August 1, 2018
An Internet Café and Fresh Juice Bar
This is just the coolest thing! One of our MAP moms has started her business, Upendo’s Internet Cafe and Fresh Juice Bar.
Upendo’s husband left her owing back rent, little food and a two year old handicap child. She was destitute when she came to talk with Mariya, our MAP director.
After talking with Mariya about what she could do to help herself and her baby, Upendo thought she could start a food business making mandazi (like a donut). We began to look for a small shop and found a great spot on a busy corner. But when we interviewed the neighbors they said we have a food business here, what we really need is an internet service.
Upendo had never used a computer so we hired a couple of university students to teach her for a month.
We bought a small fridge to keep the fruit fresh, a blender, some glasses and Mariya, Jennifer, Ashley and Emily had fun experimenting on juice combinations. Upendo always works with her little boy on her back.
Mariya had brought some laptops from Germany so she put two in the shop for Upendo. We bought a printer, some paper and ink cartridges and Wallah! an internet service is born!
We love taking volunteers down to the shop to get a fresh juice, my favorite is orange, pineapple, mango. Yummy!
Now really, how cool is that! An Internet Cafe and Fresh Juice Bar comes to Arusha! Turning hopelessness into Hope. Love it!
You can help us keep this MAP program going by sponsoring a business. Please remember the IRS won’t let you deduct it for taxes if you put a specific person on your donation. Just put MAP program on your donation, we will see that it goes to the right place. I promise.
July 16, 2018
Gloria Leaves Neema
It’s been another one of those days when you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. So you do both!
Five years ago we got a call about a little girl who was found living in a shed where they had kept chickens and goats behind the house.
She had been abandoned with her grandmother who is an AIDS patient. The grandmother had to work in the fields and was leaving the baby in the shed while a neighbor was supposed to come in to feed the baby. She wasn’t and the baby was emaciated and starving.
Her name was Gloria.
Gloria has been our big girl at Neema for a long time. We thought she would be with us until college age. But lives change and grandmother has been taking her meds, is healthy now and in a better place emotionally and physically. She showed us the shed behind her house and I think was truly sorry about what she had done.
Her son has now built her a shop on a good road and we have put grandmother into our MAP program and helped her with the capital to start a shop selling flour, potatoes, oil, tea, etc.
Our big girls all came to tell Gloria bye as she left Neema.
Gloria makes 36 Neema children we have been able to return home! We are excited about that. We have had 183 babies helped through Neema, there are 54 currently in house, we have had 36 adoptions and 57 in our outreach program. Yes, you can be sure we will be going out to check on our girl!
It’s what we do but it doesn’t make it any easier.
Watch Gloria singing “Jesus Loves me this I know” for a great lift to your day!!
May you always have a warm home to come home to,
July 15, 2018
To The Top
The Big News is that all our Mt. Kilimanjaro climbers made it to the top of the tallest mountain in Africa!
Our second charity climb was a great success as Dr. David Vineyard, leader of the group, took Mariya Halapi, Emily Broadbent, Hayden Liebl, Tina McCormack and Dr. Jeff McCormack up to the roof of Africa to raise money for the Neema babies. You can still give on their behalf, just go to www.neemavillage.org and on the purpose line put “In honor of the Awesome Kili climbers.”
We have had lots of great volunteers this month.
Above, the Aggies for Christ from A & M University along with Elaine Carter, a retired school teacher and Jeff McCormack from Oklahoma Christian University in Edmond walked down to the village to support a couple of our MAP moms by buying Saturday morning breakfast from their little food shops.
Below is the Mark and Kelle Samsill group of young people with Neema babies.
Our policy has been that Neema Village only takes in babies two and under. There are lots of orphanages that will take older children but Neema is the only home in the city limits of Arusha that takes only babies. But what could we do when Social Welfare called one evening and said, “The Police have just picked up a little twelve year old girl in a wheel chair begging on the street and we have no where to put her for the night. Can you take her?”
That was almost two months ago and Social Welfare still has no place to put her. Little Miss Personality Plus, Sophia, has scooted her way into our hearts and after meeting with Social Welfare this week, we think we will keep her. We have come up with a plan. It took three days in doctors offices to certify her handicap so we could get her into school. She had never been to school, cannot read or write so last Monday she started to school in the first grade.
