Author Archives: mfortson

Still Saving Babies at Neema Village

Still Saving Babies at Neema Village

March 18, 2020

Amid Corona Virus, Neema Village staff and directors are doing everything they can to protect our vulnerable babies such as Neema’s newest baby Phillip, pictured below. His grandmother had been trying to feed him raw cows milk after his mom died in childbirth.

Kim White, better known these days as The General, has put Neema on lock down. Volunteers have been cancelled, some are still trying to get home amid the airlines cancellations.

No drop-in visitors are allowed and staff is checked at the door with thermometers and hand sanitizers.

The Arusha stores are having the same run on supples as the rest of the world so Kim is buying a 3 month supply of baby formula, rice and beans, corn, oil, baby wipes, diapers and other essentials. The diapers filled up one load in the van!

Diesel to run the generator is critical so they have stocked up on that as well. With babies like Phillip, who have no fat on their tiny little bodies, power to run the heaters, incubator and warming table is essential. City power here is notorious for going off.

Schools are closing all over Tanzania so our big kids in boarding schools are coming home to Neema. It is always fun to see our school kids like Meshack, Nengai, and Memusi. It does mean extra mouths to feed. God is Good!

I dislike posting pictures like this, we prefer to show our chubby, happy babies but real life happens at Neema Village. I wanted you to see little Phillip’s eyes. He is three months old and weighs about 4 lbs. Please be praying that this little guy will survive.

We are so thankful that our daughter Kim is at Neema. With her organizational skills Neema Village is preparing to meet the Corona Crisis. I know she and Bekah, Hannah and Ashley as well as staff and nannies are exhausted. Please be praying for them as well as baby Phillip.

Did you know that 365 times in scripture God says “Do not be afraid.”

Blessings,

dorris and michael.

Crazy Love!

Dead Bowels Come Alive!

March 11, 2020

I’m sure you are thinking that is the craziest title you have ever heard. It was pretty crazy to us too! But God is in the business of “Crazy Love” isn’t He!

Neema Village had two babies in the hospital in January and February, one of them, Christina, is an abandoned baby who will live at Neema until she can be adopted. 

She and another new baby, Joyce, both became sick and we took them to the doctor who put them in the hospital. But Christina was sicker than Joyce and was eventually put in ICU for over a week. Many of you who follow Neema Village Facebook were praying for this little abandoned baby. Bless you. Even now this picture makes me cry as I remember how we prayed for her while she whimpered and pled with her eyes for us to help her.

We hired overtime nannies 24 hours a day to stay in the hospital with both babies. One day I had taken three volunteers and our daughter Kim to the hospital to check on the babies. They were medical people and also wanted to see an African hospital. Dr. Matthews, the pediatrician, told us Christina was not doing well and that part of her bowels had died and would have to be taken out or what they touched would die too. But they would need blood for the surgery he said, and Christina was A Positive.   

All four volunteers were tested and all four were A Positive! Amazing isn’t it, how God works!

They couldn’t find a vein the first day for the blood transfusion and Christina became more critical as each day passed. The next day they were able to give her the blood. Christina perked up with all that new blood and in a few days Dr. Matthews said, “Well the bowels are working now so she doesn’t need the surgery.” Who knew dead bowels could come alive and begin working!!  God just continues to amaze us in this work of saving abandoned, orphaned and at-risk babies in Tanzania!

Christina is now back home at Neema and doing much better. Thank God!  She had one little set back but is home in our isolation room now.  Keep the prayers coming. 

Michael and I are home in the States for our Granddaughter Hayley and Rob’s wedding and taking care of business and visiting friends and family, and eating as many McDonald homestyle hamburgers as I can!  That is our little adopted Tanzanian granddaughter, Maria, in awe of Hayley in her wedding dress.

Michael was diagnosed with Typhoid before we left Africa so we have spent a lot of time in Doctors’ offices. We are amazed at how thorough the medical community is here! He has seen almost every kind of doctor imaginable, except gynecology of course, and there is still no definitive diagnosis except Typhoid. Typhoid is a killer and he has had a pretty rough time of it but doing better now. That is Michael above working on the new aerobic sewer system at Neema before we left Tanzania.

Before we left, we put together the totals for last year at Neema Village. We received 23 new babies from Social Welfare in 2019. Thirty babies were adopted or put back into a family home in 2019. Our highest number of babies in the house for one month in 2019 was 63! It’s loud, it’s messy and sometimes quite wonderful, right Kim White? Our daughter Kim is pictured above.  

