God Is Still Good

“Seated on the plane and asked to get off”

October 11, 2022

Kim says it was the worst day ever at Neema Village baby home. Ashley had brought baby girl Neema home from the hospital in Arusha, for the fifth time but her nose was still bleeding and she was vomiting blood.

“That is enough,” Kim said, “let’s get this baby to the big Aga Kahn hospital in Nairobi.” So, airline tickets were bought for Mama Musa and Betty to fly baby Neema to Kenya. Ashley would have gone but it takes three days to get a visa into Kenya and we couldn’t wait.

When Neema was home with us we had her in complete isolation and was feeding her with a syringe because her adenoids are so large she could not suck a bottle and breath at the same time. We have all been desperate and knew this baby needed help. After five admissions to the hospital, she has almost spent more time in the hospital than at Neema Village!

It’s always a mad scramble to get ready to take a baby to the hospital; formula and clean water has to be packed and clothes and diapers for who knows how long and finding a nanny who can go and stay and….  Finally, with the baby, they were seated on the plane ready to take off when unbelievably they were asked to get off the plane! Mama Musa and Betty were begging and pleading to be allowed back on.

Kim doesn’t give up easy so she hired an ambulance to drive them to Kenya.

None of this is easy since you have to cross the Tanzanian border into Kenya and permits and documents and visas and car titles and driver have to be gathered and everything signed and stamped and paid, and a nanny hired to leave her family and go to Nairobi and stay with the baby. Thank you sweet Nanny Betty!

But they made it and baby Neema is in a bed in Kenya where finally we hope to get some answers. I am pretty sure after all this, little Neema feels like sticking her tongue out at most everyone!

We need big time prayers for her, if you have prayer chains, please ask them to pray. We are asking that God will intervene and save the life of baby Neema and please everyone, this is going to be expensive, help if you can, go to www.neemavillage.org or send a check to Neema Village P.O Box 21553, Waco, Texas 76702

Another really sick one at Neema Village this month, Koromo (Namgurululu) is about 3 months old and from a remote Maasai village. His mom was nineteen years old when she died in childbirth and the baby was brought in by his Maasai grandfather and a village leader.

At three months in September, Koromo still only weighed 2.24kg (4.9lbs) and we knew this baby was not thriving!

He has been at Arusha Lutheran Hospital and then KCMC hospital in Moshi, about two hours away, and was having tests run to see what was going on in that little body. He has a mass in his tummy, enlarged liver and probably Hepatitis.

The doctors now say they can do no more for this baby and have recommended that we send him to Nairobi. So the ambulance was hired again and they left for Kenya this morning.

We love these little guys and came to Africa ten years ago to save them, not to lose them, so we try to give them every chance to make it. Please pray for little Koromo too. Many of our little newborns come in already pretty compromised, like baby Lightness, below, who was 8 months old and weighed only 7 pounds. These babies need a lot of prayer. I know these photos are hard to look at but hang in there, it gets better!

With all this bad news you may need a little Good News.

It was the best day this month for little boy Ivan, below, at Neema Village.

A year ago, Ivan’s mother had been walking the street during the night when she knocked on a door and asked if she and her baby could spend the night. The kind strangers took them in and put them in a bedroom to sleep. Sometime during the night, they went in to check and found the mother had left and abandoned the baby.

For over a year we have loved this sad little guy who was old enough to remember and miss his mother and we were praying he would be adopted soon. And last month that happened!

Good News, Ivan now has a new forever family and will never be abandoned again! I wish you could have seen his happy new mom and dad but if they wish we agree to not post photos of new moms and dads. They had great smiles and Ivan will too soon. It’s what Neema Village does best, making happy new families!

Most of what we deal with at Neema Village is hard. We only take babies up to age two and many of them are so very compromised when they come in. They have all been either abandoned, orphaned (lost their mother) or are at risk babies (with physical problems).

At times like these we could all use a little reminder that God is still Good and God is still with us. So, here’s Maria with some Good News!

Dorris and Michael

www.neemavillage.org

Untitled

Joari Is Safe

Joari Is Safe

September 13, 2022

Listening to their story while sitting in their rusted tin and mud shack tacked onto a weathered fence where the holes in the leaky roof had left a baby footprint in the dried mud beneath my feet, it was hard to keep from crying.

The tiny foot print spoke volumes to me of what this young girl has been through. With a baby at age 14, the sole care giver for herself, her baby and her 7-year-old special needs little sister, Joari was trying to keep it all together in the shack that looked like it had been pieced together with pieces of tin.

Joari had never known her mother. Her “sometimes” father appeared occasionally to abuse Joari and her seven year old little sister, below, and disappeared again leaving her to fend for herself and her little family.

The sadness weighing this little special needs girl down filled the house. Then a cousin, below, with a baby moved into the one room shack with them.

