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Moving the Widow Modesta

Moving the Widow Modesta

We left early this morning for a small village outside Arusha, Tanzania to move a widow into town. It was a rough, muddy road but such beautiful country, lush and green with huge banana trees and pink bougainvillea.

The widow we went to move is 51 years old with three children, the youngest is two. Modesta is also an Albino and two of her children are Albino. Even though Albinos are not in danger here as they are in other parts of Africa there is still some cultural stigma for anyone who is different. I guess that is pretty much humans anywhere though isn’t it.

After Modesta’s husband died last year, she moved in with her aunt. Now her aunt says she can no longer take care of Modesta and her family and take care of her own family too. Modesta and her three children had no place else to go, so Neema’s MAP program (Mothers Against Poverty) has stepped in to help.

I cannot imagine how difficult life must be here for widows. They lose not only the protection and support of their husbands, they can sometimes lose their fields, their cows, their home and even their children if the village elders decide they cannot take their children.

Today we moved her from the aunt’s home to a room down the road from Neema Village. Even Dr. Sue Hamby, pictured above, one of our board members who is here visiting Neema got in on the move. Sue will turn 80 next week, just in case you are wondering if you are too old to come to Africa and volunteer at a baby home!

Since Modesta has worked many years in a day care center, we will help her open a small day care business in her home. Hopefully this will provide enough income for her to support her family.

Until it does we will be supporting her at $30 a month. I know that is not much but it will help buy her Ugali meal.

We had been told she had only a bed to move but that quickly turned into a full load which David thankfully was able to get loaded on the top of the van.

It is such fun to be able to do things like this here in Africa. This widow could not stop hugging and thanking us and asking God to bless us. You make this work possible but we are the ones who get to do the fun part and get the hugs. So Thank You! I love this picture below of Maria, our MAP director, with Modesta and her big smile of thanks after she was told that we would help her start her day care business.

We thank God for those of you who are supporting this work so that we can get all these great hugs!

James 1:27 “True religion is taking care of widows and orphans.”

I hope you too get lots of hugs today my friend,

dorris or (Mama Neema)

Getting Caught up on the News

There is always lots happening at Neema Village, our home for abandoned, orphaned and at risk babies in Arusha, Tanzania. We have had seven new babies in the last few months. There are three little new babies in the isolation room right now, pictured below.

Little preemie Eliah was born March 1, 2018. He weighed 2.2 kilos when he was brought to Neema. His mother is very sick with liver problems and she has two other small children at home. We have put this family in our outreach program and will be helping them each month while the mother is sick. Hopefully the mother will get better and be able to take Eliah home someday.

Baby Sarah, pictured below with Bekah, was born Feb 28th. Her mom is very sick with HIV, refuses to take the medicine and is no longer talking. Please pray for this mom who seems to have given up on life.

We test all our babies every six months at Neema for HIV until they are age two. At that time if they have not begun to develop antibodies they are clear of HIV. Many of these moms who have the sickness here in Africa get the disease from their husbands who then die and leave a wife not only destitute but sick as well. It is very sad for these families and especially for the little ones left behind.

Little Isac, pictured below, was born on January 8th, 2018. His 29 year old mother gave birth and then felt sick and was taken to the hospital and given a blood transfusion She then developed blood clots and had surgery to remove them. Sadly she passed away leaving this beautiful little boy, pictured below with Nadine one of our volunteers from Germany The father cannot care for Isac and there are no other family members who can help, so the baby will stay at Neema until the father hopefully remarries. Praise God, Isac already has a full sponsorship.

Neema Grace, pictured below, is doing great. Featured on the last blog, she weighed 1.5 Kilos and was skin and bones when we brought her home from the hospital. Now this little chubby cheeked girl eats all the time and is growing like a little pumpkin.

Identical twins, Zablon and Ezekeli came to Neema on Feb 26, 2018 . They were about 3 months old. Unfortunately their mother had passed away. The father works out of town and cannot care for the boys.

Emmanuel was brought to Neema under special conditions when we were asked by Social Welfare to take this little guy. He was pretty beat up with scabs and bruises on his face. His mother is an alcoholic and lives in a cardboard box. Emmanuel was called a “walker” because he just walked around from place to place asking for food. There are many street kids in the large towns in Africa but not usually as young as Emmanuel. We are not sure his exact age but he has fit right in with the big boys in the Montana House. He knows how to charm people, I guess that is how he got people to give him food. Emily Broadbent and Emmanuel are best buddies.
Angela Burkhalter and Neema’s baby Isac are pictured below.

