Pape with abandoned baby Tony Rector to the left.)  He is a chunk!
Below is how the property is shaping up.  Cool huh!
We could not do this work without you. When we hold these
babies, we know it is your arms too that hold them. It is your love that cares for them.  It is you who help us diaper and feed and cuddle them. It is beyond thrilling to see how God’s immeasurable Grace has touched the hearts of His people to help in this incredible work. We are thankful.  That is great helpers Kent and Joan Smith from Fort Worth, TX  below.

“In all circumstances,” Paul says, “give thanks,” but I know sometimes that is a bit hard.  If you are reading this and thinking, “I don’t have much to be thankful for this year.” Maybe you received a rejection letter this year, or a bad report from the doctor, or the bank called and there was just not enough or you’ve lost someone important in your life or things just did not pan out the way you wanted.
We have those times too. When we get a message that little twin girls age 10 months who weigh only 8 lbs had been starved and abandoned, our heart breaks and it is hard to be thankful.
When we hear a little newborn had been left by the river, it’s hard to be thankful.
But extended family of the twins has been found and the little river baby has a new family and will never be abandoned again and 24 of our abandoned babies have been adopted. All I can say is, “Thank God we were there for them!”
I am so thankful that we have been privileged to administer God’s grace to the 118 babies who have been helped by Neema Village over the past four years.
We thank God we were there for the little identical twins, Aneth and Alice above, abandoned by their mother and father and who came to Neema just a few weeks ago. The nannies keep fingernail polish on one of them to tell them apart!

I am thankful for over one hundred volunteers, like Olivia Deal left, who came to help us hold the babies this year!  Thank you also to Olivia for the great pictures for this blog.

I am thankful that Matt and Kelly       (pictured below) are living in Africa and taking care of the staff and volunteers and the babies and the building projects and the financial records and dealing with the sporadically helpful Tanzanian government etc, etc.
I’m eternally grateful that our daughter Bekah (pictured below) is there helping with the medical needs of the babies, taking them to the doctor, checking their daily meds and making their charts.
  And for our incredible staff of 43 Tanzanians, I just cannot say enough about these hard-working men and women.                              And I am grateful that a young family from Searcy, Arkansas, Jonathon and Whitney Striclyn (Pictured below with their new baby) have applied and been accepted by the board to come next year to handle the spiritual needs of Neema.
They are struggling to raise their support right now.
All our non-Tanzanian workers must raise their own support. It is hard, but they are full of faith in God’s people.  If you can help please contact them at striclyn@gmail.com
If you are having trouble giving thanks this year remember he didn’t say we have to feel thankful in every circumstances only to give thanks and it is not hypocritical to give thanks when you don’t feel thankful.  It is faith to give thanks when you feel nothing.

So whether you feel thankful or not this year, go ahead, give thanks, you’ll see God in all your circumstances when you do.

Thank You!

Dorris and Michael Fortson

 

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The Little Cousins

Quite often something just too precious happens at Neema and I have to share it with you. Almost four years ago a sleepy little newborn named Bahati came to Neema.
His mom had just died out in the Maasai village and with the high cost of formula and lack of clean water and electricity the father needed help keeping the baby. The baby had lots of soft black curls and I think he slept for two weeks before he decided to open his dark eyes to see his world. 

He was really a cute baby and a young Tanzanian woman who came at night to help us feed the babies their bottles and put them to bed fell in love with the baby named Bahati


At the same time a baby girl was left in a kind lady’s house who had offered a place to stay for a mother and baby who needed some help. The lady went out shopping one day and came home to find the mother gone, her valuables stolen from the house and the baby girl left in return. I always thought, now some people just do not know what is truly valuable!


The baby was cuddly, sweet and never cried- except at night when we thought for sure an alien baby who looked like her was dropped off in her place!  Debora had colic and had her days and nights mixed up at first so she cried every night until she was about three months old.  We loved her anyway and the colic did not last forever.  She became a happy, healthy little girl and she also caught the attention of a young woman who came to help with the babies at night after she got off work.

