Kititimo - The Orphanage Visit

On Saturday, October 6, the Tanzania Team Travelers visited two places devoted to children.  This post is about the first of them, the Kititimo Center for Vulnerable Children.

This first photo shows us arriving there.


















So, what is a "Center for Vulnerable Children?"  It is an orphanage, which houses, feeds and teaches children who are rescued from living alone on the streets of Singida, one of the cities in central Tanzania.  It serves 14 children right now, and its current capacity is 30.  Soon, all of its beds will be filled.

The kids had clearly been told we were coming, and several of them were by the remnants of the big tree near their administration building.





















Before long, most of them were gathered on a rock near the tree, just watching us.  One little boy seemed particularly suspicious.
















As I had mentioned in the post about the sewing day, Sherry and Karen had worked with the women of Kijota to make stuffed dogs out of felt.  We Travelers distributed the dogs to the kids as soon as we arrived.






At first, with all of us adults around, the children just stood quietly, and took photos with us.






Later, as we moved on into our tour, the kids loosened up a bit, and soon they were all playing with their dogs, making barking noises and laughing and having fun -- exactly as the ladies had hoped.

















This orphanage had been started by Lutherans many years ago, but had been taken over by the government.  This is a recurring theme in the history of Tanzania.  Churches, particularly Lutheran churches, created institutions for helping the Tanzanian people -- schools, hospitals, orphanages -- and then at some point, the people in the government decided that the government should be responsible for these services, so they confiscated them. Many (perhaps most) of the schools which are now state run were once owned and run by churches.  The Ikhanoda public school is like that.  In the case of schools, the government still controls them.

In the case of Kititimo, the government took it over, then decided it was too hard to run it properly, so the government stopped it.  By the time they did, they had let the property deteriorate pretty severely.




















Just three months ago, the church took it back.  In particular, a very generous business man, Rogate Mchau, who owns a construction contracting business, has taken the lead in getting the facility up and running again, and will work to get the buildings renovated.





















His work is being supported by the church, and also by members of the community who want to see these children cared for.

Already, the single dormitory which is in use has nice beds and mattresses for the children.

















They are working on renovating more of the space, so that soon the boys and girls can have separate dormitories.  The new dormitory is close to having its renovation completed, and it's there that Sherry and Karen presented two quilts to the matron of the Center, Monica, who has been working there, taking care of children, since 2004 -- from the time it was opened, through the government takeover, to now when it's private again.  She has a true heart of service for these children.
















Monica also cooks for the children, using a wood fire, which is common for most homes in Tanzania.






















The property on which the Center sits is quite large.  It has its own well (from which the water must be drawn by the pail, by hand.
















And there are gardens right near the well, which are worked for food for the children, and surplus which can be sold to help support the Center financially.  The gardens had quite a large number of tomato plants, which were producing quite well!
















This was yet another unexpected part of our trip.  Before we arrived, we had not heard of the Center.  We were encouraged to go by Pastor Shila, and were committed to go by Pastor Felix, the pastor at the cathedral, during the service we attended there.

Still, we were all glad we had a chance to visit.  There are children wandering around Singida who will be helped by this mission, and there are many who have already been served, or are currently being served.  In fact, we were told that one of the first children who had a chance to grow up here has married a Minnesotan, and now Joshua and Megan live somewhere in our home state.

One final note on this visit.  We met several people on this trip to Tanzania who were a great help to us, and some few of them are certain to be part of our lives in the future.  One of those is Faraja, a young woman who works at the Lutheran Book Seller, who agreed to join us as our interpreter on the sewing day.   She became such a good friend that she asked for the next two days off from work so she could be with us on this trip to Kititimo and to Hull later in the day, and to our day in the church in Kijota.  She's a special young woman.  Here she is with Sherry.






















Perhaps, if I have time, I will do a blog entry about the people we met.  Faraja would be in that entry, for sure!








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