THE ROLLER-COASTER RIDE OF EMOTIONS THAT WE LIVE WITH ON A DAILY BASIS.

Hello dear readers,

According to a newspaper report in the Daily Express English Newspaper (May 30th 2016) up to 90% of charity cash giving goes on mailshots and very little never actually gets to the sick and needy.  Actions like this by these very large charity organizations are by my personal definition an ‘utter disgrace”.  One only has to read the very sad story of 92 year old Olive Cook who had been plagued by 99 different charities begging for money and prior to her suicide she had received 466 requests for money from these charities.

UNSOLICITED GIFTS OF LOVE FOR THE NEEDS OF OUR CHILDREN

I would like to assure our wonderful friends and supporters that here at Light in Africa – as confirmed in the book I wrote called A LIGHT IN AFRICA – that we never send out ‘begging letters’ – never make grant applications  – in fact wenever ask our supporters to make donations to our children – full stop. We totally rely on guests visiting our seven children’s homes and seeing with their eyes the commitment of our staff to our children, how with caring for so many sick children where the majority of our funding is spent and then those guests in turn telling other people by ‘word of mouth’ of their personal experiences of either visiting or volunteering with us. So dear friends, please be assured, every single penny of donation is used for the benefit of our children.  Last week alone we had seven children in hospital; this all takes money to care for these sick children. 

All of our older children are home for a month's holiday from boarding school so we are ‘surging’ at the seams at Tudor Village.  The good news is now that they are older and more mature I allow them to have a paintbrush and pot of paint in their hands and they start there painting experience by painting the dog pens!  Then depending on their performance and there is not too much paint being misplaced then they can move onto other jobs.

Due to walking on her hands Sarah has a pronounced hump on her back.

Due to walking on her hands Sarah has a pronounced hump on her back.

Last week we were brought from the Rombo area – about 80 kilometers away - two tragic cases of child abuse.  These two children were found by a nurse from ALMC, who was conducting an outreach clinic with a neurologist. She contacted Gayle Stroschein of Hope Ministries, USA, to ask for her assistance with these poor children and the pitiful condition touched her heart and she ‘moved into action’ seeking out the leaders of the village and the local Rombo social welfare department to implement an immediate transfer into Light in Africa.  The case was placed before our local social welfare department who agreed that the two children could be brought to Tudor village for intensive loving care.

The story is that the mother of these two children locked them in a cattle shed for many years refusing for them to mix with other children. The mother has severe mental problems and we later later found out the father of the children was in a coma in a local hospital.  The children’s sister, who is a teacher, stole the children away to bring them to the clinic to see about getting them help.  The police were called in on the case and they visited the home of the mother.  The girl ( I will call her Sarah ) at nine years of age walks on her hands and feet, and has no language skills at all and is the height of a 5 year old child.  Her brother whom I will call Peter has no language either but as we are trying to communicate with him he has started to make ‘parrot-like’ answer.  Over the last 8 days our amazing staffs have encouraged Sarah to stand by herself and are holding her hands to encourage her to walk.  My prediction is that by the end of the month of June Sarah will be walking.

Allen has lived with me for fifteen years since he arrived as a new-born. His mother died in childbirth. A very bright child he has however over the years suffered from a debilitating hearing loss due to two perforated eardrums which sometimes frustrates him when speaking with other children which leads to ‘anger outbursts’.  I had taken Allen to Kenya to see if a private hospital could possibly fit ‘grommets’ which would allow the infection to leak-out, but as his ears were always oozing ‘gung’ from infections they had refused to operate, and over the years his hearing was becoming a serious problem and I was considering teaching him sign-language in case of the worse scenario that he became completely deaf.  

Our dear friend Gayle Stroschein once again came to our rescue by informing me that a ear surgeon was performing operations in Mwanza (698 km) and that she could possibly get Allan on her operating list.   Thanks to Shafiq another dear friend at Emslies Global Travels in Moshi he was able to organize a quick flight to Mwanza for Allan and Godson.  The operation went well and I believe membranes were fitted over the holes.  A first for Tanzania.  Praise God – Hallelujah.

May peace and love fill your life,

Mama Lynn

Please note:

For contact with Light in Africa please use Mama Lynn's email adress (mamalynn228@gmail.com) instead of (africa@lightinafrica.org) as we are still experiencing technical difficulties with the server we are using to host our mail. Thank you.

Leila is introduced to our youngest member of our family 'Katy the kid' 

Leila is introduced to our youngest member of our family 'Katy the kid' 

We would love to welcome any volunteers who are amateur gardeners,  or with a ‘passion’ to grow food as 10 Koi carp has died today and a batch of 100 lavender plants due to ‘local lack of knowledge and  understanding.  Any help anyone can give us would be gratefully appreciated, groups – retired  people or just someone with a green thumb.’ 

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Hi dear readers, it has been a ‘heavy’ month with midnight emergency runs to the hospital with our ‘special needs’children.  Michael the child who we accommodated after his father said he was going to walk into the bush and leave him for the animals was hospitalized and had to receive two blood transfusions and Esther is still in hospital after her breathing became so bad with pneumonia, this I’m told is all due to the ‘rainy’ season.

Michael who had to receive two blood transfusion to improve his health

Michael who had to receive two blood transfusion to improve his health

Esther still admitted in St. Joseph's Hospital.

Esther still admitted in St. Joseph's Hospital.

We have two new additions this month to our family with a new-born white goat (better not let the witchdoctors know about it or else they will want to buy it to use in a ceremony which they say will cure the HIV+ virus?), and a further addition to the ‘special needs’ facility is Agnes who arrived from way past Arusha from a maasai encampment.  She is we think around twelve years of age but can only converse in maasai, a little bit of a problem as our carers only speak Kiswahili, but as per, its sign language to the rescue.  Agnes appears to have some level of intellect so we are going to try her in the new learning center where the building process is coming on a treat. 

Our new arrival Agnes (left) with Miss Tudor (center) and Johnson with the look of utter adoration for his best friend. 