There was no light in the house except what filtered in thru the holes in the mud. The cousin said life was just too bad where she was staying.

I couldn’t imagine a place worse than what we were seeing.

As they told their story I could feel the despair on their faces.

We saw Joari’s kitchen where she cooked what little food she had for her family. She had told Anna there were times when she would not eat so the children would have enough. Their bathroom, without water, was a hole in the ground with sticks and a cloth for privacy.

We moved them out. We had to. Now they are safe at Neema Village. The father does not know where they are and hopefully he cannot find them. The move was easy, just a few bags of clothes and some pots were all they owned. Today the children have warm beds and blankets and there is food in their tummies. Erik Tryggestad, CEO and President of The Christian Chronicle helped us move them. Actually, I think we were all pretty moved that day.

On a later note, the little family all came to church Sunday and were prayed over and then invited to lunch at the baby home after church. They have moved into our Jeffrey Scott May MAP Houses where there is electricity and a stove to cook on, sinks with running water to wash dishes and a bathroom and shower. It must feel a bit like Heaven.

They attended the Women’s Rights class last week and will begin meeting with other women who have also been abused, abandoned and left destitute. They will start Bible classes, sewing and other events offered to women in the next few weeks.  Anna, our MAP Director, says they are so young she is going to be their momma.  We have hired a counselor to try to get them to a place where they can even begin to think about starting a business. 

Joari had told Anna, I wanted to run away and leave them all but I couldn’t. Since we deal with abandoned babies and moms at Neema Village it is good to hear a mom say, I just couldn’t leave them. 

With your help we will help this young mom start a new life.  Right now, she has no idea that she has come in contact with Jesus people and Hope is just around the corner!

And “May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him.” Romans 15:13

Love,

Dorris and Michael

www.neemavillage.org

A Full House

A Full House

September 9, 2022

It’s another full house at Neema Village with 62 babies, I tell folks be careful where you step around here! Seven new babies came to Neema in the last few days. We thank God every day that we can be here for them. Bless you for standing in the gap with us.

These precious twins Ryan, above, and Renee, below, came to Neema this week, they were born August 5, 2022. They are big babies weighing 3kg (6.6lbs) and 3.1kg (6.8lbs). Sadly their mother passed away and the father is not around. They were named by the social worker that brought them to Neema Village. We have had a lot of twins, triplets and even a set of quads in the last ten years of operation in Tanzania.

It’s the sweet potatoes!

Lightness #2, below, is 8 months old and weighs only 7lbs, about what a newborn weighs. She was born February 1, 2022. She was brought to Neema Village by Social Welfare, her mom is a drug and alcohol addict. Social welfare was contacted by people who saw the condition of the baby and the state of the mother. We are trying to see how to help the mom, please pray she will want the help that is being offered

I love this baby, Lightness, she is so tiny, all head and such fragile little bones in her body, it is hard to hold her. At 8 months she cannot hold her head up or roll over. She is just now starting to smile at us. She likes kisses under her chin though.

Namgurululu

We call the small baby above on the right, Koromo, because we cannot pronounce his Maasai name. His mom died at his birth. He is very small but doing well. He is from a village near Maria’s village where so many moms die in childbirth. There are 6 million Maasai and they have so little medical care within a close distance that a poor mom in labor must try to make it in to the hospital on a motorcycle! On these roads I can’t even begin to imagine that.  Our Save The Mothers program is making a difference in the maternal death rates of Maasai women. Thank God!

Koromo’s family from the village brought him in to Neema. The other baby in the picture above is Anna, also from that area out in Maasai land.

Gibson

Meet tiny abandoned baby Gibson, above. He was born the 27th of July. His mother had tried to abort and he was delivered at 26 weeks. The doctor told the mom the baby was very tiny and would need to be moved to the NICU unit at another hospital. She went in the bathroom and then walked out of the hospital and abandoned her baby. When he reached 1.8 kg he was able to come home to Neema Village. He is named for a great man and sponsor of Neema babies, Bob Gibson, a long time ago missionary to Tanzania. Please be praying for little Gibson, he has some big challenges ahead.

Lottie

Tiny, little abandoned baby Lottie was born on the 22nd of July. She weighs 1.7kg now or about 3.7 lbs. Our nannies voted on the name Lottie after I told them about my sister, Lottie McCormack from Edmond, Oklahoma, who was so tiny when she was born she was put in a shoe box on top of a pot belly stove to keep her warm.

Lottie means tiny and feminine. Neema Village picked little Lottie up from Mt. Meru hospital where she was abandoned by her mother. The nurse had taken the tiny baby into the mamas room at the hospital to be fed but no mama came forward to feed her. We pray Lottie’s mother will have a change of heart and come and ask where her baby was placed. Neema Village would be happy to help this mother who felt she had no other choice than to abandon this sweet baby. For now little baby Lottie is safe, cared for and loved at Neema Village.

