Our First Graduate From the Day Care

Our First Graduate From the Day Care

August 30, 2020

Almost three years ago triplets were born at Mt. Meru Hospital in Arusha, Tanzania. The two baby boys were healthy and strong but the little girl was sickly and unable to keep food down, they were not sure she would live.  Today she is a graduate!

After the triplets birth the mother stayed a month in the hospital with Esther while the triplet boys, Edward and Elesha, came to Neema Village.  When the tiny baby girl was finally able to come to Neema she was put in the incubator in the isolation room and on the warming table to keep her temp up. She was about half the size of her brothers.

Her brothers grew big, were rambunctious and into everything. But Esther continued to struggle to put on weight and keep food down. She was slow to sit up and could barely stand on her on at two while the boys were running all over the place.

When we opened the Day Care for Handicapped babies last year, we began taking Esther to the center every day. With the help of some great donors we bought equipment to help the babies sit up, reach for things, crawl and hopefully someday walk. Napendaella and teacher Penuweli and the daycare staff worked long hours with Esther and the other babies enrolled at the daycare. 

The babies get coconut oil massages every day to loosen up restricted muscles. Below, Esther on the parallel bars at the Daycare in her new blue graduation dress made by the daycare staff.

At the Daycare the babies eat nutritious food and are applauded for each accomplishment. In June while we were still in the States we got our first video from Kim that Esther was walking. I’ve watched that video many times and still cry every time. Below Esther at the graduation party at Neema Village.

The boys went home almost a year ago. Their mother had been working on the street, is HIV positive and needed help. Through the MAP program at Neema Village we moved her to a new location and set her up in a small shop selling staples like sugar, flour, salt, veggies, etc. She has a good business going now, is taking her medicine and the little family has a great future together. Esther is the tiny one in the middle below.

At the Neema graduation party, the Triplets’ mom talked about how grateful she was to have found the help she needed from Christians at Neema Village. 

At the Daycare party we shared with the moms and staff that the world may have thought that Esther’s future was to be an invalid, to be put off and hidden in a dark room somewhere but that God’s plan was for her to walk and have a life full of joy and accomplishments. 

Hopefully our talk was an encouragement for the other moms of the handicapped babies to not give up, that it might not be all they had planned and dreamed of when they were expecting their babies but that their lives could still be full of love and happiness if they will go with God’s plans for hope and a future. It is Amazing Love that brings these little handicapped babies into a life of hope.   

I think we can all live life to the full with that promise, don’t you!

We hope you live God’s plan of hope and a future in your life today, too!

Bekah (above) spent long hours with this little one in the isolation room. She will miss this baby when she goes home one day soon. But it is what Neema does best!

Dorris and Michael, just Administrators of God’s Amazing Grace.

Jeremiah 29:11

Esther graduates from Daycare at Neema Village. video IMG 7679

A Double Whammy

A Double Whammy

August 27, 2020

Two moms with babies and such tragic stories came to Neema Village needing help.  Two shipments we have been anxiously waiting for both came in on the same day.  A double whammy twice on the same day!

This little 1.8 kg baby (below) was born three weeks ago at the hospital. The mom and baby had been staying in the hospital because they had nowhere to go. The hospital does not have food service so family members must come to the hospital to cook for the patients.  Since the mother, Mariam, had no one to cook for her the nurses had been trying to bring her some food and snacks. 

Her husband had given her AIDS, then abandoned her. She was alone in the hospital. The hospital staff called to see if we could help.  We brought her home to Neema today and put her in the women’s shelter bedroom at the Mothering Center.  

 She is depressed and afraid to nurse the baby so we are supplying formula, bottles and clean water for the baby and good nutritious food for Mariam along with some counseling and encouragement.  She also got to go into the “Dress For Success” room in the Mothering Center and pick out some clothes. We will have to make a business plan for her later when she is stable.  The baby is so tiny he gets lost in the blankets .

Another mom, Happyness, came with her little eleven-month-old handicapped baby named Purity today. It’s another one of those sad stories where the husband cannot take the stigma of having a handicapped child and abandons the family. This one left with all the furniture and possessions of the family and Happyness came home to find her sole possession was one foam mattress on the floor. 

She has been walking around the neighborhood with Purity on her back begging in the little village below Neema. She stopped at a poor widow woman’s house and the old woman decided she could stay in an empty room in her house for 5,000 shillings a month (about $2.50).  There was no water or electricity.

