…and the countdown begins

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The days are numbered until our departure . . . just 16 days until Mary, Reward, Lohai and I return to Tumaini to, first, help our children prepare for their end of year exams and then, to enjoy a safe and healthy Christmas together with a house FULL of volunteers new and returning! Should you wish to send a card or a (very small) gift to your sponsored child please get it to me as soon as possible as packing has begun.  Sponsors please start checking your mail for your Christmas gift from your child . . .

The children are well.  Happy Birthday today to our precious Mary!  Liadi has virtually no teeth in his mouth right now.  Ayubu and Wema have PASSED their national exam for class seven and so we are looking for sponsorship support to enable us to find them good secondary schools.  We give thanks for Ayubu and Wema’s success because we brought them to Tumaini to further assist them in preparing them as last year EVERY child at their school failed their exams.  These two young teens now have a real chance at a future and without parents to support them, Tumaini is all they have . . . one brother is in prison accused of murder and another is mentally challenged.  An older sister Glory was struggling to parent her three younger siblings but the task, in poverty, was daunting to say the least.  Tumaini has put Glory into a training program teaching her to cook and to wait tables so that she might find employment and youngest sister Carol lives with us at Tumaini house.  We have worked hard to give all four of these parentless children a chance and fundraising dollars have been applied to their care.  Thank you, thank you for that.

Marko!  Oddo and I have struggled with some of our older boys and two have, unfortunately, been forced to leave Tumaini and our support, a result of their repeated decisions to steal . . . from us, from each other, from strangers.  We did all we could to help them make better choices but in the end have had to cut Yusuph and Josephat loose.  It is a heart wrenching decision, for Oddo and I are well aware of what lays ahead for them, but what about MARKO!  Marko who has suffered a life so ugly that at the age of nine he decided he might fare better with a life on the street.  Oddo discovered him and got him into a boarding school and once Tumaini was born we brought him to Amani, the 6th best performing primary school in Tanzania and he excelled!  He earned his way into a fine, technical secondary school near Moshi and after a rocky start (he initially ran away), has knuckled down and studies hard.  For Marko though, the problems at home continue and Alison, a returning volunteer for Tumaini and “big sister” to Marko are working to raise money so that Tumaini can build a small home for Marko and his mother to share (his uncle facilitated the purchase of a small plot of land) allowing them much needed breathing space and peace, away from the cruelty of other family members.  Please keep Marko, Alison and this project in your prayers.

Reward is investigating a master’s degree in Information Technology and Mery will return with me to apply for her masters in education administration and planning and we hope she will run our Tumaini school one day very soon!  Raymond, as I mentioned earlier, has begun his second year at university in Dodoma, studying Administration and, will train to replace me at Tumaini . . . poor Raymond!  Just kidding!  Nelson will finish secondary school in June and has BIG dreams for his post secondary education . . . we will keep you posted!

Our first and second graders are working with our wonderful volunteers to prepare for examinations.  Our class three and up students study in order to ace THEIR year end examinations and the rest of us will prepare for a very special Christmas celebration for about 80 people and that is just family and December volunteers.  Whew!  We will have visitors from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, (I am certain I am missing a country or two so will update you soon) and with everyone home for the holidays, things will be a tad “CRAZY”, but, for those of us who have experienced it, we wouldn’t have it any other way at Tumaini . . .

Our website is (hopefully) just days from launching. . . our land negotiations continue . . . and our 2013/2014 Giving catalogue is going to print.  I should have a report for you in the next couple of weeks and of course it will be available on our website.  Please do keep us in mind for your Christmas giving list . . . everything from $10.00 to “buy a brick” for our building fund, to the payment of school fees for one child, to a child sponsorship is available so let me know how you’d like to help and we’ll mail out a Christmas gift card on your behalf!!

I would be remiss if I didn’t take just one moment to say thank you.  For the continued love and support you show us.  For your sponsorship dollars and fundraising efforts and donations (thank you to Mrs. Lingwood and church friends for their stash of socks and chupis (underwear) for our little ones . . . thank you to sponsors who have stayed with us for up to four years now and to new sponsors this year.  None of what we do could happen without you and your support so thank you, thank you.

Sixteen days and counting . . . I will return in May as God wishes and I will carry all of your love and well wishes and gifts and cards and donations with me.  Water has been scarce at Tumaini for more than three weeks now . . . Teacher Winner was just tested for malaria (negative thank God), but the network and electricity are undependable . . . please keep us in your prayers and once more . . . thank you!!

For those “local” supporters, we will host a small open house this Sunday (17th) from 2-5 p.m. at our home 857 Norfolk St. S. Simcoe . . . Mery, Reward, Lohai and Tumaini friends will be here to visit and to say thank you and goodbye . . . if possible please join us and please, PLEASE!  Remember that my husband Steve will be looking for volunteers to sell apple cider and donuts again daily this December at the Simcoe Panorama booth for Tumaini.  Should you be interested in helping us out (thank you) please email him at steve@mybrokersteve.com and once more . . . thank you so, so very much for your continued love . . . and be well!
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