Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Visiting the school for endagered children

Although I didn't post about it,  we ladies from Mwadui visited the School for Blind and Albino children (Buhangija Center) in the nearby town of Shinyanga at the end of May. That day we took fruit, (bananas, oranges and naartjies), bread rolls and bottles of juice. We served the full school of 250 children and once they'd all had their fill, we promised we'd be back in a month and took our leave.

Meanwhile we ladies had began to buy as many underthings (for small girls and boys) that were available in Mwadui. Can you picture the shop owner's face when a Mzungu bibi (white lady) walked into her shop and asked for every one of the ten packets containing 24 underpants that she had on the shelf! Amanda arranged with Nsia to go to the local market with money donated by the men on camp and buy clothes for tots to pre-teens.

We also bought vegetables for soup, and when several people on the client camp cut up their hindquarters, sheep and pigs, they kept the bones and offcuts for the soup. Amanda and her butler/chef, Yasini made the soup in huge saucepans last Thursday. 
 Linda sits with Omari, her interpreter and colleague, with a little boy who has just recently been abandoned by his mother. (Linda and husband, Eric, pictured below, are Lutheran Missionaries here)

On Friday a convoy of four vehicles containing the Mwadui 
expats, 300 bread rolls, two pots of soup and four large bags of clothes  arrived at Buhangija Center amid great excitement from the children. The company driver, Edward and the school headmaster, arranged the children in groups and we handed out soup and rolls.

When everyone had had their first cup of soup and rolls, we announced that they could come up in groups for seconds, thirds and even fourths in some cases!

 The Mwadui men prepared the juice in situ,  while Nsia and Jacky, Nsia's house-lady, handed it out to the children

 Omari serves the older boys and girls 

After the children had all had their fill, the headmaster asked them to wash their hands and faces (sticky with soup, bread and juice) at the outside tap and to go to the dining room. There Amanda, Nsia, Marita, Louise, Debbie and I were waiting at tables with clothes set out in ages and gender. The idea was to dress the children from the supplies that Nsia had bought, while piling their own clothes in a heap which we hoped the carers would wash later on. 

Tilla, who had stayed on camp with Louise' young son, Wessel had donated 2 x 25kg bags of washing powder. We were hoping to encourage the carers to have a routine of washing the children's clothes in order to have a change when the ones they were wearing became too soiled.  Until last month, they had complained that they could not keep the clothes clean as a) especially the children generally only had one set of clothes - read: very tatty and faded clothes -  and b) they didn't have laundry detergent. It's our fervent hope and prayer that the ladies in charge of the little ones will have pride and care enough to keep these children's clothes clean and changed regularly.  
 Nsia in the foreground, sorts out clothes for the teenies, while Amanda is assisted by two older children of the center
A selection of girls' blouses, slax and skirts with a pile of girls underpants in the bottom corner

Amanda bought a supply of hats to protect the fair scalps of the Albino children

I stood on a bench to get an overview of the dressing as it was taking place. As you can imagine it was like bedlam once we'd allowed all the children to come in and they clamored for their turn at new clothes!
I was in charge of dressing the little boys. This one, like all the others, had never even seen underpants let alone worn any. He posed proudly before I pulled on his trousers

This picture tells a poignant story: the ladies are all busy dressing the children while three carers stand by and watch !
Ditto! Omari, Debbie, Phillip and Louise dress the children while the carers look on

I posted the following photos on Face Book so some of you may have seen them already. 

Marita with her little double in pink and blue
In previous posts I mentioned the boy whom we called the Goat Child. He is about 12 and due to early childhood trauma, has the mentality of a three-year-old. Amanda and Andre especially bought a couple of sets of clothes, hat and dinky toys in a blue tog bag for him. Nsia told me she'd heard someone call him Johanna so we now know his name. (And he's my namesake!) 