Neema Jacobo

This little newborn came to Neema Village, Sept 6, 2022. She weighed 2.3kg on her arrival at Neema. Her Maasai mom died at her birth. Beautiful, with a full head of black curls, she is also from Maria’s village, which makes 4 babies from that village. We are talking to the village leaders about doing a safe birthing seminar with the traditional birthing attendants out there. Little Neema is jaundiced so she is under the Blue light a couple of times a day. She loves being under that light.

As soon as these little ones come in our Social worker, Angel, begins planning how they can go back home to a family either through adoption. finding a family member to keep them or into our foster care program. It’s what Neema does best!

If you would like to sponsor a baby please go to our website www.neemavillage.org

Sophia was brought to Neema late one afternoon. Social Welfare said she was twelve. “But we are a baby home and only take babies under age two,” we said. Just keep her a couple of days and we will find a place for her, they said. That was four years ago. We decided we like her, we’re keeping her.

Sophia had been placed out on the street to beg in her wheel chair and she had developed a great smile and knew how to get under your skin. She had never been to school so we put her in first grade. She has done well and knows how to read and write in both English and KiSwahili now. She takes computer at Neema and is fostered with Mama Beni, our washer lady, across the fence from Neema.

Ashley Berlin from Casper, Wyoming has been teaching her the bible and after talking with Babu about scriptures Sophia decided to accept Jesus last week and was baptized. I knew you would want to know.

Now for the bad news. This organization above is based in Uganda and is using photos of our babies and raising money and breaking people’s hearts by promising adoptions. They have so many posts and pictures of our babies it is shocking. Even a picture of one of our babies who died was used. How bad is that! They change the names of the babies but use our stories. One of the sites for The Dolphin Foundation Uganda is legal and helps Autistic children. But these evil people have stolen their name and our posts! Does anyone know how to get this stopped? They post on TikTok, Instagram and Facebook. If enough of us can report them as frauds it might help shut them down.

But please, everyone, make sure you know the group before you donate, this hurts all of us who are trying to help.

Love you all,

dorris

The Queen Has Arrived

The Queen Has Arrived

August 17, 2022

Her name is Queenie and she certainly looked like a Queen to us. Regal and in charge and looking out for her people, Queenie was impressive when we took a group of volunteers out to her Maasai village this year.

I have been waiting to write her story. She had promised to come in to town and learn to sew and this summer Queenie arrived.

We had gone out to her Maasai village for a cultural exchange in January and some of the Aggies For Christ students got to take part in the fun and sometimes shocking questions and answers.

The girls got pretty involved in the women’s dances and learned to bounce those huge necklaces up and down.

We learned that Queenie’s husband had left her but she was trying to support several young teenage girls who had run from early marriage and female circumcision or FGM.

We were excited this month when Queenie came in to learn to sew. Our “Save The Mothers” birthing seminar was going on and she was able to join that group and learn how to safely birth babies as well. Kelle Samsill taught some of the early morning bible classes to that group of TBAs (Traditional Birthing Attendants)

Queenie will be setting up a co-op of young girls sewing school uniforms to sell. All students in Tanzania wear uniforms to school. She made the two uniforms above for secondary school in her village area.

So, last week a group of volunteers delivered five sewing machines, chairs, a cupboard, water barrel, and sewing notions out to the village.

Keary and Ian Miller from Goshen, Kentucky, helped put the machines together. Below, Baraka had made a closet so Queenie could lock up the sewing items like scissors, thread and fabrics. Neema will help with the rent of the shop until the business can take over.

Below are some of the stories of the girls in the sewing co-op told to Anna, the Neema MAP (Mothers Against Poverty) Director and designed by Mercy, the Safe Birthing Director.

Above is Toringe, she is 14 years old and ran away to escape early marriage. Unfortunately she had already been cut.

Nembris is also 14 and ran away from home. She had been cut at an early age. Some of these young girls are cut as early as age three.

Nawasa ran away from home to escape marrying an old man. Most of these girls run at night on dark paths where hyenas still lurk in the shadows. One young girl we know walked seven hours into town from her village. Sadly sometimes they are caught and taken back home.

All of these young girls found safety when they heard there was a kind woman named Queenie in a village who would help them. We are humbled and honored to get to be a small part of Queenie’s program to save these young women.

When you donate to the MAP program at Neema Village you can also be a part of helping these young women and others just like them.

When you lift a woman in Africa you not only change her world you change ours.

I think Jesus had a special place in his heart for helping women and I believe he would be right here too, don’t you?

www.neemavillage.org

Neema’s Newest Babies

Neema’s Newest Babies

August 3, 2022

Sesy

Neema’s newest baby was abandoned at a church a few days ago.

