November 2020

We have marvelous news to share today.  Huruma will soon have a fully operative website, www.tzhuruma.org.  There’s already a video on the “About Us” page, several entries on “Blog”  and photos and information on the “Contact Us” page.  Soon the Home and Events pages will be available as well as an option to Donate online.  Thanks to Melanie Lucas for taking on this projects.

Now for updates on Huruma and its needs.  The seven students pictured here are anxiously awaiting results of the recent exams which will determine their eligibility for secondary school.  Their attendance in class (inclusive class) is amazingly good.  And they like their class. For porridge and lunch they return to Huruma.   With COVID and poverty, Huruma staff sometimes encounter a lack of parental support to these teenagers when they are back home from school.

Government support for school lunches is unrealiable.  Recent elections in the non-governmental organization to which all Huruma parents belong have brought new leadership.  Fortunately with this new leadership, parents have started to contribute for food shortage. 

Huruma teachers are well, safe and productive.  One member of the leadership team suffered a light stroke and is still under medical care, but has returned to work. With her dedication, enthusiasm and creative, Mathilda is an inspiration to staff and parents.  Please pray for her complete recovery.

With the the help of our friends in Mwanza and one parent, Huruma has now installed electricity in our school building.  When approached, two friends volunteered to provide electrical material for wiring and another to do wiring activity. Then one parent paid for installation charges with the Tanzania Electric  Company. Now we have electrical power at our school. Up to now Huruma has used a generator to draw water from outside storage tanks to inside tanks that serve restrooms.  The Director now does not have to worry about keeping his laptop charged.  Teacher who do not have electricity at home will be relieved to charge cell phones at school.  This also creates opportunities to explore educational uses of electrical equipment. Electricity may also be more economical for cooking than the current gas.

The Huruma garden has recovered from neglect during the dry season and COVID-19 holiday. Until the rainy  season, which is expected to begin soon, students in the work skills program water daily, carrying buckets of water. The garden looks good and serves both for training and for student meals. Vegetables from the garden enrich student meals daily. In the background beneath the gorgeous Tanzanian sky, you can see the waving banana trees and farther behind, a residence hillside.  Way off in the distance, but visible on a clear day, is Lake Victoria.

In the meantime, Huruma depends on our support for staffing, maintenance and educational materials.  During the current pandemic, we have all realized our reliance of each other.  Calls from family and friends, offers of help or cheer, government assistance, food banks have all kept us going in spite of physical restrictions.  So we can imagine how Huruma staff and parents are buoyed by awareness of our accompaniment.

I hope to see many of you at our virtual Taste of Tanzania.  If you won’t be able to attend, here’s information on how to help anyway until we have an option to donate online.

July 2020

Greetings from the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many Huruma students, like all students in Tanzania, have returned to in-person classes for the second semester of 2020. Some parents are keeping their children home for fear of contagion. They missed the customary celebrations of Africa Day, May 25 and Day of the African Child June 16. It’s now the long dry season equivalent to our winter. And still we are surrounded with illness.
As a delayed celebration of Africa Day we pray:

Oh God, We humbly bow before you with thanksgiving for your gift of African peoples and their many contributions around the world. We confess we have not done all we could to celebrate this. We recognize the historic and present inequitable harm and injury inflicted upon African peoples. Forgive us. Today, we see where these inequities have contributed to the disproportionate numbers of illnesses and deaths of African peoples affected by COVID-19. This disturbs us and we mourn the loss of life. We pray for wellness and access to good health care and nutrition for those who are and may be affected by this illness.

As we pray for the protection of all Huruma staff, students and families, Help us to live in hope and to advocate for the life of all people as we learn anew how to love God and one another. Amen.

Tanzania celebrates two more national holidays during this season. Sabasaba, translating to the seventh day of the seventh month, celebrates workers, business and trade, often with a bustling Trade Fair. Nanenane, the eighth day of the eighth month, celebrates agriculture and farm workers.

The mission of Huruma continues to be a model neighborhood school. Gradually, parents of children with disabilities are realizing that their children have a right to an education. Very gradually, they are bringing pressure on the government to provide appropriate education for their children with a wide range of disabilities, including those with multiple disabilities. In acknowledgement of our most recent wire transfer of funds, Mr. Toto sent these photos of Huruma’s reopening days. I hope you enjoyed them as I do.