The very poor mud and stick house was on a small hill just off the road down to the Moivaro Coffee lodge.  The village leaders heard about Happyness begging around the village and called Neema to help. 

The old lady’s two daughters in law came into the room when Anna and I came to visit and the six of us could barely fit in the room. But she said her son is coming home now and she will need the room back so Happyness and Purity were homeless again.

Below, our MAP Director Anna in the middle, met Happyness on the road looking for a room where Happyness and Purity could live. Anna also took them to the Neema Village Day Care for Handicapped Babies and got Purity enrolled.

After finding a room, Anna took Happyness to the African market for a bed, chair, table and gas cooker. I can never go with Anna on these buying trips. When an Mzungu shows up the price goes up! Anna also bought her some dishes, pots and pans and some food. Now Happyness and Purity have a home!

We prayed with both these girls today and told them they were not alone, that Hope and Help were available and they would be happy again. We told them that God is a Blessing God and loves to bless His people who then bless others. We will start Happyness in a small business selling staples like sugar, flour, salt, soap, veggies, etc. We pray Walmart never comes to Tanzania!  It would ruin all these little businesses we are setting these women up in,  all 74 of them now!

When we arrived back at Neema this afternoon, we got the call that the truck was on the way to Neema with the crate we had shipped back in March (pictured at the top).  Then we got the call that the box with the pasteurization machine sent through DHL quick delivery, had also finally arrived. It took a month!  The crate had been opened and we are pretty sure it had been pilfered.  I guess someone needed those diapers more than we did!

We do believe that God is a Blessing God and somedays like today He blesses us with both challenges and blessings!

May you be doubly blessed today,

Dorris and Michael

The Widow Wins It All!

The Widow Wins It All!

August 9, 2020

You are not going to believe who this is!!

Yes, it’s Phillip!

Kim Fortson White writes: “I was at Neema Village when this little cutie pie (above) came in. I have never seen a baby so emaciated (below). God placed just the right people at Neema to care for him. Thank you Rebekah Johnson for your tireless efforts. Keeping the oxygen tanks full (not easy in Tz) and giving the right meds to treat the worst lung infection the doctor had ever seen in a baby. And thank you God for the incredible nannies of Neema Village who literally stood watch 24 hours a day over this baby for months on end. They are also God’s miracles.”

Neema Village is getting close to 300 babies saved in eight years. There have been a few we got in too late to save, this little one at three months old and just over 3.3 lbs, was close.

It’s a little early for another blog but just had to share some good news with you. This week we began our 3rd Women’s Rights Seminar in the Koala Place Mothering Center on the Neema Village campus. It is named Koala because 2 Australian nurses built the Mothering Center where all the MAP events happen.

The Women’s Rights Seminar is a 16 week course taught by two young attorneys. They help women understand that they do have rights; the right to not be beaten, to inherit their land and cows, the corn, the home and the fields. The first class today was about how their children have the right to support from the father and how to make that happen.

Baraka, one of the attorneys, is with me in the picture to the right and Winnie is pictured below with some of the women during break.

The 25 women who came today are new to the MAP program. Most of them were abandoned by their husbands and left to care for their children alone. At Neema’s Mothering Center they find a support group of moms struggling just like themselves. They are also able to take classes in sewing, computer, bookkeeping, and look at other business ideas like sustainable farming, egg business, bee keeping, etc.

Winnie, the attorney, is the one in the grey suit below.

But on with the story of the widow. Mwajuma showed up at Neema a few years ago. She was sitting in the driveway one morning when we woke up. She had had polio when she was 12 and has walked on her knees since then. She married and had a son and then her husband left her. On this morning, Michael helped her into Neema where we could visit with her about what help she needed.

She knew how to make the beautiful shoes that are so popular in Tanzania so after visiting with her we set her up in the shoe business.

But last year she had a wreck, broke her leg and has had 2 surgeries, now sadly it looks like she will not be able to work again.

A friend called her a few months ago and told her that her husband had died. Mwajuma decided to go to the village. While there she began to talk to the elders about her right to inherit the land and home. She had learned some very important things through the Women’s Rights program and she was able to inherit all he had owned. The widow got it all!

Now one last happy story. A baby ( above) was left abandoned at the hospital in January. The mother just walked out after the birth. The nurses gave her a few days to hopefully return but she never did so Neema Village was called and we named the baby Patric.

