It’s a surreal feeling to get off the plane 8,000 mi away from the States in this very different, strange place and feel instantly at “home.” But then again we’ve been in and out since 2001 and have sunk deep roots.
We were greeted at Samaritan Village Orphanage with hugs and kisses and thanks for all of L4L’s faithful support. By God’s grace we are their strongest enduring partner. Each one of the staff here also managed share with jk how fat he’d gotten. That’s actually a compliment-ish here but it comes with lots of giggles.
Tanzania is a land of intense contrasts. Everything here is full volume: the beauty, the joy, the horror and the sadness. The terrain can be utterly breathtaking and the people warm and funny. But nature here can also be cruel. And so too the people.
Early on our first day we saw a gaggle of ten young Maasai girls moving about the campus under the staff’s care. One of our workers said, “It’s bad. Josephat (who runs Sam Village) will tell you.”
A Tanzanian man approached a Maasai village in Ngorongoro and told the parents he would take their children to school. The Maasai value education greatly as they know without it they will perish as a People. The stranger raised money from foreign donors for a Maasai school, then trafficked the children and disappeared. All ten of the girls ages 4 – 11 were sold and abused.
This is one of many reasons NEVER to send money here unless you have experienced, trustworthy boots on the ground. Start small and go slow. Make sure your Western workers are well engaged and plan to be connected long-term.
The government finally learned of the girls’ plight and arrests were made. Because of Samaritan’s reputation and longevity, the girls were placed with us until the legal case is sorted and they can be returned to their families.
We really don’t have room for ten more kiddos but, of course, the team here is getting it done without question. The girls are piled into the guest room next to ours. They are really sweet and warming up to us. They snuck over this afternoon to find “Mama Pastor” and are learning to navigate Chaka the guard dog now camped out by our door.
And so Tanzania goes. We will bless and dedicate the new Hospital/Study Centre on Saturday. Then it’s off to Kenya. Thank you for loving the least in Jesus' Name. You make a difference every day. Know of our prayers.
We love you,
j+ na Mama Stacy