In the meantime, our support for Huruma is of the utmost importance. Because of the
pandemic, I will not be visiting Huruma this year – just can’t expose myself to 36 hours in
planes and terminals going and then returning. My trips are not just to refresh my relationships with students, families and staff of Huruma. I also spend at least one day visiting local businesses, distributing Huruma brochures and soliciting local support for Huruma. As well as resulting in sizable donations, this spreads word of Huruma and the
rights of vulnerable children in the community.

April 2020

As we sit in the middle of our coronavirus imposed inspired isolation preparing for Holy Week and Easter, we reflect on our connected to all the suffering across the world. As life slows down, we have time to really look at those we do see with more open and understanding eyes.  Perhaps we even see the face of Christ. I invite you to see the face of Christ in Dotto, pictured below.  Before closing for the safety of all, Huruma enrolled 6 new students this school year. May God bless the children he has so generously given to us, and may God bless the hands and hearts that hold them.

  Taste of Tanzania 2020 was very successful raising enough money to support 75% of Huruma’s needs from July 2020 to June 2021.  We were fortunate to hold our event before gatherings of this size were cancelled.  Photos of the event are not yet available but here’s a quilt lovingly handmade from Tanzanian fabric and donated as a raffle prize. C:\Users\User\Pictures\12-24-2014 Import\2020-04-03\042.JPG

Many thanks to all the willing hands and minds who worked together over months to bring this about.  Our new venue, Zion Lutheran Church, was an ideal setting.  Our new accounting team managed check-in and check-out smoothly.  Kwele entertained us with drumming while Edna organized a fantastic Fashion Show.  Returning to the joy of all were our caterer, African Cuisine; our MC Chris; silent auction and sales by PSI Chapter of DKG; and many others who provided publicity, decorations and set-up and all the details that go together to equal success.

  Introducing Huruma student, Dotto Jumanne:  “I am 15 years old, I have been at Huruma for 5 years now. I can hear but cannot talk (dumb). “

  Dotto’s teacher’s assessment:  Dotto has mental disability and he cannot learn sign language. At his early years at school, Dotto needed assistance for everything, it was hard for him to depend on himself for almost everything. Dotto needed assistance to go toilet, he needed help to wear and take off both cloths and shoes. Eating was little bit easy for Doy (his nick name).

  Dotto has sibling named Kulwa (Twins brother), Kulwa’s disability is almost the same as his young brother. They live with grand mom. Parents left them and they are been taken care by this grand mom. Only Dotto was brought to school (Huruma). 

  For all these years of studying, Dotto has improved more on life skills, he can go toilet and wash by himself, and he can perform lot things by himself. Huruma is proud of Dotto for his improvement.  

  He is very impressing to the community especially to his family. Dotto is helpful for his twin brother, is taking care of his brother by assisting him to washroom but also to other needs like wearing clothes, shoes etc.   Mid of year 2019 because of his improvement he impressed his grandmother to send his siblings (twin brother) to school (Huruma). Now we have both Dotto and Kulwa studying at Huruma, more emphasis is put on life (vocational) skills studies.

Now let’s take a minute to imagine  how Dotto’s Grandmother is coping with the CoVid-19 lockdown.  She still has to walk every morning to carry home buckets water for her family’s daily use.  Now that her grandsons are home all day, she has to prepare 2 extra meals for them each day using precious charcoal she has to buy.  Her 3 room home has no electricity = no refrigerator – she still has to go to the market every day, no TV, no computer.  How big are the rooms? Two of the rooms may contain a double bed with standing room beside.  The other perhaps has 2 chairs and and a small coffee table with a water barrel in the corner.  Pit toilet and shower are shared with neighbors.  (This is the best likely scenario.  It’s possible they live in a single room with only mattresses.) Belongs are stored in plastic buckets with tight lids that originally held chemicals used in the mines.  Clothing is likely stored in suitcases.  Anything Dotto and Kurwa can do to take care of themselves is so appreciated.

The mission of Huruma continues to be a model neighborhood school.  Gradually, parents of children with disabilities are realizing that their children have a right to an education.  Very gradually, they are bringing pressure on the government to provide appropriate education for their children with a wide range of disabilities, including those with multiple disabilities.

In the meantime, our support for Huruma is of the utmost importance.  Perhaps remembering that our nation did not recognize the right of every child to a “free and appropriate” education until 1972, can help us to be patient with less developed nations and encourage us to assist.

For those of you we didn’t see at Taste of Tanzania, here’s information on how to help anyway.