His Plan Is Always Better

His Plan Is Always Better

June 25, 2021

We have been talking, planning, and dreaming for a few years about building birthing centers out in the remote areas of Tanzania to help save some of the moms who die in childbirth. We would staff it with medical grads, we thought, who would spend six months working in Africa before they settled down to a practice. It sounded good. Thankfully, God stepped in and had a better plan.

Instead, let’s bring them in for two weeks of training! Meet our first Maasai “Birthers.” Twelve Bibis (grandmothers) came in to learn new techniques on how to save mothers during childbirth. Kassie and I were close to tears as we realized they actually were coming in. For most of them this was their first trip to a big town; many of them had never seen a paved road, flush toilets, or water running in a sink; we know because Kassie had to turn it off the first day! And yet they came to spend two weeks with strangers, in a place they did not know, to learn how to save the mothers. Amazing.

Kassie loves to hold the Neema babies, so the seminar took away some of her baby holding time. Hopefully she can make it up. That is cutie pie little Venosa with her. Kassie had prepared two weeks of lessons with videos, since none of the birthers knew how to read or write. She started by just listening to them.

Each lesson had to be translated twice, from Kassie’s English, into KiSwahili by Mercy, a midwife, and then into KiMaasai by Juliette, one of our nannies. These three made quite a team!

We had planned all their meals starting with Chai at 8:30 every morning. We knew that Maasai do not eat game meat but we did not know they do not like chicken so we had to scramble to change some of our menus.

Classes started at 9am sharp or somewhere close to that! We had something fun, like drawing, for them to do each day. They didn’t like playdough!

I think I have seen some of these drawings on a cliff somewhere, haven’t you??

As the women began to open up and talk Kassie kept notes.

It would be hard to tell you all we learned from listening to them but one thing for sure, their customs run deep, are generational and will be hard to change

There was plenty of one on one visiting time, too

We learned to love these grandmothers, even though some of their customs were harsh to hear, left Kassie in tears and were unimaginable to think about. I couldn’t pronounce most of their names but I think this Bibi was Sweet Face.

In the mornings after Chai, we had a short Bible lesson. Kelle Samsill, Leslie Miller and Ashley Berlin did some beautiful lessons on God’s love and plan for His people. Ashley, in the middle below, is our wonderful teacher at Neema Village.

On Sunday the volunteers took the Bibis to a local Swahili church. They sang some Maasai songs and said a few words to the group. Maasai women always look dressed up because they wear so much beautiful, sparkly jewelry

One afternoon after classes I took them down to the barn to see our big Holstein milk cows. That may have been a mistake since most of the wars in this country have been fought over cows. Maasai believe God gave them all the cows on the earth and if you have a cow, they want it back.

They wanted to see how a sewing machine worked so Orupa came down one day to show them a machine.

Four of them proceeded to sew a bag.

Two weeks later on graduation day, they each got a certificate and a red Maasai Bible.

Our little granddaughter, Maria, a Maasai herself, got to hand out the Bibles. You must use two hands when giving and receiving to the Maasai.

Esther was our fabulous, after-hours director for the Bibis. She walked them everywhere, made sure they made it to class and meals on time and slept in the MAP houses with them. She lives in an orphanage down the street from Neema Village. Esther had run away from her village to keep from marrying an old man. Hiring Esther was one of the best things we did!

At graduation they each got a T-Shirt with the “Save the Mothers” Emblem on the back and “We love Mothers and We will Save Them” written in KiMaasai on the front.

I love the SAVE THE MOTHERS logo on the back.

During graduation they each had to tell one thing they had learned in their two weeks at Neema Village

Some of them said that they learned how to do a Shoulder Dystocia. Others learned how to safely deliver a breech birth.

Michael and I do not know how to do most of what we do here at Neema Village but one thing we have learned is that God’s plan is always better and we are never afraid to drop our plans to do His.

You deserve a medal if you made it to the end of this marathon blog!


Dorris and Michael

Bibis sing Ache IMG 4983