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NUKIA visit
14.12.2022

Nilirudi Tanzania – I returned to Tanzania

After 8 years it was finally time for me to visit Tanzania again. When I heard from Marianne and Kurt that they would be visiting the children in November, my fingers itched and the thought of accompanying them never left my mind. So I booked my plane tickets and on November 21st I got on the plane, excited and full of anticipation to see some friends and of course the kids again. In this blog I will tell you how my trip with Marianne and Kurt was and what we experienced together.

In order to see as much as possible of the projects and also have time with everyone, a good program was prepared by Marianne and Mama Leah. On the first day on site, November 23, Mama Leah and Masia picked me up for a visit to Hope&Wonder. This is one of the few children's homes in Tanzania that focuses on children with multiple disabilities. Angela, the director of the home, gave us a warm welcome with the children and told us many things about her work. On the one hand it was shocking for me to hear how little support there is in society for parents with an impaired child - and on the other hand she touched my heart very much with her vocation and the way she dealt with the children. At Hope&Wonder, the children are supported and provided with love. Together with Angela and Mama Leah we discussed a possible partnership and agreed that NUKIA will support them for medical purposes. This includes, among other things, health insurance for the children in the home, plus those in the outreach program, and then medications that are not covered by health insurance. This way we can support her wonderful work in a meaningful way. As a small Christmas gift, we brought a big bag of rice and beans for the children's home. It was a very heart touching visit.

On the 24th Marianne and Kurt arrived in Dar es Salaam and so we could start as a team on the 25th. It started with a visit to Mama Leah and the "Boko House". This will be the accommodation right next to Mama Leah's home for our young people who are no longer allowed to live in Maisha Bora because of their age (18+), but are supported by us in their vocational training. Since they are currently living in a small space, they have built a small additional building to house 3 bedrooms. We can rent these rooms very cheaply.

Afterwards, we made our way to the Maisha Bora Children's Home - what a joy to arrive there! We were warmly greeted by the children and staff and it made our hearts shine to see everyone again! We were able to bring 3 suitcases full of donations from Switzerland for the children. Hereby again many thanks to all who have contributed something!

Afterwards we also visited some children of our family project. Mama Leah knows these children because they are either at the Mapinga School or live in the neighborhood of Maisha Bora. We support Yasim with medicine, because he suffers from a hereditary disease. He is doing much better now and it was nice to see how he is blossoming. Afterwards we went to the home of a family whose daughter is suffering from HIV. Her mother had the courage to contact us and ask for help. Unfortunately, this is not a matter of course, because many families are ashamed of it and nobody should know anything about it. So we were happy that she accepted the help and that we can support her in this way. Finally we visited Matthew. He also suffers from a hereditary disease and it got so bad that he could not go to school anymore. We discussed with the mother how we can help and look forward to support them in the future.

On Saturday, November 26, thanks to a special Christmas donation, a wish was fulfilled - the children got to spend the day at the water park in Kunduchi. A unique excursion that made the children's eyes sparkle. Sliding, swimming, playing, dancing and laughing together filled the day. It was wonderful to witness their joy and be a part of it! Thank you to the donors for this generous Christmas gift!

On Sunday we went to church together like they do every week. It was nice to experience the service together, even though we understood almost nothing. Afterwards, back at the children's home, we used the time to play with the children and make Christmas cards together.

In the afternoon I enjoyed a traditional Tanzanian birthday tradition. Always on the last weekend of the month all birthdays of children and employees are celebrated. Since my birthday was on Nov 24th, I had the honor to be a part of it and so we could celebrate a party with all the November children! This included lots of dancing, a delicious lunch and the sharing of the cake - symbolizing the sharing of love.

On Monday we visited Mapinga School - it is supported by NUKIA with catering. Every morning Mama Eshi cooks porridge for the children in kindergarten and 1st grade. Patiently they lined up during the break and waited for the warm meal. It was great to see how much this cup of porridge means to the children.

In the afternoon we drove to Tuwapende Watoto - a foundation that among other things offers a school for apprenticeships and where 2 of our teens are doing their apprenticeship. Compared to Switzerland, the apprentices are mainly in school and have various opportunities to learn the practice there. For the bakers there is a big bakery, for the tailors there are many sewing machines, for the electricians there are many electrical devices to disassemble and for the sanitary workers there is even a small building where they can practice the installation of toilets over and over again. And these are just a few examples 😊

For the highlight of the day, we got to visit mom Paulina and her baby Joyleen at home on maternity leave in the evening - so cute! Welcome to the youngest member of the Maisha Bora family.

A visit to Tanzania wouldn't be quite complete without shopping at the local market ..... together with Masia and Mama Leah, Marianne and I got to experience the hustle and bustle of the market on Tuesday and also discover new things, like these colored letters. Looks like pasta, doesn't it?

We were proven wrong by Mama Leah and she explained that this was something like popcorn - incredible, right? To try it we bought a bag and Mama Lucy made them for us. They tasted great and it was great to discover something new.

In the afternoon we used the time for staff meetings. It is very important for us to hear from them how they are doing at Maisha Bora and what visions they have for the projects in the future. So we could openly exchange ideas and are happy that Winrose already has new ideas for the health project and Masia will take more responsibility for the partnership with Mapinga. It is really a gift for us to know such loyal and good employees as part of our team.

For the World AIDS Day our nurse Winrose and our social worker Abdallah prepared a training for the 6th and 7th grade at Mapinga School. It was about education of the disease, prevention and also how to deal with people who are HIV positive. As mentioned above, people are ashamed when they fall ill with the disease, and there is often fear and uncertainty among those around them as to how they should deal with it. Consequently, those with the disease are often excluded and kept at a distance. Winrose explained that the disease cannot be transmitted through simple skin contact, so they do not have to fear sitting next to an infected person at school. She stressed the importance of including these children, playing with them and living together in harmony. It was very nice for us to see how the children listened attentively and how interactive Winrose and Abdallah had designed the lesson.

Since our plane unfortunately flew back on Thursday, December 1, we had to say goodbye in the evening at Maisha Bora. And this was hard for me! Even though I was only there for 10 days, I felt so comfortable again, as if I had not been away for a long time. A great love and joy filled every day and we are so grateful to see the projects growing and also to feel and experience their impact. Therefore, we sincerely thank all donors for their generous contributions, which make all the projects possible in the first place!

Now I hope we could give you a glimpse of our time and we wish you from the bottom of our hearts a blessed Christmas season!