Hello from Tanzania!

Harbari zenu? (How are you all?)

We have been living in Geita for almost a month and a half and life is good! We have been adjusting to our new way of life here and still learning new things (I know the learning process will continue for the duration of our time here). We have learned to drive on the right side of the car and the left side of the road with relative ease. We are still getting used to the different or lack of road rules here which is a challenge with so many pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles, and other cars on the roadway.

Cheryl has been learning how to cook all of our meals from scratch and has been doing an awesome job! She mentioned the other day one dinner we made in the States was time-consuming but its one of the easiest meals to make here in Tanzania. I hope to start learning how to make some meals once we move into our permanent home. We are currently living in the guest house on the Neema House director’s home property and will move into the main home in January. In addition to having more living space we will have solar power backup when the power goes out (which is really fun at night getting kids ready for bed). I have started to shadow our teammate Calvin on solar system maintenance and how to pump water from the well we have here on the property. The well was donated by the Geita Gold Mine and is a HUGE blessing from God! Water supply can be hit-or-miss sometimes and the well allows us to make sure Neema House is never without water.

We are also currently in school. Caleb and Levi attend the international school at the gold mine with students from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and of course Tanzania. They love school and the extracurricular activities they do are lots of fun! They have swimming (which is also a PE session each week), flag rugby, and even cooking for a couple of weeks. Cheryl and I are also currently in school, Swahili language school. We are about to start our 3rd straight week of Swahili class here in Geita. We have class 3 hours each morning and have learned a lot! Our teammate Brett offered to teach us some Swahili the first couple of weeks we were here and really gave us a running start for our official class. We really like our teacher but we are also ready for a little break as our brains are on overload sometimes. Learning a new language may be tougher than passing certification exams.

Three new kids have been placed at Neema House since we arrived; Charity, Thomas, and Loveness. Charity is a 4 month old girl who was found abandoned in the forest. She was brought to Neema House and is doing very well. Thomas arrived at 2 weeks old as his mother was a prostitute and died due to complications with AIDS after childbirth. This also means his father is unknown. His grandparents are around however they are very elderly and currently unable to care for him. They are trying to determine how they can bring Thomas to their village and raise him. There is a good possibility Thomas may have HIV/AIDS and he is currently taking medication to boost his immune system, but we do not have the result from his test.

Loveness was also brought to Neema House at 2 weeks old as she was abandoned behind a government office here in Geita. If you have been following Cheryl’s page or Neema House on Facebook who know about the struggles this little girl has experienced. Within 10 days after arriving at Neema House, Loveness went to the hospital for an IV and then other clinics in Geita as she was severely dehydrated and not thriving. After one doctor said he didn’t know how to save her, Cheryl and Alicia alternated caring for her 24/7 making sure she drank formula and kept it down. We were all very worried this little girl would die that weekend. God truly showed His healing power with Loveness! Once she was eating more regularly however she started experiencing seizures that became more severe and more frequent. After another week long stay in the hospital, her seizures were gone and she was continuing to eat regularly. Loveness now has some chubby little cheeks and is filling out! Glory to God for her healing and continued improvement. Being a witness to God’s love and care of Loveness was evidence to us that we are where He wants us.

Friend us on Facebook and “like’ Neema House (facebook.com/neemahouse) to stay updated on our life and the kids at Neema House. We will also have a brand new website later this week (neemahouse.org)!