Tuesday, June 17, 2014

"If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one." ― Mother Teresa

We feed about 70 orphans and poor children every day here at Maisha Na Maji (living water).  Forty-five little ones in the morning get two cups of hot ujii (porridge) and then beans and rice before they go home around one o’clock in the afternoon.  The afternoon class of twenty-five older kids who are studying English only, get rice and beans before they begin their studies.  We also provide financial help for food for another twenty-five orphans in Arusha at Pete’s.  He feeds them three meals a day every day of the year, so we can’t afford to pick up that bill, but we send at least two or three thousand dollars a year at different times to help buy bulk food containers and basic food for them.  It’s not enough, but it’s all we can afford, and, as Mother Teresa, says in the quote above, it is enough to feed at least one of them all year long.  There are times we struggle to raise the money to keep the food coming for our kids here, but we have never failed—or more aptly, God has never failed us.  We pay Neema to cook, we provide the cooker (stove for Americans), the propane to run it, the food itself (which Neema buys in the village market), and all the cups, plates and other stuff needed, including a small refrigerator.  For the last several years, Neema has had to make do with a little two-burner gas cooker that she has had to use rocks to help hold the pans in place.  She never complained, just did her job as best she could.  With my mother’s estate money, we were able to buy the new, five-burner cooker you see (with Neema) in the picture at the right.  We got it in Mwanza and, as they are rare here, had to pay a little over a thousand dollars for it.  It has an oven with adjustable temperature (another rare thing here) and a rotisserie.  We managed to get it into the back of our new/old car (another thing we got thanks to Mom’s estate money) and Shaban had to spend about an hour arguing with the customs people at Magu (about an hour from here) before they believed it wasn’t for a restaurant and therefore subject to another three hundred dollars in commercial taxes, but he got it here.  Neema was very happy as she also cooks for the groups who stay here for seminars and mission work.  It made me feel good to be able to make her work easier.  We are having trouble with the internet so I couldn't use Picasaweb for more photos, but if you go to Facebook, you will find a post from me that shows the old cooker with the rocks in place and Neema beside the propane tank outside the new kitchen we built with funds from the One Book Foundation.  We still have to enclose the propane tank because it is visible from outside the fence and therefore a temptation to thieves.  We have the stuff to do it and had planned to do it today, but Shaban had to take John to the Coptic Hospital in Musoma to check for malaria or typhoid.  He has been very sick for the past few days, but is in good hands with the Coptic doctors.  We are volunteer missionaries here and rely only on our Social Security and retirement funds to operate and maintain our mission.  My mother died last September (at the age of 98) and left us enough money to do many long needed repairs and to buy several things we really needed to keep operating.  Thanks, Mom.  I’m sure she is proud of how we spent the money she left us.  I know the kids who get their only food for the day here are happy.  Just one more of the things contributing to the miracle that has been ongoing here for the last year or so (I wrote about this in a previous blog).  So, thank you God, thank you Mom, thank you One Book Foundation, thank you to my cousin and family in Texas,  to my sister, and to all those who have supported us financially and have kept us in your prayers.  We will continue to do all the good we can, with what we have, where we are, until God calls us home.
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