I’m Feeling 22, How About You?

I’m Feeling 22, How About You?

January 11, 2022

The little Maasai twins Nosiligi and Naleku at Neema Village look just like we feel!

It can’t be another year already!

It always blesses my heart to see how faithful God is every year and last year, with the world still in turmoil, it was no exception. As we wrap up the books on 2021 at Neema village, we thought we would share some news with you.

(Nothing like a Sunday Afternoon nap on the front porch, right Amy Miller? And Caroline the music teacher’s drum class, above, is always a hit with the babies and volunteers.)

Thirty Six (36) new babies arrived at Neema Village in 2021. That is always bittersweet for us, we love that we are here for them but we despise the tragedy in their lives that brought them to us.   All the Neema babies have a tragic story or we would not have them.

They come to us from Social Welfare and sometimes through the Police like little Edison, above, whose mother tried to sell him in the market.

A new baby came to us right as the old year was ringing out. Sweet baby Nelson, above, had lost his mommy in childbirth and had been in the hospital over a month. He was born Nov 25, 2021 and came to Neema on December 30, 2021. He was still so tiny and weighted only 1.6kg at over a month old, when he came to Neema. Babies in Africa have a hard time surviving to age five if they lose their mothers. We are in love with him already and Angel is working on a plan to get him into a family by age two. 

We were able to put 27 babies back into a family unit or in foster care/boarding school in 2021.

Tiny Baby Selah above, an abandoned baby, is growing big now and will have a brand-new mom and dad someday. Look at her fat little cheeks.

Neema Village had three adoptions of abandoned babies like Selah last year.

With the 36 new babies coming in and the 27 babies going out for adoption or reunification, we ended the year with sixty (60) babies in house.

Now this is a Full House Mr. Saget!

People have finally started braving the airways and our volunteers are returning. With the Aggies for Christ students from A & M University, we have 22 volunteers at Neema today.  Whoop!   

What a cool day our Aggies for Christ girls had last week! They helped with a program for young girls at an orphanage down the street on how to avoid early marriages and pregnancies. Many of these orphan girls have run away from villages to keep from marrying old men. Some sweet bonds happened between the university girls and the young girls who have been so traumatized in their lives.

There are 88 moms now in the MAP (Mothers Against Poverty) program at Neema Village.

Our newest MAP mom, Shamimu with her baby and MAP Director Anna above, ran away from her husband because he beat her. He beat her a lot and so often that she became deaf from the beatings. Beating a woman seems to be acceptable here. Ugh! This poor mom found her way to Neema Village for help. If you look at her wall upper right, she had written “God Save Us.” Fortunately, she came to Neema on a Thursday when we were having the “Women’s Rights” seminar where an attorney, Winnie, teaches these women they have the right not to be beaten. I love this program.

We will try to find some medical care for Shamimu and maybe her ears can be repaired. She is so frustrated and sad because he took away her hearing. We have moved her into the Jeffrey Scott May MAP houses and will help her start a business. Right now, she doesn’t see how she can do anything because she cannot hear. Our volunteer, Kassie, who is 24 years old, was broken hearted for this poor woman who is exactly her same age. Every MAP mom we help is depressed and sad when we first meet them and you can see the hopelessness on their faces. I hope we never grow so used to these tragic life stories that we cannot feel their sadness.

You can see it on Shamimu’s face as she holds her baby above.

Interesting story! About eight or nine years ago an ACU Bible class professor let me speak to his class about our work at Neema.  A young girl named Julia Prior attended that bible class. Years later she took a job at Young Life and then learned her boss was planning a trip to Neema Village to volunteer. Julia remembered that class and the lady who spoke all those years ago. Amazing isn’t it. Now Julia and her boss Karla and daughter Ella are here volunteering at Neema.  Our Mighty God, not limited by time, always remembers and is constantly putting things together for His people. Romans 8:28.

Neema Village did three “Save The Mothers” programs last year and 34 traditional birthers (older women who birth the village babies) came to Neema, spent a week on campus and learned how to more safely deliver babies. They also learned the great harm they have been doing by circumcising their young girls. Kassie Stanfield plans to have nine more STM sessions this coming year.  

The Daycare program is one of the saddest yet sweetest programs we do at Neema.  We are in our third year of keeping special needs babies so their moms can work and each day we are at capacity at the house we rent down town. We are hoping soon to move that daycare into the Mothering Center on the Neema campus and then build a new Mothering Center for the MAP program. We have way outgrown the Mothering Center for our women.  All in God‘s good time. We won’t build until we have the money so if you know someone whose name would look good on a Mothering Center building in Africa and they have a heart and resources to give let them know about this life changing program. 

One of my favorite pictures from 2021 is Sophia, our little Muslim girl, out of her wheelchair and sitting on the front porch reading her Bible. Isn’t She gorgeous.

Wonders never cease.

May God grant you laughter, some quiet time and plenty of hugs in 2022.