Monday, March 25, 2013

A Day Around Town

One day all of the girls, Mwasiti, Happy, Princess, Maureen, and I went to town. At that time Princess and Maureen were still not used to riding in a car. They were scared to be in it, and were crying. Happy was so sweet, she acted like their older sister, she showed them that it is ok to be in the car, and that there was nothing to be scared of. The girls stopped crying and we started our journey to town, which is about an hour away from our house. We started singing songs on the way, counting the cows on the side of the road and seeing how many big cars pasted by us. It was fun, the girls really enjoyed it. It is such a blessing for these girls to have each other and be able to become a family to each other, since they do not have any. It is sweet to see how Happy, being our first child here at Small Steps for Compassion, has taken on the role of big sister and cares so much for Maureen and Princess!
We got to town and to our version of ‘Wal-Mart,’ only it is a quarter of the size, and it’s called Shoprite. We got a shopping cart and started looking for the groceries that were needed. In the beginning the girls were pushing the cart but after they found out that they could sit in it all of them wanted to sit inside. We would get the milk and give it to Happy to put inside and Happy would pass it along to Maureen and Maureen would pass it on to Princess at the end. It became quite a game for them, and of course there was lots of laughter.  The girls loved to pick juices and any kind of other groceries. They each got to pay for their juice boxes all by themselves, and they light up when the cashier told them “Asante Sana” which is Kiswahili for “Thank you very much!”  They were on cloud nine, so excited with the whole experience.
On the way back home without Mwasiti or myself helping them, the girls started to sing and count and before they knew it we were home. They helped us unpack and I could see that they could not wait for our next trip into town. Now I believe that being in the car is one of the girl’s favorite things to do. It is interesting how something so common for us in the United States, like riding in a car, can be so strange and scary to a child from Tanzania, if they have never had the opportunity to ride in one. I am blessed to be reminded of some of these privileges while I am living here in Africa. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Choice to Serve!

In an attempt to start updating our blog, Ksusha Carr has agreed to start writing for us once a week. Ksusha is a beautiful woman who comes to us from Orlando, Florida. She herself was adopted from Russia, along with her siblings several years ago and has now felt a calling to come and work with Small Steps for Compassion. She has a huge heart, and loves our girls as her own! These are some of her words on her decision to come to Africa and live at our orphanage! 

The decision of coming to Africa was set based on my feelings. I felt like everything was given to me on a plate with a gold lining. Sometimes I would have to work for it, yes, but it was just still too easy. When I was little I always wanted to work at an orphanage somewhere far from my home, somewhere out of my comfort zone. Africa seemed the perfect place. I imagined Africa like the Sahara Desert; sands, small little houses with hay roofs and nothing more. I was wrong. Africa was and is the most beautiful country I have ever seen.

When I was on a plane looking down on my new home I was amazed, I saw what looked like little tornados and I actually did believe that was what it was. I saw brown color splattered all over Arusha. I was scared. From up above it didn’t look so good. I landed and it was too hot, but the air is what amazed me and first brought my excitement. It was different, far different beyond my explanation.
The air was warm sweet and welcoming, almost like a hug! It is so hard to explain, but so wonderful. As I was sitting in the car on my way to my new home I was looking around and all of the colors of brown disappeared, I saw mountains, beautiful trees, many flowering plants and little villages with houses that were build out of mud. It was all beautiful. Nothing like I have expected.

The excitement overwhelmed me. My heart was beating so fast I thought it would jump out of my chest at any moment. I could not wait to see my little girl Happy (the little girl I would be taking care of) and my new house. As I came to the first gate, tears started coming down my cheeks, they were tears of joy. I loved everything that surrounded me here. I saw my house and was amazed of how gorgeous it looked. I call it my own villa. This was my new home. 

I had to get used to some adjustments; first, the fact that I am actually a mom at the moment was scary. Second, electricity shortages are a regular occurrence here.  And lastly, of course warm or any kind of water here is at times a deficit.

I have a little girl that I need to take care of that I knew almost nothing about. She made it easier for me though, the first day it felt like we belonged to each other. We fell in love. She was mine and I was hers. For the people that know me they know that getting up in the middle of the night sure is tough for me because I like my sleep, but I had to start doing that because Happy had dreams and I had to reassure her that everything was ok. With a little bit of time passed I got used to it and it made me feel beyond happy beyond something that I can explain. Someone very little, very precious was depending each and every second on me and I love the feeling.

Electricity here in Africa is on 60 percent of the time. Our electricity is our warm water, our communication with the world and light at night. Imagine 3 days with no electricity. Yes, I was boiling water on the stove for our showers and washing dishes etc. There was no communication with the rest of the world though. In the beginning it was rough but then I realized I had a problem of being addicted to those entire social networking sites, so with no electricity came something good. It taught me that I can live without it and most importantly that there were other things God had created in this world that I should enjoy.

Water is definitely a gift from God. Sometimes there are days where our water pump is broken that it would not pump the water inside the house. Now that to me was the end of the world. A day without water is a catastrophe. I was never used to not having water. I love my showers. In order to have at least some water I would have to go and fetch water into the bucket and fill it into one of the big tanks that we have here. Even though then it was not good enough, the water was standing outside so all the dust all the dirt and all the leaves got into it. With time I also got used to my dirty feet and I got used to that sometimes there will be time with no good water.

I have been here now for several months. We now have three little girls for me to love and care for. We also have another house mom here with me now, Mwasiti. Mwasiti is from Arusha and she has become a wonderful friend and we enjoy caring for the girls and our home! Life here is teaching me many things, and God is growing me into what He needs!