The two young women helpers were sisters and they came almost every evening after work and helped us put the babies to bed, but one sister always made sure she spent extra time with Debora and the other sister diapered, fed and rocked Bahati to sleep. One of the sisters began the procedures to adopt Debora and it was finally granted so one happy day Debora got to go home with her new mom. Matt and Kelly did the honors.
 

Meanwhile the other sister continued to come and care for Bahati and asked for permission to adopt him but since he has a father the adoption did not work out.
It is always best if we can get the babies back home by age two but time passed and Bahati began to grow older.  The procedure bogged down and the longer it took, the harder we knew it would be for Bahati to go back out to the Masaai village.

 
 

Even though the Maasai people are happy and love their children very much, it is a tough place to grow up and many children die before age 5 from lack of clean water and medical attention.
Many Maasai children never get to go to school.

That is Bahati on one of his visits out to his village with some of the village children.

This year Bahati started to school at Neema and was a very bright student, helpful for the teacher and could sing the Tanzanian National Anthem along with the other children.  Jenny, a volunteer, is helping Tumi the registered teacher at Neema in the picture.  They are doing colors and counting and Bahati is laughing and laying on the floor in the middle.   

 
The great news now is that Bahati’s Dad has agreed for the sister to foster Bahati. She will send him to a good school and he will learn so much  with her. He’ll still get to see his dad and his village and we think with a good education he will be able to help his village and his family.  
So with the two sisters raising Neema babies that makes them cousins!!  Now how cute is that!  Presenting Debora and Bahati, the little cousins.  
So once again, that is Neema House Arusha doing what it does best, making happy families! 
May God bless you with lots of family, friends and some cousins too!
Dorris and Michael, Founders of Neema House Arusha

 

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Neema Shares the Water

Every day the women and children from our village where we live in Africa walk down the hill to a small ditch that runs through the banana trees to haul water up the hill to their homes. From our porch at Neema we can watch them carrying the water on their heads up the hill as they walk along our fence line.


  It can’t be too hard, even small children can do this without spilling a precious drop!

Water really is life, especially when you live in a land with so little of it. Out in the Maasai villages there is no running water, not in the houses and not in the streams. It’s dry and dusty and overgrazed with cattle.

These little children are not able to take a bath every night in a tub full of water. Can you imagine how good that would feel for these two dusty little boys.  Women walk 3 to 5 miles a day to get water to drink and make their food. Our trips out to the villages to check on babies who have returned home or to take food to our outreach babies like the twins (below) can make you long for a tall cool glass of water.

Neema hit water at 95 feet when we drilled our well last year and, Thank You God, we have clear, running water at the baby home. Can you imagine our nannies hauling water on their heads from a stream to wash diapers and clothes for 46 plus  babies and to fix the endless supply of bottles our babies drink every day?  Shivers the mind doesn’t it!   Most water in our part of Africa is full of E. coli and chloroform bacteria and the water from our well seems to have more than its share of those two ornery organisms. So we are trying to treat the water with two systems, one to purify the water and one to take out the excess Fluoride which would make our babies have brown teeth.   For the tiny babies we still use bottled water that we order from the store in large 10 gallon jugs.  Since our well is located at the bottom of the hill in the banana grove and not on our fenced property, we had to buy a small plot of land in the middle of a neighbor’s banana field to drill the well.  Women wash clothes in the ditch close to our well site. You can just barely see the water in the ditch but its there and the woman in the picture to the right is getting her clothes amazingly clean.


