Neema Nine and the Shipping Container
I awoke to nine squealing, naked little bodies running around the house this morning! Its never a dull moment at Neema House Arusha, our home for abandoned, orphaned and at risk babies. Finally, its school day after a long Christmas break and we have four new Neemaites starting school today along with our five who have already been going to school. They were all beyond excited.
The Neema Nine,our big three and four year olds, had had their baths early and were getting their school clothes on when I stepped outside our bedroom door at 6:30am. My first thought was “I hope The Little Einstein School will be ready for this!!”
Frankie’s mom and grandmother have been staying with us at Neema for a few days.
They brought Frankie’s triplet sisters, Yacinta and Lucia, to Neema as well so the family has been getting reacquainted. Frankie’s family is Maasai and they are famous for their beautiful jewelry. I was curious to see if they slept in all that sparkling finery and surprise, yes, they do. They were sleeping on mats in the playroom when our little school squealers came running in and woke them up. Both grandmother and mother sat up, earrings dancing, with that “Where am I?” look as the naughty nine tumbled in and began jumping and yelling around their sleeping mats. With the weight of the jewelry Mama Frankie’s ears have fallen so she has taken a slip of skin from her head and wrapped it around her ear to hold it up! Can you see it?
Frankie’s beautiful mom (on the left above) is a first wife out in her village, her husband had two wives but the second wife died in childbirth. Meshack, the baby of the second wife, after staying at Neema for eight months, was returned successfully to the Maasai village to live with his grandmother and has done quite well for a couple of years. But he has had TB and seizures recently so he has returned to Neema. He is one of the smartest little guys at Neema. He has only been back at Neema about 7 months. Coming from a village that did not speak Swahili much less English, he is now spouting English, Swahili and Maasai! We are wanting to send this little boy to school. He will be a big help someday for his village where there are no schools. We think he is smart enough to become a doctor. So far Meshack, (below right) has no sponsors.
We have two volunteers this month from Canada, Connie and Nyx. Saturday was Connie’s birthday so we bought ice cream and all the Neema kids got to eat ice cream and sang Happy Birthday to Connie, (left). Connie, a little teary eyed, said it was her best birthday ever.
The Big News is that we opened the Shipping Container Saturday. It was like Christmas in January!!
We just could not believe all the things that were stacked to the ceiling in that shipment. From playground equipment, a warming table for newborns to post hole digger and even a trailer (Yes,Scott it made it!) We are so thankful to all the generous people who helped fill that container for us. The treadle sewing machines for the women’s center made it too Sarah!
I was asked recently what was one thing I had learned in all this grand experiment called Neema and after thinking a moment I replied, “I have learned that people are basically good, no matter what the daily news would have you believe, most people want to help when they know there is a need.” We are continually blown away by your love and support for this most precious ministry.
Below are some of our awesome volunteers who came out to help unload the container. Behind us is the new baby home going up on the left and the Montana Home behind the tree on the right. Pretty exciting times at Neema! That is Mt. Meru, the fifth tallest mountain in Africa rising up into the clouds in the background. Remember climbing that Hannah and Dr. Kevin?
Camille and Tabitha Erdman came out to
help unload, too. Camille, ever the student, had to know what a level was first.
Do your remember the original “Neema Nine” picture below? Only two of these nine babies are still with us, the others have been adopted or returned home to extended family members. Praise God! If you have volunteered at Neema see if you can pick out the two babies who are still with us.
(Its Angelous second from left and Angel third from the right.)
A new baby comes to us tonight, he weighs 1.65 kilos, about 3 pounds. His name is Saruni and his mom died at his birth. Please pray with us that God will save this young life and that we will be a blessing to him.
Dorris and Michael