Time is flying. Several months have passed once again since we last reported about Dunia ya Heri. First of all, we want to thank all those who are supporting us—in regard to the building projects and in regard to our regular ongoing expenses for the running of the orphanage.
We started Dunia ya Heri in good faith, hoping that the necessary support would come in. And we are glad we took this step. We have not been disappointed. So far we were able to pay all salaries at the end of each month and to continue the construction work without interruption. We thank God who has a burden for widows and orphans that he has given us whatever we needed.
The construction of the first much longed for water tower – almost finished Since the beginning of the project, our water supply was furnished by two small make-shift water towers. Two plastic drums had been placed on a pile of cement bricks. Each of them had a capacity of 2,000 liter (500 gallons) and 5,000 liter (1,250 gallons) respectively. The water pressure was barely enough for the use of the showers, toilets and sinks.
Now it was decided to erect for the entire campus two towers which are each seven meters high (21 ft.), (10 meters or 30 ft. including the tanks). This way we will reach a water pressure of almost one bar (100,000 Pascal). This will be suffcient for the water supply of the entire property in the long run. Except for the top platform, the first tower is almost finished. We never cease to admire the creativity and ingenuity of our local builders. Before you knew it, they had build a 20 ft. scaffolding with the most basic materials.
The tower will be equipped with two tanks holding 2,500 gallons (10,000 l) each. They will be fitted with inexpensive to operate solar pumps (thanks to a generous donation by the Grundfos Corporation) and photovoltaic panels. The second tower is in the planning stage and should be completed by the end of 2018. After that the water supply issue should be solved for good. Some of the main sponsors of these towers are ADRA Luxemburg and Dunia ya Heri Austria. But we certainly thank all other donors as well who have helped us with this. Additionally, we thank some of our Polish friends who helped us with the rough building of the tower, as well as the structural engineers who made sure that the tower is virtually earth quake proof.
Additional construction activities
Unfortunately, in the past we had some bad experiences with our electrical installation. However, since the beginning of the year we have three retired friends from Switzerland helping us in word and deed—and their tremendous experience in many other building matters.
The entire solar-electrical installation for the first orphanage building was redone from scratch. Thus, for example, we can be sure that the 12-Volt solar refrigerator will work even if we have rainy weather for days. Now we no longer will be irritated by spoiled food because of poor refrigeration.
As a side effect, thanks to our Swiss friends, we are now having a much more professional workshop set-up and equipment with most of the needed machinery. This includes a heavy-duty work bench with a vice, a drill press, a miter saw for cutting steel and wood, a MIG welder for welding thin steel plates, a three-phase 380-Volt generator for a planer and a buzz saw as well as additional small tools.
Projects for 2018
1. The second house for children
The second orphanage building, the roof of which was completed at the end of 2017, is now being finished in small steps. During the rainy season in April the first windows and doors will be installed and all the plastering will be done. This building will serve the next 15 orphans at the age of 6 to 12.
2. Manager’s home
By now our moving out (as a couple) of the second floor of the first orphanage building is almost in sight. Even though living in the orphanage was more comfortable than in the original tent in which we lasted for one and a half years, we still had no privacy for we shared the kitchen and the bathroom with the Mamas, volunteers and guests. Because of this, the completion of the manager’s house has become an important issue for us. We estimate that we will be able to move in by the end of 2018. In this context, we want to very much thank for the help we received from our friends and the building crew who all helped with the rough building as well as the electrical installation and plumbing.
3. A third orphanage building
This year there even will be more in terms of building activities. The NGO of a German newspaper is going to help us financially with the construction of a third home for children. The building activity is to start in June and should be completed within one year.
4. Church and School
Soon the need for an elementary school for our children will come up. Two female architectural students of Stuttgart University drafted a plan—and built a model—of a church and school building for the requirements of their Master’s degree. A team consisting of the two ladies and their fellow students and our regular construction crew now want build this building. The multi-purpose structure will serve as an elementary school during the week and a church on weekends. Part of the building cost was already raised by the students in cooperation with their university.
Two steps forward, one step back
Unfortunately, there are also set-backs as well. Approximately four weeks ago, one of our neighbors decided on a Sunday to burn down the brushwork on his property. This for many farmers is the easiest and cheapest way of clearing their land. They usually don’t care much about setting the fire in such a way that it cannot spread to neighboring properties; neither is it common that they inform their neighbors of their plans so that they can brace themselves. And so the worst happened, and that on a day when our construction workers were not on campus.
In spite of the fire lane we had created around our property the fire spread to our land. Approximately 1.5 ac- res were affected. Unfortunately, it also singed some of our big mango trees and some of our newly planted fruit trees. While the big trees have a fair chance of surviving,
many of the six to nine feet tall younger trees will be lost. Even though the neighbor is responsible for the damage, here, as in most other countries, there is a big difference between being right and obtaining what is right. We now widened our fire lane on the edge of our property to stately 36 feet. Our Volunteers‘ program Since March we have a friend from New York helping us. Wendy is 19 years old and teaches the children English songs. She also will teach them English. Starting in the summer of 2018, we will have another two volunteers through the “Weltwärts” [towards the world] program which is sponsored by the German Federal Government (BMZ) and managed by ADRA Germany
Last but not least—our children
What matters most must not be missing in our report. We have decided to include in this spring report some brief information about each of our children. However, in order to protect our children’s privacy, we still don’t want to reveal their identity by giving their real names—especially since this newsletter will also be published on our website.