We got a call Friday that a new mom had died and there was no one to care for the baby so three of our volunteers along with a Social worker took off in the red Prado to go up into Maasai country below Mt. Meru to pick up the baby. The red Prado had other plans and decided to break down with three or four miles left to go, so Emanuel walked back to find help. The girls decided to walk in and pick up the baby. Gulp!
They took off over fields and through the banana groves trying to find the right house to pick up baby Lightnes whose mom had died. Emily Moe below telling baby Lightnes its going to be ok baby girl.
I love the “Mama Bear protecting the baby bear” picture of Lindsey Vineyard on their way out with the baby.
The next day we got a call about another baby needing help so we picked up baby Ivan. The mother had abandoned the baby and the father was not able to care for the baby. Ivan is beautifully sweet and precious.
Custom here will not allow a man to have a live in woman in the house so for now there seems to be no solution other than keep the baby at Neema until a family member can step up. Ivan is a smiley baby and doesn’t cry a lot. They said he was about three months old but Bekah thinks more like six months old.
Below is a cute picture of new baby Lightnes.
These three new ones, Sophia, Lightnes and Ivan at Neema Village need sponsors. We have 55 babies along with our big kids living at Neema today and many of them do not have a sponsor. It costs us over $300 per month to keep a baby but you can begin with $30 a month. That pays for nanny care, food, formula, petrol, and utilities. It doesn’t pay for buildings or the MAP program. Only Tanzanians are paid a monthly salary at Neema Village.
Please go to www.neemavillage.org to set up a monthly sponsorship with your credit card or through you bank. It’s easy to set up and we really need your help. Bless You!
And Thank you to all of you who stay with me to the end of my rather long blogs! I do love sharing this journey of saving babies in Tanzania East Africa. Bless you for coming along on the journey.
In all that we do may God be Glorified and Jesus Lifted Up!
Michael and Dorris
“Five Minute Video Worth Seeing”
Many of you have asked for a five minute quick video to show at coffee groups, bible classes, Rotaries, Lions meetings, lunches and churches about Neema Village taking care of abandoned, orphaned and at risk babies and the MAPS “Mothers Against Poverty” program in Arusha, Tanzania. Thanks Dr. Sue Hamby and Eric Coley for a great video!! It’s on Youtube on the link below. Enjoy and please send it to all your many friends!
Now go forth and spread it around!!
“Catching up on the new babies at Neema.”
Ruth is an abandoned baby. Her mother was living with her dad and step mother and when they found out she was pregnant, they began abusing her. So, she left home and later abandoned the baby. Baby Ruth was found and the police were called. Later they located the mother. When the baby’s mother told her story of abuse instead of putting her in jail the police called social welfare who then called Neema Village. Now this mother is getting the help she needs. She has visited Ruth at Neema. Hopefully as soon as she is stable and can provide a safe home for her daughter, they can be reunited.
This mother may be a candidate for our MAP program which was designed to help mothers like this who abandon their babies not because they don’t love them but because they are poor, desperate and feel they have no other choice. Please consider sponsoring baby Ruth while she is at Neema Village. Go to www.neemavillage.org.
Thank you to Marve Sattiewhite (pictured in the first photo) from Fort Worth for the cute photo of Baby Ruth Burrito above.
Namnyaki came to Neema a week ago, she is also an abandoned baby. Her name in Masaai language means “blessings”.
She is about 3 years old but weighs what a healthy one year old would weigh. Her mother abandoned her with a neighbor. After a few days when the neighbor realized the mother was not coming back she took the baby to her grandmother who said “if you leave her with me, I will kill her.” So the neighbor called Social Welfare who called Neema Village. We love this shy, timid, precious baby girl and she is now beginning to smile and join in the fun at Neema. Please consider sponsoring her, we need your help with all these new babies. Go to www.neemavillage.org.
Abigaeli, pictured right, was born on April 24, 2018. She is a healthy baby. Sadly both of her parents have died. Her mother passed away during Abigaeli’s delivery. Both sides of the families were fighting over who would keep the baby and someone took the baby from the hospital. She was found and brought back and Social welfare has stepped in to help settle the dispute. We will keep her until things are settled. She does have an older sister that is interested in taking care of her after she is stable. Hopefully we will only have her for a short time but if you could sponsor her we could certainly use your help. Please go to www.neemavillage.org.
Dennis and David are twins and their mother is 18 and alone.