Our new arrival Agnes (left) with Miss Tudor (center) and Johnson with the look of utter adoration for his best friend. 

The tiles are now being laid in the classroom so we will only have the toilets and the environment to complete and then the students can move out of the store where they have been having their lessons with their teacher in a very ‘cramped’ environment.

May the light of God shine brightly in all your lives, abundant blessings,

Mama Lyyn.

Please note......

Please note......as Tanzania is a develping country and we are now experiencing the 'rainy' season we are having great problems with our internet services.  I have to apologise profusely to interested volunteers who have written requesting a placement through the email address info@lightinafrica.org or the contact us page and received no reply since 31st March.   I have just received all of your emails en - bulk so will try to make contact with everyone this evening.  Once again please accept my apologies that you have not received any correspondence, - if we have power this evening and there is network I will be emailing you,

Assanta sana - Mama Lynn

WHEN WILL THESE WITCH DOCTORS BE STOPPED!

WHAT ALL OF OUR CHILDREN LIKE REGARDLESS OF THEIR LIMITS, IS AFFECTION.  AT A TOUCH, A HUG, A HAND HELD, OR A KISS ON THE CHEEK, AT ANY INDICATION THAT YOU VALUE THEM, RESPECT THEM, BELIEVE IN THEM…

                              THEY SHINE.                                                        ADAPTED FROM ODD THOMAS                                                                                                                                                       BY DEEN KOONTZ.  

Beatrice

Beatrice

Hello dear readers, I would firstly like to express my sincere appreciation to everyone who has emailed or placed condolences on our face book page after reading about the loss of Beatrice, one of our children who lived in our ‘special needs’ home for over eight years.  Our staff and myself have been so touched by the comments you have made and that Beatrice has been remembered by so many who has visited our home and what has been remarked upon again and again is how with her smile and her ‘giggle’ she touched so many lives.  Thank you dear friends for your support.  How can we possibly continue to help these desperate – vulnerable children without knowing that you care and understand our daily needs and you offer these prayers for our children like a sweet ‘fragrant offering.  Bless you all.

On most days living here in Tanzania it can be frustrating and a financial struggle to raise the 183 children in our full-time care, but even more so when it comes to medical care in this country.  Instead of over the last sixteen years seeing improvements to medical care in local hospitals sadly to my mind it has deteriorated to new levels of poor patient care.   As Light in Africa cares for 56 children carrying the HIV+ virus, the disabled child and the seriously malnourished, it has been ‘heart-wrenching’ for me to have to stand by and watch children die when I knew more could have been done to save the life of the child.  For example, Beatrice was returned home after been given medication for a high fever.   Some hours later in the early hours of the morning she was rushed back to hospital, the doctor on duty asks one of our staff members to go and search for drugs to treat her with as the hospital didn’t have the drugs required to save her life.   Beatrice had died before the drugs was found.     A hospital with no emergency drugs?    I also remember the time that I was gardening and picked up a rock and was stung by a scorpion.  The pain was excruciating but no big deal. I dashed to our local government hospital as my finger swelled quite badly.  As I sat on a bench along with a long line of other patients waiting to see the doctor, it suddenly occurred to me ‘did the hospital pharmacy have any Piriton in stock which is the normal drug to use along with a couple of paracetamol to relieve the pain? I went along to the hospital pharmacy to ask the question “Do you have Piriton in stock”? “No” came back the reply. ‘Then I’m wasting my time sitting here’ and I left the hospital found a local pharmacy and purchased 5 tabs for 400 tz.  (not even 50 cents of twelve pence)  and a couple of hours later the finger was back to normal size.  My point being if a hospital can’t stock the most basic of drugs why am I so surprised when emergency drugs aren’t available or stocked. 

The Xmas sponsor presents for our children have now all been delivered and photos of the children wearing their sponsor gifts will be on their way to their sponsors along with a ‘thank you letter’.  Special thanks to Gay and Lesley from Australia for their lovely gifts.

Stella a little Massai girl of 4 yrs of age suffering from cerebral palsy

Stella a little Massai girl of 4 yrs of age suffering from cerebral palsy

Joey abandoned by his mother and placed in a goat shed by his 12 yrs old step mother

Joey abandoned by his mother and placed in a goat shed by his 12 yrs old step mother

Two new disabled children have been brought in to our care.    The first is a two year old cerebral palsy child who came from a maasai encampment a long way from where we are based.  His story is that his mother abandoned him because the boy’s massai father wanted to take another wife.  The father married his second wife who was just twelve years of age.. This new wife did not want the child of the first wife who was disabled in her boma (mud/stick round house) so she decided to place the child in with the goats in the goat pen and that is where his grandmother found the abandoned child.              The second maasai child is four years of age and has been brought by her mother into our care as she fears for the child’s life.   Reports are coming in for orphanages / children’s homes to be extra vigilant as witchdoctors are now taking the disabled child for sacrifice as according to their distorted way of thinking, ‘ A disabled child is ‘pure and without sin’ and will bring lots of money in for those who choose to dispose of them.  When will these killers of children be brought to justice?  First we had to endure the Albino situation and now this!  Sorry, I am venting, but it just gives you a glimpse of our daily struggles and frustrations.

Here are some of our children who have just moved into their newly painted home and would love to have sponsor to write to them.    May the light of God shine brightly in all your lives.  Mama Lynn

Gemino says ' Look at out beautiful new home?'

Gemino says ' Look at out beautiful new home?'

Wheelchairs lined up ready for use. Donated by Joni & Friends

Wheelchairs lined up ready for use. Donated by Joni & Friends

Maria is now 25yrs of Age and still has a gorgeous smile which makes everyone else smile. Its infectious.

Maria is now 25yrs of Age and still has a gorgeous smile which makes everyone else smile. Its infectious.

Lucy is the saddest child you could ever meet. With severly distorted legs form being broken and not receiving medical care from her grandmother. We have cared for Lucy for 3 yrs but have never seen her smile once.

