May 2017

May Newsletter

Standard 7 Scholastic Camp

All is going great here at Sunrise.  Our schedule right now is controlled in part by the village primary school.  In Tanzania all of the children are required to take a national exam at the end of their Standard 7 year (7th grade).  To prepare them for the exam, beginning in February and continuing until June, the Standard 7’s go to school every Saturday and take five, fifty question exams: Kiswahili, English, Math, Science, and Social Studies.  The Math test alone is a two hour exam.  Then, during the week they have “normal” school but then spend hours after school until dinner time doing what they call “corrections”.  This is when they go over the exams question by question.

Then, in the middle of June they begin what is called Scholastic Camp.  This camp will continue until the end of August.  During this time, the Standard 7 children will all sleep at the school and not go home.  They do this so they can study constantly, again preparing for the National Exams.  This is a kind of ritual in their system.  Because of the lack of adequate sleeping and eating facilities we have opted our kids out of spending the night.  Just as important, we could not imagine not seeing, talking to, and loving on our children for 2 ½ months.

We arranged a compromise with the school.  Our children arrive at school at 7:30 am, come home between 4:30 and 5:00 to shower and eat and then have to be back to school at 7:00 pm.  We then pick them up every night at 9:00 pm.  This is quite a grind for the kids, but they are doing well.   You will see a picture below of our Standard 7’s.

Kuku Range

We have created a new “range” area for our kukus (chickens).  We have three range areas that we now rotate them into.  Our course bugs and greens help the kukus to produce better eggs.  Everyone loves our eggs!  They are high quality and they taste great!  We have a “contract” now with a restaurant in Njombe for 5 trays of eggs (30 a tray) that we bring to town with us every Tuesday when we shop.  It is a bit of challenge to safeguard 150 eggs while traveling our very rough dirt roads.

Weather – Dry Season and cold

We are now in our driest and coldest time of the year.  Living in the western world we don’t often think about how to be able to get “comfortable”, temperature wise.  In America, in our homes we turn on the heat or the AC, in our cars the most discomfort we experience is waiting on the AC to cool the car down or the heat to warm it up, but we KNOW it’s coming.  Then we go the local Walmart and again the temperature is “controlled”.  It is so different here.  The only temperature control we have is God and cloud movement.

At this time of the year we start our day with 4 to 5 degrees Celsius, that’s 39 to 41 degrees Fahrenheit.  That may not sound too bad but remember there is NO thermostat to turn up or down, only more clothes to put on.  Then in the afternoon, if there are no clouds, the temperature will often get up to 20 to 21 Celsius (69 to 70 Fahrenheit).  If it cloudy then the temperature will stay low.

If you want a suntan, this is the place.  Because of our close proximity to the equator, when the sun comes out it is hot.  You can get a suntan or sunburn almost any time of the year and time of the day.

Here are a couple more interesting notes about the dry season we are now in.  Dry season means NO rain from early May until the end of November.  We have days when the sky is filled with dark gray clouds and we would think, “It has to rain.”  But it never does!  When we ask our children, “Do you think it will rain since there are so many dark clouds in the sky?” they invariably answer, without hesitation, “NO.”


TANESCO (Tanzania Electric Company) has been off for almost two months.  We have been living on Sunrise’s solar power for the last two months.  We are very happy that Sunrise solar is strong enough to “share” with our home so that we can use our refrigerator and a few lights.

Highlight: Halima

Halima Jaribu Hussein is a cutie and has a strong, outgoing, and joyous personality.  At 9 years old and in 4th grade, she is our youngest child and one of our three younger girls.  Halima, Atu, and Sesi are inseparable.

Halima has lived at Sunrise since January 2014, just one month after her mother died.  She doesn’t know when her actual birthday is but we celebrate it in January because that is when she came to Sunrise to live.

Halima is a very high energy person with a great disposition!  She has many nicknames and the names really express who she is.  She is always dancing, wherever she goes.  There is a skip in her step and joy in her heart. This is why we call her “twinkle toes” and sometimes “dancing feet”.  Her big eyes are so expressive, you can tell immediately when something is bothering her.  Because of her interesting personality and big eyes we also call her “cutie pie”.

When we asked her what she would buy if she had a lot of money she said, “a house, no, no, an airplane”.  She has her own ideas and opinions and though she is the youngest, she holds her own. Halima has a tremendous amount of self-control.  Recently her sponsor sent her three bags of M & Ms.  She has had them for at least a month and has not eaten them all yet.  When she does eat them she is very generous, especially with her two very close sisters!

Halima’s favorite food is chocolate.  She likes chocolate a lot!  If she could go anywhere in the world she would like to go to Dar es Salaam, the capital city of Tanzania.  She is very good at English.  On the last grading period she made a 96 in English!  That is unheard of.  We are very proud of her.

All For Jesus,

Richard & Rhonda Hanssen

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