Hannah tells us there were 215 volunteers last year who stayed in the volunteer house. Hey, all 215 of you guys, We Love You!! That is Steve from Australia pictured above.

Music with Kathy, Isy and Shannon, VBS with the Burkhalter puppets from Rusk, Texas and a prayer and medical clinic out in a Maasai Village led by the Billings, Montana group all rounded out a busy couple of months for the fill-in Neema Directors, Kim White, Ashley Berlin and Hannah Patterson. You three Rock!

Keeping Us Straight!

Keeping Us Straight!

February 4, 2020

A note from the Neema Village Treasurer, Sarah Lockett. Sarah is a nurse but has done the Neema Village bookkeeping since day one free of charge. She keeps us straight with the IRS!!! Bless you Sarah!

Sarah writes:

Have you ever laughed out loud at the exact timing of God’s provision? Has He ever schooled you in the futility of worry? Wow, has God been working on me all these years of doing Neema Village finances!!!! I cannot tell you how many times one of you has provided funds just when something urgently needed for the babies came up at Neema Village. We are continually amazed at God’s faithfulness working through you. Whether or not you personally donate or are one of the many telling others about Neema Village, thank you so much for your love and support! Neema Village could not exist without you!

Now a bit of housekeeping,,,

All of the 2019 donation receipts have either been mailed (USA donors only) or emailed to you last week. Because I have already received some undeliverable mail and email, please contact me at neemavillageinc@neemavillage.org if you have not received a donation receipt yet. Let me know if your email or address has changed so we can update the records. There are some international donors who need tax receipt for dates other than Jan-Dec so please let me know that as well. Donation receipts are sent by each Dec 31st as required by IRS laws in order to provide a total for the year. However, anyone giving a once or twice per year donation can request a donation receipt by letting us know when the donation is made.

For volunteers who fundraise for Neema thank you so much! You can use the email above to ask about how much you have raised for Neema. To protect our donor’s privacy, we will never give names with amounts they donate. With 20 plus beds in the volunteer house, we do not automatically send weekly or even monthly reports to our volunteers but will gladly supply total fundraising if you contact us.

Something donors like to know- Neema Village Tanzania NGO is audited yearly by an independent auditor in Tanzania as required by Tanzanian law. The Neema Village Tanzania nonprofit in the USA also undergoes yearly audits from an independent auditor following standards of accountability for nonprofits.

Again- thank you so much for everything you do for the work done at Neema Village. Some of the projects now done were not imagined in the beginning- God has His own ideas about what He wants done! Obviously!

Have a blessed year!

Sarah Lockett, treasurer Neema Village Tanzania

The Lord Giveth and the Lord Taketh Away!

The Lord Giveth and the Lord Taketh Away!

January 15, 2020

The day I had been dreading had come. Almost two years ago a tiny baby with a pink tongue almost too big for her mouth came to Neema Village.

The mother had had a stroke at the birth, the father’s whereabouts were unknown, and no other family could be located. The baby was left alone in the preemie unit at the hospital. She only weighted 1.3 kg when Social Welfare called Neema Village to come pick up the baby. The mother had put Joseph as the father’s name on the birth certificate, so we named the baby Josephine. 

A few months ago, a man walked into the baby home with a young wife and said, “My name is Joseph.” He had come for his baby girl. We stalled him then because Josephine was too little and still on the bottle. Today the family came again.

Today the stalling was over and two Maasai men with the young wife had come for Josephine.  

Putting babies back with their family is one of the best things we do but it is still tough when the baby has wiggled her little self into our hearts like this one.  

We packed her bags and I stood there with tears while Angel gave the two men the “no cutting or we bring the police” and the “she must go to school” speeches. Josephine has bonded with the mom and has been riding around on her back today.

In her little red going home dress Josephine walked confidently down the porch and out to her new life. They are Ngorongoro Crater Maasai so I will sign up to go on that safari in hopes to spot our little Josephine someday.

The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.

Also this morning we got word that two abandoned babies needed picked up at the hospital so our volunteers headed out with Angel to bring the babies home to Neema Village.

My sister Joleta’s granddaughter, Kelsey Titlow volunteering from Palestine,Texas for a few weeks, got to hold one of the babies on the ride home. Susan Hergenroether from Wisconsin held the other precious bundle.

