We couldn’t help but share this video made by Sam Springer, a recent volunteer from Australia:
Neema Village Announces
2nd Annual Kilimanjaro Charity Climb
Climb Dates: July 5-12, 2018
Details of the climb are still being worked out, but if you are interested in joining us as we climb the tallest mountain in Africa, 19, 341 feet, you need to begin planning now. It is a fantastic experience and challenge.
Factoring in travel and a day or two before the climb and/or after the climb to visit Neema Village and/or take a great safari, climbers will need to block off the first two weeks of July.
This Charity Climb will benefit Neema Village. Climbers from the 2017 Kili Climb were able to give Neema Village about $40,000 by soliciting donations!
Costs for the climb are $2170 for climb fees (food and lodging included), about $2000 for airline ticket, and your incidental expenses which vary depending on the climber’s tastes.
This year’s climb coordinator is Trevan Hiersche from Billings, Montant. If you are interested in signing up or receiving more information, please contact Trevan by email at: email@example.com
Please pass this information on to others who you think might be interested in climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, East Africa.
We just finished the first two women’s seminars in the beautiful new Koala Place Mothering Center in Arusha, Tanzania. Wow! Were lives changed this week at Neema Village! Not only the students but the volunteers lives were changed by the impact of their efforts. The gratitude of the students was evident in spirited songs, tears and letters and even one letter from a grateful husband for the new confidence of his young wife.
Debbie Chai, from Billings, MT taught a fun conversational English class for local Tanzanian women. Most days she had about 15 women in her classes. Volunteers Brenna and Blayne helped in the class.
It got a bit rambunctious in the class at times with Chocolate M & M Bingo and learning the body parts with the Twister game. But I think they learned some good English phrases that might come in handy someday and they formed some good friendships. Our daughter, Kim with two of the young mothers in our outreach program are pictured below.
Below are three of our little mommas in our outreach program with their babies on their backs.
Below is Krista with another one of our mothers. Mama Pretty is in the outreach program as well as the MAP program. Mama Pretty had two babies, one named Pretty and the other named Precious and baby Pretty did not survive. Mothers are called by their oldest child’s name in Tanzania. I am Mama Kim here. We are loving seeing Mama Pretty smile these days. The MAP program is giving these women so much hope.
Krista Davis, above in the picture, from Billings, taught the sewing class with some help from Aldonna Blaine. It was fun to walk into the room and hear all 7 treadle sewing machines pedaling along.
I wish you could have seen Tumaini, a young Maasai woman learning to sew. She is the second wife of Joshua’s dad.
She had just finished the yellow skirt and I love the look of accomplishment on her face. The Maasai people are so very poor, it is such a joy to be able to give them something that will really help them. Tumaini wrote us a letter after the class thanking God for all that Neema had done for her and her village. Yes, it made me cry.
Maria, above in the blue, is a tall Maasai lady and one of our widows in the Neema MAP program. She is a leader in a group of widows whom Maria, our MAP director, is trying to help. We are excited that Maasai Maria will be able to teach the other widows how to sew. Elesifa, the mother of our triplet girls is also pictured above. In the photo below she is pointing to her triplet girls as babies when we kept them at Neema for 2 years.
Zainabu, another young widow with her small baby, also took the sewing class. It is hard enough to learn to sew with a treadle sewing machine much less with a baby strapped to your back – or front if the baby is still nursing! We are so proud of this young woman and I think she was quite proud of herself as well. She had just finished making the skirt she is wearing.
As you can tell we are so excited about the MAP program, Mothers Against Poverty, and we would love for you to be a part of that program. You can come volunteer to teach something, – anything – that will help these lion hearted women of Africa make money, or you can give so we can buy chicken coops and sewing machines and vegetable stands, and used clothing businesses and computers, etc.
But please remember that if you want your donation to be tax deductible you cannot specify that it is for a specific individual, only to the MAP program. The IRS is quite picky about that.
Below are some of the women who finished sewing their skirts in Krista’s sewing class. Bless you Debbie and Krista and your helpers! You were awesome.
The first women’s seminars in the new building began each day with prayer and worship. You will enjoy hearing the women sing in the video below. It is an incredible thing that we get to be involved in a program like this. Come volunteer and join us!! Go to www.neemavillage.org
Love and Blessings, Dorris and Michael
It is fun to look back and see what God has done at Neema Village in 2017! Adoptions and return homes are some of the best of times for us. We love each one of these babies and are always happy when they find a loving family. My count is 19 babies have been adopted or returned home this past year!! That is more than one a month! Thank you to those of you who sponsored these little ones while they lived at Neema. May God Richly Bless you in 2018.
From Riziki to the left,
and Russell, Pascal, Dorothy, Angel #2, Tumaini #1, Careen, Asha Bella, Nuriath, Mohamed, Bethany, Brim, Jade, Jack, Aneth, Kane, Joan, Faith, Kristina
Michael and Dorris
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
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
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
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!
