Thursday, December 31, 2009

Merry Christmas from TAWV!!!

Christmas Presents!!

There were many out takes like these trying to get a good picture...but I thought this one was just funny! The boys did not want to cooperate bc they were so excited about their books! Miriam my little theatric was like "C'mon!!!!"
Neema is impossible in group photos...

Monday, December 21, 2009


We have become really close to our house girl. She not only cleans our house but also watches Neema three days a week...we love her! This Sunday her son was confirmed in their church and she graciously invited us to come. It was all in kiswahili so much of it had to be translated for me but at one point, 4 or 5 people started going up on stage. I asked her daughter Esther if they were being honored for something. Well, it turns out they had for whatever reason been "kicked out" out of church for the last two weeks and this week the church was welcoming them back. I don't know why they had been asked to 'take a break' but it seemed the church all knew. I was thinking to that is pretty intense. In my head, I was thinking I probably would never come back to a church if I got kicked out and the whole congregation knew why...But then the coolest thing happened...some of the church elders surrounded the people and the pastor asked the whole church to pray for them. And for about 5 minutes I looked around and watched in awe as the entire church audibly lifted their voices to God on behalf of these people. To see the grace and love on their faces as they prayed and their hands lifted in reverence to a holy and merciful king it was actually really amazing. By the end of it, I wanted to go to the front of the stage and have them all praying for me! Even though I couldnt understand everything, I love African church! The singing, the dancing, the pure worship.....Afterward, we went back to Jemima's house to celebrate Benjamin's big day. She made traditional celebration dish of pilau and veggies...with soda!!! It was a lovely day and I love taking part in the African culture. Congratulations to you Benjamin! :)

Monday, December 14, 2009

just a little Christmas treat

My babies are all talented dancers....

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

where is the Line?

So this is just really something I have been struggling with lately and I thought I would put it to paper. (or blog...whatever.) Something that has always amazed me about Africa is how everyone helps each other. If someone does not have food they just go eat at a neighbors house and then later when they are able they in turn provide something for their neighbor when they are in need. You see people sleeping up to six people in one bed because their family or friends have no place to go. You hear of entire villages contributing money when someone passes away. I have been awe of this way of life so much in fact it's what inspired the name of my organization. It is easy to stand back and admire the life that some people live. But what happens when God asks you to quit simply being "in awe"....but to move in the direction of whatever it is that you see in that person that moves you. Because of adopting my little girl, Neema, I have come to know many people in her village and many more know me. People know me as having taken in not just Neema but now they see how I am helping Jumanne, Rehema, Miriam, and Fabien. People approach me or Vincent all the time about helping them with their own children, friends children, or simply themselves. They see me in my car, they see Neema in nice clothes, they see the FOUR going to school. They see opportunity in me. But I can't help everyone, that is what I have to tell myself ALL THE TIME...but then again, can I do more than I do? The answer has got to be yes. I think we can all do more than we think we can. We can all be stretched a little more, we can all sacrifice a little more. But where do we draw the line? This question has been nagging at me for weeks now! Neema's uncle has no job, he did not go to secondary school, and though he has tried cannot seem to find consistent work. (To put a little in perspective about the typical African wage - he recently climbed Kilimanjaro as a porter for NINE days; climbing the worlds highest free standing mountain carrying an oversized bag on his head- again for NINE days and made less than $25) Over the past few months I have helped him with his rent and the other day he came to me as his rent was due again. I found myself faced with a predicament. In my world, this was just not a good time. It's December and I have a lot of expenses this month, Christmas, adoption fees, my own rent, etc. So my initial response was to tell him I couldn't do it this time. But then I began to wonder where will he go? And so many people depend on him. In this culture, family is life insurance. I'm not sure why the burden has fallen all on Calvin as he has no job to support even himself, but for whatever reason his grandfather, cousin, and uncle all lean on him for food, medicine, school fees, whatever the needs...I do have the $100 to get him through the next three months but $100 would also go a long way for the FOUR. And its half my budget for food for Neema and me in a month. There are so many places it can go. Lead me Jesus....where do we draw the line between being wise stewards of our finances and GIVING freely because we have freely RECIEVED?!