One girl and one boy, they both had the abandoned baby tags on their arms. Nannies Rehema and Witness gave them their first baths. The nannies love to name the babies so Rozina wrote suggested names on the board. Out of eight or ten names Anna and Patrick were chosen and tonight little Anna and Patrick are safe, warm and fed at Neema Village. 

And tonight, somewhere in Africa, God is preparing the hearts of a new mom and dad who will come someday and walk out the door with another baby and a huge hunk of my heart. It is what Neema Village does best.  

Live Love Anyway,

dorris

From Despair to Hope

From Despair to Hope

January 10, 2020

It’s hard to describe the situation we got into today.  Anna, our MAP director (Neema’s Mothers Against Poverty program) had been asked by one of our nannies to check out a woman who needed help. A widow with 5 children was homeless so Mama Samueli, one of our nannies, had given her a room.

We had to park the car and walk down some narrow mud alleys, places where you could easily get lost, and after asking directions a number of times we came to the house. 

It was mud and sticks with one small window that let in so little light I could not see the woman. I turned my phone on so we could see. She had a bed and a bucket which she turned upside down for Steve to sit down. 

We four, Jessica, Marilyn, Bronte and I sat on the bed and Zubeda, the mom, and 3 of her children crowded around, her clothes were hanging around our heads. 

It is hard to describe despair, but we could feel it as we listened while Anna quietly interpreted Zubeda’s words for us. 

Her husband had been killed on a pikipiki, that is a motorcycle taxi which is how many people get around in Arusha. After she could not pay the rent she had to leave her house and had not been able to find a place to live so Mama Samueli was letting her live in this room. The bed took up most of the room. It wasn’t much of a room, but it was free.

I was desperately trying to think what all Zubeda needed and what we could do. She needed everything. She had no food, Mama Samueli had given her some ugali, cold corn meal mush.  We asked her where she cooked, and she replied I have no food to cook. There were no lights, no bathroom, no kitchen, just four mud walls, a mud floor and a rusted tin roof. We weren’t sure where all six of them slept. Her beautiful little girl should have started to school this month, but she didn’t have clothes and mom could not afford lunches or uniforms or books.

We asked how we could help. After talking with Anna, Zubeda thought she could make a business selling used shoes, we noticed she was barefoot. She will come to Neema Village in the next few days and talk with Anna about how we can help her get started in a shoe business. First she will need to move to a bigger room, near foot traffic where she can work a business. A room with a light bulb would be nice.

Dear God, this is hard. Your son spent so much time with the desperately poor, I’m not sure how he did that day after day and kept his sanity.

If you have a floor that doesn’t turn to mud when it rains, please be thankful today.

dorris

4th Annual Kilimanjaro Charity Climb

Neema Village Announces

4th Annual Kilimanjaro Charity Climb

Climb Dates: July 7 – 14, 2020 

See this Great Video of the 2017 Kili Climb

Watch the Video!  You too can do this!

It is time to sign up for one of the most challenging, exhilarating, and rewarding experiences of your life.  Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa, 19, 341 feet (5895 meters.)  All of our previous climbers will attest that it is one of the most exciting things they have every done!  Our success rate for the Neema Village Charity climb is that 34 out of 35 climbers made it to the summit!  That is almost 98% success!  You can do it!  Plus, you can help raise needed funds and awareness for Neema Village, a rescue center for orphaned, abandoned, and at-risk babies.

Factoring in travel and a day or two before the climb and/or after the climb to visit Neema Village and/or take a great safari, climbers will need to block off the first two weeks of July.

This Charity Climb will benefit Neema Village.  Climbers from the 2019 Kili Climb were able to give Neema Village almost $30,000 by soliciting donations!

Our Climb Company is Everlasting Tanzania Travels.  Go to their website here .  Be sure to look at the “Kilimanjaro Treks” tab.

Costs for the climb are $2485 for climb fees and three nights at Moivaro Lodge (food and lodging included, based on 10 climbers),  about $2000 for airline ticket, plus your incidental expenses which vary depending on the climber’s tastes.