Our new home is located inside the city limits of Arusha but there is no water delivery to homes in our area. There are a couple of spigots that stick up out of the ground at the bottom of the hill where the city turns on the water a few days a week.  The women gather around with their buckets and haul water on their heads to their homes.
The newspaper reported that some women from the poorer areas of Arusha, like our Moivaro area, objected to the wealthy parts of town getting water every day while their area does not get water every day. So the women organized a protest and walked through the downtown streets with empty water buckets on their heads.
           Neema comes to the rescue! We are now sharing our water from the well with the local villagers. We have placed two 2,000 liter tanks in the village and are so grateful to those of you who helped us get the well so that we could share the water with our neighbors. I know the village women are grateful too.

Two make that Three sets of twin girls!
Two sets of twin baby girls have come to Neema in the last few weeks.

Mercy and Mary and Alice and Anneth are living at Neema now.  But nine month old twin girls who weigh only 8 pounds each are still in the hospital and not in good enough condition to come home to Neema.  The two in the hospital were abandoned and their eight year old sister was trying to care for them.  The babies were almost starved.  They need your prayers and with all the new babies we certainly need your help to care for these six new babies.
Go to buy brand provigil online and click on “Sponsor a Baby.”  Sponsorships start at $30 a month but it takes $300 a month to keep a baby at Neema.  We appreciate any amount that you can help.
May God bless you with cool clear water today!
Love,
Dorris and Michael

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It Feels Like Home.

Just when it is beginning to feel like home in our new house on the mountain in Arusha, Tanzania, East Africa, it is time to return to our alternate home in the U.S.  But we will surely miss these big kids at Neema.
We made the long awaited move to our mountain home in the Moivaro area of Arusha town this month. We’ve been here two weeks now and it still takes my breath away. God is so Good to let two old people be doing this! That is our 41 Tanzanian staff and 44 babies on the new front steps. 
It is beginning to be hard to answer the question “Where do you live?”   We try to spend six months a year here at Neema Village with the babies and then six months at home telling folks about the babies. Our hearts are firmly planted in both places! 
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The long dreaded moving day went off without too many hitches, at least we didn’t have any babies left behind. We moved the baby home and the volunteer home in two days. That’s 2 kitchens, 9 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, 5 refrigerators, 50 baby beds, a couple hundred baby bottles, 16 adult beds, 6 couches,  2 stoves, food, formula, furniture, sterilizers, clothes, toys, curtains, pictures, and a partridge in a pear tree.  Oh and 46 precious little ones! That is surely a record in some book somewhere!!
Volunteers each took one of the small babies to keep calm on the move.   The babies did great, not sure about those of us who went back to the old house to remove the signs. We have had 106 babies cared for out of that rented house which we had filled to the brim with so much laughter and tears over the last four years. Remembering the babies who have come and gone over the years from that home was a bit rough, like Maxine, Elliott, the tiny triplet girls and all the others. We had 21 adoptions and 21 return homes from that house. But we were crowded and it was time to move.
Kelly, the drill Sargent, directing traffic, did a terrific job getting things in the right rooms.
As usual in a new house, things didn’t work at first, toilets leaked, hot water heaters kept overloading the power, kids who thought bides were for squirting your friend in the face, the playground not finished and the biggest problem, “Where to put the trash!” The bides in the children’s bathrooms have thankfully been removed. Just a little too much culture for us.
Washing got out of hand until we hired a couple of extra ladies to get us caught up.
They washed in big tubs and hung clothes on the fence line until we could get the washer and dryer hooked up. 
But even with the move, life went on at Neema.  Some great volunteers came by to help like the John Bardini family from North Carolina.  I would have never gotten the sign out front without the steady hands of this good doctor. 
We had two new babies come to us this month. One little one whose mom died in childbirth and the family left the baby at the hospital.  We named her Bella. The other one a sweet little newborn, whose mom died,  named David.
We will be home in a few days ready to come speak at your next class, meeting, life group, club, church, coffee group whatever. Give us a call, 254 541 4869
May the LORD bless you and keep you,
Michael and Dorris

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Architect students at Neema.

From a slab to a roof in eleven days! 