Lucy is the saddest child you could ever meet. With severly distorted legs form being broken and not receiving medical care from her grandmother. We have cared for Lucy for 3 yrs but have never seen her smile once.

Judith was abandened by her father and no other home would admit her due to her severe disabilities.

Judith was abandened by her father and no other home would admit her due to her severe disabilities.

Joel who is blind and deaf and severly malnourised 

Joel who is blind and deaf and severly malnourised 

Abraham who I found locked in a goat pen and left to die by his father in 2003. The story of how Abraham was found can be read in the book 'Light in Africa'

Abraham who I found locked in a goat pen and left to die by his father in 2003. The story of how Abraham was found can be read in the book 'Light in Africa'

Sweet little Beatrice the Queen of Tumaini House

Sweet little Beatrice came to Light in Africa in 2008.  Her mother had been thrown out by her husband’s family for giving birth to a disabled child.  When Mama Lynn saw Beatrice on her mother’s back, she knew that she was being starved.  Although she was four years old, she was the size of a one-year old.  Kathy, Carol, and I visited Light in Africa just a few days after Beatrice had arrived.  She was so tiny and fragile—she took my breath away.  Mama Lynn said that she would not survive the week.

 I have visited Beatrice every year and watched her grow and thrive under the loving care of Mama Lynn.  One year I panicked when I did not see her in the disabled room—she was always lying on her bouncy seat.  I had walked right by her as she was sitting up by herself!  In 2013 she was sitting on her mother’s lap; her mother had come to visit for the first time in five years.  Two weeks ago I was able to spend two days at Light in Africa.  Karen and I spent much of our time at Tumaini House talking and playing with the children.  As severely disabled as many were, they still reacted with smiles and laughter to our touch and songs.

Last Sunday our pastor came up to me after church and asked if everything was all right.  He said that he had felt a need to pray for me.  No, I said—everything is fine.  Little did I know.  When I got home from church, the following email awaited me from Mama Lynn. 

“Oh, Joan.  On Saturday Beatrice was taken to the hospital with a fever of 40+ (104) and was given medication and sent home.  At four o’clock this morning the staff of Tumaini were knocking on my door.  Beatrice is sick…she died one hour later in the hospital.  Happy sweet Beatrice, who was the Queen of Tumaini House had lived with us for eight years.  May her soul rest in glory…..”

 Amen.

UK Tour updates

Hi everyone,


 I have come to the conclusion that mama Coupa and I must be a pair of comedians with all of the little ‘dramas’ that have occurred at the start of our UK tour. 
 Whilst on the flight over to Heathrow, I asked the attendant who was distributing food trays if I could possibly have a ‘wet wipe’ for my hands, “Certainly madam” she replied and promptly handed me a small bottle of white wine!  Mmmm interesting! 


We are met at the airport by Rob a long-time friend from the company Discover Adventure who organize trips to climb Mount Kilimanjaro or cycling tours in Tanzania who has kindly come to drive us to Salisbury where I am to going to document an abridge version of the last fifteen years of Light in Africa for the DA staff.   But before this event Rob takes Coupa and I to look around an old Roman settlement and a visit to Salisbury Cathedral with his delightful daughter where we see the world’s oldest working clock.  I am profoundly touched for some reason to comprehend all the working parts which has been ‘ticking’ away for hundreds of years, and to the genius of the man who designed it.   Coupa stands and has a photograph taken next to one of the original copies of the Magna Carta which laid down for the first time some ‘human rights’ in the UK.   We are then met by Jacky who gave us a tour of the cathedral and then a lovely lunch.


Rob’s wife had previously volunteered with LIA some nine years earlier when she had stayed for three months.  At that time we had a nursery full of babies, so naturally we called upon our volunteers to assist our staff in carrying the babies to the clinic for their injections.   Sam was to carry Lisa who had just arrived into the nursery and that was the beginning of a long relationship of sponsoring Lisa.  Each year a parcel would arrive and there would be a dress or trousers with a T shirt which was a perfect fit.   This is the dress that was given to Lisa this year, I’m sure you will agree, just a perfect fit for a beautiful child.
Sarah and Simon who collect black school shoes for our children (with well-over 150 children attending school, black shoes are always a major problem for us) they arrive and ask us where would we like to visit..  For me, as always, it has to be a garden center and that’s where we enjoy a delicious lunch before travelling to see some New Forest ponies which Coupa had never seen before.


…….SALSBURY CATHEDRAL WITH ISLAL………..MAGNA CARTA………………LISA.


  Whilst in Salisbury we stayed at a B & B at 2 Park Lane.  It is run by Nat and his wife.  Coupa and I had a wonderful restful 2 day stay, when Nat heard we had a children’s home, he and his wife very kindly gave us some clothes which his young son had grown out of for our children.   Where ever we travel I am always so touched by the kindness of the people who we come into contact with, especially the kindness of the men at the train stations, who see two struggling women, ‘tying themselves up in knots’, as they try to quickly place 4 large suitcases onto the train before the door closes, truly, we make Mr. Bean look quite normal with our antics.
 Leaving Salisbury we take the train to Waterloo, and due to road works we miss our train connection.  I am directed to see if an information officer can help us catch the next train.  I stand in front of the piece of Perspex window and explain our dilemma; the officer looks at me intently, and then tells me he can assist me.  He writes something on our tickets and we gratefully move away.  Coupa reminds me to ‘ wipe my eye’s as from the cold they are streaming down my cheeks.  Ahh so that’s why the guy was looking at me so intently. He thought I was crying at missing the connection….


