We recently welcomed three new members of our Village Angels of Tanzania staff. Sr. Veneranda replaces Sr. Esther as assistant to Sr. Dativa. Our other two new staff members join our youths in the program. Oliva Josiasi, who enjoys sewing and farming, and Alan Joseph David who likes farming, sewing, and playing football (soccer). We welcome them to our team and wish them all the best as they continue to meet new people and learn new skills.
A generous donor in New Jersey wanted to give our Village Angels a Christmas Present, so she donated the money needed to purchase a motorcycle. It has arrived and is ready to serve our needs. The motorcycle will be used for emergency transportation, when our truck is not available, and to deliver food to the most remote of the villages we serve. It will indeed go faster than the bicycles that each of our youths currently ride.
Faustin Kisuka, our youth supervisor, is the only designated driver. The most daring of our elders has already been taken for a ride.
In the slideshow below, you can see how excited everyone is to have the motorcycle. Doran, one of our "daring" elders, is enjoying her ride.
Our Village Angels are praying for our donor and for her deceased son, in whose memory the donation has been made. Thank you!
Construction of our Chicken Coop is complete. Now all we need are the chickens! The plan is to populate the coop with 100 hens and several roosters. Our Youth are learning how to properly care for the chickens when they arrive - yet another new item to add to their repertoire of skills acquired as a result of The Village Angels of Tanzania program. Once we have the chickens, we plan to supply our Elderly with eggs each week in addition to the other food. This will add a much needed source of protein to their diet. Below are a few pictures showing the construction of the Chicken Coop. As you can see, there is an indoor area for nesting and protection from the elements, and a fenced in outdoor area where they can roam freely.
On Dec. 26, the day after Christmas, our Village Angels, both youths and elders, gathered at Rauscher Hall for a communal celelbration. There was food for everybody. Our youths sang for the elders. Simple entertainment. Lots of socializing. At the end of the day everybody went back to their huts, with a little bag of food and hearts filled with joy.
Sister Dativa, our youths and our elders took the opportunity to pray for peace and to wish our many supporters and donors a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thank you all!
The new beehouse is complete! This structure holds our beehives while keeping them safe from predators, both animal and human. The fencing allows the bees to easily come and go, while the lock on the door helps keep the beehives secure.
Building the beehouse required a lot of hard manual labor, lots of measuring, digging, hauling water, etc. But in the end, it was definitely worth all the effort.
As this post is being written, it is almost Thanskgiving Day here in the USA (celebrated on the 4th Thursday of November). Buried beneath all the football games, cooking the "perfect" turkey, and the frenzy of "black Friday" sales to open the "Christmas shopping season", is the idea that Thanksgiving is a day to reflect on what and/or who you are thankful for.
The Village Angels of Tanzania have much to be thankful for over the last two years. Thanks to our incredible donors (both individuals and organizations), we have been able to accomplish a lot in our two short years.
We are thankful for many things, including:
That we can bring joy to the abandoned elderly angels in our program
That we can bring hope for a better future to our youth angels
That we can give the elderly comfort and dignity (and food, beds, supplies, hut repair, etc.) in their last remaining years
That we can teach our youth skills which will allow them to support themselves and their families in the years ahead
That we could provide (build) huts for two elderly ladies so they would not end up homeless
That we could accomplish larger projects such as our multi-purpose building, beekeeping, and begin work on our newest project - the Chicken Coop
That we have many friends who work behind the scenes putting together various fundraisers (fish bakes, garage sales, bike rides, etc.)
And many, many other small, sometimes seemingly insignificant things that together help our program grow....
Most of all, we are thankful to you, our many donors, who make this all possible through your generosity.
From all the Village Angels, to all our supporters - Asante sana ("Thank you" in Swahili)
Just sharing a couple of pictures from our newest projects, the beehouse for our beehives and the chicken coop. More on these projects upcoming...
The several week delay in the rainy season has been detrimental to our crops. As you can see in the pictures below, our crops are dying. Hand watering with water fetched from a source several miles away is not enough to save the crops. If we could get a good crop, it would mean more nutritious food for the elderly (we currently have to try to make up the difference by purchasing food) Please continue to pray for rain.
If we could bring water to our site, it would make a huge difference - but that is the subject of another blog....
WE NEED RAIN!
The success or failure of our crops depends on the rainy season. This year's rainy season has been delayed and the little rain that has started to fall is not enough to water the crops. There is no source of water on site. What little hand watering can be done is dependent on fetching barrels of water from a distant site. Our crops are in peril. Please add you prayers and good wishes to ours as we hope and pray the life-giving rains will arrive in Benaco soon.
You are invited to a virtual tour of our home!
This video, in less than a minute, will show you The Village Angels of Tanzania Center. It’s quick, but you will see: Rauscher Hall with our truck parked in the front, the 400-tree banana plantation, our original building (too small for our current needs), the gazebo, a few beehives in the distance, our youth working the land and finally the hut where our youth cook and eat breakfast and lunch.