Author Archives: mfortson

Mary Did You Know

Mary Did You Know

December 15, 2022

Who will they grow up to be, these five little Christmas babies who came to Neema Village this month.  As we care for them, we think about who they will become some day now that their lives have been given back.

These little ones who have been thrown out, forgotten, abused, unloved, we wonder who they will become someday. How far can they go now? Whose lives will they change now that their lives have been changed? So much hope and possibility in their lives now.

When we look in the faces of these babies with such tragic stories, we have to wonder what this saving will mean. Could they grow up to be healers and helpers, will they work with the blind, the lame, the sick. Maybe they will become great leaders and help heal nations of hatred and greed. Maybe they will find cures for what ails us all. Maybe they will grow up to be teachers or preachers and help people seek goodness and most of all to seek Jesus?  Maybe they will just be good moms and dads who will love their own children.  As if that is not enough!

This time of year, as I think about all the babies at Neema Village, 62 of them in-house today, and all the possibilities of their futures, it reminds me of that beautiful song,

“Mary did You Know”. Like us, Mary didn’t know but she pondered all these things in her heart.

Did you know that this baby boy could someday help the blind? Maybe.

We are pretty sure Max is blind at least in one eye. His mother left him in an open toilet pit (an outdoor hole in the ground) shortly after birth. His skin is scarred from the exposure to bugs and everything else that grows in a toilet pit. His eyes are swollen and filled with infection. We don’t know how long he was in the pit until someone came by, heard him and fished him out. This could have been the extent of baby Max’s life. He is safe now and will receive treatment, but most importantly he will be loved at Neema Village and he will have a future. His mother is in jail, but who knows what this poor mom was facing in her life.

Did you know that this baby boy could one day rescue the lost? Maybe.

Sweet baby boy Noel was born and abandoned under a bridge near a river. We thought River or Moses would be cute but it’s Christmas and the nannies have chosen. It is hard to think about how long he must have lay there before a kind man rescued him. It was clear when he was found that he had recently been born, his umbilical cord was still attached. Social Welfare called Neema to come pick him up. Noeli is now in a safe place where he will be loved every single day. He will bless the sweet volunteers who come to hold him and everyone who holds him will be blessed.  Now that his life has been given back whose lives will he bless?

Did you know that this baby boy could one day help heal the sick and the hurting?

Newborn Yacobi’s young mom was a student at the boarding school where five of our Neema Village girls go to school, Memusi, Nengai, Jojo, Yacinta and Lucia. The baby is 10 days old. His mom had just passed her school exams and asked to be able to go to her village during break. She did not want anyone to know she was pregnant but there was no medical help in her village. So, this young girl with so much promise to help her village died in her remote Maasai village having a baby. This Breaks my heart.

Did you know that this baby girl could teach the deaf to hear someday? Maybe.

Baby Rose we believe is about one month old and today she only weighs 2.15kg (4.7lbs). She was brought to Neema Village by her father, auntie and social worker from Maternity Africa. Mom is 19 years old and the third wife. She is having mental issues and cannot care for a baby right now. The social worker is going to work with her to get her the help she needs. Hopefully mom and baby can be reunited at some point in the future. Rose is beautiful, has eaten and is sleeping in heavenly peace at Neema Village tonight.

Did you know that this baby boy might calm the storms in people’s hearts someday? Maybe.

Little Lawrence was born October 23, 2022. He was still only 4.4 lbs when he came to Neema this month. His mother is an alcoholic and has no family nearby. She comes from Kenya the social welfare officer believes. The mother has said she would allow Lawrence to be adopted. He will be at Neema for at least six months and will get healthy and be loved every day. Please pray for his mother to get the help she needs. Please pray for Lawrence and his future forever family.

Did you know that when you kiss these little babies you have kissed the face of God.

Jesus said what you have done for the least of these you have done to me.

Mary Did You Know
Mary, did you know that your baby boy would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy Would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy Has come to make you new;
This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy would calm a storm with His hand?
Did you know that your baby boy Has walked where angels trod,
And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God?
Mary, did you know?
The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the dead will live again,
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak the praises of the Lamb!
Mary, did you know that your baby boy Is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy was Heaven’s perfect Lamb,
And the sleeping Child you’re holding Is the great, the Great I AM?
Oh, Mary, Mary, did you know?
Words and Music by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene Arranged by Tom Fettke
Isaiah 9:6. “Unto Us a Child is Born”. Arranged by God.