We now arrive in Manchester and the high point of the trip is to visit Old Trafford and watch Chris Smalling play for his team Manchester United, Coupa has never watched a football match so it will be interesting to see how she deals with a crowd of around 72,000 fans.  That evening Sam Cooks mum has organized a small dinner party, where we had an interesting mix of guests with interesting idea’s and topics that kept the conversation very much alive and stimulating. The following day Sam’s mum Andrea had kindly agreed to show us around Manchester and our first port of call was the John Rylands Library which houses an original piece of St. Johns gospel, not so interesting to me was the exhibition on ‘witches and black magic’.    A lunchtime concert at Cheethams College of Music where we had the privilege to hear two young students of the college John Vernon – trumpet and Isobel Howard – violin accompanied on the piano with Nick Oliver gave renditions of two concertos.   Amazingly talented young people.


The day of the match and Sam (Chris’s partner)has had two MU shirts printed one with mama Lynn and one with Mama Coupa on the back with Chris’s No 12 being the position that he plays.  The range rover car is directed to a special part of the grounds where we see the coach of the opposing team Stoke City, and barricaded in hundreds of fans.   Wow, the excitement is building. Tight security as we are led down long corridors and everyone is greeting Sam as we are shown to the private box. Such luxury as an evening meal was served to the guests.  We meet with Chris’s mum and brother and John who is hoping to provide a couple of plumbers to come out to Tanzania and help build a new children’s home for our boys.  As the game kicks off I make a prediction that Manchester United will win 3 – 0  I had a deep ‘knowing’ that this would happen.  How exciting as the huge crowd of fans screamed – chanted -cheered or booed as the ball was kicked around the pitch.  Then it was all over with Manchester United winning the game 3 – 0.


As we prepare to go out for an evening meal, Chris has been so thoughtful to obtain for Light in Africa a MU shirt with the names of all the team players to take with us on to the next part of our tour which is a fund-raising event in London organized by ONE KIND ACT to try to raise sufficient funds to complete our new Learning Center which will provide an education for our ‘slow learners’ and disabled children.
More of our antics on the next blog.


Warmest wishes…..Mama Lynn

A Blessing to all he met!

Gideon now is resting in the arms of our loving father in Hbeaven

Gideon now is resting in the arms of our loving father in Hbeaven

I whispered to Allan, who was making a cup of tea in the kitchen, to quietly come and stand at the door with me.  Gideon was laid on his back on the rug  talking and gurgling in baby talk to a small piece of paper about 4inches square waving it about in the air and pulling it from side to side andthen waving it about in one hand.  We stood and watched in sheer delight at these antics of Gideon with this small piece of paper and it made our hearts swell with happiness and sheer delight to see him starting to reach his milestones.

Two months earlier, LIA was operating a medical out-reach dispensary at the mining town when a mother thrust a child into my arms.  The child looked to be about three months of age.  When we asked her what the problem was with the child she responded that she had been taking the child to see the witchdoctor on a weekly basis to make him ‘normal’.   I looked at the child and could see he appea red to have the condition known a mes Down Syndrome. “What did the witchdoctor do to the child” I asked.  “I was paying him 25,000/= ($12) a week and when there was no improvement to his condition he after said he had to circumcise him so now I have brought him to see if the doctor can do anything if not then I shall dispose of him.   I asked the women to sit down and wait and went over to a member of staff to ask them to call for the leaders of the village where the child lived to come and speak with the mother.

The Chairman after listening to the mother’s story came over and asked me to take the child into care, and he quickly filled in all the necessary forms for admission into care.  I took the child back into my arms and the mother asked me to remove all the clothes from the child and give them to her.   Righteous anger pulsed through me as I scathingly told the women she was giving her child away and she did not even want the child to have clothes on his back, what sort of mother could do a thing like that?  She and her mother just walked away from her child.

The following day Gideon was taken to the doctors for a medical report to be issued.  From his card we found that he was not a three month old but a ten month old child.  He weighed in at 4 kilos at birth and now weighed ten months later 5 kilos.  He was severely malnourished, had rickets and pneumonia.

In two month’s Gideon  pneumonia twice, spent time in hospital having 29 injections and on his release he came to live with me.  From a child who just laid in his cot not moving totoloving and encouraging him to move forward towe were blessed to witness his first ‘crooked’ smile and sit in his baby chair and make a terribly mess as he tried to negotiate his spoon, to learning to sit up to now watching him gurgling to a piece of paper in his hand.  What joy this child brought into our lives.

I went to prepare his bath, then picked him up off the mat, sat in a chair and started to undress him,  When I removed his nappy I found it was stained with blood.   I quickly re-dressed him, called for a driver to rush us to a dispensary, and in the car Gideon was viol ently sick.  On arrival the doctor said he should be admitted and they started to arrange for an IVto be placed in his veins.  I took another look in his clean nappy and there was a large red stain.  I’m sorry I said to the doctor but I have to rush him to casualty he’s bleeding too much.  He has lost vital fluids and needs to have them replaced. 

I rushed into the oh so familiar casualty department and was greeted by one of the casualty nurses who recognized me and asked me what the problem was which I related the sequence of events.  She asked me to sit down whilst she found a doctor.  One hour later Gideon was having a ultra sound where the technician found somethitng unusual.  We were taken to men’s surgical and a doctor told me he would have to have an operation.   Eleven hours later, after only receiving a glucose IV he was taken to theater. Twelve inches of intestine was removed and then attached to a bowel.

On his return from theatre we were taken to ‘intensive care’ but what possible chance of survival could this precious child possibly have.   He never regained consciousness and quietly slipped away.

His mother was contacted for the funeral arrangements.  With not a word of thanks or an offer to pay the hospital expenses, ‘muffin man’ our pet name for Gideon was taken back to the mines where the tribe that he belonged to have the body the day before burial as a mark of respect.

Gideon was the fourth to die in four weeks, two grandfathers, George, one of our disabled children and then Gideon.  An unprecedented time that Light in Africa had never experienced before, but through all of this trauma…….. In God We place our Trust.

Christmas cards and gifts still coming

We are still receiving Christmas cards and gifts for the children. Those items have been received from: Steve & Lisa Wilcox, Bernard, Silvia, Johan Mariam, Min, Liz and Gordon, Mike, Susie, Troy, Anna, Lucie, Ethan, Chris, Mel and Paul.