This month thirty architect volunteers; students from all over the world, a professor and his wife, Paul and Barbara Hahn from Minnesota and their team came to build one of the four homes planned at Neema Village for our unadoptable babies.  
It was quite amazing to watch them work.  It reminded me of a verse in Nehemiah, “The walls came up…because the people had a heart to work.” 
Two years ago a young medical student in Arusha studying tropical medicine, Lovise Mhyre, from Norway came to volunteer at Neema. 
She fell in love with the babies and when she returned home she decided to do something to help.  She decided to build a house for our unadoptable children.  Even though we have had 21 adoptions so far at Neema, we have seen that all our babies will not be able to return home or be adopted.  Like Malikia who is blind and whom we’ve had since her birth.  Mali is Maasai and would not have survived out in that harsh environment. 
And Frankie our first baby who at six months weighed a tiny 5 pounds and is still fragile.  And Elesha with Beals Syndrome and others who may have one surviving relative who has AIDS and can’t keep them but will not release them for adoption.   We love them, so we will keep them, we decided.  But they don’t belong in the baby home, so let’s build four small family style cottages on our 9.8 acres. And Lovise caught the dream.  She also caught a cute fiancée while at Neema.
 
That is Lovise with Eric who got engaged early one morning on the front porch of Neema.  I came out to find her ecstatic and Eric, the romantic, leaning over the rail crying.  Love it!  I told them I wasn’t sure I could take much more of this sweetness!!
                Early every morning the students came piling out
of the rented bus and headed to the construction site.  They divided into 4 teams and each took a section of the slab to begin building. 
 
They took turns leading the groups so each could have input in design and management.   They added special touches as they went along, little peep hole windows down low for the children to look out, wrap
                     around corner windows, vaulted ceilings for cooling, and what will be a stunning full wall of glass facing Mt. Meru, the fifth tallest mountain in all of Africa.  
 
 
To all of you special students who came from so many different countries; Belgium, China, Australia, Norway, Dares Salaam, the USA and left a part of your heart in Africa and with the babies of Neema, we love you guys!  (Below student Architects tell the babies bye.)
As we served cake and ice cream on their last few moments at Neema, we told them that we knew they would go out into the world and build great things, sky scrapers and bridges but that we hoped they would always remember this precious work of building a home for some unwanted and thrown away children in Africa as a highlight of their careers.
How appropriate that we close our tribute to some pretty cool young architects with one of my favorite pictures of our feisty, little Dorothy who, as a newborn with umbilical cord and placenta still attached, was thrown away as garbage in a construction site into a gravel pit.
   
May the LORD bless and keep you and may His Face shine upon you.
Michael an Dorris

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(be sure and click on “see images” to see all the cute pictures)

A Hodge Podge of Happenings

boy with toyI went out walking around our new neighborhood this afternoon and some neighborhood boys wanted to walk with me.  Of course they did, I had candy!  They had made a little rolling stick toy and were laughing and having fun the whole way  boy with toy 2They can make the cutest toys out of nothing and have just as much fun as if it were store bought.                                I thought you might like to see the home of one of our closest neighbors.  That is Neema’s new green roof just peaking up in the back of this home below.

Arusha may be a modern city of 1.6 million people but many Africans still live in houses in the city just like this.  It does make us wonder how we can get so concerned about not having new furniture or a new car or whatever is the current “must have” in our lives at the moment.  I would love to really live the motto “Live Simply so others can Simply Live” but I am afraid I am just as “must have” as the next person. 

One of our Maasai babies, Nengai, whose mom died at her birth had a visit from her grandmother on Friday.  The father’s new wife came with her.  I asked the driver if she was twelve years old and he said no, she is eleven.  Oh My!

Since we gave up our room at Neema to make room for the crawlers and have been staying out at the new property in the widow’s home, we are able to see the progress at the land as it is happening.