Itinerary
July 2020
4 Saturday Depart Home
5 Sunday Arrive Tanzania
     Overnight Moivaro Coffee Lodge
6 Monday Day at Neema Village
     Overnight Moivaro Coffee Lodge
7 Tuesday Travel Moshi
     Day 1 Climb
8 Wednesday Day 2 Climb
9 Thursday Day 3 Climb
10 Friday Day 4 Climb
11 Saturdayy Day 5 Climb
12 Sunday Day 6 Climb
13 Monday Day 7 Climb
     Summit
14 Tuesday Day 8 Descend to base
      Overnight Moivaro Coffee Lodge
                         Option 1                         Option 2*                      Option 3**
15 Wednesday Visit Neema Village      Visit Neema Village     Visit Neema Village
                          Depart Tanzania           One day Safari*           Two day Safari**
16 Thursday    Arrive Home                 Visit Neema Village      Safari 
                                                                  Depart Tanzania
17 Friday                                                 Arrive Home                Visit Neema Village
                                                                                                         Church
                                                                                                         Depart Tanzania
18 Saturday                                                                                    Arrive Home
 
*For a one day safari to Tarangeri National Park, add about $225
**For a two day safari to Tarangeri and the Ngorongoro Crater, add about $550
***Longer stays can be arranged for either a Safari to the Serengeti, or more time to volunteer at Neema House.
If you are interested in signing up or receiving more information, please contact Michael Fortson by email at:  michael@neemavillage.org

If you are ready sign up, please open this document link, print, complete, and return the reservation form to michael@neemavillage.org

 

Please pass this information on to others who you think might be interested in climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, East Africa.
STAY CONNECTED:

All By God’s Abundant Grace

All By God’s Abundant Grace

January 7, 2020

Our two little abandoned babies who came to Neema Village a few weeks ago are doing well. Newborn Mason was 3.2 kilos when Social Welfare brought him in. He is all baby chubby, cuddly now.

Abandoned baby Austin only weighed 2.2 kilos. But look at him with Karly Hoggard below from the UK.

Both are beautiful babies now, with soft black curls and they love to snuggle right up under your chin. That is Mason snuggling below with volunteer Nicky Thomas from Australia.

God is preparing just the right adoptive parents for these two little abandoned babies, but we get the joy and privilege of loving them until their new parents arrive.

Below sweet baby Senare’s mom died at his birth. The young Maasai father was trying to feed him with a thin sort of porridge but the baby was not thriving. At two months the baby only weighed 1.9 kilos. He was starving but look at this beautiful little baby made in God’s image now! 

Our dream for Neema Village has always been to get these babies into their forever homes by age 2 where they will never be abandoned again. God is Good and we were able to put nine babies, including Sharon, Given, Abasi and Kelvin in families last month, as well as the double trouble triplet boys below.

The triplet boys were able to go home to their mother, pictured below. Their little triplet sister, Esther is much smaller than the boys and had some CP from birth so she will not be going home yet. 

By God’s Abundant Grace through our MAP program we were able to set the triplets mother up in a used clothing and small vegetable stand business. She has the sickness and was working on the street. We are thankful that she is taking her medicine now and is trying to be a good mother and take care of her children. Praise God we have been able to help with that. It is a great joy when we not only rescue babies but the mom as well! 

The twins David and Dennis, pictured above with their mother and Karly, went home this month. Those two little guys have been such a cute part of Neema that it was hard to see them go. 

Their 18 year old mother had planned to abandon the little newborns when she became homeless after the babies birth.  The mom and babies were brought to Neema and lived with us for almost a year. She has bonded well with the boys and will never think of abandoning them now. She was able through our MAP program to start a vegetable stand business to support the little family. She has also taken the sewing classes at Neema and was given a treadle sewing machine by one of our volunteers. She made the curtains for the Handicap Baby Center. So proud of her!

She also finished the 16 week “Women’s Rights Seminar” held at Neema Village and was given a certificate at graduation. These strong hearted women just amaze me! 

Our sweet baby girl Sarah, above, also went home this month. Her mother had died of the sickness shortly after Sarah’s birth and the baby was brought to Neema Village.  Sarah went home to her Grandmother in December. We thank God for grandmothers here!

This is what we want for the babies, but I do have to say it is sometimes hard to see them go!

This month another mom, pictured below, finds hope through the Neema Village MAP program.  Halimah was abandoned by her husband while she was pregnant.

You could feel the despair from her face when she was interviewed for the MAP program.

