First Monday in December . . .

All of our primary students are home . . .   Nelson arrived yesterday from Dar es Salaam for holiday and Raymond left yesterday Dodoma after a quick trip back home for the weekend. The children are asking for bicycles.  Usually on holidays, (April, August and December) we dig those bicycles out so many of you donated to us and now is the time, however . . . we have tuition (extra study) starting this week through Christmas in the mornings and so am unsure of just when the bikes will be “released” . . . 

I hope you will be a bit proud of your child.  Almost all of our children shone through their final exams and most did very well on their year end reports.   Look for them in my next blog.  We took our top children out for burgers and fries to celebrate and followed up with ice cream.  We have some very happy scholars on our hands.

We have had little water since my arrival and yesterday what little would come in the evenings dried up and now we have nothing.  Lohai has had to take large garbage cans in the back of the truck to the river and fill them and things really are becoming “uncomfortable”.  Electricity is not an issue because our solar system kicks in and takes over whenever we need it but not so for the volunteer house and so between a severe water shortage and regular power outages our volunteers are truly earning their stripes.

Pray for us.  We should have some news about our land before Christmas.

And speaking of Christmas, if you haven’t had a chance to sign up for the Panorama of Lights Cider Booth in the park in Simcoe, please contact my husband steve@mybrokersteve.com to help us out.  We need assistance nightly from 5:30 until 9:00 p.m. if possible.

My office has a big window which looks out and up towards the main house and the small area where our children play . . . they are changing so very fast.  Growing and losing teeth and replacing teeth and becoming the absolute most interesting little people.  Nasma is four and Liadi five and we have a mittful of seven year olds and on and up and each one is growing into their own unique individual and I absolutely LOVE watching their changes.  Liadi was “sticked” by our first grade teacher (yes corporal punishment is still very much practiced in this country) but he came to us as a two year old and so has developed different philosophies about his identity and his right to make choices, even bad ones.  His teacher is a good one, but, and this is a BIG but, we must find an alternative.  We spend our time teaching our children that they matter, are important and have the right of choice.  We teach them to look at us when we speak together and yet we are teaching them exactly the opposite of what most children learn in school.  I believe we are often confusing them and we must find some guidance . . .Still . . . their smiles and their laughter and their hugs. . .
Some of us, myself included are coming down with the flu and so that will run it’s cycle . . . thank you Mama Joan for all of our oil of oregano . . . and Vitamin C.  We are consuming!!!!

I cannot express my gratitude to each of you who has reached out to love us here at Tumaini.  We have our challenges . . . I would be lying if I told you every day here was bliss (poor Rebecca, Tine and Shivaun spent the equivalent of about three days, sizing our children’s feet, going to Tengeru market with Mary to barter for “gently” used shoes for the emergency cases and then returned to collect worn out models and replace running, sandals and school shoes for our brood).  And Mama Becca has spent DAYS AND DAYS AND DAYS sorting, purging and repairing both uniforms and day clothes for us.  (She hasn’t offered to do MY repairs yet . . . ) And Mary spent the afternoon doing inventory in our store room to allow us an accurate count of all we possess in the food department so you see, not every day is bubbles and sunshine with the little ones but I think we have just enough of those days to carry us along through the more tedious endeavors.

Please pray for our longtime volunteer Alison who returned home to the United States only to come down with malaria . . . for the second time.  She has spent the last week in and out of the hospital. My partner Oddo and family are well.  His baby Reuben has grown and although slow to speak, he motors about at high speed.  The children visited me the other day and Reuben, who found two of my magnets was enthralled with them at the moment they pulled themselves together.  You remember that beautiful baby giggle of marvel?

It is my hope that each and every one of you who have embraced us and loved us over the years will pause as you make your Christmas preparations and receive our thanks.  Receive some of the love back that you have given us.  Our children know how to say thank you even if they don’t always remember.  They are conscious of the sense of gratitude and they are truly grateful for each of you, as is their Mama.  I wish you the very best of the Christmas season and pray that you come into 2014 in good spirits, health and happiness, and speaking of spirits, please remember our New Year’s Party benefiting Tumaini if you would.

We wish you peace and happiness and send our deepest thanks . . . be well!

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