Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

November 18, 2021

After packing 15 suitcases, weighing, repacking, weighing again, repacking again… finally just paying the fee for overweight bags, we made it to our Home Sweet Home in beautiful Tanzania, East Africa.  This picture was taken from the front of the David and Lyndy Edwards Blessing house. It is dry, dusty and hot here but still beautiful with lots of mangoes in the trees.

Now we will have time to unpack and look at all the lovely clothes everyone sent for the babies’ Christmas and to restock our baby closets. It may look to volunteer Grace from Ireland that new clothes were just in time too!

The toddler girls in their Sunday best below. Kelle in purple and Arianna and Venosa together with Ivan and his girls in the bottom picture below. Could they be any cuter? Well, maybe a little smile would be cuter. They usually go through a “you left me so I am going to be a little standofish for a while” thing when we return.

Ivan and his girls. Poor little buddy, he is in the toddler room all by himself with a group of baby girls!

A Great Big Thank you to everyone who helped fill this closet with clothes for us!

And Thank You to the loving fingers who crocheted the colorful, soft blankets for the isolation room babies.

When we send babies home, we always send a bag full of clothes and blankets with them so we get low on clothes sometimes. So far this year we have sent 20 babies home to their forever families, like little abandoned baby Hope who was adopted this year,

Monday night we returned to Neema Village to a full house especially in the isolation room where there are 8 new babies. The smallest is Nasiri, he is two months old and still only weighs 1.7kg

This little precious one below is in the hospital with a stomach bug. They stuck her a number of times in the hands and finally went to the head for the IV. Baby Judith may be little but Emily says she has a grip.

It’s the end of the year and three of these big boys, Isac, Ema and Eben, will be going together to the big SOS school in Arusha next week. They are excited. 

I know you will be emailing me about this but please remember we are a baby home and only take babies up to age two at Neema Village. We have always believed that no baby belongs in an orphanage so we try to have them back in a family home or adopted by age three or four and if that is not possible into a good boarding school. Sometimes their home life is not good enough for a return and the relative will not release them for adoption so boarding school or foster care is the next option. We have twenty-four children in our foster care/school program. Most English schools start children at age three here. It’s hard to think of these little guys in boarding school but remember this is Africa, not America or England.

The MAP program, helping African women who have been abused and abandoned, continued while we were in America.  Nine young women are in Neema’s current sewing class. We will need 7 more sewing machines for them when they finish the class in a few weeks.   $325 USD helps us pay for the teacher and house cleaner, their machines, sewing items, fabric, food on class days, and keeps the lights on! You might think about that as a Christmas gift for someone who already has everything but would enjoy the thought of helping someone else at Christmas.  Let me know and I can send you a picture of one of the seven to receive a sewing machine. Christina (shopping below) will start a business sewing Maasai wraps.

Editha, (below) is our newest MAP mom. She is seventeen and was in quarantine at Neema for a few weeks while her baby’s horrible skin condition healed. At home in USA River her mother has died and her father is very sick. Her five-year-old brother lives with them and they have very little in the home. MAP will help Editha support her family with a small duka (shop) selling things like salt, sugar, and soap. Our shop manager Baraka built her stand where she will sell her products. We bought her a bed and her business and support for six months will cost $600. Supporting a MAP mom would also be a great Christmas gift.  

This week Neema’s “Save The Mothers” program is in session again in the Mothering Center. This is Kassie’s third session this year teaching now thirty-four traditional birthers from remote villages how to safely deliver babies.  Can I tell you how much I love this program! These Bibis (grandmothers) cannot speak a word of English or even Swahili but we love them. We love their spirit, their smiles and willingness to jump into songs and dancing and the fact that they would come to a strange town to a strange home with things they have never seen like stoves and coffeepots, and that they would all sleep together on the floor for a week, eat different foods and listen to strangers speak a different language all day and show gory, moving pictures of birthings so they can then go home and completely change how they have done things for centuries in their villages!  I just admire them so much. They give Kassie a run for her money somedays but she is tough and committed and holding her own. Actually, Kassie doesn’t take any money to do this program. She has paid her own way here at Neema for over a year. That is what our volunteers do!

Traditional Maasai Birthers

While in America this trip we did purchase a compressor for the Neema Village Tanzania Water Well project. With the down hole hammer that we brought last trip home, we were able to get through the black rock but were not able to rent a compressor big enough to blow the chips out of the hole so the bit kept getting stuck in the hole. The compressor cost a bit more than we had hoped to pay, $14,000 USD and the shipping costs, because of Covid and ships unable to dock, has almost doubled in price. While in the States we also purchased 20 more drill stems to go down 400 feet. Each one cost $175. USD. Now that would be an unusual Christmas gift!! 

“Hey Hon, your Christmas gift this year is a drill stem for African water wells!”  I like it!

Scott Lockett and Alan Sandor are looking for a 20 foot shipping container to send the compressor and drill stems. If you have one sitting in your back yard and you would be willing to donate it to our nonprofit for a tax write off, we would really appreciate that. Or if you are willing to buy one for us that would be great too. Please let us know soon, we need to get this compressor on the ship. 

Scripture tells us, “You don’t have because you don’t ask.” So, today we are asking and believing! I am convinced God’s people have everything we need to do His work. It is His job to touch your heart. It is our job to tell the story. www.neemavillage.org

Love you all,

Dorris and Michael