It has been a long time since I could write an update, November in fact and how things change so quickly here. I am so saddened to say that the grandmother I wrote about in my previous blog passed away on New Years Day and after having seen her just three days before to take her granddaughter to buy new uniform for school I had a feeling it would be soon but still such a shock on a day when all things new are thought about. I am reminded again that God gives new grace every single day, no need to wait for a New Year, new month or even new week and now I have peace that Anna is with her saviour in heaven without pain and seeing the beauty of heaven with restored vision. I had spent the days before her passing considering how I could cover the very large pressure sore on her hip that had started to deteriorate rapidly and I think along with other unmanaged long term conditions this is most likely the reason that she died. Another reminder how fortunate we are to have a healthcare system that is not only free but delivers incredible care. Tanzania is still sadly incredibly undeveloped in its healthcare systems and it is times like this when I am reminded just how catastrophic that can be.
I have been a nurse for many years and pressure sores and wound care are what we do best. I am well aware of the affect it can have on the body and complete health of an individual, it was painful for Anna and with a sore on each hip it was very hard for her to lay without causing further damage. Miriam her eleven year old granddaughter who has been caring for her grandmother for the past few years was my first thought and always has been in this heartbreaking situation. On January 2nd I visited the house to attend the start of the funeral - here people mourn for days after a death at the house until the burial. I was saddened to see Miriam still being ordered around by extended family to collect things, make things and just generally continue to do all the work. This little girl is incredibly strong and the reason I wanted to cry but could not, she sat on my lap or held my hand when she could but the sparkle was missing from her eyes.
This will not be the end of our story with little Miriam, we are still hoping that we can find a sponsor for her and continue to support her as she now returns to live with her father who can be abusive. I will not let her go and I will not let her down as this little girl continuously showed love and support for her grandmother she needs someone that will do the same to get her through education and give a chance for a good future.
The new year is still full of light and great progress, the best encouragement that I have had recently is in the form of Deborahs house!
Another family spoken about in a previous blog if you are new here, our ever growing in confidence secondary school student and her family are so deserving of this new home. I had wanted it to be done for Christmas but the builders are still working incredibly quickly and doing a very good job. I was told that Deborah was choosing the colours to paint inside and outside and when I saw she had chosen fuchsia pink for inside I suggested we just tone it down a little to baby pink so as not to cause too many headaches or the need to wear sunglasses inside!
The outside it going to be painted... well you will just have to see.
For now here is the most recent picture, with a beautiful shop window at the front where her mama will sell things from and then the three rooms for the family of seven and beautiful roof. How incredible..
Christmas was all in all a very great success. I realised Christmas Day morning that I had forgotten to buy Christmas crackers for lunch at the orphanage. I have since understood that I have crackers because I am British and this is not common in other parts of the world?! I am not talking about cheese crackers, if you know you know I guess, to me they are important! But I did a lot of driving around on Christmas Day and was so pleased to see the giant supermarket we have here was open! So the extremely overpriced crackers were purchased and the children at the orphanage got to wear paper hats.. mostly upside down, but still, just a little cracker of joy!
Below is Sarah in her Christmas hat, Sarah and her sisters Luciana and Monica are not members of the orphanage but this Christmas they have been staying there due to an unsafe home environment. Normally they are in boarding school for short half term breaks but for Christmas I do not like anyone to stay at school and so they have had a lovely few weeks making new friends and being well looked after in a safe environment. This will be the first time in her little life that she has had a present at Christmas, a new Christmas dress and shoes and a huge plate of food.
As if I did not already need a break from the Christmas chaos it is now the start of the new school year and on the 17th of January everyone returns to school, just the small task of making sure they all have uniform, shoes, bag and school fees paid before then!
As I said to the very tired guy serving us in the uniform shop yesterday in Swahili 'usichoke' which means 'don't get tired'. I know how hard so many of our sponsors and donors work for their money and then choose to give Hope and Soul part of that to help children get this amazing chance at education. So I will not get tired, for this is an incredible life changing work and 2022 will hopefully bring more opportunities to help even more children here in Tanzania.
Happy New year and thank you from the Hope and Soul team and all the children here in Tanzania.