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Brenda’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 14 Feb 2008

Location: Kahama, Tanzania

MapMJ’s Home visits with Sponsor children February 14th & 15th

Here it is February 14th and the second day of scheduled home visits. We are daunted with the task of seeing 40 children in 3 days. Collectively it was decided that we would break into 2 groups and thus I was off with a small entourage of World Vision staff and Nesphory in a Landover to trek across the rural areas of the Kahama district visiting families. What has become a common site to me over the last few days is donkeys pulling carts with young boys driving, rice fields, herds of horned cattle and goats, mango trees, papaya trees, big sunny skies, mud huts with straw roofing, people on bicycles, others walking along dirt roads, working in fields or casually sitting in front of their humble abodes.
 
My first home visit is with Barbara's Sponsor child, Emmanual who is 15yrs and in grade seven. He lives with his mother and has 4 siblings. Emmanual and his mother, Happyness were eager to have us visit and showed their appreciation with a gift of live 'doves in a box'. It was difficult to hide the astonishment on my face and then thought 'what do I do with these live pigeon?' The World Vision staff have their subtle ways of cueing 'us' mzungus. The pigeons were put in the back of the Land Rover as we drove away! Does anyone know how to smuggle Doves thru customs?
 
Our next visit was with Nancy's sponsor child Paul. He comes from a family of 8 children, 3 boys and 5 girls. His parents Bennet and Ester send warm greetings to Nancy and Canada. Paul is an engaging grade 3 boy who likes playing soccer. He want to be a Teacher when he grows up and is asking for exercise books for school.
 
Betty-Lou's sponsor child Kulwa comes from a family of 6 children, 1 girl and 5 boys. He is the youngest in the sibling line. Kulwa's parents Kulwa and Sophia report struggling to meet the daily needs of their large family. Kulwa's grandfather Hemela who is 80+ also lives with the family. Like most families in this area they have a small plot of land to grow vegetables.

Marjorie's sponsor child Shida, is a delightful 7 to 8 yr old in grade 2. He and his mother, Christina were so excited to have us visit . To show their appreciation for our visit and thanks to Marjorie for the sponsorship, a gift of a live chicken was put in my hands! Hmmmmm, do you think customs will notice a chicken and 2 doves on the journey home?? So yes we left this place with the chicken clucking in the back of the land rover! Stay tune for pictures, unfortunately our internet service here will not allow such transfers.
 
Off to visit Sadiki, Lynn's sponsor child. He and his family were also excited and happy to receive visitors . This too is a large family of 7 children and a 90yr old grandfather living with 2 small huts and small plot of land. The staff quickly notice fixed dove houses attached under the eaves of this home so the suggestion is made to gift this family with the doves. Sadiki's smile upon receiving the doves was a present in itself. Life here is really quite unique and timeless!
 
Agness is a beautiful 6 yr old cared for by an extended family of parents, grandparents. She 1 of 4 children. The grandfather presented as the head of this household and was insistent on us staying for dinner. Unfortunately we had to decline as we had just eaten lunch and had a full itinerary to complete before nightfall. Many pictures were taken and the family looks forward to receiving copies along with a letter from their sponsors Kevin and Jen.
 
Paschal is a strong 10yr old in grade 5. It was such a delight to watch his face light up when he was given the view master You sent Deanna. He reports liking school and wants to be a English Teacher when he is older.
 
The end of day two of home visits leaves Me feeling content and exhausted all at once so I look forward to returning to our cottage for a glass of wine, chips and cheese!
 
February 15th and day 3 of Home visit starts by being picked up at 8am. With 8 buckets of gifts and supplies I am off again with an entourage of staff waving at Brenda and Wendy as they head out in the other Land Rover filled with a duplicate of supplies and staff! Today's journey started out with a driver whom was out of context to the rhythm of this area as his driving was erratic and impatient. As we were heading along the Tarmac with the many people, goats, cattle, donkeys walking along the roadside (These truly are scenes out of National Geographic!) a dog veered in the path of our Land Rover and met his demise! Brenda and Wendy following some ways behind witnessed the carcass lying on the road not knowing who is responsible! Off we go to our home visits and quickly put this event behind us.
 
Visiting Michelle's sponsor child Shija was our first visit. Shija is being raised by his grown sister. Thankful for the visit he sends a gift of a gourd. This is a container made from a vegetable and used as a cup.
 
Rebecca who has a beautiful smile is excited to receive a visit. Dressed in her school uniform she greets me with a big hug, hand shake and curtsy! She sends greeting to Marilyn and looks forward to receiving pictures of this visit. Rebecca is 1 of 7 children being raised by her parents.
 
John is a shy 7 yr old and is 1 of 5 children being raised by his parents Anastasia and Joseph.
neighbor, Scott will be sponsoring this little guy who has just started grade one.
 
Victoria is an excited 13yr old who greeted us at the van with a hug and big smiles. This is a sponsor child whom was to be my sponsor child however has been sponsored by someone else. She and her parents were so pleased to receive a visit and curious about Canada. Victoria reports liking school and wants to be a pilot when she grows up!
 
Leah your sponsor child Edward is such a cute shy 6 yr old being raised by his grandparents as both his parents have died. He is not yet in school as children here do not start school till they are 7yrs old. This family was a delight to visit as they had many questions of Canada and spoke easily about life here in Kahama.
 
Timothy is a 7 yr old being sponsored by David Gregory, Mayor of Summerland. Timothy is 1 of 5 children being raised by his mother. This little guy reports enjoying soccer and mathematics in school. Timothy's mother was an engaging humble woman.
 
Mwacheni is a delightful 11yr old girl who enjoys school, learning english, playing net ball. Like her sponsor Sheena she wants to be a teacher. Sheena this family met us in the rain under a Mangoo tree and were warm and fun to converse with.
 
Last but not least was my sponsor child Shabani, an extremely introverted 8yr old in grade one. He and his brother Amos are being raised by their aging grandmother and their young Auntie. Shabani enjoys the marbles I put in his hand but said little else.
 
Here we are at the end of 3 days of home visits. It is raining and we are wet, tired and hungry... Grrrrrr! All in all the last 3 days have been a timeless experience in the lives of these African families.