Gifts for Frank and Agness.

Thank you for your support of our children.

PS:

A VERY ‘SPECIAL’ EASTER BLESSING

Hi dear friends,

My previous blog mentions about a teenage girl who was brought into our care by the local police.  For this blog I will call her Mary.  Each day I go visit with Mary to try to gain some trust with her, but every day when anyone approaches her she is like a ‘wild animal’ who is ready to attack anyone who comes near her.  We have been touched that one of our nine year olds has asked to sleep in the same bedroom with Mary and appears to have an uncanny approach to her that she accepts.  She sits close into a corner and covers her face with her arm and a plate of food is placed in front of her and she will turn her back to everyone else in the room in an attempt to not allow anyone to see that she has food, such is the desperate state of this girl.

At Easter time I had an idea.  I had a patchwork bag that I had travelled with for years and on an impulse I decided to try to give Mary the bag.   I made my entrance felt like I did each day by greeting all the children in the home, and then a special ‘good morning’ for Mary.   I hesitantly approached her in the corner and sensing my closeness she started to bang her head on the wall, I sat down on the floor and offered the bag to Mary.    She stopped the banging and looked at the bag, gave me this huge smile which just choked me up and slowly moved closer to me.  I placed the handles of the bag over her head opened my arms and she came into them whilst I patted her back and told her what a lovely girl she was, she raised her arm and started to stroke my hair, this was the first time that Mary had reached out for any human contact. She kept repeating that ‘they were going to beat her’ ‘they were going to beat her’ and I repeatedly assured her that no-one was ever going to beat her again, she was safe now, and would always have food to eat and clean clothes to wear.  This gesture of touch was the very best Easter present that I could have wished for.   The door of isolation had just been cracked open just a little, but a small sliver of light had penetrated her darkness.

 

 

On behalf of our children and staff we want to give a special tribute to our dear friend Jessica T who is getting married this month.  Jessica has for a long time been such a blessing to our children and we just had to show her our appreciation and love on this her special wedding day.

 Light in Africa has experienced many changes this month especially with the closure of one of our boy’s homes at the mining town and shifting the whole caboodle to our food kitchen facility.  Our social worker and staff all helped in the move and now the boys are settling into their new environment.   Although we have in our possession twenty acres of land to build our own children’s homes in this area, unfortunately funds have not materialized to allow us to do so and once again we have to settle for rented accommodation in this impoverished area.

 

Each year we have the pleasure of hosting 3rd year local medical students from K.C.M.C hospital and this year was no exception.  Nine students arrived to learn about the medical conditions of our children and the procedures of admission of these children into our care and to also experience our community work in the rural areas.  No experience would be complete unless I showed the medical students our homes at the mines with also  a visit to Calvary  Dispensary where we work with our dear doctor friends who care for the medical needs of our children and operate our out-reach medical dispensaries into the bush. 

The day started with lots of chatter as we all piled into the Land rover with our cool box full of delicious food that Doudi our chef had prepared.  As we turned off the main road to head for the mines, I noticed that the chatter became somewhat subdued as the students started to look around the vehicle for something to ‘hang on’ to as the vehicle lurched through pot holes and lakes of water on the road after some heavy rain had fallen and the water was pouring across the road from the side of the field.  On the return journey, after more torrential rainfall, our driver was the only one who ‘dared’ to cross the fast-running current that was making a weir across the road, as he knew I had to get home with a ‘precious’ cargo who needed feeding.

After a short seminar by Dr. Richards and a tour of the facilities and of the patients, we then walked to Gideon House where the boys had just moved into a couple of days prior.  As we ate our lunch a staff member came to tell me there were visitors from another agency who wanted to talk with me.   After introductions the man who was accompanied by a lady and a baby asked if I would take the baby in to our care.   I asked for details and was told LIA social worker had already been involved in the case assessment and they were asked to obtain certain documentation before the child’s admission.  They now had these letters.

The story is that the young mother in her twenties already has five children and she is living on the streets with no permanent home, the agency was helping her sort her problems out but she didn’t want this baby, and there was issues of safety for the baby.  The women has HIV+ and because she has been breastfeeding the baby she has passed the virus onto her child.    I asked one thing of the mother before I was handed the baby and that was that she allowed me to pay for a contraceptive device to be fitted so she did not have any more babies.  Sadly the women vehemently refused this offer of not giving birth to more unwanted babies.

The group, along with the baby in arms then moved off to visit our girl’s home.  And once again I was told the doctor was sending to me an 8 year old vulnerable child whose mother had a mental issue and the aunt wouldn’t touch her because she had a skin disfigurement.  The medical students tried to allay the aunt’s fears by explaining that she could not catch the skin problem and although demonstrations of ‘touching’ were given, the aunt still did not want to care for this vulnerable child.  Anothercase of stigmatization.   Our girls welcomed the child to join them for their evening meal and she just walked off holding on to a girl’s hand.

In both these cases of the mother giving her baby away and the eight year old walking away from her aunt there was no emotion whatsoever expressed, and this always impacts me whenever I see it.

LIA HAS RAISED TWENTY SIX CHILDREN WHO HAVE GROWN INTO ADULTHOOD AND ARE NOW LIVING INDEPENDENT LIVES, BUT ONE CAME BACK TO SERVE THE MISSION.

  Late one night, when I was living on the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, there was a knock on our security gates, and when the gates were opened there stood an eight year old child, hungry and desolate.  I welcomed the child in, and before any questions were asked I made him a cup of tea and a jam sandwich.   The story unfolded that the child and his mother had been badly beaten by their alcoholic father and he had lived under the coffee tree’s for the last five days.  After investigation the child came to live in our care.  Primary and Secondary school followed then preparation to move to live at a college in Dar es Salaam to study Business Management.  Two years later holding his diploma he has made the choice to return to LIA and ‘give back’ to our other children in care, now as a valued staff member with years of in-depth knowledge of how Light in Africa operates.

