Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day 7 – The Lawyer

Hello Mom and Dad Philbrick! Glad to know you are following along on the blog and that you figured out how to write a comment! We got your second comment that led us to the one you had posted earlier. What a small world, that you would know someone here in Tanzania!! Mom you remember everyone. Looking forward to more comments from you!

We really enjoy ALL our comments so much, and look whenever we can to see if there are any new ones.

David, thank you for the Bible verse, we really enjoyed that as well!

Zach, great to finally hear from you…we’ve been waiting. Wish you were here. You’ve been in our thoughts as we remember our trip to the Congo. You would love it here. Stinker! Shannin says Ahh Bup bup bup. Too funny.


Today was a very big day as it was dedicated to meeting with the lawyer. While we did have a chance to have a nice lunch and shop a bit in town – to finish up getting some things to bring to our friends and family back home - we were anxious to meet with Duncan Oola.

(Elivia with a Shop Owner)

(Tanzanian Version of McDonald’s. McRash-ell, This is for You.)

Duncan is a Tanzanian SDA lawyer practicing in Arusha who spends much of his morning in court with the afternoon dedicated to meeting with clients. At 4P, Juma, Paul, Shannin, and Roswitha were in his office explaining what it is we’re trying to accomplish with our orphanage. Duncan listened patiently and then nodded as he began to understand the Small Steps for Compassion project. There are quite a few hurdles to be navigated here even if one is to bring volunteers in for a visit.

We are trying to cover all of our legal bases to ensure that we are working in accordance with the local governmental regulation. Doing so will minimize any issues and holdups that might arise. If the local officials understand that we are here to assist the community it will also minimize any red tape, paperwork delays, and “grease” that may otherwise occur.

Duncan was very positive and felt that the necessary submittals could be completed in a few days and ready for signature possibly before we leave; yet another affirmation that we are following the right path!

Reassured, we headed back to the UAACC for dinner amazed at being able to watch each piece fall into place. Finding local resources that you can trust while operating abroad is absolutely critical and so far we’re covered. Juma continues to take good care of us and we’re impressed with his professionalism, business skills, and knowledge.

While we were meeting with Duncan, the rest of the gang were able to go back out into the village to socialize with our soon to be neighbors and hand out some more goodies.

(Christian Captured One of Our Little Buddies)

(Mount Meru)

(Some of the Villagers We've Come To Know)

(Corrinne's New Skirt Made By Mwajambo)

(Our Nightly Canasta Game)

We’re heading off on a Safari tomorrow to the Ngorogoro Crater – we’re very excited. We’re not exactly sure what our connectivity will be, but hopefully we’ll be able to post our updates. If you don’t see a new post, we’ll just have to catch you up as soon as we can.

P.S. We saw a Bush Baby last night, but we were not quite fast enough to catch it on film.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Day 6 - Hands and Feet

Response to comments...

Uncle Dickie, Unfortunately you'll have to let Autumn and Allison know that Bonobos are only found in the Congo, but we'll try to capture a Bush Baby.

Shae-Shae, We did not have a vehicle available Sabbath morning to make it to church so we spent it with the locals. We're anxious to see what worship is like as well.

Andrew, we're looking forward to getting back and doing some planning with FLA.

David A, Welcome back. Wish you were here.

Many thanks to all that have been sending us notes through the comments.


Jambo! Today we began our day a little late. We were up late last night talking with a group of 16 college students that arrived here yesterday. The students are from many different colleges in the US on an international study. They all joined up two months ago in Kenya. It has been fun talking with them and hearing about all that they are doing and learning.

In the morning the boys were invited to join some of the workers for a little jam session. They had fun working together, teaching and learning from each other. Another fun experience here at the UAACC.

Something we have not seen yet, but have heard rustling in the trees here at the UAACC…bush baby monkeys. We have been told they are very quiet, we will keep our eyes peeled to try and capture one on film for you!

After a late breakfast and posting on the blog, we packed up our crafts, play-dough, and soccer ball then headed on foot through the village toward the Havilah orphanage. The children were expecting us so as soon as we arrived, the fun began! They were so anxious to begin their crafts and see what other treasures we had brought along. Thank you to our family for the craft items…it was the highlight of the children’s day.

While we were there, a gentleman showed up at the gate, he had an abscess in his leg, which had gotten infected and turned into a gaping hole running lengthwise down his leg. It is about ten inches long.