She does not have family who can help her and did not seem to know how to properly care for the babies. The baby boys were in “failure to thrive” when they were brought to Neema by friends from the Andrew Connally School of Preaching, Justin and Anna Maynard, who live on the other side of Arusha.
The mother and babies have been in the isolation room at Neema for over a month. They are now healthy, cute little boys.The mother has decided that she can not care for the boys right now so she will be leaving them at Neema. Neema will help her set up a used clothing business and will apprentice her to another MAP mom who is doing a successful business in used clothing. We will be asking friends to help pay for her apartment for 6 months while she gets her business going under the condition that she visit the babies regularly each week. Hopefully then she will be able to take the boys home. Mariya Halapi set her up with business clothes from our “Dress for Success” room at Neema.
Elisha and Edward, pictured below, are two little boys from a set of triplets who have been at Neema for 3 weeks. This is the second set of newborn tiny triplets we have had at Neema in the last two months and makes 12 sets of triplets we have helped over the past six years. What gives with this!!!
Their little triplet sister, Esther, was able to leave the hospital yesterday with their mom, so the family is finally back together again with all three babies and the mother in the isolation room at Neema. The boys weighed 1.67 kg and 1.68 kg when they came in and are now up to 2.12 kg.
The boys looked really tiny until their little sister came in. Esther pictured above is skin and bones! We have had round the clock nannies in the isolation room for 2 months to help these moms care for their babies. That is a lot of overtime! Our nannies do love the overtime but it does put a strain on our budget! If you can help while we keep the triplets at Neema we would be very thankful.
THE BEES ARE IN!
We drove out to a Maasai village on Thursday to set up a bee keeping business. Today a text comes that the bees are in!! We are so excited for them. Honey is a very profitable business here and we are surprised that it only took two days for the bees to move in. Notice the termite mound in the background. Fried termites and honey, yummy!
On May 15, Neema Village hosted a bee keeping seminar to show people how to make money with bees. We had around 30 women show up for the seminar along with our head gardener, Ramah. Mama Frankie also came in with her twins for the day to learn everything about bees.
May you always have honey in your cupboard! I’ll leave you with this cute video below of the happy village children singing for us.
Dorris and Michael
I know the following is long but please hang in there with me to the end, you could be part of something way bigger than all of us.
Mwajuma, pictured below with Michael, is 35 years old and has walked on her knees dragging her legs since she had polio at age 12. A few weeks ago she came to Neema Village looking for help. It is shocking that people still have to deal with Polio in this day and age! Mwajuma has a 12 year old son named Juma. The father has abandoned the family. They rent a small room in Arusha, Tanzania. Mwajuma knows how to make the beautiful shoes with handcut leather and colorful beads that are so popular in Tanzania. Neema Village will help her start her own shoe business.
Below is a picture of Mwajuma as she struggles to move around at her home.
It is sad and a bit ironic that Mwajuma will spend her life working on shoes, something she will never wear herself. Her business will cost 490,000 TSH or about $250 USD
Penina (below) is 21 years old. This beautiful young woman was working on the street supporting herself, her 88 year old grandmother and an aunt with Downs Syndrome and her own 2 year old son.
Penina has heard about Jesus’ love for her and knows about his power to save her life. The family was living in a mud house that was falling down but the uncle who owned the house has now kicked her out.
Before she moved someone stole all her goods including a stove which we had bought for her. It was an unsafe neighborhood so we were glad to be able to move Penina away from the area. She is now attending classes offered in the Mothering Center at Neema. She speaks good English and wants to start a Hair Dressing and Beauty business. We will send her to a 4 month Beauty School where she will get a certificate when she passes her classes. The school cost 690,000TSH or about $350 for school and $100 for 4 months transport. Her total schooling will cost $450.
Upendo, the mom pictured on the right, has a 2 year old son named Calvin, who was severely brain damaged at birth. After the birth the husband abandoned the family. The baby was malnourished and not processing protein when Upendo came seeking help at Neema. We put the baby in the hospital for about 4 weeks. She plans to start an Internet/Fresh Juice Bar busness. We have hired 2 college students to teach her how to use the computer three days a week for two hours for a month.
The teachers will also be available if she has questions or problems once she starts her business. Most people from our area of Arusha do not have access to the internet so they go to town to use the internet. Mariya brought computers from Germany and Upendo will have 2 computers to use to help start her business.