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!
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.
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.
Have a happy day!
Michael and Dorris
So many of you have brought gifts and clothes for the babies for Christmas and I can tell you they are packed in nine suitcases and ready to go to Africa! We cannot say Thank You enough. I could feel the joy you had shopping for them as you brought your gifts and told me where you went and how you found your gift. Bless you for doing that. Giving really is more fun, isn’t it.
Now my challenge is to have a Christmas gift for the nannies. We love giving these hard working women a $100 bonus at Christmas. The average Tanzanian family lives on less than $100 per month. It is exciting to be able to give our 45 full time employees at Neema almost a full months extra salary at Christmas. You should hear them sing and see them dance when they receive their bonus!!
I dislike asking for money with a passion. But the scripture comes to mind that says, “You don’t have because you don’t ask.” Okay, so I’m asking. HELP!! Please.
Our nannies love these little abandoned, orphaned and at risk babies at Neema. One day I was at the hospital with a sick baby and it had gone long and was way past quitting time for the nanny who was with me. I was apologizing to her for keeping her late, she had already missed her ride home, when she stopped me and said, No, these are our babies too, I want to be here.
Watching all 10 of the crawlers is quite a job. What a beautiful place for them to play, the front porch of the baby home at Neema Village.
We have a lot of laundry for the babies and big kids, our nannies carry laundry back and forth from the baby home, Montana Home and Ucare home to the central laundry – with a smile I might add.
Our nannys brave the wilds of Africa for our kids. Camels and snakes can be quite scary as Bakari well knows. It took a while for him to decide to get on the camel with Nanny Glory and then he wanted to ride again and again.
We have a piano teacher on staff. Below Sophia is teaching Malikia and Joycie piano lessons with Silke from Belgium looking on.
Our nannies help in school and they work with the children in crafts and they read to the babies, change their diapers, they play with them, they take them on walks and they feed and bath them, they give them medicines when needed, they get up with them at night when they cry and they wipe their noses and kiss their booboos! – all 46 of them!! They don’t really kiss booboos, that is my job. Below is Gertrude helping with painting.
Nanny Cessy below is reading to the crawlers.
.You can find Nanny Jenny playing on the trampoline with the toddlers almost any day.
Nannies Anna and Jenny feeding the toddlers.
Safina, our volunteer cook, learned to make biscuits for the visitors this year. Over 100 volunteers this year can tell you how hard Safina works!!
So there you have it. Nannys working hard at Neema. A Christmas bonus would be awesome for them. You can donate at www.neemavillage.organd mark it nanny’s Christmas bonus. It is tax deductible, just don’t put a specific name on it, the IRS does not like that. Thank you for helping!!
Michael and Dorris
From new babies, to cows, chickens and vegetable gardens, it has been a busy month at Neema. You might say, so, what’s new! Right, that seems to be life at Neema. As a busy baby home with more than 40 abandoned, orphaned and at risk babies it is always busy! And Loud! And Messy! And Wonderful!
Abasi, above one of our little babies had to have surgery this month. Bekah noticed that his head kept swelling and took him to the doctor. He was diagnosed with hydrocephalous and had to have a shunt put in his head. He is doing great now. Thank you for your prayers for this precious little boy.
The vegetable garden just below the big kids playground is producing like crazy. With all the rain we have had loads of vegetables like the cucumbers and greens our big kids are picking in the photo above. If you have a good recipe for pickles let me know!
Mariya and her interpreter Fridah are visiting with a widow in our MAP program in the picture above. Many widows in Africa are displaced once their husband dies. They lose protection, financial support and many times even their property. This widow is wanting to buy a milk cow.
Michael and I bought a milk cow for an orphanage one year for Christmas for our grandkids. They loved it. If you are having trouble getting that list done you might consider getting a cow. They are a little hard to wrap but quite fun to give!!
A Little Business from the Executive Directors
We have recently heard of two families who thought they were sponsoring a baby at Neema Village. They were not! Neema Village was formerly called Neema House. Our 501c3 registered non profit in the US is still listed as Neema House Inc in Temple, Texas (not Tennessee). We have filed a DBA doing business as Neema Village. Since Neema means Grace there are many homes, schools, hospitals and orphanages operating as Neema in East Africa. But we continue to hear that someone has been donating to the wrong Neema!! Among the others there is a Neema House in Geita, Tanzania and a Neema House in Kenya. Those are not us!!
We need and appreciate every gift to our Neema so please let us know if you have been donating to the wrong one. They are nice people and will send it on!
If you donate on our website or on our Facebook page those donate buttons always come to us. But if you just type in Neema House on your web browser you will most likely get the wrong one!! Type in Neema Village and you will always get us. Bless You! We could not do this important work without you.