It did not look good when he peeled back the bandage to show us how it went down to the bone, and clearly it was causing him pain. He walked about 64 km from Arusha to come to the orphanage to seek a donation as he attempted to collect enough money for an operation - he had only collected 1/5th of what he needed. We pray now he is able to get his much needed surgery. There is no doubt that without the surgery, he will lose his leg. These are the sort of things you would never see in America…we are truly blessed in our country!

We really enjoyed being with the children today. They are very affectionate and we already feel very bonded to them. When we were leaving for the day, the little girl that had been attached to Corrinne looked up at her with sad eyes and said, “Are you going to not come back?

She made Corrinne pick her up and carry her as far as she could before she got into the car for the ride back to the UAACC (James was kind enough to drive us back). It is so easy to fall in love with these children; theirs are the faces of angels. It is a reminder of how hard it will be to say goodbye to all of these beautiful children who have touched each one of our hearts.

Upon our return to the UAACC our kids decided that they wanted to go out into the local village and hand out more clothing and lollipops. It is truly better to give than to receive! We have found that our quiet little village is very deceiving…from the first second that we pulled the first lollipop out of our bag; many children came from all over to collect whatever items we had for them! One girl even made up a song, and sang it for us. “We’re so very happy, thank you very much” “We’re so very happy, thank you very much!” Also, a very special thank you to each one of you who donated clothing and other needed items. As you can see it was used in a mighty way!

Clutching their new prized possessions they continued to follow us on our walk.

It was another great day in Tanzania; we are falling in love more and more each day with the people and the landscape here.

We feel our steps have been ordained and that our path has been carved out before us. We are truly thankful for all of the support and prayers we are receiving from each one of you! We are excited for this great opportunity to serve and be His hands and feet. Our vision has been established and our mission made clear. We are anxious to fill the home and create a hope and a future for our neighboring village and community here.

Tutaonana (goodbye)

Day 5 – Bags of Blessings

Today we started out by going to the Masai market – a kind of street bazaar – where your bargaining skills would make the difference between leaving with no money or just a little. The kids learned, from Juma, that one asks what the “standard” price is and then cuts it in half for a counter offer. This back and forth offer-to-buy and offer-to-sell continues as the buyer acts as if he or she is giving their last Schilling away. Essentially everything can be bought for 40% off, but the barter is a long necessary part of the purchasing process. Oh, and whatever you do, don’t ask what the price of something is if you don’t intend to buy; you’ll be forced to go through the entire process without the ability to leave the store. Armed with the rules of the game, the kids put on their poker faces and dove into the shops.

Returning to the UAACC laden with trinkets of ebony, we continued our planning with another meeting with Juma. We’ve learned so much in such a short time and will be meeting with the Tanzanian lawyer this Tuesday. Juma also learned that the land adjacent to our current property can be purchased which would give us an additional two acres. This truly is an exciting development because our vision is to have a true Tanzanian working family home.

While there are plenty of institution type charities, our plan is to emulate the Tanzanian domestic culture as much as possible while providing a nurturing environment to those without families of their own - this mean as much self-sustaining as possible. Additional land would allow for the raising of chickens, cows, fish ponds, and agriculture as well as a playground…we’re excited!

Now this part is for the grandmother’s…

A 15ft, 100lb Python wrapped around the necks of your grandchildren. Such a sweet and cuddly pet!

The highlight of our day was when we headed to join the children and proceed to hand deliver the “Bags of Blessings!” As soon as we were in sight, many of them started running toward us to give us our treasured hugs…while running toward us they began singing “Making Melodies in my heart”, (the song we had taught them). What a joy to hear their beautiful voices! Mwajambo (the director) had all of the children sit down so that we could hand each one of them their bag filled with goodies.

It was so impressive to watch as the children sat quietly waiting until the last bag was handed out. In the States, it would have gone a little differently! As they began opening their bags we tried to capture it all on film.

There is no way we can truly capture the Joy that each child possessed. One boy in particular had such a contagious Joy on his sweet face that it pierced right into our hearts and brought tears to our eyes.

We sat watching them and playing with them, and quickly realized that even though we gave them the bag as a gift, it was truly our hearts that had received the blessing today!

Praise God for eyes that can see!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Day 4 – The Cradle of Love

We started our day in an African art class with Max (One of the local teachers at the UAACC). He attempted to teach us Batiki - a traditional African art. We quickly realized that there was one missing ingredient…talent!

Several of the UAACC kids were watching us do our “art”.

With them near, Shannin quickly lost interest in her work of art and started playing with the kids; giving Max the burden of finishing her piece. Turns out she has the best looking piece of the bunch!