Yesterday Patric was adopted! His new mom is from Dar and she flew to Arusha and spent a couple of days with Patric so he would not be afraid. She spent the night in the small baby room with the nannies and in the morning they flew off to Dar and a whole new life for this sweet baby. It’s what Neema does best!

A Whole New Life is what Jesus does best too, but you probably know that or you wouldn’t be reading this long blog!!

Bless you,

Dorris and Michael, just Administrators of God’s Amazing Grace.

Psalms 30:11

Another reminder: As you continue to buy things through Amazon, please remember to buy through Amazon Smile.  It is Amazon’s way to give back. Set up Neema Village as your “Charity of Choice” and they will give Neema Village 5% of your purchase.  We are registered with Amazon as a nonprofit so you just have to scroll down the list of nonprofits until you get to Neema Village, click there and everything you buy will make money for Neema. But be sure you choose Amazon Smile when you go to Amazon to purchase something. Asante Sana!

Michael and Dorris. www.neemavillage.org

A Happy Ending

A Happy Ending

August 6, 2020

We had told you a few weeks ago about a mother and her big handicap boy, Ezekiel. She had been selling homemade, fermented to near lethal, corn brew to men lounging outside her home and making trouble for her children. Social Welfare had asked Neema Village for help. Now here is the rest of her story.

We moved Mama Ezekiel and her four children from the mud hut where they had been living (pictured above) into a concrete house close to a busy street where she could do a different business. Ezekiel was excited to see us when we came to the new house today.

She had fixed up the new house by covering the concrete walls with colorful fabric.

 But the biggest change was the light bulb! From a dark mud room (pictured below) where we could barely see her face to this bright cheery home, above, has been an amazing change for her.

I remember when we first moved back to Tanzania we were told that only 3% of Tanzanian families have electricity.  Can you imagine the difference a single light bulb can make in the life of a family! The children can do their homework after dark, she can work on the books for her new business, they can read stories before they go to bed! To see such a huge change in the lives of these MAP women always makes me cry, too, Mama Ezekiel.

Today we had come to deliver her new business, a vegetable stand. Baraka, our Neema Village shop manager, had welded the metal stand together and it took four of our guys to move it. 

We set it up on a busy street where we blessed the stand and prayed that she would have a good business there and be able to support her family. 

This morning she went to the local African market and bought her first produce to sell; avocados, eggplant, bananas, new potatoes, etc. She wants to branch out to sugar, salt and soap next. As I finish this blog today, I learned she sold all the vegetables by the end of her first business day!

The rewards are great in this business of helping lift the women of Africa through our MAP program.  Huge hugs are priceless! 

May you be Blessed with lots of Hugs today!

Dorris and Michael, Administrators of God’s Amazing Grace.

Baby Ruth Hits A Home Run

Baby Ruth Hits a Home Run

July 26, 2020

I always think I will write just a short note letting you know the latest from Neema Village. Then I start thinking about all the cool things that God has done this month like what happened to Baby Ruth and the astonishing transformation of Margareth, the girl from the dump, and the words just won’t stop!

On August 26, 2013 a newborn baby was found in the grass in a stranger’s front yard. He was naked, still had his umbilical cord attached, and had a rash on his cheek from laying in the grass all night. It still makes me cringe to think of what might have come up in the night to sniff at him. Poor little guy.

Social Welfare brought the baby to Neema and we named him Daniel. Daniel grew and grew, he became like a little tank, healthy and strong but with a gentle spirit.  A family from Dar es Salaam came to adopt a baby and they chose Daniel. They connected immediately, probably because the mom always brought cookies and Daniel loved food of any kind.

(I don’t know how the following picture got in here, except that I am a chocoholic and love Baby Ruth candy bars!)

But on with the story. A few years ago, another baby was abandoned when a mother asked a stranger to hold her baby while she went to do something. The mother left and never returned.  We named this little abandoned baby Ruth and called her Baby Ruth. She was quiet and shy, didn’t smile much and never stood out when people came looking to adopt. Ruthie got older, had not been chosen to be adopted and was finally moved up to the big girl’s UCare house.

The big kid’s houses, Montana and UCare are usually for the kids who have some family problems or medical issues that make them un-adoptable or unable to return home.   By the time the kids get to the big kids houses they are usually not adoptable and we foster them and put them in school in town. (Montana and UCare houses on the Neema Village campus pictured below)

But 400 miles away in Dar es Salaam, Daniel had decided he wanted a little sister and began to pester his mom about getting one. They didn’t want a little baby and when they came to Neema Village Ruthie was just the right age for them. So, Daniel got a little sister and Baby Ruth got a forever family. I like to think she hit a “Home Run” with this sweet family. (You probably have to be over 50 to understand that)

Last year we told you the story of a young mom picking up used plastic bottles from the dump. She would rummage through trash until she had a huge bag of dirty bottles and then take them to the plastic grinding plant where she was paid 1,000 shillings per bag, or about .50 cents.