The baby home is basically finished, just a few odds and ends left to do but we are waiting to make the big move until we can drive the trucks up to the side door to unload furniture.  They were packing the gravel bed down today and will start laying the paving stones on the driveway tomorrow.  Those of you who bought bougainvillea I hope you can see your money growing beautiful in Africa along the drive way there.

On Saturday, we were cutting down a small hill by hand and hauling dirt to level the playground for the children.  We still so need that tractor with a blade!  Surely there is some farmer out there whose heart could be touched by the need of a tractor for this incredibly precious work of saving babies in Africa. 

 We ate lunch with the men building the new Neema on Saturday, lunch was quite delicious, a spicy tomato meat sauce poured over rice. 

 One lady cooks for all the workers, anywhere from 20 to 50 men depending on the different jobs going on at the time.  Jamie Huddleston do you see how much rice she has cooked?  Cooked over an open wood fire in a huge aluminum pot, it was still fluffy and wonderful. 

We have had to say goodby to some great groups of volunteers in the last few weeks.  But the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.  We gained Taylor Wittel, Hannah Loban and Linda Johnson. We took them out to Moivaro Lodge this evening for a coke.  We felt like we had driven up to the movie set of “Out of Africa.” 

Maria Halapi and Ashley Berlin are coming in this next week and the architect group of 25 to 30 from Minnesota will be coming in tomorrow to begin building the UCare home.  It will be a busy place around here for the next few weeks.

Our 41 Tanzanian employees got a raise this month. That usually means lots of dancing and trilling from the nannies.   We had been promising to pay their transport to and from work when we could and since we will no longer be paying rent we thought it was the right time for our hard working nannies, guards, cooks and drivers to get a raise.  Thank you to all of you who support this work and made this raise possible.    

I’ll end this hodge podge of Neema news with a picture of two of our little Neema buddies, Rusty and Joeli.  Our volunteers have taught us a new adjective to describe our babies.  They tell us, these two are just too stinkin’ cute!!

Remember, live simply this month and may God simply bless you so that you can bless others.

Dorris and Michael

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“Phillip Flies Home”

Last Monday we traveled up in the mountains past the banana grooves to find the new home of one of our adopted babies.  In some places it was not much more than a cow path. These roads give you what we like to call the Tanzanian massage!

Road up to Phillip Wood’s house.

One of Neema’s cutest babies,  Phillip had been at Neema since he was abandoned at the hospital.  He has been adopted and we were traveling out to check on him.

If you follow our blog you will remember Phillip’s special story.  He was very tiny when abandoned so he spent a couple of months in the hospital until he was big enough to bring home to Neema.  We named him Phillip after Phillip Wood, the only American on the Malaysian flight that went down a couple of years ago.  My sister, Lottie McCormack in Edmond Ok, and Phillip Wood’s mother were friends, pregnant at the same time and their two boys grew up together in Oklahoma and later were roommates at Oklahoma Christian.   When Phillip’s plane went down Lottie called and asked if we would name a baby after Phillip.

So little Tanzanian Phillip Wood came to live at Neema.  A smiley, happy baby, he quickly became a favorite baby of everyone who came to visit Neema.

Philip for blogSo now the rest of the story.  We blogged a few months or so ago about Phillip being adopted and this was our first trip out to check his new home.  Simone, a volunteer and her mom, and Angel, our social worker and Mama Musa, the Neema Manager and I traveled the endless or so it felt, rocky path up the mountains for a visit to see how Phillip was doing.  His new mom and dad met us as we drove up to the house.

The cement home was surrounded outside by bananas trees, flowers and chickens scratching in the yard,  There was a car and a motorcycle at the house so his family seems more affluent than the average Tanzanian family.  They graciously fed us snacks of boiled eggs and bananas.

Inside the home there was furniture and sweet pictures of Jesus on the walls.  Phillip was afraid of us at first and kept his head buried in his momma’s chest.  But we had brought toys (the secret weapon for all children)  so Phillip was soon playing and smiling like the happy little boy we knew at Neema.  Simone, a three time volunteer from Germany at Neema, had brought a wooden duck so she and Phillip were soon quacking all over the floor. After eating with the family and then playing for a while with Phillip, we said our goodbys and headed home.