On our return journey from the mines I watched this twenty four year old young man holding this small malnourished baby in his arms as he toyed with the fingers of the child’s hand in a gesture of re-assurance, I felt a deep sense of pride that I had been so blessed to be able to witness the fruits of my work in this young man’s life, whose life on the streets would certainly have been very different if he hadn’t had the courage to knock on the gate and ask for help.

Thank you dear friends for emailing me your concerns and question and for your prayers for Mary.  We have a church in the USA who is specifically lifting-up prayers to heaven on her behalf for a wonderful recovery.  Thank you.

And the starved puppy who we have no idea how he appeared on my doorstep.   He is doing just fine and meat now covers his bones and he now had energy to run with my other dogs.  I had not noticed when I first wrote the blog that some cruel person had slit both his ears and placed a cow tag in just one of them.

ABUNDANT BLESSING – ALWAYS.  MAMA LYNN

A four week round-up

Hello dear friends,

I have now returned to Tanzania having visited South Dakota and California on this short trip to America.

My first port of call was to a ‘blustery’ cold Iowa with snow on the ground.  It takes a lot of adjustment for me and many layers of clothes, after leaving a very ‘hot’ Tanzania as we wait for the ‘rainy’ season to arrive and cool everything down.

I always stay when in Iowa with Lee and Nicole Harding and their family, and it is always a delight to stay with this wonderful couple who extend such kindness to me as do their extended family. Aurora gave up her bedroom for me to stay in and hanging on her door was this notice, which I think could apply to all of us.  I shall be making some cards when I return home to place in all of the children’s homes.

                            THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK

T - IS IT TRUE.  H - IS IT HELPFUL.  I - IS IT INSPIRING.  N – IS IT NECESSARY.  K – IS IT KIND                                                                                                                                                         

 Sadly I didn’t have time to visit Akron where the Harding’s used to live to meet with the farming community down there and Liz and Steve Wilcox.  It just means I shall have to return for a longer visit next time.

My first speaking engagement was at the Blue Mountain Restaurant where I was on arrival interviewed for a slot on the local tv station and afterwards I spoke to a select group of people on the work of Light in Africa which helped to raise funds for Hope Ministries, who are an overseas medical mission team which visited LIA 3 times last year, and already visited with a group in January of this year with another proposed visit in May where they will help the poor to access medical treatment  on one of our out-reach stations where we work.

I then flew from Iowa to Los Angeles where I was met by my dear friend Jim Ludwig who chauffeured me to his lovely home in Malibu to meet with his wife Cindy ( Jim and Cindy very kindly wrote the forward to the book A LIGHT IN AFRICA ) and a group of friends for an evening meal and to once again catch up with all that is happening at Light in Africa with our children.  The following day Jim drove me to the Augoura Hills where a Global Conference on Disability had been organized by Joni Erickson Tarda and her team.  With over 800 delegates from around the world coming together to share and network on how best to help the disabled child and adults.  It was truly an amazing experience to be part of a universal community, and I was particularly touched when in her opening speech to the conference mentioned our mission in helping the children who are albinos within our care.  Thankfully, the Tanzanian Government have come out strongly and banned all witchdoctors from practicing their cruel trade and we pray this will be the end of this cruel practice on this marginalized group of people.

Then it was off to stay at my second home in California and to meet my best buddy Max, who hadn’t seen me for over six months and so many soft toys had to be brought to my feet for me to throw. 

His owners Liz & Gordon were more controlled and just gave me hugs and a nice cup of tea  aaahhhhh

Whilst in California I had the pleasure to catch up with Joan Coleman who was visiting our children at Tudor and we waved to each other as we crossed the Atlantic in different airplanes, it was great to see Joan looking on her return to the States so well after her major neck surgery.  We visited a wonderful couple who had made a pledge to have a bore hole drilled on our site at Tudor Village to try to find water for our children.  This precious commodity was found by  Gasper a hydrologist who works for ChemChem Drilling Company  in Arusha and after a depth of  89 meters  water was found.  It was just so exciting..  We are now looking at options to have it pumped to the surface to enable distribution to the children’s homes.

Sadly the grandfather who was brought to us by the local police when his wooden shack that he lived in was burnt down, died just before I left to visit the USA.   The staff and I at LIA are content to know that we gave him a quality of life over these last few months that he had not enjoyed for a long time.   He was quite a cheeky ‘chappie’ in some respects asking me to give him a wage as a security guard – he was in his eighties, had one eye and shuffled an inch at a time, -  I asked him what he would do with a wage and he said he wanted to buy some snuff and a soda so we ensured he received these just so our security wasn’t compromised and when my daughter –in-law went to get him washed and ready for church on Sunday, he asked her to marry  him!!  Joseph was a devout Catholic, he loved the Lord so we are happy to know he is now with his Maker.

It sometimes feels that as we are a ‘grass root’ organization and work with all the different tribes in the area that we also see some of the worst of the countries behavior.

 

This child was brought to us by the local police.  She is so seriously traumatized she sits like this all day afraid to move.  That’s not surprising as she was found tied to a tree and slept in a cow shed, another example of the wicked stepfather syndrome.   It is going to take months and months of painstaking loving kindness before this child trusts anyone again.

And today, my dogs found this starved little puppy at my door.  It had had a slit made in his ear and a cow tag inserted into it.  One of the children asked me if an angel had brought it to my door…. Who knows?

Abundant Blessings - always - mama Lynn

 

JANUARY BLOG-2015

 

DEAR READERS,   

AS WE START THE NEW YEAR WITH UNCERTAINTIES AND CHALLENGES FACING US, LET US HOLD ON TO THOSE WORDS OF THE PROPHET JEREMIAH,

‘FOR I KNOW THE PLANS THAT I HAVE FOR YOU, DECLARES THE LORD, “PLANS TO PROSPER YOU AND NOT TO HARM YOU, PLANS TO GIVE YOU HOPE AND A FUTURE’.  (Jeremiah chapter 29 : v 11) and with faith ( FAITH IS BEING SURE OF WHAT  WE HOPE FOR AND CERTAIN OF WHAT WE DO NOT SEE) Hebrews 11 : 1 we believe and pray that peace, tolerance, understanding and goodwill to all will prevail in this our beautiful world through 2015.