She had lost all hope but by God’s Grace and generous donors to the MAP, program, she has been able to set up a small restaurant business making and selling chips mayai (eggs and chips) a popular dish in Africa. God continues to amaze us as we watch these women who have such sadness in their faces and then see them when Hope comes alive. It is worth all we go through to live here in Africa.

Come see us and we will take you out to lunch at Halimah’s!

Above are the moms bringing their handicap babies into the new Neema Village Day Care for Handicap Babies. It is off to a good start this month with nine babies enrolled in the program. These women who have been abandoned by their husbands because they gave birth to a handicap child, now have a place where their babies can be cared for while they learn to support their family through their small MAP businesses.  

The water well drilling equipment was in such broken condition from over loading with heavy drill stems for the drive from Dar to Arusha that we are still struggling to get parts, truck registration and get it back in shape to drill our first water well. We will keep you informed of that progress.

All in God’s timing.

Michael and I have been married 56 years as of January 4. We have worked together in Christian ministry from the beginning of our life together when we came to Africa with a 3-month-old baby in 1965. We have been in love with this land and its people ever since. I cannot imagine a more exciting life in our old age than following after God while He cares for widows and orphans. 

Selfishly please just say a prayer for our rental business which needs some major attention when we get home in February.  Since we don’t take a salary for what we do here that crazy business is what allows us to live and work in this beautiful land. We need it to be successful! Thank God!

Be Blessed in 2020,

Dorris and Michael

How Great Thou Art

How Great Thou Art

January 5, 2020

Malikia and Joycie singing “How Great Thou Art” . We have had these two children at Neema Village since they were newborn babies. They are both in boarding schools now and doing very well. Mali is in blind school in Moshi, about two hours away.

We are producing a DVD of our Neema kids singing and this is the first song finished but I just could not wait for you to hear it!! The teacher did not tell them the actions to the song, she said “Just Feel The Words.”

Click Here to See Video

Last Day of the Year

Last Day of the Year

January 1, 2020

Our last day of the year 2019 at Neema Village was a typical wild ride of emotions which looked nothing like I had planned in the morning. The day ended with these little characters wishing you a Happy New Year!

It looks like Linda Johnson had too much fun in The Walmart After Halloween sale!

Dorcas in the little elephant costume above.

Yohanna was Superman!

Linda with Babe Ruth in the bunny costume. There were about 17 more little cuties but don’t want to bore you.

Well just one more! Hosianna as Minnie Mouse.

We had begun the morning with a “cow meeting” in French translated into Swahili and then into English. Not that we or our cows speak French but Jean Yves, our volunteer from France who is a cow expert, does. He has been observing our milking process and had some suggestions for Yohanna (pictured below).

After a quick lunch we headed out with Anna on MAP (Mothers Against Poverty) runs. We first visited the home of Sara who has a successful sheep head soup business.  

Yes, I did say sheep head soup. 

Complete with liver, heart, head and maybe a couple of eyeballs and cooked with bananas it is supposed to be a powerful energizer. It was for me as I was powerfully energized to get back in the car!

Sara is another one of the “Lion Hearted Women” of Africa that we talk about. Her husband had a stroke and is paralyzed on one side, so she supports him and her four children with her sheep head soup business. 

Her last baby is downs syndrome so we can help her by putting him in the new Neema Village Day Care for Handicap Babies. She said it was hard every morning to go out to buy the sheep head and carry it and the baby back home. I can only imagine.

After visiting in her home we drove her over to the day care and as usual were so touched by how precious the nannies are as they sing and work with the babies.

On our first day of operation for the Neema Village Day Care for Handicap Babies nine babies came for care. Our nannies were in training for a month before we opened this week. These babies and their mothers were abandoned by their fathers. Many babies like this are left in dark rooms, some are fed very little, most are neglected. Here at Neema they are touched, massaged, given good food and given a specialized schedule of training so they can reach their full potential in life. I think this must make God so happy! It does me! 

After visiting the day care, we drove to one of the local government hospitals downtown.  We had gone at the request of Social Welfare to help a mother with her new baby. We first prayed with a woman in painful labor in the back of the room.  

The woman we went to help had a baby a week ago and has nowhere to go so she is still in the hospital. She is homeless, mentally challenged, her sole possessions were the clothes she had on and she has no one to help her. The hospital does not have food service (relatives are expected to feed the patients) so the staff has been sharing their lunches with her. We had taken her clean clothes and clothes for the baby a few days ago.  As we tried to talk with her, she would not look up and had to be prompted to feed the baby when he cried. She said she would give the baby to anyone. 