She will need a printer, a small fridge, tables and chairs and we will help her with the rent for a year. The shop is on a very busy street corner. and the neighbors tell us it will be a good business for her. I love the picture of her with her baby on her back as she learns about computers.
About $1,000 USD is needed to help start Upendo’s business.
Mama Iddi, pictured below, is a 63 year old grandmother struggling to keep a severely brain damaged ten year old granddaughter.
Her daughter abandoned the child with her. This grandmother is living in a house that looks unsafe and is about to fall down. She owns her own home so we will be looking for volunteers to help her work on her home.
Since she must stay home to care for the child we will help her start a chicken business so she can work and stay home. The Pape Chicken Coops and 40 chickens with feed for 6 months is costing $450.
Modesta, a widow pictured below, is 51 years old and has three children. The youngest is 2 years old and two of her children are also Albino.
When her husband died last year she inherited nothing, as is common with many widows in Africa, and the family had to move in with her aunt. But now the aunt says she cannot keep her any longer. Neema was contacted by a minister to see if there was a way we could help Modesta. She and her children had no place to go so we have moved her to an apartment close to Neema and will set her up in a day care business. She has worked at day cares in Arusha before so is excited to have her own Day Care business to be called “Happy Children” or “Watoto Wafuraha”. We have created a flyer for her to take around to her neighbors to help start her business. We have paid 6 months rent at $25 per month and bought supplies and a stove to help her set up her business. Business costs are $320.
Mama Pretty, pictured below with the chickens and the big smile, has two children.
In August she had little twins, Pretty and Precious. Unfortunately, one of the twins, baby Pretty, passed away because of heart problems caused by malnutrition. It is surely difficult to get over losing a child in any country but even more so in Africa where these kinds of deaths are frequent and yet so preventable.
Mama Pretty doesn’t want to just be given food she wants to make her own way. She has the true heart of an entrepreneur. We want to help her by setting her up in her own chicken business. We will help her buy 40 chickens and supply chicken feed for about 6 months.
The chicken coop was built and donated by friends of Maria Halapi so Mama Pretty’s business is now fully funded.
Evaline, pictured below with Mariya Halapi, has two children. Her husband left her some months ago . She was living in a one room mud hut with a rusty tin roof and was two months behind in the rent. There was no food in the house, she was depressed and close to being evicted when Neema was called to help.
Now look at this hope filled young woman! After we told her we would help with the immediate needs of rent and food, we began talking with her about how she could make a living and support her two children. She decided to do a used clothing and vegetable stand. Rent and food for 6 months will be $222 USD and the bundle of clothes is $75. Evaline’s used clothing business is $297.00. It is beautiful to see the smiles on Evaline’s face now as she builds a future for herself and her 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 damaged lungs due most likely to the chemicals used at the plant. Josephine thinks she can do a chicken/egg business at her home. We are wanting to build her a “Pape Chicken Coop” which is portable and will hold about 40 chickens. The chicken businesses are costing us around $450 USD to build the coop, buy the chickens and feeders and feed for six months. In a town of 1.6 million you can’t have too many egg businesses.
These are eight worthwhile women’s businesses if you would like to help. Gifts to Neema and the MAP program are always tax deductible. But the IRS tells us we may not have donations made with a specific name of a mom on the donation if you want it to be tax deductible. Please just put “MAP program” on the donation. You can always email me personally later with more information about your donation. I will be glad to get you in contact with a MAP mom so you can have the personal touch of actually Transforming a life!
To support one of these businesses please go to www.neemavillage.org and click on the donate button.
MAP (Mothers Against Poverty) has now started eleven businesses for women and has 16 more pending. We have given away eight sewing machines to women coming to the sewing classes at Neema.
Mariya Halipa who directs MAP and all of us who love this program at Neema Village say Thank You so much for supporting this program that is changing lives one at time.
Michael and Dorris Fortson
Psalms 112:5 – 6 “Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice. Surely he will never be shaken, a righteous man will be remembered forever.”
Now I know what monsoons are! It has been raining almost every day at our baby home in Arusha, Tanzania; huge, blowing, blustery rains. It has dusted all the leaves and splashed everything with such vibrant greens its almost painful. Below is our meditation park with the scripture benches and fruit trees in front of the volunteer house at Neema Village.