They named her Sesilia Peter Paul. We will call her Sesy. She is healthy and beautiful and weighs about eight pounds with chubby little cheeks. She is probably a couple of weeks old. She doesn’t cry or spit up and is not a fussy baby. We cannot understand how a mom could take such good care of such a sweet little one and then abandon her. We know this poor mom must be hurting. We hurt for her.

Afsa

This beautiful baby was born May16th, 2022.  Her mom is very young, she is also deaf and both her parents have died.  Social Welfare decided she needed help while the baby was so little.  Hopefully we can work together to give this young mama the help and support she needs. Afsa will stay at Neema until her mom is able to take her home.

Clarence

Clarence Delvis was born March 25, 2022. His mother asked a neighbor to watch him while she went to get milk. She never returned. The neighbor said his mother is an addict, a prostitute and has HIV.  We hope this mom will reach out for some help someday. Until then we already love this little guy. He was very malnourished and seemed almost comatose until Ali Maddox started calling him “Clarence.” Then he began to giggle. He had been abandoned in a Maasai town so we thought he was Maasai but Clarence is so not a Maasai name. Now he is a happy baby and is adjusting just fine to the love and care at Neema. I am still concerned about his right arm which he does not use much. The shoulder had seemed pulled out of joint at first. We will watch that arm.

Grace

This sweet baby girl’s mom died at her birth and there was no father in the picture. The baby came to Neema Village just as our Grace Bible Church volunteers from Georgetown were leaving. Our Social worker, Angel, will work to find a family member for this little girl. Once the babies are off the bottle, they are ready for adoption or reunification with a family member. “No baby belongs in an orphanage” has always been our motto. We hope baby Grace will one day be able to return to a grandmother or aunt.

Nosim

Baby Nosim was a week old when she came to Neema. Her Maasai mom had died and the grandmother and father, along with Rick Morro, a friend, brought the baby in to Neema. The family is Ngorongoro Crater Maasai, who are the only tribe allowed to live in the crater.  The grandmother does not feel that she can take care of such a little baby so we are happy to step in until the baby can return home. It is very hard for Maasai to provide clean water, sterilize bottles, or buy formula after a mom has died. Many babies out in the remote villages will not be able to survive to age 5 without a mom. Our Save The Mothers program is helping with this problem of high maternal death rates but with six million Maasai it will take a while to train enough TBAs (traditional birthing attendants) to make a difference.

Neema #2

Neema was about a week and half old but very tiny when she came to Neema Village. She was not eating well and vomiting and spitting up a lot. We had to change her formula from Infacare to Lactogen. This baby has been in and out of the hospital since she arrived at Neema Village. We had been trying to work with her mom through our MAP program, but the mom decided she could make more money working the street and so she ran away. We will love you baby Neema.

 Selah

Tiny Selah weighed 3.74 pounds when she came to Neema Village. She had been abandoned at the hospital. Her name means “look what God did.”

Now happy baby Selah below is ready to be adopted. We know God has just the right family for this sweet girl.

Gillian came to Neema at one day old. She is a healthy 3.3 kg (7.3lbs). Her mother abandoned her at the hospital. The nurse says she tried to ask the mother questions but she would not give straight answers and was very quiet. The nurses noticed the mother was missing early the next morning. They looked for her but she was not found. Gillian, pronounced “Jillian,” is chubby and perfect and we will gladly care for her until her forever family comes.

We thought you might enjoy just a look inside our isolation room at Neema Village today. When the babies are brought in they come to this room first. In a few months they move into the small baby room where they can meet such cuties as these three little ones below,

Tayo, Judith and Filbert.

Wallah! Neema’s Best Photo of the Year!!

Thank you Kelle Samsill!

Love you all and Bless you for supporting the sixty precious little ones living at Neema Village right now. When Jesus said if you will take care of the least of these it will be just like you are caring for me, I think he must have surely meant these little guys, don’t you think?

Dorris and Michael

www.neemavillage.org

Since We Last Talked

Since We Last Talked

July 8, 2022

Summers are usually full with lots of volunteers at Neema Village. In June we had 39 volunteers from Oklahoma, Fort Worth, Georgetown, A & M University in Texas, the UK, Canada and Australia. With 59 babies at Neema they were a big help.

Hayden with the Aggies For Christ, had her 26th birthday at Neema so we put her in a room with 26 babies. Below, most of our volunteers have a favorite baby room. Alex’s favorite was the crawlers room.

Kent and Joan’s group from Southside Church of Christ got to visit a much loved Maasai village while volunteering at Neema.

Dr. Scott Bedicheck, an Abilene Christian University graduate, with the Fort Worth group, did a dental clinic out at the Maasai village. I lost track of how many teeth he pulled and how many men got up and ran away when they saw that needle!

