Arusha, Tanzania

Habari za Tanzania update 3 (October 2009)


Herewith news (habari in Swahili) about the project in Mateves, Tanzania: the St. Gabriels Children Home and the St. Gemma pre-& primary school.

The last two weeks of October I (Chantal) travelled again to Tanzania with a friend (Zamirah) and a heavy backpack full of collected and bought creative things for kids, stuffed animals and other presents. Thanks again for all of you who contributed in this! Or as they say in Tanzania: Asante sana! We mostly rewarded the kids with the love and attention they need so much. At school and at home we made little art works with them, played games such as bingo and taught them songs and dances (i.e. the Macarena); this with the help of Isabella, a volunteer who is staying at the project for some months via Projects Abroad.

The last two school days of our stay we gave a little farewell party, like we did last year; complete with a “grabbelton”: (a basket full of small presents out of which each child could take one, a lot of work by the way, packing 74 presents), candies, the Dutch game “zaklopen” (jumping in a bag of jute), colouring, the making of masks and painting of their faces. Again this party was one big success.

We also gave a farewell party at the house for the sisters and the children. We bought the nicest chocolate cake (at a little coffee shop with the very suitable name “Chocolate Temptation), paper horns, Jip & Janneke (famous among Dutch children) straws and a decorated room with balloons. The children thanked us with a card and lots of singing. It certainly was great to be back in Tanzania again!

The project is doing very well and has grown a lot since last year. Nowadays eleven children live there permanently and one boy Felician, who goes to the international school in Arusha, stays at the house during his school holidays. An extra house has been built and the children moved here the beginning of November. This house has two bedrooms, one for the boys and one for the girls and each child has its own bed now. The bedroom in the old house was crowded and the little children had to share a bed. Because the home is officially registered with the Tanzanian government now, separate bedrooms for boys and girls were required. The old house is partially renovated and Sister Flora (the head of the nuns at the project) has the idea to turn the old bedroom into a playroom for the kids. For this money is needed.


Also the school has expanded. Besides a kindergarten, there is a class 1 of the primary school now. Here the children get subjects as: English, Swahili, sports, arts and science. In the break the children get a cup of uji, porridge made of corn & millet to which some other healthy ingredients are added. There are now 74 students going to this school and the classes are full. There is one new teacher, a Tanzanian trainee teacher, and a new sister who teaches; the teaching of English is done by the volunteers of Projects Abroad, which recently added the school to their volunteer projects. When we were visiting, the Dutch Isabella was teaching; before her there were also volunteers from other countries such as Austria and England. Sister Flora wants to turn the school in a full primary school with all the necessary levels. To expand the school building with extra classrooms a lot of money is needed. She told us that many parents want to put their children at this school, but unfortunately the school is full at the moment. The parents pay the common school fee according Tanzanian standard and pay a contribution for school materials, but only when they can afford this. The parents arranged a school bus by renting a dala dala (mini van) and a driver who brings the children who live a bit further away to school.

The corridor financed by Future for Kids is finished now. The kids can walk to the toilet in the rainy season without getting wet. It also turned to be a suitable place for the “zaklopen” (“bag jumping) race, during our farewell party.

During our stay we had the opportunity to visit one of mothers in prison. This is very special, since normally no wazungu (foreigners) are allowed to visit a prison, at least in Arusha where most mothers of the children are detained. The prison we visited was located in the village of Babati. The visit was very emotional as the two year old girl did not recognize her mother anymore. The mother was very happy to see her daughter again and grateful she is being taken care off so well. We saw two other women with children in this prison. Sister Flora has the idea to also take care of the children who are still living in the three other prisons in the district of Arusha, but also for this more money is needed to create room in the home for these kids as well.

One of the girls (Amina) who was living at the home last year now lives with her mother again. Amina visited her old home with her mum and is doing well. She misses her brother and sisters, but can come by to play whenever she wants. Also there is phone contact with them on a regularly base to check if everything is going well.

While we were there a television crew of the Tanzanian broadcasting cooperation came by to film the kids for one afternoon. These people are making a series of programs about orphanages and care centers in Tanzania. They told us the program would be broadcasted on national television in November.

The project is going well, but hardly has any fixed income and is therefore dependent on donations. Especially now a lot of money is needed for the expansion of the school building and the home to be able to help more children to obtain a decent life outside of prison. Your support is strongly needed.


Update 2 Arusha, Tanzania (August 2009)

It is going well with the project in Tanzania. Because I have contact with sr Flora on a regularly base by telephone and e-mail, we stay well informed about the project.

The kids are doing very well; one of the girls (Amina) is living with her mother again. They still have contact with there and the situation at home is going well. Unfortunately, another girl (Mwanamesi) that went to live with her mother at home now lives at the project again. The situation at home was so bad that her family brought her back to Mateves. In the beginning she was very scared and looked bad, but now she is doing much better. Besides her, there are a couple of other new inhabitants: the boy Derek and two girls Jennifer and Mariam.

They are still busy building an extra house for the children, but do not have sufficient money at the moment. The school now also has a primary school (Standard One), besides the kindergarten. There are now around 70 children at this school. Because there is not enough space in the classrooms for all these children, they also have the idea to expand the school building. Money is also needed for this.

The corridor between the school and the toilets is built (see pictures) and was finished just on time before the rainy season started. This happened thanks to financial support by friends and family during the Christmas period and a contribution of Future for Kids.
At the moment a fourth sister joined to live at the project. She also teaches at school.