1. R.J. (a girl), a semi orphan, we assume is now three years old. It seems she had been abused (slash wounds). A law suit is pending. That is the reason why the youth department transferred her to us. Because of her bad abuses she most likely will not be returned to her family.
2. N.K. (a girl) is estimated to be two years old. Her mother had abandoned her on the beach together with a plastic bag holding some clothing. Shortly after that she was found by some shermen. Since we didn’t know her name we had to give her a new name. As with most abandoned children, a search for her parents so far was unsuccessful. Beate, my wife, almost broke out in tears of joy when she heard N. laughing for the rst time.
3. S.K. (a boy) is estimated to be two years old. He was abandoned by his family in front of an orphanage in Dar es Salaam. Since, however, this orphanage had no public license, the welfare department shortly after brought it to us. We had to give him a new name as well. S. was rather malnourished and displayed behavioral problems. It took several weeks before he no longer went to sleep kneeling or standing. After several months he was willing to share his food with other children. He realized he no longer had to be afraid of not getting enough food.
4. A.L. (a boy) was our first orphan. He now is three years old. When he was not even a year old he was abandoned by his parents in a home which had to be vacated because of a dam project in that area. He was rather malnourished. His birth certiffcate had been placed right next to him. That is why we know both his date of birth and his name. His parents so far could not be found, even though we tried. He is very affectionate and already knows a few German words.
5. P.D. (a boy) is our oldest child. In May he will turn six. His mother suffers from a disease portending a dismal prognosis. That is why we were willing to accept him as a semi orphan. One and a half years ago he was transferred to us from another orphanage. Since January he has been attending preschool.
6. A.F. (a girl) is two years old. She is a semi orphan. Her burns lead us to believe that she was abused. That is why a lawsuit against one of her family members is pending. The welfare department has requested that we care for her. The mother still is very young and cannot care for the child herself.
7. J.K. (a boy) is a foundling from Dar es Salaam. He is estimated to be a little over two years old. We had to give him a new name, too. He is very courteous and, like all children, very needy and adorable.
8. R.K. (a girl) by now is nine months old. She was not more than two weeks old when we received her. R. is an abandoned baby. She is an unusually happy child and has developed just great.
9. B.F. (a boy) is three years and two months old. He was handed to us by a Dar es Salaam orphanage which is keeping orphans only up to the age of three and then searches for a new place where the child can stay. Even though in the beginning he was displaying behavioral problems, by now, he has settled in quite nicely. He is a smart boy with great potential.
10. F.M. (a girl) is almost exactly two years old. She had been found in a dry well. She, too, had spent her first few months in another orphanage until she found a more permanent home with us. She probably has suffered some health damage.
11. A.K. (a boy) is six months old and came to us when he was four weeks old. He, too, is a foundling who had to be in a hospital for the first three weeks of his life. We had the privilege of giving him a name, as well.
12. S.S. (a boy) came to us at the age of four weeks. Now he is four months old. His parents are drug and alcohol dependent. That is the reason why the welfare department brought him to us. In case the parental situation will change, he might be allowed back in his family at some later time.
(Photos on p4 – orphans, not in order)
Betty came to us as a foundling. She had lived in a fishing hut on the beach together with a man who had claimed to be her father. The youth department got involved and brought Betty to us. The clinical test which, by the way, is applied on each child which we receive, fortunately showed no injury whatsoever. We thank God for that. Six months later a married couple came to our gate. They told us they were looking for their daughter. Their reunion was a happy one. Betty right away recognized her mother who was all in tears. Later on we found out that Betty had been abducted by a mentally deranged fisherman who, vis à vis the youth department, had claimed to be her father. The parents had searched for her in all the orphanages of Dar es Salaam until they finally came to us. Even though we all miss Betty (she really was an unusually likeable girl who often cared for some of the little ones) we are sure that she is better off in the care of her own family. Her real name, however, was a different one than the one she had been given before she was brought to us.
Just in: Just before this newsletter is being finalized a new three-week- old foundling, a girl, has been handed to us. More information, including some photos, will be given in our late summer newsletter.
A big Thank you!
Our main concern still is the maintenance of the orphanage. For this end we want to use all our regular monthly donations. Even though we are working on generating our own income (i.e. through a NEWSTART health center and selling fruit), the time for this has not yet come and cannot yet be foreseen. That is why we are especially grateful for any regular support.
We are especially thankful to the Morrison Family who is helping us finish the construction of the second orphanage building for the boys ages 6 to 12. The Morrison Family has already done a great part towards the construction of our Orphanage Center. That is why we have named one of the houses after the Morrison family.
As in the past, bigger amounts are being used for the construction and finishing of buildings, including the water tower, the next home for children, the elementary school etc.
May God bless you Best regards,
Thomas Kuesel and Judith Klier