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Arriving into Kilimanjaro airport on April 2nd to a very hot airport and lugging my four checked bags through the scanner I was pleased to clear customs and start the drive back to my home. After three months of being away you can imagine the dust and weeds that I found on arrival. Also a number of very unwelcome guests including insects and lizards that seemed very upset with my return and stood their ground for a good few days!! In all honesty there is still one lizard determined to live on my little outside porch chair and each morning we have a dancing act as I try not to squeal too loudly and direct him out of the gate where he has been sent multiple times!


It was so wonderful to be reunited with Jenipha our Hope and Soul social worker who in my absence worked incredibly hard managing all the daily activities independently. This is the longest time I have been away from Tanzania since October 2020 but Jenipha kept everything running smoothly with only my support over the phone. Our work is never without challenges but it is how those situations are managed that reflects the true heart of a person and Jenipha continues to uphold the highest standards of kindness, grace and love to all our children and families.

Returning with four bags the majority of which were filled with donations meant lots of home visits  in my first week, with some special gifts and much needed clothing and shoe supplies to our families. Arriving during Easter holiday meant I got to see most of our boarding school students too which is always special. One of my favourite donations - the lion onesie, was gifted to little Sabrina although its unclear how impressed she was with the outfit or maybe she just doesn’t know how incredibly cute she looks in it!


We were busy with ‘Back to School’ Shopping for the children to return to school on April 8th. Our boarding school students are always in need of more soap, body lotion, shoe polish and the odd pair of socks! Our Secondary school students are normally in need of more educational books as they reach closer to exam dates. Our little ones grow out of shoes after four months and so its a trip to the second hand market in search for those quality second hand leather shoes. We are very blessed to say that all of our children returned safely to school and we do not take this for granted as on Friday 12th April we learned of a local primary school bus that had been swept into a flooded gorge claiming the lives of eight young children, the driver and a good samaritan who tried to help. The flooding here in Tanzania and also in surrounding countries has been claiming lives daily, although it does not reach international news the devastating affects are evident when we wake each morning to see the physical landscape changes. We continue to pray as the rainy season will likely continue until the end of May that our children will be safe on their journeys to school and that the homes of families who are structurally at risk will remain sound.

On the 9th of April we had the privilege of sharing a very generous donation of football kits gifted by Dunoon Grammar School in Scotland. We visited a local daycare where one of our Hope and Soul beneficiaries attends and although it was absolute chaos fitting over thirty football kits onto toddlers, they were all absolutely overjoyed with the gift as were the teachers and parents.


12th of April was a big day for Ayesha and her little sister Miriam who I successfully returned to boarding school without tears (on both sides). These two young girls lost their mama very suddenly at the beginning of 2023 and returning to boarding school has since understandably always been a difficult day leaving their daddy at home. I always do my best to keep the day as normal as possible and include a little treat but with the huge overwhelming understanding that nothing will fill that heartache. The girls are happy and content in school but always struggle with the transition. This was the first day we managed to keep all genuine smiles and the girls greeted their friends and went up to their rooms without any issues.

Mama Rajabu is one of our Hope and Soul beneficiaries, a single mother with five young children and if you have read our updates before you may remember that we currently in the process of building her a house with the help of Baker Botts a London law firm. On the 15th of April we were delighted to be joined by Alex a Partner of Baker Botts who is currently managing a huge agreement in the department of renewable energy in Tanzania. We were very excited to show him the progress of the home which will have two rooms, a porch, toilet and wash room. However we were also gifted with a huge downfall of rain just as we reached to the house (with no roof) and then all had to run back to the car through the muddy fields! An experience to say the least and a change for Alex who is normally in board rooms suited and booted! When I told some of my local friends what had happened they replied ‘He has been given a true welcome to Tanzania in the rainy season!’

Health insurance is something that a number of our families rely on and April is our month of getting the yearly payments sorted. Coming from a ‘free at the point of contact’ healthcare system in the UK I am very aware of how fortunate we are to have such a service. Ayesha is one example of a mother who we provide yearly medical insurance for her twins Prince and Princess who were born prematurely. The twins are both very susceptible to cold and flu viruses due to being born prematurely and with twins you know if one gets sick it is just a matter of time before the other follows! Ayesha has also recently suffered with typhoid and other acute sicknesses which are common here and as a single mother having to financially provide for her own medical care and the daily food and livelihood of her twins alone is basically impossible. As you may have seen in the post we recently shared on social media this life changing provision of medical insurance starts from just £8/ $10 a month for a family like Ayesha, Prince and Princess.


The 17th of April was a great day of shopping for six children who had been selected by their Headteacher at a local Primary School to receive new school uniforms. Each child has a unique but equally challenging home situation and the gift of uniform for just £30 including school shoes, socks, trousers or skirt, sweater, shirt, hat and bag provides an incredible amount of joy, confidence, comfort and peace to children who need it most. This was my first day meeting the group and they were all a little shy and unsure of me at the beginning but then as we spent time together in town at the various shops they started to relax and timidness turned to intrigue. There was a moment little Rosemary came and stood next to me and gripped my wrist. Without any prompting and without saying anything, we stood together watching the busy world go by in our moment of pausing. Then when I gave them my phone to take photos at the second hand market little Richard came and rested his head on my shoulder and put his hand on my heart. These moments are so incredibly special and the contentment of these children with such simple support should teach us all something about what we value in life.


I got to see the children at the orphanage on April 26th which was a very blessed time with knitted dolls and bears for the little ones who all almost immediately tied them to their backs, modelling how they see women in Tanzania carry young babies. We additionally opened up an absolutely incredible gift from a family in the UK of a practically brand new Nintendo Wii, the children were beyond excited. Edgar one of our older Secondary School boys who came with me to visit helped set up and connect to the little orphanage TV. We played for over an hour before a power cut and the children were thrilled with having had a chance to all try at Mario Kart and getting involved learning funny western dance moves with JustDance!

It has been an eventful month filled with blessings, bubbles, smiles and school supplies. I am so thankful each and everyday that I continue to live out my dream here in Arusha, Tanzania and that our Hope and Soul supporters continue to grow. You honestly never cease to amaze me with generosity and thoughtfulness. After spending three months in the UK focused on securing funding I am more grateful than ever before that we have the opportunity to provide health insurance, buy school socks, drive our children back to school, pay daycare fees and so much more on a daily basis. Thank you for being a part of this journey. We still have opportunities to volunteer with us this August so if you have a heart for our children then we would love for you to get involved. We have two really exciting new projects starting in June of this year and we need your help, your hands and your hearts if you are willing. We promise it will leave an incredible life changing print on your heart. Reach out if you would like to receive an information pack via email.