The last two days have been a good end to the short trip here to Neema Village. The second safari group returned after a great adventure, chickens were purchased with the money that the kids from Word of Life raised through the “Cans for Clucks” fundraiser and everyone loves them. Hopefully they start producing some good eggs for the meals.
We went out to dinner and then had to pick our kids that we would take to church today. We pick a child, usually 6 months or older and not a Montana kid, to take and try and show off the kids basically hoping that someone will take notice and choose to adopt. It’s a lot of fun, but it gets hot holding a kid on your lap on a warm day in a warm church.
Today was the day that never is any fun. Over the past 2 weeks we have really spent time with these kids and gotten to know them. I’m sure that all of us could name almost every kid in all of the age groups. We have literally spent almost all of our time here and the relationships that have begun with the kids, especially the older “Montana” kids are ones that will not be forgotten.
At first it might have just been play time, feeding time, school time, church time, or bed time, but as we really got to know all of the children they became like family.
We have had the chance to not just help Neema Village while we have been here, but to influence lives of kids that might impact them for the rest of their lives.
A kid deserves a family. They deserve someone who cares for them, plays with them, and teaches them in life. Neema does an excellent job themselves and they encourage volunteers to come and love the kids with them. It might not seem like a lot to come over for a week, but I promise you that the kids that you come and play with love it. And I bet you will find it hard to come and visit just one time after you have hugged and played with them.
It has been raining almost every day since we have arrived. It has been really nice because the clouds have kept the temperature really nice and pleasant. Everyone here is surprised because it is supposed to be the dry season and a little warmer. We aren’t complaining though, it’s been enjoyable, especially when playing outside. There have been a couple of storms that have kept us inside for about an hour or so though waiting for the downpour to end.
The second group for the safari left yesterday morning and hopefully their weather is good out on the adventure. Here, we’ve been playing with kids, getting our hair braided (not me, I don’t have enough), and hanging out with new friends here on site.
Aldonna, Kim and Mariya (a longterm volunteer here from Germany) went to a young mother’s house, Sophia, who Neema will be helping set up a shop. Neema is committed to helping mothers provide for themselves and their families in any way that they can. Whether it is through a small market shop, sewing, cosmetology, etc.
Aldonna and Blayne headed home tonight because Blayne has school to get back too. Our team is cut down just a little bit more until tomorrow night when the safari group makes it back.
Some people aren’t feeling well so pray for them and pray that it doesn’t pass on. Patient ø (Debbie, haha) is on safari so hopefully no one else here will feel ill, and hopefully the safari group doesn’t catch anything else.
I’ve taken less video the past two days just so I can play a little bit more. I’ve flown the drone quite a bit because the older kids constantly ask me about it and they like to watch the screen as we send it out over the area.
Stick around for the end to here the women of the sewing and English class worshipping.
We’ve settled into a routine for each day. We get up for breakfast then play with kids, hold babies, teach some school or music, and then play some more. We may head to the Maasai market or to the store, but most of our day revolves around the kids.
We don’t think it’s too bad…
Today was another incredible day at a Maasai village.
There is a little boy here named Frankie, who is a triplet, who is a Maasai. He was struggling with his health and so he stayed at Neema longer and is now a “Montana” kid. His sisters stay healthy enough to go back to the village but Frankie stays at Neema. Today we had to go pick up the sisters so that they can go to school.
The village was about 3 hours away from Neema and half of the drive was on a poorly maintained dirt road and then for the last 300 yards we were basically driving through the trees on a trail rather than a road. This was more like you would imagine Africa to be like probably when you think of this area. Tall acacia trees everywhere and thorn bushes. Maasai keeping track of their cows and goats and washed out and now dry stream beds that needed to crossed. It was quite the drive
The village, especially the children, was excited to see us and we handed out books, clothes, and candy. After we took pictures, flew the drone, and met all the kids, the children sang many songs for us. It was so much fun to see all of the kids singing and laughing with us.
Today was a remarkable experience. We went out of the city to a small Maasai church for Sunday service. The room was only about 12 ft wide and about 30 ft long and was made out of mud. After service, they showed us around the village and gave us some food and tea. They were extremely nice and hospitable and it was an incredible and unique experience.
Today we cut our team in half while Lance, Aldonna, Blayne, and Brenna went on a short Safari until Sunday.
We had a “Montana Day” with the kids that was a ton of fun and played all of the children some more!
Pray for Debbie because she is not feeling well. Nothing with her stomach, so that is good and but it’s still not fun. Hopefully she is the only one that gets whatever bug she has and hopefully the safari group stays healthy as well.
Today started out fast with a VBS class led by Heidi at the school down the road from Neema.
The school is a preschool so we took the Montana Kids to meet some new kids and get out of the village. Tanzania has recently decided to not allow any private schools above preschool in order to push all kids to the public government schools. From what we have heard though the government schools are not very good and not very well funded. Neema wanted/wants to do a K-12 school for the area, but the government is making that impossible. They are hopeful that this will change in the future.
Heidi told the creation story and Julius, a worker at Neema Village, translated for her. It was very fun to see the children from the area and see how they live and go to school. There were about 60 kids that came to be with us right outside their school building. Their classrooms are only about 9ftx9ft and they pay about 50¢ a month to attend. Even at that price they sometimes can’t afford to come. With a school, Neema could provide education for many children who might otherwise not receive one.
While some of us were at the VBS, babies were fed, children were played with, and a chicken coup was built. Neema is planning to get chickens soon and so they have begun construction of the coups to place close to their cow pasture.
In the afternoon Debbie and Krista continued their classes. It was a successful day with many women walking away with new sewing and English skills. The classes will continue next week on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The days are filled with kids. We get to learn new names and play and build relationships with the kids that spend their day-to-day lives here. The kids will always come and hug you or asked to be hugged or held or read to, and it’s hard to say no.
Tomorrow a group of us are going to a Masai village to pick up a couple of little girls for school. So far the weather has been warm, but cool. I think the clouds and thunder is unexpected but we are grateful to not be engulfed with heat and humidity right away.
Looking forward to more kids tomorrow!