We went with Anna and Kim to find this young girl and could not believe anyone could stay in such an inferno; the grinding machine was so loud it would “adle the brain.” Which is what we thought happened to Margareth. When we went to interview her, we knew there was something terribly wrong with her, her eyes were vacant, she never smiled or spoke a word, only sucked on a candy that we gave her baby.

Much to our surprise Margareth has flourished in Neema’s MAP program. She began taking sewing classes at Neema last year. When we returned to Africa after Covid 19 this year, we found she was taking computer classes at Neema!  I just have to laugh at how God surprises us all the time.

The schools are opening again in Tanzania and our Neema Village Day Care for Handicap babies will reopen in August. We can’t wait. These little ones, like Bryson, need all the help they can get to reach their full potential in life.

As you continue to buy things through Amazon, please remember to buy through Amazon Smile.  It is Amazon’s way to give back. Set up Neema Village as your “Charity of Choice” and they will give Neema Village 5% of your purchase.  We are registered with Amazon as a nonprofit so you just have to scroll down the list of nonprofits until you get to Neema Village, click there and everything you buy will make money for Neema. But be sure you choose Amazon Smile when you go to Amazon to purchase something. Asante Sana!

May you always be surprised at God’s Mighty Hand in your life!

Michael and Dorris

Mama Ezekiel and The Pombe Business

Mama Ezekiel and The Pombe Business

July 14, 2020

We have been back in Tanzania and Anna asked if I would go with her to check on a mom who needed help. Our MAP program helps mothers in need with housing, food, support and small business opportunities. After a year and a half, we have 72 moms in our MAP program. God is Good Indeed!

This mom had a business of making Pombe (a local corn brew which could sterilize your nostrils from half a mile away!) and which was not a good business for her. She has four children and the men coming to buy the beer were causing much trouble. The local Commissioner called Neema Village to see if we could help her.

We took off down the dirt road but soon had to leave the car and walk in. The path led us through a winding trail of mud and stick houses with squawking chickens and crying children afraid of the strange Mzungu (me) walking by. We called, “Hodi” as we came to Mama Ezekiel’s door.

Mama Ezekiel, Paulena, has four children. The youngest was damaged at birth and the husband, ashamed that he would have a child like that, abandoned the family. Paulena began making and selling beer in order to feed her four children. Inside the house we found she had only one bed and she, Ezekiel and one of the girls slept in the bed. The other two children slept with friends or neighbors.

Ezekiel is seven and a big boy now. It always touches me how these moms with handicap babies are so proud of every little thing their children can do. Paulena was proud that Ezekiel could bless Anna by putting his hand on her head, a common custom here. Anna is always so gracious to these moms and their babies.

It is hard to keep from crying as we hear these women tell their stories of abuse and abandonment. Paulena would make a pail of brew but the men who came to buy would often run away before paying. Drunken men would hang around her house and she knew this was not safe for her children.

Ezekiel is a sweet child who tried to smile at us even though he was afraid. After talking with Paulena we decided to move her to a safer neighborhood and start her in a vegetable business. Her new house, below with the yellow door, is concrete and close to a major road where she can do a good business.

After the visit Paulena and Ezekiel came out to walk us back to the car. I don’t know about you but when I see this mom holding this big boy I wonder just how much longer she can carry him around! We may need to get her a stroller.

These African women are the strongest women I know. She tied this big boy on her back and off we went!

A vegetable stand is always a good business here since local Tanzanians do not go to the big super markets. With six months rent at $102, the vegetable stand with vegetables at $250, and monthly support at $30 per month for six months while she gets her business going, Mama Ezekiels’s business will cost about $532. USD.

As we drive off from these visits Anna always sings her song.

“The time to be happy is now

The place to be happy is here

And the way to be happy

Is to make someone happy

And we have a little heaven down here.”

May you be blessed with Health and Happiness and a little Heaven down here,

Michael and Dorris Fortson, Directors and Founders of Neema Village Tanzania Inc.


Anna's song MG 6409

God Puts It All Together

God Puts It All Together


June 29, 2020

It’s Just the Sweetest Thing!