We had fun and with freshly stained hands we headed off to The Cradle of Love at the Tanzania ADRA headquarters. The Cradle of Love is a baby home, run by Davona Church, currently the residence of 42 infants ranging from zero to two years of age. Included in this group is a set of triplets and one set of twins.

(Ashton literally pushed this little guy for an hour. He would cry every time he stopped so he just kept going.)

We all agreed that Davona is a Saint who is doing an amazing work here. We greatly enjoyed spending time playing and participating in dinner time despite the mayhem. Has anyone ever attempted to feed 42 infants at the same time?!?

Max and Davona were an absolute wealth of knowledge and were happy to convey any contacts or information necessary in order to establish the orphanage – this is a God send! We toured the facilities and Max Church informed us of some of the programs that ADRA is doing in the local community and Tanzania as a whole. What an amazing work they are doing here! We feel so thankful for the connection that has been made and the relationship that we’ve started with them.

On the way back to the UAACC, the clouds cleared over Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro so we raced to the property to take some pictures. Unbelievable!

Mount Meru

Mount Kilimanjaro

We’re a little worn today and thankful for the setting sun. With a quick game of Canasta, we head off to bed in preparation for a new day.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Day 3 - Asante Sane (Thank You in Swahili)

Today we headed out to the market this morning; we needed to get a few items including bath towels. It would appear bath towels are a luxury here and we didn’t even consider bringing them from home.

On our way to the market we were pulled over by a governement official standing by a pull-off on the side of the road - he was pulling cars over at random. He took one look in and said something to Juma in Swahili and we were off again.

Puzzled, we asked Juma what that was all about. He told us that government corruption was a prevalent thing in Africa and Tanzania was no exception. This was reminiscent of our trip to the Congo where we went through a few military check points and were required to pay a "whatever you can afford to pay" toll. However, the people in Tanzania are very protective of the tourist trade here and knowing that extortion makes us nervous, the official waved us on. Juma told us that if it were just him in the car, he would have had to give him some money.

Given that the unemployment rate here is around 50% and governement payroll is certainly not a guaranteed thing, it should not be shocking to know that people in power do what they have to in order to survive. It is perhaps unnerving to those of us in the west, but it is a way of life here and the subsidizing is relatively small being considered a "perk" of the job - just like a waiter working for tips I suppose.

We stopped at a well stocked crowded grocery market where the kids and adults alike started ooing and awing at the proprietor’s goods. It’s always a good time to see what goodies are available in other countries as they tend to cater to local tastes. Armed with our towels, a couple of local sweets for us, and lollipops for the orphans we headed to the Arusha Cultural Center.

At the cultural center we were immediate impressed with the number of ebony carvings, sculpture, antiques, art, etc. amassed. The works of art were very impressive and unlike anything we had seen before. The Kazuri beads (which are only in East Africa) are individually handmade and simply beautiful. From the flawless Tanzanite collection and other fine jewels to the expansive ivory collection and exotic instruments…this was dizzying. This was not a bargain mart however in which the vendor could be haggled with, but more like a fine art collection (from the immediate area) commanding an equally impressive price. The kid’s loved it, but are anxious to go to the Maasai market where their hard earned dollars will go a little further based on how well they haggle!

Upon our return to the UAACC, the kids wanted to distribute their personal belongings, they had brought with them from home, for donation to the local villagers. We walked to a particular family's dwelling that we learned was in dire need and proceeded to hand out clothing, shoes, and some toys.

They were so grateful, drawing the attention of some passerby’s who welcomed a brief break from the afternoon duties or play time.

The woman of the house (Agnes), had a little store she earned a modest living from selling a few sodas and snack items; she invited us to purchase some soda...which we did.


We stayed, playing with the children, and enjoyed sharing each other’s company.

When we said goodbye, they were disappointed and invited us to come back – that we will!

Back at the UAACC, the boys played basketball with a few of the orphanage workers. For all those that have played basketball with Paul and Doug…they were well behaved dialing it way back. Not sure if they were just holding themselves back, the altitude (4300ft) was keeping them from operating at full steam, or they’re just getting old!

The UAACC orphans have warmed up to us and embrace us without inhibition. We taught them several songs tonight with an overwhelming favorite being “Making Melodies.” They’ve taught us a few songs as well.

They are so precious and they’ve established a nightly ritual of giving hugs and kisses goodnight after dinner and on their way to bed - truly a precious and treasured gift.

