Transforming Lives One at a Time

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