John and Angela Burkhalter from Rusk, Texas and their three children spent 2 weeks at Neema. They were awesome volunteers. We have had lots of incredible volunteers this year! I wish I could picture them all.
Just have to put in a plug for the Mt. Kilimanjaro Charity climb. Contact Dr. David Vineyard from Nacogdoches, Texas if you are interested in climbing this July. It raises money for Neema and will be a blast! If you can’t climb be sure and sponsor a climber!!!

You can be a part of this precious ministry by sponsoring one of the babies beginning at $30 per month. It cost $300 per month to keep a baby at Neema. Sponsorship money is tax deductible and does not go toward buildings, land, cows or chickens, solar installation, roads or other special projects. Those are paid for by special contributions. It does pay Tanzanian staff salaries, food, formula, medical, petrol and utilities. Only Tanzanians are paid from sponsorships at Neema Village, all other workers at Neema are volunteers who raise their own support including the directors. Please go to to set up a sponsorship. We need your help. Bless you if you are already sponsoring a baby!!

2 Corinthians 9:8 “God is able to make all Grace abound to you, so that in all things, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

Michael and Dorris

Little Neema Grace

Last week we were called to pick up a little preemie baby from the hospital. The first time we saw Neema Grace she weighed 1.3 kilos. She was two months old.

Neema Village

Her mom had died and her father was in Kenya. An uncle came to the hospital but could not keep the tiny baby so Neema Village was called. Babies who lose their moms in Africa have only a one in ten chance of surviving to age five. It did not look good for this little one.

Neema Village

We began to take formula and preemie diapers up to the hospital and stay just to hold the baby. The nurses are overworked and do not have time to hold one special baby. Once we got her home she was held almost 24/7. Emily Broadbent giving her bottle in the photo below.

Neema Village

Bekah just weighing Neema Grace below.

Neema Village

Above is Neema Grace with Bekah at 1.5 Kilos (about 3.3 lbs). We have all fallen in love with this little one and there is no shortage of volunteers ready to sit and hold her. We have put her in the isolation room on the warming table and have hired round the clock special care for her. They are waking her up every 2 hours to feed her. Now see what she looks like ten days later!! No bones and a full tummy!!

Neema Village

I can’t even begin to tell you how good this makes us feel.

She will need all the prayers you can give so don’t stop praying!

Live Love,
Michael and Dorris

Fixing Broken Wings

Can I tell you again how much I love this MAP (Mothers Against Poverty) program at Neema Village in Tanzania, East Africa! It is a beautiful thing to see hope come alive in the faces of these women. Eveline, pictured below with the big smile, is loving her new business selling used clothes and vegetables at her shop set up by Mariya Halapi, our MAP director.

Neema Village

Eveline’s husband left her owing months of back rent and two children with little food in the house. She was severely depressed when Mariya, Ema and I first went to visit her. We gave her money for food and talked with her about what she could do to make a business to support herself and the children. She could barely look up while we talked with her.

Neema Village

When Mariya sent these new pictures I couldn’t believe the difference in the two women pictured above! I asked Mariya, “Are you sure this is the same woman!” Mariya has worked out a business plan for Eveline and Neema has supplied some of the used clothes she is selling. She walked around the neighborhood at first selling her clothes door to door but the MAP program has since rented a shop for her and she is doing great. She will have about six months to get her business going and then she will start paying forward her investment for other women in the MAP program.

Neema Village

Mariya is teaching the women in the program how to keep financial records so they can keep track of their sales. She taught a business seminar this week in the Koala Place Mothering Center and most of the women in the MAP program came in for the class. Below is Eveline and Mariya in front of Eveline’s new shop.

Neema Village

The young moms waiting to get their businesses started love to visit with Mariya when she has time to walk down to their homes. For now they are in the Neema outreach program. You can see how these young moms love and respect Mariya in the picture below. She said one day, “I feel like a mom to them.”