What a day! From one mother who will do anything, including getting out early mornings to bring home a sheep head so she can support her handicap baby to one who barely knows she has a baby, we ran the gamut of emotions today.

Another “atypical” day at Neema Village which is pretty typical.

In a country where there is very little government resources to help the helpless and homeless it is God’s people who step in. Bless you dear hearts who care enough to stand in the gap with us.

Dorris

Four New Babies at Neema Village

Four New Babies at Neema Village

December 18, 2019

There would be no baby book of memories, no happy family homecoming from the hospital, no flowers, no neighbors peeking in the blanket to see the new baby, no casseroles, no one interested in the birthing stories… Just the name “Tuesday” tied with a string on his wrist

That was baby number one’s history, a wrist tag that said Tuesday when we were called to pick up four babies at the hospital, three abandoned and one whose mom had died.

Two of our volunteers, Karly Hoggard and Nicky Thomas went with Angel and Hannah to the hospital to pick up the babies. They came home with three little baby boys. We are waiting on number four. Hopefully the mom has come back to find him or maybe Social Welfare has identified the mom and is trying to find another family member or maybe he is just not strong enough to leave the hospital.

Tonight I don’t even know the babies names or what happened to them, where were they found, on the road, in a latrine? Who found them or did their moms just walk out of the hospital? I’m sure we will get the police reports on them, for now we are keeping them warm and fed.

Bekah Johnson weighed the babies and checked them out as they entered Neema Village. One of the babies, the one whose mom died, is very tiny, about 1.9 kilos and is 2 months old. Please say a prayer for this little one tonight. God gives them each a will to live they just have to be strong enough to fight.

A young Maasai man, tall and strong, a defender of his family, able to kill a lion single handedly, headed to the hospital with his excited wife to have their first baby. He went home by himself last night to an empty house. There are no words to describe this kind of sadness.

The fourth baby may still be pending at the hospital but we did have a fourth baby at Neema Village yesterday. This little guy, pictured below, made his sudden appearance to Daisy our milk cow. He has no name yet, but has one eye with long black eyelashes and one eye with long white eyelashes.

As we gathered round to hold these three new babies I was reminded again of David Platt’s statement in his book, “Radical.”

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’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes.

I know it did for me.

Thank you to all of you who knew they were real with us this year.

Dorris

Be Strong and Courageous

Be Strong and Courageous

December 11, 2019

“Be Strong and Courageous, Be Strong and Courageous, Be Strong and Courageous!”

It’s a pretty good guess that when God tells someone something three times it’s because they really need to hear it! Joshua was going to fill some big shoes in chapter one of his book and it’s possible he was having some butterflies in his stomach.

That is how I feel this morning!

It was to be our first day of training at the Handicap Baby Day Care and I had just learned the training bed would not be there. Esther, a triplet with some CP pictured below, may be saying, Then what do we do?

We have not made an official announcement about this program yet but most of you already know, Neema Village under the encouragement of Social Welfare and we believe the continual promptings from a Loving God, is opening the only, one-of-a-kind day care to help moms with special needs babies in the city of Arusha. This center will only accept special needs babies, like Bryson in the picture with Nanny Juliette below.  

Social Welfare tells us no day care will accept these babies. As we worked with the MAP moms this past year, many of whom have handicap babies and were consequentially abandoned by their husbands, we saw how they struggled to survive and work a business while caring for their babies. One of our most successful MAP moms was carrying a seven year old on her back along with her new baby. 

Most of these babies sleep on the floor in a corner in their shops or in a dark room in the back of the house. It breaks our hearts and maybe God’s too.

To help these babies reach their full potential we have hired Penueli, who knows how to train women to work with special needs babies. She will begin this month training the nannies.  

Napendaela who was our teacher at Neema Village will be the new director at the day care center. We just sent her to driving school, so she has her driving license now.  

We have rented a house with easy access to town and have been renovating it, scraping walls, resurfacing, painting, ripping up carpet and putting down tile, etc. It is looking good now. 

 In January we will open and begin taking in babies for the day care. 

For now we are training the nannies using our Neema special needs babies, Esther, Bryson and Editha, pictured below. She doesn’t look too happy about standing up on the board.

