The long awaited part two of my year in review! (note: this is even more image heavy than the last)
JulyWe had LOADS of great volunteers from all over in June/July, even though the volunteer house was full, it was a blast. We also watched a lot of word cup games. Seriously though, what a great group. In July I also started dating Elicana, he also happened to give me a big tour around areas of Arusha while looking for a new house which was very kind of him. July 6 the triplets (Esther, Deborah, Anna) turned two and then proceeded to go home! It was awesome to send them off with their mother and family who were very clearly excited to be able to welcome them home. We also welcomed smiley little Shabani in July.Tumaini got his first haircut in July, thanks to some nasty boils on his head, but he still looked very handsome. Last but not least, I celebrated turning 25 in July! I made a crazy flower headband and then decided it looked better on Gloria than me, and she was super excited to wear it anyway. Some of the volunteers and I went out for Ethiopian food (so delicious) and then out dancing. August
In August I moved! An American woman I know started renting a big giant house and in turn I rented a bedroom in it! It was a bit farther away from town than I was use to, but it was a nice set up for the two months I ended up living there. Also in August we brought Bahati to visit his Maasai village. Many of the villagers had not seem him since the day he left, hours old after his mother died in childbirth. They were astonished to see how he was thriving, because to them most of the time if a mother dies, the child will die as well. When we were there we found out one of the wives of Bahati’s uncle had literally JUST given birth. They invited us into their home (a traditional Maasai boma) to bless the baby. I LOVE the look on the mother’s face as she stares at her new little girl.
In August potty training was in full swing at Neema. It’s hillarious to see 14 toddlers sitting on little plastic potties. August was also the last month I got to spend with Zawadi as she got adopted in September when I was on holiday (more about that in the next paragraph.) August brought a SECOND trip to Maasai land to follow up with a woman we had heard about when we brought Bahati. We were told she had newborn twins and no food, and wasn’t producing milk to feed them. When we arrived the situation was more desperate than we thought and immediately brought them into town to the hospital. Little Theresia and Elisha were SO small and their arms/hands/legs were stuck in bent positions. We weren’t sure what would happen but knew they all (mother included) needed food! After a stay in the hospital, they all moved to Neema.September
In September I finally realized I was EXHAUSTED and needed a holiday. My boyfriend happily obliged and we hopped on an 11 hour bus to Dar es Salaam for a week at the beach. I literally lounged around on the beach, and swam, and ate lots of delicious seafood for a week, and because my boyfriend is super smart (and a local) we were able to do everything super cheaply! It was awesome. In that last picture there he is showing off a small octopus he bought for about .65 cents, and proceeded to cook for dinner. We literally could by seafood as the fishermen brought in their boats. It was awesome/crazy.
While I was gone Zawadi was adopted and Neema House welcome Joshua, a big Maasai baby whose mother had died in childbirth. He’s literally HUGE. He will probably grow up to be 7 feet tall. At the end of September Beulah got to go home with her family. Her father had finally remarried (after the death of Beulah’s mother in childbirth) and he felt it was time to bring her home. She seemed to settle right in with all her siblings and new mother right away, it was a beautiful reunion.
OctoberI moved AGAIN in October, this time to very very minimal, local level accommodations. I have a squat toilet and no running water in my house. It consists of two rooms, plus the toilet/shower room. It’s on the north side of town, and I literally feel like I’m hiking a mountain if I walk home, but the walk down isn’t bad. I also made a trip to Karatu with my boyfriend to meet his mother and one of his sisters, who was very pregnant and at the hospital there.
In October we welcomed Amiri, a boy of about two who had been abandoned, but his grandfather has since been located. Hopefully he will be able to go home with him soon. We also welcomed two newborns, Lucy Grace and Christopher. Lucy was abandoned in the hospital, and someone found Christopher abandoned along the side of the road. His arrival reminded me of the brokenness of the world, and the hopelessness some mother’s must feel, to leave their child on the side of the road.
November was a big month! I got my hair braided for the first time, and it was SO painful. Haha. Plus it turned out my hair was still a bit too short because it all fell out in about a week. In November we also welcomed Munira (later renamed Carolyn). Elicana joined me on a trip to Monduli for Thanksgiving with some other Amerlican’s and a few Englanders. The food was delicious (thanks Lori!). We took a drive up to Monduli Juu and the views were just incredible. You could see forever.In November we also welcomed Careen, a sweet sweet girl who had suffered far too much in her short short life. Thankfully she is recovering quickly and settling in at Neema. She smiles a lot more now and is showing a lot more of her personality.
Tumaini turned ONE in November! Me and (other)Kelly took him for a special birthday lunch, at my request. I dressed him up all adorable and off we went to Fifi’s, a western style restaurant in town. He was SUPER into the fish and chips I ordered, even helping himself to the biggest piece, which was so funny. November had 4 birthday’s actually, which we celebrated at the end of the month. Franki, our babu (grandfather), turned THREE, and Zawadi, Bakari and Tumaini all turned one. As you can see, Franki is a champion cake eater. I think he ate three pieces.
DecemberI finally got to visit Elicana’s village in December. His family lives inside the Ngorongoro Conservation area, so it was a bit difficult to get all the logistics worked out but finally they did! I also got to meet baby Kelly, his sister’s daughter. The same sister I talked about meeting in October. On our way home we stopped to see the crater and WOW. It’s breathtaking. Like SO HUGE.
Oh ,also in the village I got to meet my five goats. Yes, I have five goats, gifted to me from some villagers. Elicana’s mama takes care of them for me.
In December, Neema House welcomed teeny tiny Neema Joy. She was three weeks old and 2.35 kgs. We also had a GIANT Christmas party, featuring the cooking of two goats (donated by Sarah’s family) and just tons and tons of food. I think over 50 people shared the meal with us. Thanks for tuning in to my review of 2014! If you missed part one, you can find it here.