Neema Village

Just to leave you with a smile below is a picture of two of Neema’s cutest babies, Peace Joy and Angel baby. We came to Africa to help these little ones who had lost their moms and soon realized that we had to help these mothers of Africa. Bless each one of you who helped us get this incredible program going.

Neema Village

“Without Hope life is a broken winged bird.” I don’t know who said that quote but I know I like it. I think we are fixing broken wings here at Neema Village so these women can fly! You can be a part of MAP by going to and hitting that donate button!!

Jeremiah 29:11 “I know the plans I have for you, plans to give you hope and a future, says the Lord.”

Live Love,
Michael and Dorris

Bye Bye, Sweet Boy

“It’s a Wonderful Life” you have in front of you little one. Abandoned at birth, tiny 5.11 oz Ezekiel came to Neema Village on March 4, 2017.

Neema Village

Today he leaves for home with his new mom and dad. He will never be abandoned again. The family’s home is in Zanzibar and they have his room ready and his new clothes and his toys and they bought him a bathing suit. Zanzibar is the beach resort of Tanzania, a beautiful old city with lots of Arabian history. I’ve told his new mom we may just have to come check on him and she said, “Come On!”

Neema Village

His mom did great. She spent five days at Neema, feeding him his bottles, changing his diapers and putting him to bed. The last few nights they moved down to the volunteer house and we put a baby bed in the room for him so the little family spent a couple of days caring for him by themselves.

Neema Village

Ezekiel was one of our cutest babies, bald but with a smile that would stretch across Montana, our visitors loved to take pictures of him. If you have a cute picture of Ezekiel, send it on to me and I will get it to mom and dad.

Neema Village

So this afternoon as mom cried tears of joy we said goodbye to our little man. His nannies came in to hug him while mom and dad were packing bottles, nappies and toys for the airplane trip home.

Neema Village

We’ve loved and cared for him since he was born, mom and dad, you can take over from here. It’s what Neema does best.

May God’s Richest Blessings be with you little one.

Bibi and Babu (Grandmother and Grandfather)

Sophia’s Mapocho Pocho

Neema Village photo

Meet Sophia and her little love, Martin. When Martin was born, the father after seeing that the baby had some disabilities, left the family to fend for themselves. Big Mistake Man! This beautiful young woman is so industrious that she will soon be making all the money she needs to support herself and baby Martin.

Neema Village photo

Above is Mariya Halapi, our MAP director, in her office at the new Koala Place Mothering Center. After Sophia’s husband left she began making breakfast mandazis (like a donut without the hole) to sell to people passing by. She would get up at 3am to make her mandazis and would be sold out by 10am.

But Sophia knew she needed more income so she talked with Mariya who designed a business plan for her where she now sells breakfast, and a lunch of chapati and beans and dinner of rice and meat.

Neema Village photo
Neema Village photo

Above are pictures of how the shop looked when we first rented it for her. It rents for $25 USD per month. Now below see what it looks like after the MAP makeover!

Neema Village photo
Neema Village photo

Volunteers Jackie and Ian Barter from England and their daughter Sarah are in front of the newly painted shop in the picture above. Below Sophia is cooking outside with the two helpers she has been able to hire.

Neema Village photo

She cooks outside and has her customers sit inside to eat. We will extend the tin roof to make an outside shaded area where she can cook and wash dishes and maybe set up more chairs and tables for customers.

Neema Village photo

There is a small medical clinic across the road so Sophia, on her own, decided to walk across and tell the employees about her business. Good business savvy!

Since Safina, our volunteer cook is off on Saturdays the Neema volunteers walked down the hill to Sophia’s shop for breakfast. Nadine, Kathy and Jackie are pictured below.

Neema Village photo

Sophia served us chapati and deliciously spiced Chi tea. Mapocho Pocho means lots of good things to eat.

We think she is going to do really well, I have stopped by twice to buy her mandazis and both times she was already sold out!

God is able to do far more than we ask or think!

So Dream Big, He can handle it!


What’s Happening

Just to get you caught up on “What’s Happening” at Neema Village we had a busy start to the new year 2018. With twenty eight volunteers for the month of January it’s shaping up to be a great year. Just a few of the volunteers for this month are pictured below.

We have had five adoptions in the last few months, Destiny, Jade, Bethany, Jack and Brim with one more, Ezekiel, pending.

We are always so happy for these new little families.

