December has arrived and with it, some very exciting news from the coast of Tanzania. Our last letter went out about six months ago – a lot has happened since. Work crews have been busy with the finishing touches on the first building including putting up shelves, painting the walls, making windows and shutters, and many other small projects. On the 17th of November we received the official license authorizing us to take the orphans with a court order. On the 30th of November we passed the final site visit and inspection by the local Welfare Officers. What started out as a demanding inspection turned to our favor when my wife Beate started to talk with one of the officers in Russian. As we discovered, Hilda, one of the Welfare Officers had studied for seven years in Moscow. Before she left, she jokingly said she would love to send us her own children; she was impressed by the peaceful and quiet atmosphere of our campus. She expected the orphanage soon to be flooded with children in order for »Dunia ya Heri – the Land of Blessing« to fulfill it’s purpose.
A Day to Remember
The 2nd of December is now a very special »birth« day for us. We received our first two orphans on this day. What began as a dream a little more than two years ago has become a reality. We have witnessed the fruits of God’s blessings. It has taken 14 months to build a home on a virgin piece of coastal land in East Africa that will house and feed up to 20 toddlers. Our loving and highly motivated Social Worker warned us there will come a day when we will have to reject children due to the lack of space, but for now, we anticipate adding more and more children to our Dunia ya Heri family until the buildings are full of children’s laughter and play, prayers and songs.
We could feel proud about this accomplishment and the achievements over the last few months but we are truly humbled by this responsibility and we are eager to give honor and glory to God for everything. Because of His support we were able to launch this orphanage. He always sent us the right persons at the right time, with professional advice, financial or technical support - just at the time it was needed. Even though financial means oftentimes came at the last minute, we never had to stop the construction due to lack of money. This journey has been filled with joy, excitement and anticipation, as well as great challenges and disappointments at times, but we rejoice and praise the Lord for the opportunity to serve him.
Our First Children
In order to protect the privacy of orphans, we decided not to disclose their names, but we would like to show you their pictures and living quarters. The toddler building has a room for children up to two or three years of age. This room has 10 hand made wooden cribs as well as two beds for the caretakers. The furniture and equipment in this room was donated by a generous Christmas offering taken at »Seminar Schloss Bogenhofen«. The other two rooms each house up to five children, giving us capacity for 20 children – maybe even more. There is a Mamas room with two beds and a desk. There is an open area for dining and play with an awesome view of the African landscape. Oftentimes one can see monkeys playing in the mango trees. The spacious kitchen is the heart of the building and a small courtyard behind the kitchen is a hub of activities including washing and rinsing dirty produce, washing clothes, cracking open coconuts, etc.
The first orphan we met and accepted has a shocking story. Approximately one year ago, in a region called Kawe, around 20 miles from Dar es Salaam, houses (i.e., huts) were scheduled to be demolished to construct a dam. Right before demolition began the interiors of the »uninhabited« huts were searched. During the search process, an 18-month old boy was found. He was extremely malnourished and close to death. His clinical report was found in an obvious place in the hut. This is the Tanzanian document one needs to apply for an official birth certificate. So the name of the child and his parents are known; it seemed as though the parents intentionally left behind the child. Neighbors took care of the boy and reported his finding to the police. Two weeks later he was transferred to the »Missionaries of Charity - Mother Teresa’s Children’s Home«. The Sister’s took care of him for one year, until they decided to look for an orphanage where he could stay long term - which turned out to be our »Dunia ya Heri«. We have officially assumed all responsibilities for this child. The search for his parents has so far been unsuccessful. He has already stolen our hearts.
The second boy is four years old. He does not have a father and his mother is in poor health. This does not allow her to care for the child without our support – and there are no relatives who can take care of the boy. At this time she is living at the orphanage and doing various housekeeping and upkeep jobs. We are very pleased she is with us and this young boy has also captivated our hearts. Both boys enjoy playing together. Even though we were emotionally and spiritually prepared for receiving our first orphans, we continue to have feelings of awe to be given the responsibility for the long term development and education of these children. Please keep our team in your prayers.
On the 2nd of December, the first official day of operation, the Mamas joined us as their caretakers. The term »Mama« is how all Mothers are referred to in Tanzania. For this responsibility we chose three persons, one for the day shift, one for the night shift and a third person for the time when one of the first two have their day off. After receiving the fifth child, we will need to employ three more caretakers.
Serina is the Mama for the day shift. She is a member of our local church. She has two daughters ages 16 and 21 – both of whom have musical talent. The youngest daughter gave the sermon a few Sabbaths ago.
Christina is our second Mama and is also a church member. She is a bookkeeper by profession and speaks perfect English. From the time we bought the land and moved here, she has shown an interest in this project and offered to help with whatever tasks we would give her. Christina is taking care of our children during the night. Her mother will help out when one of the other two have their days off. We are sure that our first three Mamas will raise our children in a very loving and Christian manner.
Aside from receiving the first children, a few more things have happened. The construction of the second building of the orphanage started in November. This new building will be the home for approximately 15 children, ages six to twelve. A generous donation from the United States made the erection of this building possible. A construction crew of up to 23 persons from Poland, the Ukraine and the United States joined around 15 local workers and helped us dig and lay the foundation (on a very uneven plot of land), construct the floor plate and put up the walls. We also had an architecture student from Germany visit our campus for a week during this time. She is leading out in a student project to design and draw up the blueprints for the future church / school building for the orphans. At the same time at which the construction of the second orphan’s home began, we had enough volunteers to also begin with the construction of our future home. Since September 2015 we have been and continue to live in an Army tent. It is battered and damaged to the point it needs major repairs. We are very excited to see both buildings beginning to take shape.