Go to www.neemavillage.org for more information.
Great Smile Katie from Atlanta Georgia!
Before you shop for Christmas be sure you SMILE! Amazon will pay Neema .05% when you shop with Amazon Smile. But you must go to Amazon Smile. Go to www.smile.amazon.com and choose “Neema Village” as your charity and shop with a Smile!.
May your Thanksgiving Holiday give you lots of Smiles!
Michael and Dorris
We could have carved their names on a tree, “Linda loves Rusty.” They had a bond of love at first sight. It made no difference that they lived worlds apart. Rusty had been abandoned and we never knew how old he was, we estimated about three months. He was chubby cheeked, smiled easily and took his bottle in a single gulp like he had been starved. He was definitely Linda’s little love.
When she walked into the infant room at Neema Village, Rusty’s eyes went to her and never left her face. If she picked up another baby he would frown until she picked him up. Then the sun would come out on those round baby cheeks.
Since Rusty was an abandoned baby Social Welfare would wait six months to make sure no family member came forward to claim the baby. As the months passed and no one came to claim Rusty, it began to look like he would get a new family. And we were excited that there was a wonderful family waiting to adopt him. It was a good plan.
But Rusty’s adoption was not to be. His birth mother called her sister and said, “I have a baby at Neema Village, if you want him, go get him.” Once a family member contacts us the adoption is off.
The volunteers and I (pictured above) went to visit him shortly after he went home to live with his aunt. On Linda’s next trip to Africa she couldn’t wait to go to Rusty’s home for a visit.
As soon as Linda came in the door, Rusty came right to her, grabbed her around the neck and would not leave her arms until toys were brought out.
His new home was a bit disappointing but at least it was not a mud hut. His aunt loves him and does the best she can for him but it was pretty sparse with rough cement walls and cold bare floors and no toys for the boys. So we brought toys.
His aunt is hard working like most mothers in Africa and supports the family with a small vegetable stand in Moshi pictured below.
It was disappointing to lose the adoption family for Rusty but as Social Welfare said, we cannot keep a child from his family just because they are poor. Most Africans are poor! We have placed over thirty Neema babies back with an extended family member. And just like with Rusty, we love to go out to their homes and check on them. When they go home we place their pictures on our wall at Neema so we will never forget them.
But Linda’s heart was touched with Rusty’s living condition and decided that she could help. On our next trip to see the family, Linda and Emanuel, our driver, bought paint, brushes and linoleum and hired a couple of neighbors to come help paint the gray cement walls into a soft yellow.
It warmed the room when they put the shiny green linoleum down so the boys did not have to play on the cement floor.
In one day Linda had transformed the room into a bright and cheerful playroom for the baby she loved.
I know we can’t do this for every baby we put back into their homes but who can stop love at first sight!
Linda had brought a Blessing for the house too, a transfer to put above the door.
I think the scripture fits Linda ’s heart too don’t you? “Blessed are the pure in Heart.”
And May you be Blessed too!
Michael and Dorris
So many of you made donations on behalf of our 20 climbers of Mt. Kilimanjaro this summer that I wanted to share our grandson Tanner’s thank you to his supporters. It touched my heart and typifies how most of our volunteers feel after they spend time with the Neema children in Africa.
“Thank you so much for making a donation to Neema Village on behalf of the Kilimanjaro Charity Climb. I am touched by your support of such a worthy cause on my behalf and it spurred me to reach the top. Each climber chose a child at Neema to honor in the climb. I chose Shabani.
He did not have a sponsor and his story touched my heart. I spent a great deal of time with Shabani during my month long visit to Neema. It was life changing to finally meet these children who have endured so much, and yet have so much love to share. Shabani really is sweet and as passionate about reading as I was told.
All of the children are more filled with life and love than I can put down in words. Also I am happy to report that Shabani has a sponsor now!
(Left Shabani’s cute baby picture) He is a big boy now but still sucks his tongue when he gets upset.
Reaching the 19,341 foot top of Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa, was truly an adventure and I feel it will always be a lifelong accomplishment. But the summit was only a small portion of this life changing experience. (Below Tanner pictured with four of our big kids.)
I walked away changed not by the struggle against the mountain, but by the interaction with the people of Tanzania. (Below Tanner with Maasai children in the village.)
I walked away with a deep love and respect for them.
I am most honored to be a part of the group of people who sacrifice and serve at Neema to care for the babies and children who otherwise wouldn’t have a chance. Thank you for partnering with me to bring attention and support to the precious children of Neema Village Arusha Tanzania!
(Below Tanner pictured with his Aunt Bekah and four Neema babies.)
Chemical Engineer major at Montana State Bozeman
(One last picture of Tanner below eating fried termites just like his grandfather fifty years ago. Getting the first one down may have been as hard as climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro!) Great Job Tanner, so proud of you!
Grandmommy and PaPa