Another great day enjoying the people and rich beauty of Tanzania

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Day 2 – Employee #1

Responses To Comments

George, yes the kid’s did indeed bring the fishing reel and dollar and proceeded to pass the time in Detroit by pranking unsuspecting travelers. For all those that don’t know…the kid’s tape a dollar bill to a fishing reel and lay it down on the floor, then proceed to hide about fifty feet away.

When a passerby reaches down to retrieve his or her find, they reel it in. Some people actually chase it and some see it, but don’t bother picking it up. Anyways, it is always a good time.

April? April who? Very funny. I’m sure you’ll be thinking about us while you’re on your cruise. We love you. Enjoy!

Shae Shae Fantastica, you’ve been in our thoughts. You would love it here.

Mom S, GG would love the instant coffee. I have to say that since Coffee is a major cash crop in the area, the instant coffee is actually pretty good (didn’t think instant could be). Would love to bring some Avocadoes home, but fruit and veggies are strictly prohibited through customs; something about possible exotic insects upsetting the delicate ecosystem balance…or something like that.

Thank you all for the posts. It is a highlight of the day to wake up and read what you’ve written.


Today is a good day; the power is on and we met with and interviewed Juma Nicholas Kitau to be our Director of Operations here in Tanzania. We were impressed with his professionalism and passion for the project. Coming to us with a University degree in Zoology, he has worked with and interfaced with a lot of westerners in his previous profession as a Safari Guide – understanding each other’s cultural perspective is critical to the trust and working relationship especially when operating abroad.

If anyone has experienced it, one knows of something called “Africa Time” which is closely akin to “Island Time.” Well Juma was scheduled for 12:00P and showed up precisely at 12:00P sharp with notebook in hand for taking notes. He is certainly a welcome addition to the team, and is going to be critical in handling our local book keeping and in interfacing with the local officials to ensure that the orphanage is setup properly.

After a discussion of terms and expectations, Juma took us on a walk to tour the property for the proposed site.

There is a “road” that goes all of the way to property and as you crest the hill you’re met with a wonderful view of a sprawling valley facing Mount Kilamanjaro. The summit was enveloped in clouds so we couldn’t see it today, but on a clear day the view is majestic.

The estimated 3.5 acres are a rocky, volcanic, but very fertile piece of property that will support several homes and a bit of agriculture as well. As long as there is water, anything will grow, Juma says. This area has been in a long drought, but this rainy season is expected to bring with it substantial rains. Juma says that in Africa, water literally means life.

One of the first items on the list will be a well for irrigation as well as for drinking. Deep wells are hard to come by in this area because of the rocky terrain, but digging down around 150 feet will ensure that the orphanage has water even during the driest season.

Paul walked the perimeter of the property and recorded his track with GPS so that we would have an idea of the location and topography of the property. It will enable us to do some planning of the layout before breaking ground.

If anyone is interested, they can download the recorded track of our walk Here and if you have Google Earth installed, you can explore the area that we are in (Dougie Fresh, this one's for you).

On our walk back we met with several of the locals to say hi - everyone is amazingly friendly.

One facility we passed – University of Arusha – stands out in all of it’s surrounding. It is run by the Global Vessels foundation which is an independent group of Seventh Day Adventist professionals. We stopped in for a tour and met James and Debby Delaney.

They’ve been here with their daughter Mattie since August of 2009 and sold everything they had in the U.S. to enter the mission field. Their facility currently houses twenty orphans and they’ve recently completed a new building to receive another ten kids in need - what amazing sources of information!

They told us about the local resources we would need to use, schools in the area, and the Lutheran hospital critical for our orphan’s medical care. After a flurry of questions, exchanging contact information, and a brief tour we headed back to the UAACC for lunch. We’ll be seeing James and Debra again soon.

Ashton Found A Little Friend

Upon our return, Pete O’Neil had a job for Ashton and Christian. He made them raise their hands and swear that they would perform their task to the best of their ability. The children at the UAACC received an old Playstation a short time ago and have not been able to figure it out, but Pete was positive that one of our kids would know how to work it. As a product of the 50’s and 60’s, Pete stated that he had never seen something so complicated, but he knew that the children here would enjoy it so he Shanghaied Ashton and Christian as instructors. For Christian – an avid gamer – this was no problem!

Corrinne and Elivia met Mwajambo and toured her clothing shop. Mwajambo is very talented at making African clothing and her face lit up when Corrinne asked her if she could make a skirt for her. Fabric selected…we await the results.

We’re feeling very good about our accomplishments made today. The Smalls Steps for Compassion project is off to a very good start.