Last Saturday, Pendo (from Ndoombo), you may recall the HIV+ child we helped with rebuilding her home and providing ongoing food to her, her sister and her Bibi when needed? We also provided school fees, uniforms, books, bags, etc. and while they were here requesting beans, rice, sugar and oil, I caught Pendo, her sister and their friend loading a school bag up with balls and toys here for our children. They stole from the very children who were kind enough to help them! It made me truly sad to send them on their way, but we cannot support anyone who doesn’t appreciate how hard we work to provide what we do . . .
Speaking of hysterical, on that same day, I found a young (too young to be where he was) trying to find work in the central market. I insisted we take him home and talk to his mother about why he wasn’t in school. We all climbed into the car with one of our rafiki (friends) who help me when I shop for fruit and produce there. He protects me from thieves and pickpockets and he carries our purchases. Well, it seems that our little boy didn’t speak Kiswahili, only Meru (a tribal dialect) and my helper does also. He came with us and asked the boy how far up the road his house was. The boy said two km. About 8 km. later (remember our bad tyres and that the roads are terrible), we stopped the car. Pam and Katy’s bladders were about to burst and we needed to how many MORE two kilometres we had to go . . . our little man informed us that we had about another ½ to travel. Pam and Katy, lacking a public toilet or restaurant or any sort of facility went in search of some bushes. They looked around, discovered what they thought was a safe place to pee and dropped their drawers only to hear, seconds later, “Karibu! Karibu!!! All things had proceed beyond the point of return and so, halfway up Mount Meru is a man who just a few days ago, caught not one, but two, woowoowoo, wazungu!!! PS. Pam got stuck on the way out of the bushes!
Reward, our second year university student and brother to Kelvin, Nelson and Mary, who suffered a parasite in his brain caused from eating undercooked pork, finished his dawa (medicine) just after he returned here to Usa River for a three week break. Within a week of ending his medication his symptoms returned . . . dizziness, headaches. We contacted his specialist in Dar Es Salaam who ordered him to repeat his prescription and ordered a second CT scan upon his return which will be this coming week. I will update you as soon as I hear from him and please, keep him in your prayers as surgery is not out of the question in a situation like this and we are worried.
Francis’ end of month exams were rife with 100%s . . . we don’t know what we will do with him, and the rest of the children are doing well also. We finally located Athuman. You might remember that his family took him “for a few days” of prayer at the beginning of December. Well, what we were told isn’t true . . . the “fabricated” a few facts, threw in an extra child, (his cousin, but they claim she is a sister) and relocated him in another school, neglecting to share with the coordinator there that he has six more siblings, five of which are HERE! In all honesty, the organization is a big one (SOS Children’s Village) and has on staff doctors to help counsel Athuman with his emotional problems, something we had attempted to facilitate in December when Dr. Pat was with us . . . I was so happy to see him and to see where he is and that he is safe . . . in the end, that is what matters. To Jane and Erica, thank you so much for your support of this little boy we all cared so much about . . .
Oddo and Scola had their son, Reuben Robert Oddo Ndonde, and he's all Mama! (The children keep asking me if he's a mzungu, like me!) Visit www.tumainimama.blogspot.com to see recent photos of the little guy and of US! Doing our thing!
I was honored and nervous with having been given the responsibility of naming their child . . . Reuben is the name of my grandfather, whom I loved very much and it also, biblically, means, “behold! A son!” which is what Oddo was not so secretly hoping for in order to balance out his family of four children (Elizabeth, Joseph, Ruthie and now Reuben). He says we will nickname him “Babu” which means “grandfather”, in honor of both our grandfathers . . . Scola recovers from her C-section delivery but both are doing very well!
This past week Oddo and I took the District Education Officer Demaree Mchome and her husband for dinner to thank them for trying to help us help some of our children . . . (she helped us with Omari and is trying to help with Nelson and Mzamiru). The level and concentration of corruption is heartbreaking in this country and it is rare when we find someone who shares a truthful compassion and empathy for poor children. Demaree is such a woman and we are so very lucky to call her friend. It was an honour to discuss education, political opinions and hopes for the future of this country with someone sharing our vision . . . Asante Mama Mchome!!
Most children are well although we struggle with ringworm on the kitwa (head) of Martha, Anna, Gerehad, Ema, Stephano Neema and Priska and Latifa just finished her dawa (medicine) for a stomach infection. Raymond, home awaiting results from his Form VI (final grade) national exam, contracted typhoid while at school writing. Several other students fell ill also and some were unable to write.
We’ve brought two of our outreach children to Tumaini from Majengo, the village we almost moved to near the Kia airport. Neema and Rashid, (you may remember we provided outreach assistance to these two HIV+ children, too poor to find the money for transport to their monthly clinics where they receive their ARVs and unable to afford milk, vital for their health). Neither has a parent, both live with their Bibi and in Neema’s case, she has lost 5 kg. (almost nine pounds) in the last six months. She will be thirteen on her next birthday and although a full head taller than our Neema here, weighs the same at 25 kg. I showered her tonight to look for injuries, scars, rashes, etc. and she is scary thin . . . we don’t have the funding now, but we also don’t have the choice. We had to bring her. Both are suffering with that terrifying combination of poverty and HIV. In Neema’s case it could turn into a fatal one . . . Rashid, although struggling also, is not quite as bad as Neema but is desperate to stay with her and so we add two more, for now at least. Say a prayer we find the support we need to help these precious children who have already lost so much . . .
I will close. The children have just finished their Friday night movie (thank you donors for building us a wonderful children’s video library) and Harriri has arrived for a sleepover with Mama. He is giggling in bed beside me, amused by the sound of my fingers on the keyboard. The lights are off, the net is down, and there is no more kilele (noise) coming from the house! Wote wamekwenda kulala . . . (all have gone to sleep). Harriri is negotiating for a bite of some wonderful brownies Janet gifted me with from Dorothy Lane Market in Springboro (oh thank you Janet!) so I guess I’ll have to share!
Please scroll down to the post below to see photos of Baby Babu and some general Tumaini silliness of our own!!! Be well!