In December a newborn was found abandoned and the police were called to pick him up. The baby’s total history was on a paper tag on his wrist with the name “Tuesday.”

Today baby Tuesday has a new name, a new mom and dad and he will never be abandoned again.   Thank you, God, for the plans you had for this baby from the beginning. From such sadness comes such great joy. This sweet couple could not wait for the virus to be over so they could come in and pick up their new son.  Can’t you just feel the “Is he really ours!”wonder in this picture!!

That is baby Tuesday above, we called him Austin.

Our MAP program at Neema Village helps moms who have been abused, used and abandoned. This week Anna, the MAP Director and our daughter Kim White (below) went out to visit a mom who was in trouble.

Until a few months ago, Aneth and her husband were leaders in the small town of Usa River outside Arusha. They had a nice home and two children, they were looked up to in the community and were leaders in their Seventh Day Adventist church. But polygamy is accepted in this country and Aneth’s husband wanted a second wife. With Aneth resisting he decided he would just take off her head. He swung the machette but she put up her arm and he made a deep cut in her arm instead.  Then he ran off abandoning the family and Aneth and the children lost their home and became destitute.

After the interview Aneth was enrolled into the MAP program. She makes seventy-two women who have had a dramatic life change thru MAP (Mothers Against Poverty) at Neema Village. Have I told you lately how much I love this program!!

But now read how God orchestrated the rest of the story. 

Meshack, our second baby at Neema was one month old when he was brought in from the Maasai village eight years ago. His mother had died at his birth and Meshack was starving. At the father’s request we brought the baby in to Neema and he stayed with us for about a year then went back out to his village.

He is a very loving, gentle, eight-year-old now. We have had him in boarding school but we recently learned the boarding house had some big boys who had been on the street and were rough with the little guys and stealing their food.   We desperately needed another home for Meshack. (Our daughter Kim and Meshack below)

This is where the lives of Meshack and Aneth converge. A cleaning lady for the boarding school told Neema about the problems Meshack was facing at the school. A friend told Aneth to check out the MAP program that helps women at Neema Village. Aneth needed help and Meshack needed a home.  MAP has now moved Aneth into a two-room home close to the school, bought her beds for the children and will set her up in a business. We will pay Aneth each month for Meshack’s care and food. It’s a win win for both Aneth and Meshack.  Isn’t God amazing!!

Neema’s newest baby is this little heart-faced baby bull. Five baby bulls in a row, what’s with that! Scott suggested we name this one Ribeye. We are not too happy with our cows right now, they got out and ate the vegetables in our garden last night.

We have been harvesting dried beans at Neema. You let them dry to a crisp in the field, the women bring them in on their heads, then you beat the bushes so the beans fall out onto the tarp. Kim decided this would be a good job for our big kids and it looks like Jackson had fun!

Kim says we may get enough beans to last the whole year. That would be nice since we feed about a hundred meals a day at Neema Village and we cook a lot of beans.

I love seeing pictures of our road at Neema. We made those bricks on campus three at a time. It took us months to get enough bricks to make this road! It is usually full of babies and strollers.

We are anxious to get back to our Africa home and meet the ten new babies who have come in since we left in February. It has been a bizarre trip home and not much we had planned to do has gotten done. We did get another audit finished and were tickled when the Auditor told us our administrative costs for Neema Village were still under 5%.

We have tickets on Ethiopian airlines, now if the planes will just be flying into Arusha and we won’t have to quarantine for 14 days!! Please be praying for us!

All by God’s Abundant Grace

dorris and michael

New Little Twins at Neema Village Today

New little Twins at Neema Village Today

June 23, 2020

Kim called from Africa today; little twin girls have come to live at Neema. They are a month old and their names are Happiness and Grace.

Their dad had been killed in a bodaboda (taxi motorcycle) accident before the twins were born. If you have been to Arusha you have seen the bodaboda as they zip in and out of traffic getting people to work and shopping. It is a rough way to make a living for these young men and accidents are common.

The babies’ mom bled to death during the delivery. They are Maasai and the Maasai prefer to birth at home but sometimes the older women who deliver the babies need a bit more training. Six of our newest babies have come from this same area and all lost their moms in childbirth. It is beyond sad and so needless.

We should do more Safe Birthing seminars like the one we did a couple of years ago with Dr. David Vineyard, a gynecologist from Nacogdoches. Lindsey, David’s wife, and Dr. Jeff McCormack and his wife Tina, from Oklahoma Christian University, helped with that Safe Birthing Seminar. But to get out to these remote villages for seminars as well as drilling water wells we are needing to buy a Land Cruiser. Our town cars are being beaten to pieces.