It is always fun for our repeat volunteers, like Kent and Joan Smith, to get to see how much our school kids have grown. Frankie, Elesha, Meshack, Maria, Ema and Julius spent the day with them at Neema catching up.

They also visited one of our MAP businesses. Elizabeth, whose husband brought in a second wife and kicked her out, now has a very successful sugar cane juice business. Big mistake man!

Cindy Roberts from Grace Bible in Georgetown, visited with a MAP mom she helped set up in a used clothing business.

Joan and Cindy both got to teach early morning bible classes for the eleventh “Save The Mothers” program which was held this month. The program, designed by Kassie Stanfield, has now taught over 100 traditional birthers how to use a “battlefield” approach to help save women in childbirth when they cannot get to a hospital quick enough.

We gave away ten sewing machines this month to young women who had finished our sewing classes at Neema. The Aggies for Christ watched the young women perform a skit about life out in a Maasai village when they are forced to marry an old man. These treadle machines will give these young women a new start in life,

Nicky Thomas, from Australia, is here this month. She is always a “gud day mate!”

Five very tired and dusty climbers from the UK arrived after descending from Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest mountain. Thank you Sophia Mekhael for directing this charity climb to benefit Neema Village.

Finally Melanie, an occupational therapist, from Toronto Canada had six year old Editha using a spoon to put food into her mouth after just a few days of working with her. Way to go Melanie!

Here is a different view of Neema Village showing off the pretty steeple on our new chapel.

Robert Hilton with Grace Bible in Georgetown put together a cute vide of life around Neema Village this month. Enjoy!

Grace Bible in Georgetown comes to Neema Village

Volunteers make such a huge difference at Neema especially for those of us who live and work day to day with the babies. Bless those of you who help send these young people on short term missions. Neema Village might not be here today if it were not for a short term mission Michael took in 1963. It changed his life and mine too. If you can’t come then send!

Happy Birthday Save the Mothers

Happy Birthday Save the Mothers

June 5 2022

Kassie Stanfield writes:

Happy Birthday Save the Mothers! As we reflect on all the lives touched and saved in the first year of this program, we cannot wait to see how God continues to move!

“This is the way that God works. He puts people in positions where they are desperate for his power, and then he shows his provision in ways that display his greatness.” -David Platt

One year ago today we took a deep breath and walked through the doors to 24 eyes staring back at us, expecting us to teach them something about obstetrics, something that would help them save lives. A year and 99 trained birthing attendants later, we stand in awe. Over the last year, those 99 women have gone on to help deliver about 1,672 moms. ONE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED SEVENTY TWO MOMS. This is just year one. We’ve got big plans for this year (& the next & the next ;)).

I could not be more proud of our team and the work they have done in year one. Here’s to the STM team! Here’s to all those who have come alongside in support! Here’s to those 1,672 we have reached so far (& here’s to the next 10,000 we are coming for ;)). It’s been the greatest pleasure of my life to watch God display his greatness. Happy Birthday Save the Mothers!

Beautifully written Kassie! I wish you could each personally know this incredible young woman. Giving God the Glory every step of the way Kassie has written, directed, begged, cried, prayed, pushed and pulled this incredible program called Save The Mothers into a position to actually change the face of Africa! Well Done!

Dorris and Michael

www.neemavillage.org

The Next Ten

The Next Ten

May 24, 2022

In June, 2012 we opened a large rented house in Arusha with a promise to God that we would do all we could to love well the babies he sent to us who had been abandoned or orphaned in the East African country of Tanzania.

Who knew ten years later that we would become a village with 13 buildings, five major programs, 79 full time employees, hundreds of volunteers and over 400 babies who’ve been though our programs. 

Most of the babies are living with families today through adoption or reunification with families. Along the way we buried a few. But we are pretty humbled by those numbers.

When I say “we did this” you know I mean “us”, you and me and Michael and over it all led by and standing in the Amazing and Abundant Grace of God.  Please click on the song below to hear two of our babies, Joycie and Malikia, sing this powerful song of God’s Greatness. To hear Malikia sing “I see the stars” is just Wow!

How Great Thou Art, sung by the children's choir of Neema Village Tanzania

I didn’t tell the girls what hand actions to put in, I just said feel the words.

Below, The land seven years ago with nothing on it, no trees no bushes, nothing and then to see the video. I am blown away by it all!

Think of it, Ten Years!  With forty plus trips over the Atlantic I have never lost the excitement and squishy feeling in the pit of my stomach when we head home to our beloved Africa and the moms, babies and staff at Neema Village. It has been a full ten years of babies.

I think numbers probably don’t mean much to God though and when we look back at the babies who have come and gone, I think it has always been about the one. Just one. Like little Filbert here.