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Over the Christmas period our children were blessed with not one but two separate families sharing their joy of their daughters being dedicated to the Lord by preparing Christmas dinner for all of our children, even those living at the mining town where all  ‘bussed’ in to enjoy the fellowship with the families.   It was also a great time for our children to showcase their talents by singing and dancing for the families and their many guests and the TV cameras.   More filming was done when the District Commissioner of Hai District along with Acc Airport – Kilimanjaro,  visited our children bringing gifts of sugar, oil, biscuits, and sodas which was warmly received.

Three days into the New Year, the President of Hope Ministries Gayle Stroschein arrived with her medical mission team.  160 patients were treated in one day at our rural out-reach medical dispensaries, and funding was made available to allow patients who required surgeries to attend local hospitals for treatment.   A great blessing  to so many of the poor in our area.  Thank you Hope Ministries.  As I  mentioned  before if you have no money and become sick here in Tanzania, you either get better or you die.  No money – no treatment. 

This little maasai girl was brought by a local doctor who we work with to Tudor Village to see if any of the medical personnel knew what the problem could be with this little girls facial disfigurement.   The child was born ten months ago with a small spot on her face which each day grew larger until skin was hanging  loose  under her chin.  She has received two operations at a local hospital but no diagnoses have been given as to what the problem could possibly be and what could be done to stop the growth.  If any medical personnel reading this blog who has any knowledge of this child’s condition could offer any  advice or recommendations we would be greatly appreciative as at present no treatment plan has been made as  medical personnel  are ‘baffled’ as to what can be done to save this little girls life.

FRANK PROUDLY SHOWING HIS RUG HE HAS MADE

FRANK PROUDLY SHOWING HIS RUG HE HAS MADE

This photograph is of one of our adult students who have lived within our care from being a child.  Frank attends a rehabilitation center in Usa River and is proudly showing us a new skill that he has learnt.  Due to having the condition known as Down Syndrome, Frank was locked away from human contact for many years by his grandmother, and only when she died was the child found in the house and brought into our care.  The children call Frank, Mchungaji  which in English means Pastor as you can find Frank  stood on a box with a bible in his hand preaching to all who will listen to him and he is also a member of the church choir.  One happy fulfilled young man.

We are experiencing major power problems at the moment, so please forgive me if I don’t respond quickly as this week I have had only two days internet out of seven.  Thankyou.

I pray rich abundant blessings to you all.

Mama Lynn

 

 

                                             

 

MAMA LYNN'S DECEMBER BLOG-2014

(photo of Leila showing you her angel card that she has made for her sponsor) 

BLESSED IS THE SEASON WHICH ENGAGES THE WHOLE WORLD IN A CONSPIPRACY OF “LOVE”.  WHAT IS CHRISTMAS?  IT IS ”TENDERNESS” FOR THE PAST “COURAGE” FOR THE PRESENT AND “HOPE” FOR THE FUTURE.  IT IS A FERVENT WISH THAT EVERY CUP MAY OVERFLOW WITH BLESSING RICH AND ETERNAL AND THAT EVERY PATH MAY LEAD TO “PEACE”.

MAY PEACE BE YOUR GIFT AT CHRISTMAS AND THE NEW YEAR THROUGH.

(The above message was posted to me as an sms by a staff member)

February will find me once again packing my suit case and flying off to the United States of America.   My first engagement will be in Sioux Falls, Iowa as a guest of Gayle Strotchein who is the Director of ‘Hope Ministries’ Medical Missions.  A fundraising event has been arranged and I shall be explaining to the many guests the work of LIA and how we assist many of the poorest tribes in the rural areas who cannot access any form of medical treatment due to their poverty.  (Over 2,000 patients this year alone have been helped with surgeries and medical treatment) Gayle and her teams have visited Light in Africa three times this year and will be visiting once again in January 2015.

(On a personal note; When I visited Sioux Falls in April of this year and when the plane landed at the airport and the cabin door opened all this ‘white stuff’ fell into the cabin, I was shocked I hadn’t experienced any snow for fourteen years and then I was driven  to Lee Harding’s home – a regular volunteer with LIA – in a blizzard! That was enough of the ‘snow experience’ to last me another fourteen years! ) After some church speaking engagements and meetings with friends, I then fly to California and meet with Kelly Bennett who organizes my diary of events for radio and tv shows. 

 

Then it’s off to meet with Joni Erickson Tarda of - Joni and friends - who has arranged a Global Conference on Disability from the 21st – 24th of February where I shall have the pleasure and opportunity to meet some pretty interesting people who will be speaking at the conference.  We shall all be in agreement on one thing though and that is how best we can serve the disabled child and adults.  At LIA Tudor Village we have disabled children who have been in our care for many years.  Some of these children were rescued from life-threatening situations as here in Tanzania children with disabilities are often locked away and not seen as mothers have been stigmatized by the witchdoctors for giving birth to a disabled child.

 

(Photo’s of LIA children enjoying the perfume from the lavender farm and flowers to attract the butterflies)

I then return home to make the final preparations for the opening of our unique Butterfly and Lavender Farm which is our latest project to provide an income for our students who have been brought up by Light in Africa from an early age and instead of them returning to living on the streets and enduring the spiral of poverty which can often lead to prisons and possibly the HIV/AIDS virus.  Although not academic and some students having a physical disability they will be able to be empowered by being employed by the Butterfly and Lavender farm.  Already one of our past volunteers has successfully marketed some of our lavender which has been a great encouragement to us.  We are hoping that soon we shall be able to have an on-line site where people can purchase some of the products that our older students have made. 

I pray that which you may enjoy unqualified bliss and intense joy this Christmas time and in the New Year.