And Suddenly, It’s Christmas!

And Suddenly, It’s Christmas!

November 27, 2022

And suddenly it’s Christmas! But before we go can I just say how thankful Michael and I are for you. If you are reading my blogs, I’m Thankful! When the spirit of inspiration hits it is usually 3:30 in the morning so bless your sweet heart for sticking with me.

Year number ten for us at Neema, can you believe that! God is so Faithful. He has taken this little gift of an idea from two old retired people who landed ten years ago in Africa with little more than suitcases and He made this huge, living, beautiful, sometimes loud and chaotic place called Neema Village.

Thirty-One babies came to Neema this year and twenty-four babies were able to return home, were adopted or entered our Foster Care/boarding school program. Today there are 57 babies living in the baby home at Neema Village. 

Babies must be special to God; he sent his Son as one!

Twenty six moms, like Prissila above who wants to start a rice and beans business, entered the MAP (Mothers Against Poverty) program and 21 moms started new businesses this year through Neema’s program for abandoned and abused women.

To help stem the tide of babies left without mothers in Maasai land thirteen “Save The Mothers” sessions were held this year. That is 143 Grandmothers better trained to save lives of women in childbirth.  

In all the work that goes on at Neema, one thing stands out as we look at this year. Our beautiful, dedicated, amazing nannies! 

They are just people like us, they make mistakes, they fuss and yell at each other but overall they are giants and they deeply love these babies. They stay late, they come early, they spend nights on end in the hospital with little sick ones and they work on Christmas! 

At Christmas we try to remember them. Every year for ten years we have tried to give each employee a $100 dollar gift. It’s not much but it means everything to them, it means Christmas for their own kids, it means a trip home to the village to see the family, it means paying school fees, it means food on the table for their family. In a country where the average monthly income for a family is one hundred dollars it means a lot.

It’s amazing to write, and a bit scary, but today we have 87 full time employees! 

As you have followed along this year, seeing the work (like harvesting the beans above), I hope you have seen standing behind all that happens here at Neema are those 87 incredible people changing diapers, fixing endless bottles, cooking, cleaning up spills, getting little fussy ones to sleep, walking the halls late at night with sick ones, racing breathless to the hospitals, sleeping in chairs in hospital rooms for weeks on end…I could go on and on.  

We really do try not to ask for money, we have always felt that is not our job. Our job is to tell the story and we let God handle the money, but at Christmas, for our nannies… I’m just sayin’.

At this time of year may you remember that sweet gift in the manger and may He gift you with those three priceless treasures that only He can give, Hope, Joy and Peace. Merry Christmas from our big school kids to you!

You can help make Christmas for the nannies on the official website:

Counting the Moms and Babies

Counting the Moms and Babies

November 1, 2022

We love these beautiful people of the Maasai. Sparkling, under the weight of beads and bangles around their necks, they twinkle and flash in the light while their reds, yellows and purples paint color onto the drab, dusty plains of East Africa.

They love to sing as they come to greet us into their village.

Some of you have asked if we do follow up and keep records of the moms and babies saved by the midwives who have gone through our safe birthing training. Well, Yes, we do! Six weeks after their training we go out to count the number of deliveries and moms and babies.

But it is always fun to see them dance before we get down to work.

With the men chanting and jumping, they tell the stories of bravery in killing the lion or winning the most beautiful bride, or their clever outwitting of the hyena.

Their impossible jump from a standing position is probably enhanced by the thick rubber tire sandals on their feet, good for 50,000 miles or more!

It takes practice to make the heavy beads bounce on their shoulders as the women sing while the men jump.

But we had gone out to check on how many babies they have each delivered, how many moms or babies were lost and what challenges they faced. Mercy keeps records.

Nanny Juliette, a Maasai, helps Mercy in record keeping and translating.

This trip we had taken a group led by Janice Phelps from Chickasaw, Oklahoma with her friends, Judy McClure and Ileta Duffie. We think it is good for our volunteers to see a part of Africa that is not the beautiful green oasis of Neema Village.