With all of those who have come and gone I can still hold only one at a time,

Well, sometimes I can hold two but holding one, playing and singing to one, teaching the stories of Jesus to one, finding a forever family for one, saving one has always been what it is all about.

I have had many people ask that with so many babies do I have a favorite baby and I always say, yes I do, the one I am holding at the moment. 

So here we are again, home at last, one or two babies on my lap with all the hopes and dreams God can place in that sweet little heart before me. Each one special, each one very real as David Platt writes,

“Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they are not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes.” It certainly did for us.

When we first flew from that small airport in Abilene, Texas to Tanzania in 1965 Michael and I could not have known all those years ago, as crazy, eager 21 year olds with Kim a 3 month old, just where all this would lead but I think now we know. It was all leading to this time and this place, rocking here on this porch, facing our mountain with one baby.

Where it will lead in the Next Ten years we still don’t know but one thing we know God is Faithful and we can follow on if you will come with us.

I hope wherever you are today that you have found the place God wants you to be and that you are living and loving and being loved well there.

Acts 17:26 – 27

Dorris and Michael

www.neemavillage.org

On Loan From God

On Loan From God

April 3, 2022

We lost Loi today. I can hardly write the words.

Such a simple line to note the end of life for one of our precious Neema babies.

On Sunday April 3rd, 2022 Loitapuaki went to sleep in his little bed and woke up in the arms of Jesus. Loi never got to play on the swings or jump on the trampoline, he never went shopping or to school or to get an ice cream and he never got to go to church. He was already God’s little damaged baby. HIs was a simple life lived in his bed at Neema village with occasional trips in the stroller and sunny mornings on the front porch in his bed.

His last couple of years he was on oxygen and a feeding tube with the suction machine always close by.

Either one of his special nannies, Glory, Zawadi or Gertrude was with him, day or night, 24/7. We almost lost him a number of times but were able to pull him back. Doctors who stopped by would tell us he won’t live past age 2, then not past age 3, surely not past age 4, but Loi was six years old when he slipped away. We know the good care he got from his nannies kept him with us as long as it did.

He was Ashley’s special little boy. After teaching at Neema she would come in the afternoons to read to him and then prop his books up so he could see them. We never knew whether he understood a single thing we did or said, but we did understand that he belonged to God and was just on loan to us for a short time.

It’s ironic that a Safe Birthing Seminar is going on at Neema Village right now. We had to move the birthing class to the school to have the funeral. Some of his Maasai family came in for the funeral.

Loi and his twin were born out in a remote village. It was a horrific birth, his twin came first and later died. Loi was born four hours later and pulled out with crude forceps. After the mother died they brought him to Neema. Loi’s head was so damaged I had never seen another baby like that, I couldn’t imagine he would live through the night.

Our faith gives us confidence that today Loi can run and play and breath without a struggle. We hope he will tell Jesus that they took good care of me and loved me well at Neema village.

So many of you who volunteered at Neema loved Loi, we knew you would want to know of his passing.

It’s not just Loi’s life that was short, the older we get the more we realize Life truly is but a breath. The good we want to do, let’s do it now before it is too late.

Dorris and Michael

www.neemavillage.org

Click on the picture above to hear the Neema Nannies singing “In The Sweet By and By” at Loi’s grave site. He was buried next to our babies Christina Fortson and Olivia Fortson, two of our abandoned babies who died. This is hard.

Marching On

Marching On

March 27, 2012

Did you know that ten years ago this past Sunday Michael, retired and 69 years old, boarded a plane for Africa to start a baby home for abandoned, orphaned and at risk babies now called Neema Village? Isn’t God Amazing!”

March 30, 2022

Still going strong, Praise God!

In the baby rescue program two new babies came to Neema this month, Ivan and Fahima and two little ones, Jovin and Mohammed, were reunited with family. There are 55 babies in house today,

A young woman had knocked on a stranger’s door one night and said she and her baby had nowhere to spend the night. They gave her a room but around 3am they checked and discovered the mother had left and abandoned the baby. They kept him for five days and finally realized she was not coming back. Most of our babies are newborn so as an older baby little Ivan was very sad and missed his mother.

Sweet little Fahima’s mother died of the sickness and she has no one but a sixteen year old half sister who says she will take the baby when she finishes school. We have fallen in love with this bright eyed little angel and are praying God has a bright future for baby Fahima, pictured above.

Little preemie Mohammed was the baby Bekah took in at the gate during the Covid lockdown. Mo’s mother has recovered from her illness and was ready to take him home and baby Jovin’s dad and an aunt have decided they can keep him now. It’s a happy day for these two Neema babies.