The center will have a “sensory room” with games, music, a parrellel bar, colored lights, a bird nest swing, etc., anything we can do to help these little gifts from God to reach their full potential and bring some joy into their lives. The room is empty now but Nicky Thomas and her daughter Abby want to fill it up!

I began the day thinking, well the training bed may not be there, but God will be. When he tells Joshua to not be afraid, he also tells him how, because I will be with you!

Thank God!

Now let me tell you the day was awesome! Four nannies, 3 special needs babies and one teacher and we had a great day.  Lots of singing, massaging, stretching and games for the babies all day. The nannies and babies loved it, so did I.

dorris

A Divine Appointment

A Divine Appointment

November 24, 2019

It started out like any other day at Neema Village. I had gone down early to watch the milking in the new milking stall. Pretty Cool! No more bending over on a stool!

Babies were getting their bottles like any other day at our baby home in Arusha, Tanzania.

The big babies were anxiously waiting their turn to eat.

It was bubbles on the big front porch that morning. Little did we know what would happen later!

The new baby who had come in the night was being weighed and washed. She was screaming.  

Her Maasai mother had died, and the baby was starving. At three months old little Joyce weighed only about six pounds, was long and skinny with a mouth almost as big as her head! The nannies had put her in one of Maria’s old jackets and she was sucking both her middle fingers for comfort.

We had planned the day before to take our two volunteers on some MAP runs with Anna our MAP director. MAP is our Mother’s Against Poverty small business program.  Anna is always explaining how God works this program for women.

First on the run we wanted to take Mama Noella twenty of our Rhode Island Red chicks to upgrade her stock. We are so proud of this woman! With a seven-year-old special needs child on her back, a husband who had abandoned her and a new baby on the way we had set her up a year ago in a chicken business.  

Now she has become the chicken entrepreneur and all the neighbors around know to come to her for eggs. Our Julius is helping give her the chickens.

She has chickens in various stages of growth stuffed in chicken condominiums all around the yard!

The Rhode Island Reds are supposed to lay about 285 eggs per year, per chicken! A few months after her first chickens started laying, Mariya had gone out to check her books and make sure she was recording everything. Mama Noella pulled out a box from under her bed and said, “What do i do with this?” It was 200,000 shillings! Mariya said “It is Yours!”

We continued on and stopped to check out the new business site for our triplet’s mom and watch her sign the lease. The triplet babies have been at Neema a year and half and the two boys are ready to go home. You can see how much smaller Esther is in the middle, the boys are much bigger.

The triplet boys, Edward and Elesha are double trouble but cute as little buttons. Esther the smallest triplet is not yet stable enough to leave Neema.  Their mom had been living off the street until she became ill with the sickness. She takes her medicine and is much better now so we are setting her up in a vegetable stand business and a used clothing business so she can support the triplets.  She has been learning, too, how very precious she is to God and how much He wants for her to succeed and be a good mother.

After the MAP visits we wanted to drive down into the slum area of Arusha and hand out lollypops. That is what we thought we would do, Little did we know!

Veronica, who works at an orphanage in Haiti, is volunteering at Neema for a couple of weeks of vacation (who does that!!) and wanted to surprise a couple of new moms with an unexpected gift of money. So, our task was to find two new moms for her.

The first new mom we found had the brightest smile after she learned what these crazy Wazungu, who wanted to see her one-month old baby, were doing.  I’m sure she and her husband are still talking about the day the white people came and put money in her hand!

As we were driving out of the area, we had not yet found the second mom when we saw a woman hurrying down the dirt road toward our car. She did not have a dress on but had quickly wrapped a kanga around her body and was holding a small baby in front covered with a blanket. It was her eyes that stopped me. Puffy as if she had been crying, she was scared, and looked as if she would panic any moment. 

We stopped the car and I called, “Mama!” as she rushed on by. She turned and came back to the car. We asked if it was a baby under the kanga. Yes, she said, but I am on the way to the hospital, the baby is sick. We said, “Here is money to help.”

I can’t even describe the look on her face. Shock, fear, disbelief, I may have had the same look on mine as I once again saw the power of God at work in the street. A Divine Appointment had just happened, and we were there in awe to see it.

God is so far ahead of us we can’t even dream big enough for Him! But sometimes it is just the small things He does, like giving a bit of cash in a critical moment, that takes your breath away.

May you ever be watching for those divine moments!

Dorris and Michael