Be watching for our new book titled “Phillip Flies Home” from Guardian Angel Publishing.  It is Phillips story told in the form of a little African Honey Guide Bird and the fierce Honey Badger.  It is quite a poignant story, you will love it.

On the way back from Phillip’s house we stopped to check in on another abandoned baby, Michael, all grown up now, and his adoptive family.  Michael had been abandoned on a front porch and the people who found him adopted him, which happens fairly often.  He now has grandparents, a dad, uncles, aunts and cousins who love him and he is in school.

That is little Michael with Big Michael to the left.  We estimated he was about three months old when he was found on the porch.  Below Angel, Michael and Dorris on the front porch.

We have had twenty-one adoptions and twenty-one babies reunited with extended family.  If you want to see all the Neema Babies, go to:  buy provigil from uk

We will leave you with this happy blog and an African blessing:

“May all your paths lead home and may all things found on your front porch be good things!”

Dorris and Michael

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[We want you to know that NO SPONSORSHIP FUNDS are used for construction.  Our beautiful new baby home and all other construction is being paid for by contributions designated for that purpose only.]

Back Home at Neema

Michael and I have been back at Neema House Arusha for a week now and just cannot tell you how exciting it is to see this home being completed for the fifty beautiful abandoned, orphaned and at risk babies and our forty one Tanzanian staff members whom God is allowing us to love and care for in this place.

 

 Since the land is on a hill there is much retaining wall work (pictured above) being done all around the property.

The builders are cutting the stones for the retaining walls on the property.  They are also making the paving stones right here on the Neema property for the walk ways and for some sections of the road.

Mr. Chandu, our contractor, and Matt Erdman, are the two men out there at the land every day making this happen.  On any given day there are aroiund 50 men working on this project.  Thanks guys!

The rooms for the babies are painted in soft yellows and blues and the big hall down the middle of the home is also yellow.  Hopefully one day there will be pictures of animals, giraffe, zebra, elephant, etc.  painted on the walls down low enough for the children to see as they run and play in this big hallway.

We also hope to have large pictures on the walls, framed of the twenty one babies, so far, who have been adopted from Neema.

The kitchen has an island in the middle of the room and big burners on the counter for boiling the 30 litres of milk a day we need to feed these hungry babies.  We estimate around a hundred bottles of milk are made at Neema a day!  We will also be feeding our staff and volunteers out of this kitchen every day.

Ahhh, the front porch which overlooks the fifth talest mountain in Africa, Mt. Meru, is our favorite place.  It is where the rocking chairs will be and where we hope that Neema “community” will happen as visitors and volunteers come to hold the babies and get to know each other.

Mr. Chandu created the blue prints for the front steps leading up to the porch after Michael had emailed his hand drawn ideas for the steps before we got here last week.  It will be beautiful with flower gardens to the sides of the rounded steps.  I think the bottom step down is going to be a doosy though!

 You might be interested to know that the workers eat at Neema village every day.  Two women cook for them, usually rice and beans or like today, Ugali and a dipping sauce of meat and potatoes.  They pour the Ugali (pictured to the right) out on big platters and all eat from the same plate with their fingers, just like we used to in the old days of Africa.  It was quite delicious and the smoky kitchen just added to the flavor.

Below are seven precious reasons why all this work is going on.  That is Sharon, Pascal, Angel, Jackson, Nuriath, Joeli and Gabriella, just some of our big babies.

I have to tell you it feels like a Blessed Place to me.  For those of you who have made this happen with your prayers and resources may God richly bless you, your family, your home, your work and your life!

II Corinthians 9:8  “God is able to make all Grace (Neema) abound to you, so that in all things, at all times, having all that you need you will abound in every good work.”

Dorris and Michael