Twenty TBAs came in for the meeting. We have been trying to help them find ways to replace the income they will lose by stopping the FGM ceremonies. We had learned recently that the older women are paid for their FGM cutting services. As we encourage them to give that up they lose that income.

Uji is a common breakfast porridge for babies and can be cheaply made with nine different products, like rice, corn, millet, and other various grains, which are then ground into meal for a healthy porridge for babies. We showed them how to make it and they each got a bag to take home.

We left some big sacks of grains for them to make more small bags to sell. We have also taught them soap making and of course jewelry and we are always on the lookout for other ways to supplement their incomes.

They told us they had no food and as we later went into their homes we could see they had very little in their kitchens.

In times of drought, the children always seem to be the first to suffer. This little guy is headed out to watch the goats all day. He has his staff for snakes, his water and a long machete tucked under the belt on his back for a possible lion or hyena.

The cupboard was bare but they still love to invite you into their homes.

Children are the same around the world and a soccer ball is always a big hit. Baraka, our shop director at Neema is like a big kid himself and loves to play soccer with the kids. You can see the big knife tucked in the young boy’s belt on his back in this photo.

With no rain there is very little water to drink much less to bathe the kids.

Below, an old dead tree makes a fine motorcycle, and topped off with a red lollypop it’s a mighty fine day!

At this village we were concerned enough about them starving that we sent Ramah out with a truckload of food the next week. We might not can feed all 6 million Maasai but we can feed this one and if we will all feed just one, we can get this done!

We pray they have water to cook the corn, rice and beans we sent out. Without the rains this year we are hearing stories of cattle dying and even the children. We were told of women walking all day to line up for government water from a spigot, waiting all night in the line only to have it shut off before they could get to the front of the line. We just have no concept of how hard getting water is for most of the women of this world, do we?

Class number fifteen of the Saving The Mothers training at Neema Village is finished. That makes about 165 birthing attendants better trained to save mothers and babies. Thank you Kelle Samsill, Janiece Watts, Marquisette Bickford, Julia Prior and Heidi Hanson for helping out with the class and teaching the morning devotionals for the women.

All five of these beautiful Neema kids above; Meshack, Julius, Elesha, Maria and Ema in front, with Babu Michael are Maasai. Bless you for loving them. They are in Neema sponsored boarding schools and foster care programs. They are pretty smart kids, all making straight As in school. It’s time to begin looking for a university for them!

We can never say thank you enough for all you do for the babies and moms of Neema Village! I think one day they will though, don’t you?

Michael and Dorris Fortson

www.neemavillage.org

Too Precious Not To Send Out Immediately

Too Precious Not To Send Out Immediately

October 13. 2022

We don’t often get photos like these so I wanted to share them with you immediately.

Angel, our social worker got a call this morning that there were two babies at the hospital and we should come pick them up. She took three of our volunteers, Kelle Samsill from Fort worth, Texas, Heidi Hanson from Fort Collins, Colorado and Janiece Watts from Abilene, Texas to hold the babies in the car. One baby was abandoned and the other has a mentally ill mom who cannot take care of the baby.

It is quite an experience to pick up a baby that has lost his or her mother for whatever reason. It does something mushy to your heart, right Kelle!

Neither of the babies has a name so the hunt is on for names. I will have to tell you later since at this point I am not sure what their names will be! They are both girls.

They both look pretty healthy and are home safe and sleepy at Neema Village tonight.

I will keep you updated on the two babies in the Nairobi Hospital. For now, no news is good news.

Now for some exciting information!

You know that Required Minimum Disbursement (RMD) you have to take out of your retirement investment each year if you are over 70? You can donate that to Neema Village, a registered 501c3, and not have to pay taxes on it! Isn’t that wonderful! We have the ability to receive stock and/or your required minimum disbursement.

All you have to do is request a form from neemavillageinc@neemavillage.org. Or email us at michael@neemavillage.org. The form will be emailed to you and if your IQ is really high you can fill it out yourself or take it to your account manager and he can fill it out for you. The instructions of where to send the completed form is printed on the form.

This would be a great help for us and could help you on your taxes! We love to be helpful!

Love you,

dorris

neemavillage.org

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