Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Leaving Friday for Majengo!!! With great friend Marci Lipman, her first time. Haven't been over since January, so very exciting. Can't wait to see the kids especially...Tatu speaking English!!!! This is just astounding...she came to us from one of the 'bad' orphanages set up on the safari route to lure in tourists, until the govt shut them down and brought 67 new kids to us, back in Dec 2010. Total mahem, but today, they have amalgamated into one huge happy family with 77 kids living in and another 35 or so, living out.
So she came from one of those places, abused, hurt, sullen, angy...she barely looked at me the first time I met her. Held back. Distrustful. Angry.
8 months later, on my next visit she had settled in, had confidence in Majengo, it was a good place, she was getting three meals a day, and cared for by some pretty wonderful people. She loved looking after the little ones. That second visit, she started hanging out with me, a little.
But watched a lot.
Four or five visits later. I am her mama.

Last January we registered 14 of our brightest kids into Mama Anna's English Primary, based on marks. We told the other kids: if you do well, we will do our best to get you into Mama Anna's (it is not govt, private i guess you would say, teaching everything in English and the best thing going education wise in the entire area, but $420 per child per year).

Our criteria back then, was marks.
She hung her head.
She'd been held back with little opportunity to excel, at the other orphanage.  She knew she would never make the grade. But she was huge in her enthusiasm, her love of life, her love of helping the other kids at Majengo. She bursts with happiness when she sees you.
She tries real hard.
WE said, ok, she's going. No matter what.
And here we are 8 months later, her marks catapulted...her confidence blossomed. And she is now speaking English!! Bilingual!!

Me...i am put to shame. I have been going over for 6 years now, and can't speak Swahili. So this year, my Majengo partner Matt informed me that not only had HE learned Swahili last spring, but so had his 12  year old daughter who he just took over! Yikes! I bought PimLeurs Swahili and did my best to learn. In the car, at the counter over coffee...not easy! but between my trainer and swahili, i am challenging myself big time this year...not there yet...but hopefully this time over it will be a bit better!

Last night Joan Vanduzer of the Harbinger Foundation called with a great idea of starting a sewing component at Majengo...teaching our kids how to sew, so that they can make their own clothes, uniforms, and someday maybe get out there and start their own business! To top it off, Joan donated our first sewing machine which i am going to pick up in Arusha soon as we arrive.

And huge thanks to my great friend Rick Hart for coming up with the idea of people donating to Majengo by SELLING STOCKS....especially at this time of year. They would get a full tax receipt for the amount of the stock, and would not be charged capital gains as it would be going to a registered charity. Great!!! Email Rick at MacDougal, MacDougal MacTier: 514-394-3000, if you are interested:

Power for Majengo. In the process of building our brand new own  facility for our kids... Today, I met with a woman from Kenya, who is working with Power Africa, a group here in Canada who are getting grants to provide Canadian wind and solar technology and hook ups/maintenance to help whole communities in rural Africa, grow! Why not..very exciting...checking with Charles, our project coordinator at Majengo and an engineer...everyday, something coming together...

Marci and i went to the Goodwill yesterday, crawled out with $500 worth of clothes for the kids, piled high on my table, along with 80 plush toys for Christmas, balloons, tennis balls, skipping ropes, felt drawing pens...
More tomorrow!

All set to go, bags packed...

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