There were 6 children in the little twins’s family and the mother’s sister was trying to keep all six of them along with her own children. It was too much for her so the precious babies were brought to Neema Village.

We will love them until a family can be found for them, hopefully before the age of two.

You may not know this but Amazon will donate .5% for every purchase to a charity of your choice. Neema Village is registered with Amazon so we are already set up to receive their donations. It is so easy to do this. Just go to Amazon and click on AmazonSmile. It will prompt you to choose a charity. Please scroll down and choose Neema Village. You can certainly make a Neema baby Smile by choosing Neema Village!

From the two Champion Smilers, Julius and Maria, Thanks Everyone

Free At Last!

Free At Last!

June 10, 2020

The Lockdown at Neema Village is over and the President says Tanzania is free at last from Corona!  That is such a relief to know! With 60 babies on campus and a large staff caring for them it was a rough time with almost a hundred people including the babies, volunteer directors, five cows and a hundred chickens locked in at Neema Village! The nannies were overjoyed to finally be able to go home!

(ATT: We added a large group of new addresses to our email list this month so if you are receiving this email for the first time it is because at some point last year you donated to Neema Village.  We wanted you to know how your money is being spent.)

If you are new to the blog let me quickly tell you what we do at Neema Village. We are a baby rescue center for abandoned, orphaned and at-risk babies in Tanzania. We only take babies two years old and under. And let me tell you babies are just plain expensive! So thank you for your gift to Neema Village!

The Arusha Social Welfare sends babies to Neema Village that have been orphaned by the death of their mother, abandoned, or at-risk babies (born with conditions that they would not survive in the villages, like Loitapuaki being read to to by Ashley Berlin from Casper Wyoming). One in 22 moms die in childbirth in sub-Sahara Africa. Shocking isn’t it! When a mom dies the children have a drastically reduced chance of surviving to age five. 

Baby Phillip, who lost his mother, was 3 months old and weighed only 3.3 lbs when he was brought in to Neema. He is still on oxygen so please keep praying for him. Every time our daughter Bekah tries to take him off, his oxygen level goes back down. Neema bought a $2,000. oxygen tank to keep him alive during the lockdown since no one could go out to refill our smaller tanks. Way to go Neema Village, this is what saving babies is all about.

The first week open after Covid, one of our sweetest babies was adopted! Little Mason, above, was an abandoned baby and a couple from Dar es Salaam had been looking to adopt him. Some of our babies have been left on roadsides, in a gravel pit, by the river, a bus station bench, a latrine, in the grass. etc. Mason’s mother left him outside a health center and the police were called to pick him up. We were just loving him until his new mom and dad could get here.

They could not wait for the lockdown to end so they could get in to see him. This week they were able to come in and hold him. They spent a few days with him, feeding him his bottle, changing him and getting him to bed. They were a pretty excited couple as they flew off to Dar with their new son. Neither Neema Village nor Social Welfare accept money for adoptions.

Two other abandoned babies are being looked at and paper work is being done to adopt them. Austin, above, and Patric, below, will be the next ones to be adopted. Such cute babies who will soon have their forever families. Praise God they will never be abandoned again.

So Neema Village is back to doing what it does best. 

In addition to the 59 babies on campus now, there are 71 full time employees at Neema Village. Only Tanzanians are paid a salary at Neema Village in Tanzania. We like that and I think you will too. Hard working nanny below with three babies. This is what happens when we don’t have volunteers!!

Stay with us for the next few emails and we will tell you about our small business program for moms called MAP (Mothers Against Poverty) helping women who have been abused and abandoned and our outreach program to help the poor, and the Neema Village Day Care for Handicap Babies and the Water Well drilling project.  God is busy at Neema Village!

All of this is done, not by us, but by the Abundant Grace of God. Michael and I are just two retired people who love what God is doing in Tanzania, East Africa.  If you want to do something that matters, that makes a lasting difference in this world join us in the work at Neema Village. Thank you for supporting this precious work in Arusha, Tanzania.

And come see us, I think you will fall in love with Africa and the moms and babies at Neema Village too!

Michael and Dorris Fortson. www.neemavillage.org

Tanzania Water Project Leader Dies in Dar es Salaam

Tanzania Water Project Leader Dies in Dar es Salaam

May 19, 2020

The man who brought life giving water to over 50,000 people through the Tanzania Water Well Project dies in Dar es Salaam.