I have also learned this week that tin roofs can leak and it is very difficult to find a misplaced nail hole in a tin roof! We awoke to find that due to so much rain, a hunk of the ceiling had fallen to the floor in the crawlers playroom last week. Thank God they were not in there, it fell right where they sit on their mats. Even out in the villages everything is green and lush as Elfie from Germany and Linda from Texas found walking the trail in the Maasai village after church Sunday.
We moved little preemies, Neema Grace and Eliah, out of isolation this week. They have gained enough weight to move into the small baby room. Their new roommates are Sarah, Isac, Abasi, Zablon, Ezekeli and Loitapuaki
It was a good thing since we needed the isolation room on Friday when we brought home a mother with three little week old triplet babies from the hospital. The mom has a bad infection from a C-section and is very sick and running a fever.
We sent her back to the hospital to be admitted with an IV drip but within a few hours she was back at Neema after refusing to stay at the hospital. She had cried when she left and begged us to take care of her babies so it was no big surprise she refused to stay in the hospital. Below pictured the mom asleep in our isolation room at Neema with her three little babies in their beds. We have a full time nanny helping her around the clock.
Her home in Arusha where she is living is not finished, there is no running water or electricity in the house and there was no apparent food nor preparations for the babies. Her husband was with her but said he had to leave town for work in a few days. Since she could barely stand up she could not possibly haul buckets of water to the house while constantly nursing one or more of the babies and still prepare food for herself and her other little 4 year old boy. She is a teacher and is so thankful for our help.
Social Welfare evaluated the situation and said the babies would probably not survive if they went home. A couple of our volunteers and driver bundled them up and brought them all to Neema. Fortunately we have two helpful volunteers here right now, Dr. Jon Walker, an ER doc, with his wife Sarah and their three children from Joshua, Texas and Sharon Bonogosfsky-Parker, a pediatric nurse from Billings, Mt.
Sharon also teaches moms good breast feeding skills so she was showing the mother how to nurse two babies at a time and also pump for the third baby.
Dr. Jon was able to diagnose that the little boy triplet had a broken leg. So back to the hospital for this little guy pictured below. Poor babe has a cast on his little finger size leg! They think it most likely happened at the birth.
Maria’s two friends from Germany, Elfie Schaller and Ria Sterzer, are volunteering for a month at Neema and started a three day sewing class for women yesterday in our Mothering Center.
We were also blessed this month to have one of our board members and our grant writer come for a visit. Dr. Sue Hamby from Temple, Texas enjoyed spending time with some of our nannies.
May your lives be full of good things.
From our house to yours with Love,
Michael and Dorris Fortson
Just have to end with this precious picture of Jack Walker holding Mercy, one of the twins. He has his eyes closed as he loves this little motherless baby.
Putting Families Back Together
That is what we do here at Neema Village. We have done it over 91 times!! As soon as possible we put these babies back in their families or we have them adopted out or we support them in their family home. It has never been our goal to keep these babies at Neema. All babies deserve a family. That is what happened this week at Neema. Two of our sweetest little chicks flew the nest.
Osligi was a Maasai baby and came to Neema when he was just a few days old. His mom had gotten a ride on a motorcycle to try to make it in to the hospital while she was in labor. It was the worst road we had ever driven on when we went out to that remote village last year. We could only imagine what she must have gone through trying to make it in to save her baby’s life. Osi’s mother did not survive the birth but the baby did and shortly after the birth he came to live at Neema.
Osi had a toothy smile that stretched from ear to ear and quite often kept us laughing with his antics. He could also be heard screaming for his porridge most mornings! His father has not remarried and works away from the village so his uncle who lives on the main road decided to take him. His wife is a teacher and Osi will get a good education. He is close enough that we can go out occasionally to check on him.
Bakari came to Neema at about 4 months old. His mom had died and the father was unable to care for the baby. As he grew older Bakari’s sweet personality emerged, we called him a “gentle little soul.” He could be seen often helping one or the other of the littler children, like in the picture below.
It is always a bittersweet time for us when these little ones that we have loved are able to go home. But we know we have to let them go. Osiligi was fully sponsored while he lived at Neema. Bless you dear sponsor.
We pray that we loved them both well and that God’s love was settled deeply in their hearts. They loved to sing “Jesus Loves Me This I Know.” I wrote a poem a few years ago about that, I hope you know He loves you too.