To the ends of the earth…and back!

Looking back briefly before focusing on what is ahead…

In light of my return to Tanzania (which is currently in progress), I wanted to take a minute to remind you, my faithful readers and supporters, of just how great you are! Thank you for your partnership with Journeys of Solutions : )

As you may recall, last summer I ventured with a volunteer team of 4 fantastic and super fab people to Shalom Orphanage where we helped build a much-needed veranda roof. In addition to the construction project, we were able to purchase school uniforms, a two month supply of food and pay off various debts.

The fab 4 included: Al, an engineer and construction guru, always with a sharpie on hand, Sandy, an amazing dentist who gave routine check-ups to the children AND provided extra toothpaste/brushes and floss, and of course Heather and Julia, two high schoolers with such huge hearts, I was left speechless. These two girls worked wonderfully with/for the children: reading stories, playing soccer/handball/wall ball/you get the point, teaching them the Hokey Pokey and helping to make English/Swahili posters for the classroom.

In September 2009, we had another JOS team travel to Tanzania, where they painted various rooms of Shalom AND added some beautiful murals to brighten up even more the laughter-filled air. So too did  the two women, Sue and Barb, purchase food and additional shoes and school uniforms. Barb will actually be returning this September for some more time with the children…stay tuned for updates on her trip in the coming months!

My return last fall for three months was very busy too. The orphanage elected that JOS concentrate on education so we consequently created the lovely Child Sponsorship Program. We are partnering with Tumaini Junior School, also located in Karatu, in order to enroll children into the English-medium and very well respected school. To date, we have enrolled seven of the eldest and hope to enroll several additional children. In addition to the creation of this program, we met with various international non-profits in Tanzania, including FAME Medical where we took the children for free physicals and necessary meds. A good portion of the children had malaria (as did I!) and were anemic and had worms so we were relieved to see the lovely Dr. Frank and his amazing Tanzanian staff members and visiting doctors.

One of my favorite pastimes of my trip last Sept-Dec was our dance parties with the children. As we ran about (sometimes in step, most times just running), I couldn’t help but smile as we danced upon the concrete floor and beneath the pink roof I had seen built just weeks before!

I departed shortly before Christmas and within a few months JOS sent another team of 4 to Karatu. Two mothers and their high school-aged daughters worked alongside the children and staff of Shalom for about two weeks in February. This great team brought books for the children, some of which they delivered to Tumaini, and also purchased food for the children. The big project was to purchase new mattresses for every bed. Previously, Shalom had foam mattresses that badly needed to be replaced so along with some help from a Tanzanian friend, Tino, the four women made sure each bed received a new plastic-covered mattress which is easier to clean and more hygienic!

Moving forward, we are focusing on the Child Sponsorship Program in order to best help the children. In addition to my delicate self, JOS will have two volunteer groups this summer/fall. The first will be a family of 4 in August, shortly after my arrival. In September, Barb, the same Barb from September 2009, will be returning to help along with a friend.

Stay tuned for more updates and thanks for your support!

-your fave delicate flower

PHOTOS:

1. Roof Before

2. Roof after–PINK never looked so good : )

3. Al

4. Sandy

5. Julia

6. Sue and Barb painting murals

7. Sue and Barb cutting greens with Roseana looking on

8. Dance Party on the veranda

9. Tumaini 7

10. Heather

11. Photos from February JOS trip, coming soon! (apologies for the delay)

If you are interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities or want to help in any way, email me!

orphanageprojects@journeysofsolutions.org

Check out JOS on Facebook : )

2 responses

  1. DN

    Thanks for sharing Liz! I’m very excited for your return trip. 🙂

    03/08/2010 at 15:49

  2. DN

    Thanks for sharing! I’m very excited about your return trip. 🙂

    03/08/2010 at 15:51

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