Dunia ya Heri: Now officially open
The main purpose of my trip to Tanzania in June 2017 was the festive inauguration and official opening of Dunia ya Heri, our African orphanage. Representing the German association, Gerhard and Christel were accompanying me. Of course, we were especially excited to see our new children which have been accepted since our last visit—and also to find out how the construction work on the buildings had progressed.
The entrance with its shining white walls and the typically African roof structure, the big Dunia ya Heri name plate and the solid gate made of a reddish hardwood already left a promising first impression. When one is allowed in, after some scrutiny by the security guard, the view opens up—through a huge mango tree—to the first children home with its mighty Makuti roof finished in the meantime. It is artfully woven from dry branches of the fan palm tree (first two photos: the gate house and the baby house).
Then on Sunday, June 11, came the big day of the inauguration. Thomas had limited the number of guests to around 70, thus avoiding the renting and pitching of a big tent. 70 individuals could be put up without a problem in the open shaded part of the lobby and the side porch of the baby house. Guest of honor and the main speaker of the event was Dr. Mpoki (SDA), Permanent Secretary of the Tanzania Ministry of Health Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children. With him had come two of his department heads, some government advisors (among him the Educational Advisor for Tanzania of the British embassy) as well as the political leaders of the village and the county. Also, reporters from two TV networks and a radio station were present when Dr. Mpoki—framed by musical presentations and numerous guest addresses—gave his lively speech. In it he turned to the local leaders and rundbrief_03charged them with a shared responsibility for the success of the project. A special highlight of the festivity was a song presented by the children and their Mamas—all dressed in Dunia ya Heri T shirts. After that Dr. Mpoki officially opened the orphanage by cutting the ribbon to the children’s rooms, followed by a tour of the building together with his delegation. (Photos: Thomas and Dr. Mpoki and company and portrait of Dr. Mpoki)
At the time of the inauguration we had eight children in our care. This number in the meantime (July) has risen to 11. They all come to us through the Social Welfare Department. With each additional child, Thomas and Beate report, the challenges are growing. “We now”, says Thomas, “have six girls and five boys. Most of the children (we estimate) are between one and two years old. The oldest one is five. With the growing number of children we naturally also have an increase in peculiarities which require our full attention. Among them—in the case of the five year old one—are motoric irregularities when it comes to walking or the holding of a spoon when eating. As we have seen, the following of hygienic standards for controlling infectious diseases is one of the challenges. And Beate who untiringly is caring for the children and training the Mamas adds: “We now pay even more attention and are stricter than ever when it comes to washing hands, handling diapers and sterilizing the little plastic toilets of the toddlers.
Owed to the fact that we employ two Mamas for each five children—one for the day and one for the night—we now have six of these loving Tanzanian foster mothers. They are a great help. But their training time and again requires practicing and organizing procedures, memorizing standards and getting them used to fixed daily routines. (Photos: Group with Mamas and children, portrait of a girl).
Since our Mamas—depending on their qualification—make between 110 and 130 Dollar a month, we are happy to have, next to our one-time donations, standing orders on which we can count on a regular basis, even if they only cover a portion of one salary. You are helping us with your monthly amount to cover the expenses which naturally go up with each additional child.
With the one-time donations we will try to finish the second children’s home within the next few months (Photo: unfinished second house). We also would like to install an irrigation system for the garden. When we think of the condition of the main road connecting us to Dar es Salaam—especially during the rainy season—we on top of everything else have to brace ourselves for a break-down of our off-road vehicle and thus having to replace it. A working vehicle is not only important for hauling in supplies and visiting various government departments in Dar es Salaam, but it also is essential for medical emergencies, for example, in case a child has to be taken to the hospital. (Photo: Road)
We thank all of our friends and supporters without whom we would not be in a position to do what we are doing. Thank you also for circulating this newsletter, and thank you for each dollar you are giving, which we are holding in trust and which we lovingly invest in the life and future of the children entrusted to us.