Also the construction of a small pizza oven was completed. Now we are able to make wholesome bread and do not need to rely on the local quality.
We are extremely thankful for the persons who dedicate their vacation time and spend their money to come to Tanzania in order to help us. A typical workday begins with breakfast at 6:30 am, worship at 7:00 am and work commences at 7:30 am. Lunch is at noon time and the crew wraps up around 4:30 pm. Most of the work crew immediately changed clothes and headed to the beach to swim and play until dinnertime at 6:30 pm. The volunteer crew worked Sunday through Friday and worshipped on Sabbath. In the photo gallery section of our homepage »www.Dunia-ya-Heri.org« or »www.land-of-blessing.org« or our Face Book page (search for: Dunia ya Heri), you can find more impressions of the work over the month of November and the first two weeks of December. We are also very thankful to the Morrision Family from the United States, who has given funds to help the poorest of the poor in Tanzania. And we certainly thank our partner »Restore a Child« who will extend a 501c3 receipt to any donor from the United States. Restore a Child continues to have a big impact on this project.
It is our aim to grow most of the fresh fruits and vegetables on our property for the children and staff. This effort is beginning to become a reality and a real blessing. The huge mango trees all over the property are currently loaded with fruit, although we seem to compete with the local monkeys for some of the fruit. Many of the fruit trees are still young. The papaya and banana trees, plantedjust last year, are already bearing fruit. The down side of the dry season is adequately watering the garden. It can be very time consuming. Two persons are busy most of the day trying to keep up with planting, weeding and irrigation. Aside from the Mangos, Papayas and Bananas we have Coconuts, Pineapple, Dates, Cherimoya, Guavas, Passionfruit, Watermelon, Lemons, Grapefruit, Oranges, Tangerines, Jackfruit, Moringa, Limes, Avocados, Grapes and even my personal favorite, the queen of all fruit – Durian. A small herb-garden is doing well in raised beds within the shade of a large mango tree. A lot of vegetables and grains are growing as well: Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, Irish Potatoes, Cucumbers, Chiles, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Corn, Sesame, Millet, Spinach, Radish, Radicchio, Onions, Okra, Zucchini, Eggplant, Cassava as well as Melons, Pumpkins and Chia Seeds. We just added Strawberries and Raspberries but we are not sure how they will fare with constant heat and intense equatorial sunshine.
A Water Tower
Currently all of the water comes from a well about 70 yards deep. We have two provisional small water towers of 9 to 10 feet – offering barely enough pressure to take a shower and flush the toilet. At this time, we use a generator to operate the 220 volt pump – which costs us a substantial amount of gasoline every week. We would like to change this system in the near future by constructing a 36 foot high, 40,000 liter water tower. The water will be pumped to the tank using two solar pumps, and will supply all of the current and future campus buildings with sufficient water 24-hours per day. We also plan to install a drip irrigation system in order to save on labor for watering the garden. Due to the height of the water tower we will have to use a professional company. We have yet to decide whether to construct the water tower with steel or in the conventional way using concrete blocks. We hope to find donors who can help us with the construction costs of approximately $20,000 USD.
Planning for the Future...
We currently have sufficient funds to carry us into the month of March 2017. We not only need to pay the Mama’s salaries, but also the gardeners, watchmen, maintenance personnel, cooks, and housekeeping. As in any private household, there are other expenses, some expected and some unforeseen to consider. Just as God has led and provided for us in the past, we are certain we need not worry about the future. God has accompanied us to this point and He will care for his children in the future. He not only gives us the command to take care of orphans and widows, He gives us the means by which to carry out this command. Once again we would like to thank all who have helped us come such a long way in such a short time and also to those who will accompany and support us in the future. We would like to take as many children with us to heaven as we can ...
Future Construction Team (2017)
From the beginning of November to the middle of December 2017, another team is planning to sup- port us with the construction of the next buildings. Whoever is interested in joining the team, may contact us by E-Mail: info@Dunia-ya-Heri.org. We could use carpenters, plumbers, electricians, masons, gardeners / agriculture experts, designers, painters, etc., as well as cooks.
Thank you for your support whether through prayer, time, financial and other. We are so grateful to everyone who has been a part of this ongoing journey. As the Tanzanians like to say, God is good, all the time!
With warm greetings and the richest of blessings, Yours
Thomas Küsel Dunia ya Heri
Judith Klier Dunia ya Heri
DONATIONS FROM THE USA ARE TAX DEDUCTIBLE (ACCORDING TO 501c3) IF THE DONATION IS GIVEN IN OUR NAME TO OUR PARTNER ORGANIZATION "Restore a Child"
(without commission): http://restoreachild.org/donate.html
You may also donate through »OCI – OUTPOST CENTERS INTERNATIONAL« (OCI will take a 1% commission): http://www.outpostcenters.org/donate/
Please do not forget to mention the project name of »DUNIA YA HERI« on your check / transfer slip. Again, we thank you.