We were saddened this month to hear of the death of Mahimbo Mkumbukwa. Mr. Mahimbo was the leader of the drilling crew for the Tanzania Water Project in which so many of you have been involved over the years.   Sean Kennedy sent word this week that Mahimbo had died of blood cancer, most likely leukemia. We are still in the States and had planned to begin drilling water wells as soon as the country opens up and we can get back home to Neema Village. We are sad that we will not get to drill a well with Mr. Mahimbo. We were looking forward to that. Mahimbo came to Neema Village a couple of times and got to see the babies. He visited with Michael in the office and I took this picture of him then.

Sean Kennedy Writes:  “Mahimbo was a devout Christian, strong believer, and great advocate for helping those in the greatest need, regardless of their religious affiliation, by providing clean and free water to villages throughout Eastern and Northern Tanzania. He joined the Tanzania Water Project in February of 2015. Under his Well Team leadership, the TWP drilled 33 wells, located from an area surrounding Dar es Salaam all the way up toward Mount Kilimanjaro and Arusha. His wells served an estimated 50,000 people. His extensive professional knowledge in hydrology, geology and drilling techniques made for an incredibly successful track record in a region where water well drilling is high risk and fails regularly: 28 of the 33 wells drilled were productive and successful, an 81% success rate. He ends his TWP mission on 9-consecutive successful wells run, and had an 11-consecutive successful well run previously. The ripple effect of his work is impossible to estimate, hard to grasp. Each well provided safe drinking water, instantly and dramatically improving village health. Women whose daily task was to walk 2 to 5 miles to collect water instead began to stay home and care for their family. Crops could be grown and nourished where before that was impossible. The benefits go on and on, the reach even more so. As part of the transition of the TWP to Neema Village, which was formalized late last year, Mahimbo sent these closing thoughts to the parishioners of Christ Church. Originally contained in the Annual Report submitted for TWP in January, it is all the more meaningful now as he has joined the saints.”

Mahimbo Mkumbukwa wrote before his death: “I wish to thank the Almighty God for the Blessings to all of us for the work done so far, that He leads you to raise funds and mobilize tools and personnel to facilitate the project work, that thousands of people now are having clean water through this blessed work. God bless. We thank the board members of TWP for sustaining the project to date. We thank the donors; may the Almighty God bless you for your generosity. We thank the Church, Christ Episcopal, for initiating this project of giving clean water to our people. We know for sure that it is through this congregation for God, the Project was initiated. As Jesus loves us all, you also love our people, that you give them a gift of life, clean water. God bless you all. We would like assure you that we will proceed with the work, as we’ll be blessed. We pray God that you continue to raise funds so that we work for the people, to give them clean water. We hope through God this will be possible. God bless. We are so lucky that everything will be victorious in the Name of our Lord Jesus.”

Memorials sent for Mr. Mahimbo will go toward the first well to be drilled in the village where one of the Neema babies lost his mom in childbirth. We have remained in close contact with this Maasai family, pictured above, and are always struck with the arid land around the village. Many of our volunteers love to visit Joshua’s village. It has been our dream for many years to give water to this village. Please pray for the success of this first well. To send a memorial gift go to www.neemavillage.org and on the donate page on the purpose line write “Tanzania Water Well Project”.

I think Mr. Mahimbo would love this.

All By God’s Abundant Grace,

Michael and Dorris Fortson

Directors of Neema Village and the Tanzania Water Project

Announcement: Neema Village to Drill Water Wells!

Announcement:  Neema Village to Drill Water Wells!

April 30, 2020

We are pleased to announce that Neema Village is broadening it’s outreach to include helping remote villages have water. We have long had the vision that we could provide water for some of the areas from which our babies come.

About five years ago, we became acquainted with the Tanzania Water Project, which was begun and operated by a Church in Nacogdoches, Texas. TWP shipped a portable drilling rig to Tanzania about seven years ago, and they have drilled 44 wells for rural communities in the Dar es Salaam area. In the last year, the decision was made that they could no longer continue that project. They also decided, however, to offer the project to Neema Village. After little discussion, our Board of Directors voted to accept this offer, with the idea that we would drill wells in the Arusha area.

Many people, like the Masai woman on the right, walk miles each day for a jug or two of water. There is a great need for clean and easily accessible water for thousands of remote villages.  TWP has now been transferred to Neema Village Tanzania, Inc. With this gift comes the portable drilling rig, a 20 foot container, and other supplies and equipment.