The MAP program is marching on! This month we added our first rice business. The widow, Nasha Labahati, above, lost her daughter last year and was trying to feed and care for her six grandchildren. She came asking if we could help her get a field so she could grow corn to sell and feed the children. She didn’t know how old she was but we figured too old to be hoeing corn so we have set her up in a rice business through our MAP program. We will buy her a big burlap bag of rice, one per month for six months which she will break into small portions to sell. She can double her money and we will supplement her living expenses at $30 for six months until she can get her business established and have regular customers. A big burlap bag of rice cost about $150.USD.

You know Mother’s day is coming up, “A Bag of Rice for Grandma” would make a unique gift for your Mother’s Day! Contact me and I can send you a sweet picture of grandma.

Be sure and put simply “MAP Program” on the donation purpose line, or Sarah will get me! She might even send your check back since you cannot give a tax deductible gift in the U.S. to a specific woman!!

MAP moms Zainabu and Christina did not know how to read or write but through the literacy program in the Mothering center at Neema Village they do now! Zainabu, above, came up from the center to proudly show me her spelling workbook.

Christina, above, had run away from her Maasai village after her husband died and the village elders tried to force her to marry an old man. She wants to do a sewing business but she knew it would be hard to keep records without reading and writing. She is excited to know how to read now. We also have a Dress for Success room in the MAP center for girls like Christina who leave home with nothing but the clothes on their backs. After going through the program at Neema, Christina is ready to go!

Mama Noelle’s chicken and egg business is still going strong. She had enough eggs to make a gift to Paul and Jack Pape, the brothers who built her first chicken coup.

Teaching through videos and pictures, Kassie Stanfield’s “Save The Mothers” program is saving lives as the older women spend a week at Neema and learn how to safely deliver babies. I wish I had time to sit down and tell you all the stories that are coming out of that program.

They learn baby first aid along with how to handle things like retained placenta and the harm they are doing to young girls by performing the ritual of FGM (female circumcision)

On the “Save The Mothers” week at Neema it’s like a big slumber party for women 65 and older! We move out the sewing machines and move in the pallets and they all sleep in one room. Can you imagine the giggling and chattering that takes place in that room at night!!

Our staff got to take part in the big International Women’s Day held in Arusha this month. They had designed their dresses and hats and our sewing women made their beautiful clothes. Pretty Cool!

Michael and I have returned home for a few weeks but left some great volunteers including the Burkhalter family, John, Angela, Makenna, Aden, and Nicole and our Emily Moshi and a brother and sister from Italy, Nico and Viola Pattenati. Of course the Mighty Kim is Directing and holding down the fort! That is our little bundle of sunshine, Maria, in the middle. Missing you all like crazy!

May God bless you and keep you until we return!

Dorris and Michael

www.neemavillage.org

Once A Neema Baby, Always A Neema Baby

Once A Neema Baby,

Always A Neema Baby

March 2, 2022

We had been putting off this trip since December, now with the rains coming we had to go. Grandmother Shabani had come to Neema Village at Christmas time and begged for some help with her house. She said it was falling down, it leaked and when it rained, she walked in mud inside the house.

You could see daylight through the walls. It was not a safe house for Grandmother or Shabani to come home to from boarding school for three months a year. 

If you follow Neema Village you will remember little abandoned baby Shabani who went home to live with his grandmother a few years ago. His mom had been just sixteen when she left him on the street and the police caught her and took her off to jail. Like the Moses story, she had been watching to see who would pick him up. 

Shabani is a big boy now and one of our brightest little guys.

When Grandmother came to Neema Village in December, we had given her a mattress and she had somehow gotten that home on a bus. But a niece with her new baby had moved in to live with Grandmother and she had the bed while grandmother still slept on the floor. 

As poor as these people are they still try to take care of each other with the little they have.  Amazing.

Shabani’s name had been changed to Jackson when Grandmother decided he could be raised Christian since he had started life in a Christian home at Neema village. We were thrilled about that and especially when Grandmother herself became a Christian and changed her name to Neema.

But now it was time to check on Jackson and his grandmother’s house. It was a long day of driving; four hours out and four hours back. It only took a few minutes to see that they were in trouble and needed help. The house was definitely leaning and with a heavy rain might easily fall down.

There would be no way to “shore it up,” we would have to build a new house with a a good foundation. It won’t be expensive just a rock foundation, cement block walls and a tin roof. At Neema we will wield two metal windows and a door for the house and carry those out to the building site. 

But it will mean a couple of our builders going that far out to the village to stay for a few weeks to get the work done.  They will need a place to stay, a rented truck to carry the building materials and to travel back and forth to town and they will need food while they work. With out a Holiday Inn in Africa these kinds of problems are never easy but with God’s help we can do this!

It’s for our baby Jackson, and as you know “Once a Neema Baby, Always a Neema Baby.” Shabani has always been special to our family, our daughter Kim White’s son Tanner had climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise support for Shabani a few years ago.