In Africa, sometimes you come across problems because the people don't always know how to plan ahead with their money, they don't know how to save. But is this ALL bad? They don't hoard. They don't know how to be selfish. As I was discussing this issue with Vincent about whether or not to give the money to Calvin, he just said "If you have it, give it." It was just so simple. Is $100 going to put me out? No. But even if it was, im still not sure I shouldn't give it anyway. Aren't we called to serve the 'least of these'? Do I take in more children and just trust God to provide? Or do I continue to trust in my own devices? My hope and prayer this Christmas is that we can all learn to just let go a little of our own sense of understanding. And out of reverence and obedience GIVE even when it's scary or maybe even hurts. Then the King will say, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me...."

Search your heart....ask Jesus where the line is for you. I am asking Him the same thing everyday.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sorry its been a few days! Sometimes I feel so exhausted by my fantastic life and then I read the blogs of people with four, five, six kids and I think hmm I need to pull it together! But then again, I live in Africa. J I can play that card, right? But seriously…my favorite internet cafĂ© (favorite because it’s the only one under $5 an hour that actually works) has been closed down for some reason. I am desperately trying to figure out how to get internet at my house, but its so expensive! I think Vincent might have found me a deal, so if it works out, communication will become a whole lot easier for me. In addition, my car windows have an ongoing condition where they keep getting stuck. Either I roll them down and they get stuck which is not so good in Arusha during Christmas time where thieves are rampant! Not to mention the short rains are here. If you came to my house, you may find my car covered in a big green and white striped shower curtain covering it from consistent downpour. Then if they get stuck while they are up in the middle of the day, I think im seriously going to suffocate. Yeah the air conditioner definitely doesn’t work. Poor Neema and Pray the other day, I looked in the back seat and they both had sweat dripping down their faces. Bless ‘em. So ill be making my THIRD trip to the garage today where I must try my level best to explain in Swahili that they are STILL broken! So that will consume my whole afternoon. Not exciting. In between trips to the garage, I have been on an endless wild goose hunts for whatever my bushmen guards are currently in need of. I love them but man oh man are they needy! “Mama, natakasucari, mafuta, mboga, dawa, etc.” (Mama, I want sugar, oil, vegetables, medicine, etc.) Always something! But they literally never leave the house unprotected, so it’s the least I can do. The fact that I am often buying the same things for Mama Kimaro at the TAWV house has helped because now I have been trying to just do one BIG shop once a month….ill get it down eventually.

This week I took Jumanne, Rehema, Miriam, and Fabien to the school they will be attending in January…HOPE NURSERY AND PRIMARY SCHOOL! It is very close to their house and it’s an up and coming private school in the area. It is not as big and showy as some of the other schools I visited, but the Headmaster really won me over. He seems to have a sincere interest in the well-being of the children. I visited a couple of the classes with him and I could tell that he interacted with the classes on a regular basis. The children were extremely responsive when I spoke to them, and even 1st and 2nd grade were speaking English exceptionally. Im so excited for my kiddos! I wish they could start TOMORROW! But for now they are enjoying their Holiday, playing football (soccer) outside, helping ‘Bibi’ (Mama K) cook, and waiting for my blue Suzuki to pull up in hopes they will get to come on some outing! J

Recently there was an Islamic Holiday here known as Ed, there are 2 Eds a year, and this one was to celebrate the lives of those of have already passed away. As three of my four babies come from Muslim families, they wanted to celebrate Ed. So Bibi made them a traditional celebration dish known as pilau (spiced rice with meat) and they got to each have a soda. (A Fanta orange in a bottle - Always a special treat!) Then that afternoon, I thought it might be nice to take them home to surprise their families and let them celebrate the Holiday with their siblings and neighbors where they got to eat again with some of the village elders. They were tickled pink!

I of course would never deny them a celebration of a Holiday they have grown up celebrating but it is so important to us that they hear the good news of Jesus Christ! The other day I went for a visit and Jumanne had gone to prayer time with Bibi – I love that! He just wanted to go. He really loves church and at 8 years old I think he is beginning to ‘get it.’ Its so fun to see the scales literally like falling off his little eyes. J I can’t wait until they learn English! Or until my brain expands and I can finally become fluent, and we can talk about how GOOD He really is!