Neema Village is still in the process of restoring the drilling equipment to full functionality. A number of repairs and modifications have been necessary, and we are making plans to purchase a larger vehicle to tow the rig. All the equipment has now been transported to Neema Village in Arusha. We have had a number of talks with the drilling crew in Dar es Salaam, and tentatively plan for them to travel to Arusha when we schedule the next well to be drilled. We have already identified several villages that need water, and pending on the results of the water survey and receiving drilling permits from the government, we will choose one of them for our next drilling site.

We have decided to keep the TWP website, which has much good information and the history of this good work. The website will go through revisions in the next few weeks. There will be links between the websites for TWP and Neema Village.

Neema Village is a faith-based organization. In addition to rescuing babies, helping widows and women through small business opportunities, and now bringing water to remote villages, we want to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, who is the Living Water. We believe that TWP will open doors to do just that.

Right now, we ask that you pray with us for the people of Tanzania, who are currently facing the spread of the corona virus pandemic in their communities. Tanzania does not have the resources to deal with the virus, so pray with us that God will intervene and spare the people from this contagion.

You are invited to let us know your thoughts about the above announcement. You can communicate through the below email address. You are also invited to financially support TWP. As I am sure that you realize, drilling water wells requires funding. We would appreciate your support. We would like to assure you that donations made to the water well project will only be used for that purpose. Should you want to make a donation, you can do so through the “Give Now” button on the Neema Village website. Be sure to specify that the purpose of the donation is to support the Tanzania Water Project.

A note of concern: While we are thrilled with the prospect of using TWP to drill water wells for remote Tanzanian villages, we do not want to divert donations away from our primary mission of rescuing abandoned, orphaned, and at-risk babies. It is important that we guard the funding which supports the babies. We pray that TWP funding will be new donations and that donations for the babies will not be diverted away from them.

We look forward to undertaking this great work of bringing life giving water to the people of Tanzania, East Africa.

God bless,

Michael Fortson, Founder/Director

Neema Village Tanzania, Inc.


Quarantined But Happy

Quarantined But Happy

April 23, 2020

Day two of the Quarantine at Neema Village and a new baby is passed from Angel to Bekah through the gate.

Bekah and Kim had made plans about the “What Ifs” during the quarantine and this time a “What If” actually happened. Angel, our Social Worker, got the call on day two of the quarantine that a baby needed picked up at the hospital. Angel agreed to stay outside the quarantine so she can go to the hospital to pick up the babies. She has two virus protection outfits and I am sure she was the only person at the hospital in masks and full gear.

New babies are always weighed, cleaned and dressed and then have their first bottle at Neema. The hospital does not have bottles so we get to give them their first bottle. For this baby he will have to go into isolation to make sure he has not brought the virus in to the other babies.

Little Mohammed was named at the hospital. He was born February 20. His mom had gone home after the c-section but the incision opened and became infected. A konga (large colorful cloth) was stuffed into the open wound. She also suffered a fistula from the difficult birth. She was admitted back into the hospital and is seriously ill. Please pray for her. Sweet Little Mo is malnourished, long and skinny but alert. He finally stopped crying and took his first bottle.

Just a few days later and Mo is looking so much better. He will need a sponsor. None of the eight new babies who have come to Neema in the last few weeks have sponsors. 

It has been raining for four days in Tanzania and finally the sun came out and the babies got to get out for a walk. Is there anything cuter than happy babies?

Maria, below in the red sweater, is holding Nasra who has finally gotten big enough to get out of isolation and go for a walk outside. Nasra was about two pounds when she came to Neema. She is a big girl now. Praise God.

Yehhh! Bryson in front, Dorcas in the pink dress and Jackson make for a happy walk. Look at that happy smile on Jackson’s face in the picture below.

Forty One Neema staff have left their families and moved on campus until the quarantine is lifted. They love to play games with the big kids. Since all Tanzanian schools are closed our big kids are back home at Neema.

God has provided a safe place for these abandoned, orphaned and at risk babies during this virus. We are so thankful many of you are praying for them. When this is all over we will expect you back at Neema Village. Please say a prayer for Bruce White since Kim missed her last flight out of Tanzania and is not able to get home.

Matthew 19:29 “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times back as much and will inherit eternal life.”

I think that must go for the ones who are anxiously waiting at home too.

Love you guys,