A big Thank You to the crew who traveled out to the village to check on Grandmother’s house, Marion Lamoriniere, Kelle Samsill, Kim White, Ashley Berlin and Emily Moshi.

We hope your house is standing strong today and in this shaky world of wars and rumors of wars that you’ve built on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ.

Dorris and Michael

www.neemavillage.org

The Rains Came Down and the Floods Came Up

The Rains Came Down and the

Floods Came Up!

February 20, 2022

The rains have come, Thank God, but with thunder and lightning crashing across the dark night and rivers of rain washing our top soil down the hill I was fearful that the cow barn would slip down the back side of the cliff this week! Instead of cats and dogs it rains giraffe and zebras here!

Rama has been sleeping in the cow barn since Daisy’s calf is due any day. Hopefully this baby will come soon. But we have no lack of babies in the baby home at Neema Village!

Kelle Samsill and the Fort Worth group with Maria and Julius love to sit on the baby love couch with the little babies.

New baby Ester, below, was brought to Neema February 16th by Social Welfare. Her mother is HIV positive, has throat cancer and some mental problems. The grandmother could not take care of both the newborn and the mom. Hopefully another relative can be found or mom can be healed. We should pray for that. We want this beautiful little baby doll to have her family to grow up with.

And yes this is a real live baby!

Ashley Berlin got to name one of our recent babies, Tayo, below, which means “boy full of happiness.” 

His mother abandoned him on a dala dala, the local transport system, but the people chased her down and took her to the police station. On the way she tried to smother the baby. Our staff went to pick him up and got to see the mom. She was talking to no one not even the police. We offered to bring her home to Neema with the baby but her eyes were blank and she did not seem to care who took the baby. 

She might have been beaten since the volunteers saw bruising on her side.  Our babies go through so much before they come to Neema Village but I suspect these moms do too. Please say a prayer for this poor mom as you put your little ones to bed tonight.

Baby Joshua came to Neema on February 10th. His mom is mentally ill and burned the house down so Social Welfare picked up the baby and called Neema Village. He had been given raw cow’s milk so we were fearful there would be some tummy issues through his first night but he was a good baby. His eyes speak volumes and we will never know all that this precious baby has been through.

The twins, Nashooki and Esupati, came to Neema with their mother and a neighbor this month. The twins are around 18 months old. These little girls are Maasai and were severely malnourished with big heads and skin stretched over the bones in their little faces. Their tiny bodies and thin arms and legs don’t seem to fit their large heads.

Their mother has HIV and is not taking medicine and does not want to take it. She wants to keep the babies with her but keeps trying to breastfeed them. She is also very weak. We are trying to encourage her to get the medicine and take it so she will live for her girls. We know she loves them. We told her she is welcome to stay at the May MAP apartments on campus and visit the girls but she did not want to stay. Below the girls after one month at Neema. They love their cookies!

The twins got to come to bible class and learn to Pat Pat the bible. Thank you Lottie McCormack for the bibles. They have now been properly chewed and slobbered upon!

 This little dumpling below got to return home this month. Baby Grace went home with her dad and an auntie who has moved in to take care of her. Her mom had died at her birth but her dad came quite often to see her. She was ready to go home. It is exactly what we want for these little ones.

 We often see street beggars with their cups in downtown Arusha. 

This month a street beggar carrying little twins walked to Neema Village for help. Dorinni, below, had finally had enough and told us through her tears that she just couldn’t go back out there.  She is a widow and had moved back home to her mother for help after her husband died. When her mother died she went out on the streets with the little twins to beg. 

She was living in filth and the babies were sopping wet when they arrived at Neema. As Nicky and Abby tried to give the babies baths you could hear their shrieks all over the baby home!  

After they took the mom and babies back to their one-room home in town they laid the babies on piles of dirty clothes which seemed to serve as their bed. Anna and Gilead went back the next day to clean and were appalled at the bugs in and on everything.

I guess when water cost money and you beg for every shilling you must use water sparingly.  Dorinni really wants a different life for her children so she will begin coming to classes at Neema and then we can set her up in a vegetable stand business. Hopefully things will be better for Dorinni and her beautiful twins.

Kassie has planned two Save the Mothers birthing classes this month and these Bibis (grandmothers above ) continue to save mothers out in the remote villages through this program.

Rain and sunshine always bring new life to the earth and New Life is also what is happening for these babies and moms at Neema Village.   Bless you for being a part of that.

Our big girls Hosi, Lightness and Neema Grace are sending you Sonshine and Flowers this month. Cute photo Ashley Berlin!

Love you guys,

Dorris and Michael

www.neemavillage.org

Bibis graduation IMG 8895

It’s not Pomp and Circumstance but it’s just as exciting for the Bibi’s (grandmothers) graduation from Kassie and Mercy’s Save The Mothers class at Neema Village.