Mama Lynn


July 2014

Hello dear readers,

Having returned from a tour of the UK and the USA I had intended to write a lengthy dialogue on all of the wonderful people that I had the pleasure to meet and all the kind friends who, like Lee & Nicole Harding, Kelly Bennett and Liz & Gordon, so kindly offered me a roof over my head during this time of being a transient missionary who just happened to write a book called A Light in Africa as a legacy to our children in care.  However, since my return to Tanzania the work load has just been so great with hosting guests and volunteers at Tudor Village over the last couple of months it has been ‘all hands on deck’ and then last week another story unfolded where we were able to save a child’s life just in the ‘nick’ of time which I felt sure you would want to hear about.

 Paul (General Manager) of Torchbearer Co. Ltd., and Dr. Richard / nurses with volunteers from the UK and USA organized one of our many medical out-reach programs into an area we have been working in for the last ten years.  This year-to-date we have provided “free” treatment and medication to over at 2,000 patients to some of the most vulnerable children and adults in remote villages.

My mobile rings and it is a volunteer called Linda at the other end of the line, she sounds very distressed telling me that they have found a desperately malnourished child who Dr. Richard says has only about ‘two days to live’,  can they bring him to the center. I inform Linda that she must seek and have permission from the local leaders in writing before doing so.   The group returns to Tudor Village in anguish, the mother has refused permission for the sick child to be treated.

Whilst the exhausted volunteers showered and ate their evening meal having treated over 200 patients that day,  Paul and I returned to the village in the dark hours and met with the mother and a local counselor and saw the pitiful state the child was in.  Taking notes we were shocked to find that the child was, according to his mother, 12 years of age, he was skeletal thin and about 3’ high.  I insisted the child should return with me and be taken immediately to hospital.  The mother reluctantly agreed after I exerted some pressure regarding the situation.  The following day I travelled 4 hours to a special hospital called F.AM.E near to Karatu where the child was given emergency treatment by an American pediatrician who made the comment that he had never seen a child so malnourished as this boy and that he looked like a holocaust victim.  Five days later the boy was released from hospital and is now recovering at Tudor Village.  We thank God that we reached the child in time to save his life.  This case is being followed up by the local Gender Violence police, we have been told today that there is another 3 siblings hidden away who are also suffering from malnutrition, so our family may be growing larger again with three more suffering children who we pray will find love, security, and a chance to develop their potential at Light in Africa’s Children’s Homes.

May the light of God shine brightly in your lives.

Mama Lynn

Easter Greetings!

Hello dear friends,

I departed Tanzania on the 25th March after ensuring ALL of the children – even those in boarding school – had received their ‘Hot Dog with Tomato Sauce’ which is a ritual that I do for all the children when I both leave and return to Tanzania.

My first engagement to promote the book that I have written called A LIGHT IN AFRICA  (which  is now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kindle for our American friends; and for the people living in the UK a button is available for local deliveries ) was at a lovely old church at Taunton in the South of England. There I met with John and his wife who had previously stayed at Torchbearer Co. Ltd. accommodation on Light in Africa’s fourteen acre site after climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.  John purchased 100 trees for our children’s homes which we were very pleased to receive.

Next stop was at Ludlow where I met some of my dear friends, and spoke at Immanuel Lutheran Church.  It was so nice to meet everyone, and I thank most sincerely Reverend Philip Jepson and his wife Daphne and Pastor Eric Olson who hosted me, and a lovely lunch of salmon pancake with salad was prepared by Frieda, a great meal.

Then it was back to Grimsby to meet with my family and enjoy a Chinese meal at ‘The Landings’ which is owned by Mr. Young who is a Guinness book of record holder for the water colour painting that he did which is the longest watercolour  in the world.

I then had a ‘huge’ shock as the aircraft door opened in Sioux City, USA and snow tumbled through the doorway.  Snow!, I haven’t seen or felt it for over fourteen years and Lee Harding who was picking me up had to drive to his home in Akron in a ‘snow storm’, UUK!  The only snow that I see is at the top of the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro and that is just fine with me.  Having lived in Africa all these years I am now a ‘hot house’ weed.

I had a lovely time fellowshipping with many friends who are in the farming community of Akron that had been invited to Lee & Nicole's home.  Special thanks to Elizabeth and Steve for the coffee and “ice-cream”.  A Sunday morning service at Immanuel Lutheran Church at Elk Point, South Dakota, to meet with Gail from Hope Ministries who visited LIA in January with a medical team and who is bringing a further two more groups out in May / June to paint one of our homes and assist at our medical out-reach programs.  Thanks to Pastor Erik Olson for his kind introduction.

Hosts in Akron, Iowa - Lee & Nicole Harding and family

Hosts in Akron, Iowa - Lee & Nicole Harding and family

Then it was off to California where Kelly Bennett the Publicist had arranged many TV & radio engagement for me to attend, least of all to be on her and Garry’s TV show.

Mama Lynn & Dan Wooding

Mama Lynn & Dan Wooding

Mama Lynn & Joni Erikson

Mama Lynn & Joni Erikson

Mama Lynn & Rafer Johnson

Mama Lynn & Rafer Johnson

Thank you to all the wonderful people of California who has hosted me to lunches and dinners and ‘bought the book’.  I am looking to return to Tanzania on the 8th May, but before I do I wish to respond to a letter that I have received from Dr. Francisco Maldonado.

Light in Africa has the largest children’s home in the Kilimanjaro area, and we consider it our privilege to care for over 50 children who are carrying the HIV/AIDS virus. We were particularly saddened when we learned that the doctor who has being coming every month with his team for the last three years was leaving to go live in Swaziland,

We would like to express our sincere appreciation for the wonderful medical care that Dr. Francisco Maldonado  has given our children.  Before he left he wrote the staff a letter which clearly explains some of the problems that we see on a daily basis.

Letter from Dr. Francisco Maldonado

Letter from Dr. Francisco Maldonado

Be the light in your corner of the world,

Warmest wishes, Mama Lynn