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That we celebrated NINE birthdays at Tumaini this past month?

How do we thank Roberto DiFrassineto and Matteo Salvaneschi for . . . welllll . . . hmmmmm . . . for riding their motorcycles around the WORLD in their efforts to expand awareness about the needs of children? How do we thank them for raising $7,000.00 with another $1,000.00 promised? I do not know so . . . THANK YOU! . . . GRACIAS! . . . ASANTE SANA!

RobertoI ask you to visit their site www.mototravellers.com to truly appreciate this incredible feat which began in 2011 in Italy and encompassed 15,000 km. to Mongolia. The second leg of their journey was from Mongolia to Japan and then through the Americas. Leg three began last year and took them from Cape Town, S.A. north through Africa and back to Italy and we were chosen to be one of the lucky beneficiaries of their efforts! Thank you again Roberto and Matteo!

Lauren Fulton is a young lady who visited us at Tumaini and I asked her about her perceptions upon her return to Canada. What had she enjoyed? What did she not enjoy? What struck her heart? In her own words . . .

Lauren photoJambo! My name is Lauren Fulton! I’m 18 years old and I live in Port Ryerse, ON just a five minute drive from Mama Dee’s house! I want to tell you a little bit about why I chose to go to Tumaini Children’s Foundation this past March!

When I was in grade ten, Mama Dee came to Simcoe Composite School, where I go to school, to speak to a group of students who were participating in a leadership day. She showed pictures of the children at Tumaini and I instantly fell in love with them. Before I even met those kids, they had touched my heart. I saw the smiles on their faces in the pictures and immediately knew that I had to go and see it for myself. For two years, I looked at the website, reading the stories of each child and falling more and more in love with them. Finally, I decided to make my move and plan a trip! On March 6th, 2015 I hopped on a plane from Toronto to Amsterdam and then Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro!

I arrived in Kilimanjaro on Saturday night and was greeted by Oddo Ndonde who took great care of me until I got to Tumaini! I met the volunteers when I got to the house and immediately knew that I would be friends with them! And boy was I right. I made the most amazing friends there and they will be everlasting. I met a girl named Holly from the USA, a girl named Tine from Belgium, and a couple from Belgium named Baba Kaka and Mama Jenny. I will cherish and remember them and hopefully stay in touch with them forever.

IMG_2666The first day was just as I imagined it. I went to into the children’s house and was welcomed with “Hi Lauren!” “Lauren, come see my room!” “Lauren, will you come play with me?” As a camp counsellor, I expect kids to want to play games with you and be around you so I was not shocked by that. I went to the Catholic Church and oh what an experience that was! Picture sixty children singing in Swahili for an hour. It was amazing!

I didn’t have a lot of expectations going into the trip because I honestly I had no idea what to expect. I did expect to see some poverty in the village and cities. I was correct by expecting that. I expected to love the children, and I did. I found amazing things in every child and they are all unique in their own way. I did not expect to be welcomed the way I was. Everyone was so friendly and showed me around so I could get started right away! Most of the children who live there are truly orphans and some are in the care of Tumaini because it is safer for them to be there than in their home. Although it is, by definition, an orphanage, it is more like a home with a bunch of kids running around having a great time.

When I was there, I brought a new set of skills that they have never had before.

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I am a swimming instructor here in Canada and with the help of Oddo, we were gifted the use of a local pool so that I could share the skill of swimming with nine of the boys there! After school, I took them to the swimming pool and taught them how to swim! Due to their lack of experience in the water, the first few days were quite interesting. Most of the boys would sit on the side because they were afraid, and water is scary when you aren’t used to it! We worked on being comfortable in the water and becoming confident walking around in it, blowing bubbles and dunking their heads under water. After a few days, most of them became comfortable in the water and we were able to start learning some skills such as floating and kicking. By the end of the two weeks, they were all comfortable being in water and they had all gained skills that could save their lives!

IMG_2951As a mini vacation in my amazing trip, I went on safari with Reward Evance and his company Watoto wa Bingwa Safaris! It was a great experience. We travelled to three National Parks in three days and we stayed at an extravagant safari lodge called Bougainvillea Safari Lodge. The lodge is like stepping into a small piece of heaven. They serve you four course meals for dinner and there is a pool and beautiful rooms. I would recommend staying there to anyone! I felt safe during the whole trip and really enjoyed travelling with Reward. He is a great guide and has a great sense of humour (I’m still worried that the lions in Africa only eat Canadians, though!)

Mama Dee asked me write about what got my heart. I can honestly say, what didn’t get my heart? To begin, the kids appreciate everything you do as if it is the biggest thing in the world. Even if it is just asking them how their day was, they will sit down and tell you all about it. That is something that we don’t see Holly, Lauren and the munchkins making faces!in Canada very often. In Canada, we take the little things for granted because sadly, we think we have better things to worry about. Another thing that really got my heart is the happiness basically everyone has. Most people are living in poverty yet they are grateful for what they have. That is something we, as Canadians, can learn from Tanzanians: gratefulness. There are honestly so many things that I could write about that got my heart. In general, Tumaini Children’s Foundation got my heart.

I plan to return to Tumaini in the near future. I am still working on the details of my next trip but I am hoping to make it in this calendar year. One of the main reasons I am planning to go back is because I fell in love with everything and everyone there. I want to go back to experience the amazing love, acceptance and culture that I experienced last time I was there.

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