I found it appropriate that Linda photographed me with my "fitness partner" . He was thrilled with his cargo pants and Fitness Festival tee shirt
Linda with Eric and the little boy who has now had a change of clothes. He clung to Eric from the moment we arrived there...
...until he later fell asleep.  Louise took him from Eric and placed him on a bed in the babies' dormitory. I wondered what that little mite thought when he awoke later on Friday to find his new-found baba (dad) Eric was no longer there. Heartbreaking stuff!
 Nsia had two precious little ones who clung to her outside once she'd finished dressing them

After all the clothes had been utilized, Amanda explained to the carers that the old, soiled clothes in the middle of the room had to be laundered and kept aside for a change. As I said above, we 're hoping that the carers will care enough to use the donations for the children's comfort and hygiene!

Meanwhile, Debbie and her fiance, Phillip had been given the items we'd bought and collected for the older children: toiletries and personal necessities for the older girls and combs, toothpaste and toothbrushes for the older boys. 

Afterwards we sent the children outdoors to where Debbie and a team of helpers were tending to the children with open sores, blisters and other skin irritations.
 Linda treats a sore on this little boy's mouth
 Phillip applies ointment to an open sore on this little lad's face
 Debbie sprays Dettol onto scratches and sores on on the back of this boy's neck

 (you can see more on Linda's FB page: Funke in Tanzania)

When we visited the school at the end of May, Debbie also treated the children's sores.  Afterwards she left a large tub of Vaseline jelly, skin ointment, cotton wool pads and a large bottle of Dettol (anti-septic) for the carers to continue to apply to those children who needed it. When we returned this time, the older children told Debbie that the children had not been treated with the meds as no-one knew what had happened to it!

Eventually it was time for us to pack up, get into the vehicles and wend our way back to Mwadui. We were hot, grubby and  thirsty. But, we were happy that we'd had another successful morning with the Endangered children of Tanzania. 

I'm linking today's post to Our World Tuesday which you can access by clicking here


  1. oh my goodness. bless all of you for gathering such a wealth of items for these sweet, abandoned kids! things we take for granted so easily and they have nothing. bless you for treating them like people and not outcasts. and i hope the caregivers will try harder.

  2. Oh, Jo, this one moved me to tears!! How wonderful the things you are doing/have done for these precious children!! Thank you! I wish I could be there to help.

  3. Such a great work that you and the other ladies and men of Mwadui are doing Jo! Of course my heart goes out to all the children but was moved by the cute little guy whose parent recently abandoned him. Just so so sad! But I can imagine for single, poor parents it is next to near impossible to look after children. Nonetheless it is a very heartbreaking situation. God bless all of you for doing what you can to bring some happiness and comfort to these dear ones. xx

  4. ... you each did so much to bring hope and joy on that day. I'm sure you do it many times over in various ways. Certainly tweaked the heart strings...bless all the little ones, they are so innocent and deserve better.

  5. Jo, God Bless you and the other ladies helping these children. So many wonderful things you have done to help the school children. I am so glad they have you! Enjoy your day and week!

  6. God's blessings on all of you that are helping these children.. so many in need and i am guessing the carers don't really know how or what to do.. it is heartbreaking to read this but also soul lifting to know you and others care... also it is so sad that the children are there because they are albino... thank you for sharing this with us...

  7. You folks are so wonderful to help these children. But what a shame the caregivers don't do a better job as well.

  8. Kind and caring people in action! Bless you all for bringing food, clothing, meds, and hope to these children.

  9. All I can say is...BLESS YOU ALL.

    What a wonderful, unselfish, loving piece of work. Each one of you should be proud of your kind heart and generous time with buying, working, and caring for these little ones.

  10. Hi Jo, I have been trying to make time get back to Blogging! I have made an effort to read the first 3 Blogs that show up on my newsfeed and again try to catch up on everyone.
    I am so glad yours was one for today, this post is so sad and then so heartwarming in so many ways. What struck me is only 3 carers for so many obviously highly vulnerable children and I did wonder if everything which you left for the welfare of the children would find its way onto the Black market! Great post.


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo