December 2013 Newsletter
Christmas was as usual, very simple, yet true to the spirit of Jesus’ birth. Church was at 10:00 a.m. Christmas day for three hours on a hard bench. (Ugh!) Then home to make rice pilau (spices and meat cooked with rice…a traditional meal.)
Noeli, Evelina and Leida were with me, and they did most of the cooking. I made my usual creamed carrots, and we had carrot cake for dessert. No gift giving, but later in the afternoon two little girls and Mekio (my “fundi”, tradesman) joined us for a bingo game with prizes. I made sure everyone ended up with a prize since I was the caller and could see their bingo cards. 🙂
The orphans returned to their extended families for the holidays and that gave our staff and me time to wash walls, clean blankets and windows…..lots of deep cleaning. I am in the process now of making shorts for the boy’s school uniforms. The work is constant here. Praise the Lord that you all have washing machines. Washing blankets, sheets, towels and clothes by hand is a real chore. Even my grandmother had a wringer washing machine.
We had four funerals in three weeks in December. I attended three of them. All died of AIDS except my friend’s wife who died of diabetes. The three women who died of AIDS each left one child behind. The first one to die was a young woman maybe late twenties. I removed my shoes and stepped into the dirt floor of the house and gave my condolences to the many women sitting on the floor crying. The body was in the next room with many other women. (Burial must be within 24 hours of death because there is no embalming here.)
I knew this young woman left behind a little girl. When I asked the bibi (grandmother) where the little girl was, she said standing behind you. I turned and looked into the saddest little face of Halima, age 7. She witnessed her mother’s death the day before, and now all these many people milling around the house and yard…..the men outside together and women together…never mixed. I then told the bibi that we have one bed open at Sunrise, so have the family discuss Halima’s future and whether they would like her to live at Sunrise (father is unknown.)
The other young women that died; one left behind a 10 year old whose father came forward for the first time since Sadia was born. The third one had a boy around 9 years and no father. AIDS is at a pandemic stage in Tanzania especially in the Southern Highlands where I live.
I hope all of you enjoyed your holidays. Thank you for continuing to support Sunrise Children’s Home. The children really need you.
Blessings and peace,
p.s. Two things I forgot to tell you. I made arrangements for a “field trip” for the children. I arranged for a bus from a friend in Njombe. We traveled from Uhekule to Njombe by bus and then went to the market place so the children could see where I buy their food, then on to the Kibena Tea Factory. Even I was amazed as to how the tea is harvested, dried and processed. The kids loved it. Then we went to the milk factory. Some of our orphans had never been out of Uhekule Village.
The other thing was on Christmas Day my neighbor, Akiba and his wife, both elementary teachers, plus their new baby daughter came over to visit. I presented them with this “pig” plate I bought for maybe 50 cents at a garage sale. Akiba is very fond of his two pigs, and they absolutely loved the plate. It now is a centerpiece on their table!!
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