July 2012

July 2012 Newsletter

This month my newsletter is all about Lena.  I met Lena in 2005 at the Lutheran Church here in Uhekule village when I was in the U.S. Peace Corps. She was friendly, smiling and seemed very happy. We greeted, and I noticed she only had a couple teeth. This always makes me wonder her age. I would guess she is now somewhere in her late sixties. She doesn’t know how old she is.

What I did not know when I first met her is that she was raising five grandchildren in a little house about 8 x 10 feet with an even smaller dirt kitchen where she cooks over an open wood fire.

This week we asked the extended family members of our 12 orphans at Sunrise to help harvest the potatoes in our field. Lena came along to help. She worked many hours in the field keeping up with the younger women. What an amazing woman.

Her oldest twin granddaughters are about 14 years old. One passed the Tanzanian national exam (grade 7) and the other did not. So, using my own money, I am paying for Kilwa’s school fees for Form 1 (the first year of high school). Of course, Lena cannot afford to pay the fees. She came to me literally begging that I send Kilwa to school which I did. We also have Elisha, age 8,, her second youngest grandson at our orphanage.

After working most of this past Wednesday in the field, she walked to my home asking me for a blanket. Corrinne, my marvelous helper (manager) at Sunrise said Lena desperately needed a blanket and to look at her shoes. Well, you can see the shoes she wears in the picture. Most of the time she goes barefoot in our cold weather.  I gave her my Tiva sandals and a blanket. You cannot imagine the gratitude and joy she exhibited. She was like a little child receiving a wonderful gift from Santa. Of course, I teared up.

How can I leave this country when there is so much work to do and children that need care and assistance? Lena’s little grandson, Elisha, is a joy and loves living at the orphanage. We probably should take another of her three grandkids still living with her. (The parents of these children are deceased.)

Please count your blessings. I try to do that everyday especially when I spend time with someone like Lena. God bless her.

Peace and love,


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