Kristina, Mohammed and Aneth all three were able to return to their homes. We work through Social Welfare for all these placements and neither Neema Village nor Social Welfare receive money from adoptions, just happy hearts.

Baraka, our shop manager, has been helping Mariya with the MAP projects. He is helping Mama Pretty choose her chickens for her egg business. This is what Hope looks like!

I think we have now made four Pape Chicken Coops with Baraka overseeing the projects.

The latest one is for Mama Pretty who came to us a few months ago, depressed after one of her little twin babies had died. The babies were named Pretty and Precious, but little baby Pretty did not make it. We are so happy to see Mama Pretty smiling again.

Larry, the little calf wasn’t put up in his shed last night so got out and drank all the milk from both our milking cows, we got up to no milk from our cows this morning!! But Ramah said the little calf slept all day with a full tummy.

The gardens are looking great, getting lots of eggplant which the cooks put in almost everything they make in the kitchen. I have also been frying some at the volunteer house. Safina learned to make eggplant parmesan which was delicious. We couldn’t find parmesan cheese here so just used the mozarella and it was perfect. If you have a good recipe for eggplant let me know. I take the kids to the garden almost every evening and we pick and eat something from the garden. The cucumbers are coming along, too. Pickles would be nice, if you have a good recipe please send it on.

Michael leaves tomorrow for 3 weeks at home to get caught up on some business! He is not looking forward to that.

As a dear friend said, he is the Heart of Neema and is greatly missed when he is gone.

All the babies finally got over the flu like bug that raced through Neema. Mama Frankie had come in from the Maasai village and spent 4 days with us. Her little twins had high fevers and were so sick. It spread to nearly all the babies, volunteers and staff and of course myself. I still have a bit of a cough but I’m better this morning. That is about it for “What’s Happening” at Neema Village. I hope all that is happening at your house is good!


I can’t do this!

I am up early this morning having one of my “I can’t do this” moments. We are driving to Moshi to put Malikia in Blind school today. We have to do this, I know that.

It doesn’t make it easier. Will anyone there know how precious this child is. It is going to be so hard for her, even though she is very smart and learns quickly, it is a whole new place for her to learn how to get around in, how many steps to the bathroom, to the table, where is class, the playground, etc. I cannot imagine how hard it will be without Joycie or Angel to lead her around. If I don’t return tonight you will know where I am!

We have had this special little girl since she was just a few days old when her Maasai grandmother walked she and her twin Julius in from the village. Her daughter had died leaving the little twins without mother or father and so she walked them in to a big orphanage outside the town. They don’t take babies so they brought them to us late at night. She didn’t tell us one of the babies was blind.

But we all fell in love with this spunky little baby and her brother Julius. She has given us so much joy with her songs and smiles.

But she is a big five year old now and ready for school. I’m just not sure I am ready.

If you’ve never seen the video of Malikia dancing in the rain you will love this. It was the first time she had felt rain.

Today will be another first for her, please say a prayer today for this special little girl in Africa.

“May you always see the Goodness of the Lord”


2nd Annual Kilimanjaro Charity Climb

Neema Village Announces
2nd Annual Kilimanjaro Charity Climb
Climb Dates: July 5-12, 2018

Neema Village Image

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.

Trevan Hiersche from Billings, Montana, was scheduled to be our climb coordinator, but because of health concerns for his father, he has had to cancel.  Our new climb leader is Dr. David Vineyard from Nacogdoches, Texas.  David climbed Kili last year, so he is very experienced and can answer all of your questions.  Michael Fortson will help with planning and coordination.  If you are interested in signing up or receiving more information, please contact Michael by email at:

If you have any interest at all in joining this year’s climb, now is the time to act.  Don’t delay!

Please pass this information on to others who you think might be interested in climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, East Africa.


Volunteers Change Lives for Women

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.

Neema Village Image

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.

Neema Village Image

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.

Neema Village Image

Below are three of our little mommas in our outreach program with their babies on their backs.

Neema Village Image

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.

Neema Village Image

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.

Neema Village Image

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.

Neema Village Image

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.

Neema Village Image

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.

Neema Village Image

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.

Neema Village Image

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

Love and Blessings, Dorris and Michael

Happy Times in 2017

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

Thank You!

Michael and Dorris