In October this year I will go back to Mateves with a friend to see how the project is going and do some volunteer work, as well as to investigate were more (financial) help is needed. A new update will follow after this visit.


Update 1 Arusha, Tanzania (August 2008)

In August 2008, I visited, together with a friend, the project in Tanzania that was started by father Jacek (Jack) and volunteered there for two weeks. The project is going very well; the well with which it all started is now accompanied with two houses (one where the children live and sleep and the other one is the house where the nuns sleep), a small chapel and a kindergarten. It looks very organized and three nuns are in charge: sister Flora (31 years old), sr. Anna Maria (early forties) and sr. Innocenca (in her seventies): three amazing women who hosted us very hospitable in their home.

The house is situated in the small village of Mateves, around 20 minutes by car from Arusha. At the moment 7 children are living here permanently: 4 girls (Neema, Amina, Teresa and, Paskalina) and 3 boys (David, Tumaini and Patrik) all in the age between 3 and 5 years old. Their mothers live in the local prison where the circumstances are not good, especially not for children to grow up in. Unfortunately we could not visit this prison, since it is not accessible for wazungu (foreigners). One little girl that lived at the home once, now lives again with her mum who has been released from prison. When we were at the project, there also lived a boy of 7 years old, Felician. He normally goes to an English international boarding school in Arusha and had holidays at the moment. He is an orphan and he lived before at an orphanage near Dodoma, taken care of by the same church and where about 50 children live. He speaks excellent English and was a great help to us in the communication with the other kids who could not speak so much English yet.

There is a vegetable garden and farming-land on the terrain of the project, as well as a barn where they keep chickens, turkeys and rabbits. They are partly self-supporting in obtaining food; the other necessaries are bought every Saturday at the big market in Arusha. There is electricity and running (hot) water, all obtained by solar power. They cook with gas. There is a shower and toilet (the one for the children was being renovated/build) when we were present), but no luxury equipment like a washing machine, fridge or oven. Besides the three nuns, two other women are helping with cooking, washing and cleaning. Also there are some men who help with constructing and repairing things.

The children are taken good care of and get healthy food (fresh from their own garden each day, since there is no fridge).

Every day from 8:30 till 12:30 they go to the kindergarten (St Gemma Nursery school), situated on the same ground. At school there are around 30 children who each have to pay a little tuition fee. They have English class (a pretty high level for their age), but also learn in Swahili. Sr. Flora is one of the teachers, together with a female teacher from Arusha. The school is well maintained and during a break all children get a cup full of porridge.

We helped with teaching them English children songs, made “art” with them, painted the outside walls of the schools with images and the sculptured stones on the school ground.

At the last day we threw a farewell party with Dutch games (“shipper can I cross the sea”), Dutch treats (“muisjes” & “vruchtenhagel”), a decorated classroom, facial painting, balloons, colouring books, pavement chalk, a basket full of candies and a box from which each child could pick a gift. This party was a great success and the children went home with their hands full of gifts, a painted face (which we were not allowed to clean) and a big smile. We also donated pens, paper, notebooks, reading books in English and Swahili and colouring pencils to the school. Most material is available at school (handmade by sr. Flora) but for extras there is no money and all notebooks in which the children do their homework were very old, almost falling apart and recycled many times.

At the home we mostly gave extra love and attention to the kids. They are being taken care of full of love, but sometimes there is just no time to give the extra care and attention to these children whom already had a very difficult start and which they need so much. We played soccer, sung and danced and coloured with them. Especially colouring was a big success. The first time this ended in a big fight about the pencils (while there were more then enough for everybody), but after explaining various times with patience and after they noticed there was indeed enough for everyone, they all were colouring happily and quietly and were very proud when they could hang their own creation on the wall.

The children are raised with rhythm and in a Christian way. Every Sunday they go to the children’s mass in the church of Burka, near Arusha. They pray before each meal and every evening before dinner they go to the chapel where a small mass is held. This is a good and quiet moment for these children who otherwise hardly ever sit still. The project is going well and they are planning to make it bigger so they can take care of more children (maybe also coming from the orphanage in Dodoma) and the children who live there now have a little more space to sleep (the bedroom is now full with beds). They also want to build a corridor between the school and the toilets (situated in a small house about 15 metres from school) so the children can make it dry to the toilet during the rainy season. The project does not have a fixed financial factor and is therefore depending of gifts.

Via our contact at Flying Medical Service in Tanzania, Future For Kids has made acquaintance with one of their pilots, Father Jacek, a young Polish priest. Jacek (Jack) has started a small scale local project in Arusha, which totally fits the objectives of Future For Kids.
Jack wants to create a Centre for children, who are presently per forced living with their imprisoned mothers in the large state prison of Arusha. They were either born in prison or their mother is awaiting sentence, which may sometimes last for ten years. The children cannot go elsewhere. Quality of living in prison is fully impropriate for them. Jack has started to build these children a home outside the prison; the first little building has meanwhile been completed.

Thanks to one of our sponsors, Thea van Dijk, Future For Kids has sponsored a water well.

Thea has visited Father Jack and the compound in Arusha , her impression about the project was very positive and as such Future For Kid has decided to sponsor this program. For this project Thea will be our coordinator. Priorities have been determined, which can be financed independently. The children in the Centre will be monitored and educated by local nuns.

The final completion of the Centre is liable to the funding for the project.
Please contact us if you want to know more details!

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