Tuesday, June 18, 2013

MAJENGO KIDS move into their new home!!! June 2013

Jambo!!
Back home!!! reeling from the last 13 days in Tanzania, magnificent trip and well worth the current jet lag experience now...we did it! after 9 months of construction, beginning September 2012, Majengo gave birth to its brand new home!
With 3 big new houses designed by Margie Zeidler, finished and ready to go!
plus a big dining room, kitchen and offices (the last three almost built as i left last Friday..),  72 kids moved in, in complete darkness Sunday June 09, ecstatic and happy....
Sorry for not keeping this updated when i was there, everything technical for me was down.

Flew over with Ed Nedzielski, a guy i barely knew from Toronto who for whatever reasons i invited to fly with me..the best choice ever as he plugged in and hit the ground running...right up to the moment we moved the kids in, a paintbrush in hand, sticky thick dark brown oil, the frames and doors of all three houses had to be painted with brushes with hairs flying every which way, a challenge but we did it!
Windows went in, had to be scrapped down with the one remaining razor we brought over out of 5....clearing...rooms swept and swept, the kids running from our current space through the back woods leaping across 20 minutes of skinny trails, muddy or dusty, everyday rushing just to be there
working alongside the 19 local workers who've been on the job doing everything by hand since September...mixing cement, chopping huge stones, carrying, lifting, hammering, building..all from scratch, plus....Ed..me,
Charles (our ICA project coordinator on the ground), Heidi Weibe an ICA Canada volunteer who is there working with Charles for a year, as is Warren's Matt Brewster, on the site everyday as Charles" right hand man....what an amazing team!!
Day one...with 5 days to go before the move in...houses 1 and 2 emmersed with 4 inches of water covering the floor, impossible i thought to ever get these houses together by the weekend...the cement they had mixed covering the floors had cracked, looking like a wide expanse of parched dry and crackling soil, had to be completely done again, with a guy on the floor chiseling out and filling the cracks....dragging in the hose and flooding the rooms with water to help set the cement. Impossible we all thought. But within those 5 days, the floors set...the kids raced over dancing all the way with long squeegie mops slapping the water out of the houses, letting them dry, and painting the entire surfaces up and into sheer darkness,  a flashlight showing the way...it was insane but we got it done!!

I'd forgotten how much I laugh and sing there!!! Telling stories over beer at night, laughing, relaxed, happy...by day a dark oily brown paintbrush in hand, or a broom, or rags, exhausted but working all of us so hard to get the job done! And in late afternoon, hop into the van and bumped back over a couple of miles to our current site where the kids were, our neighbours in mud and stick homes coming out and waving, JAMBO!!! all along the road...one day, my daughter Seanna and Sierra at Montcrest school in Toronto called at the exact time that 12 year old Sierra, my grandaughter giving a speech to 100 kids and teachers at Montcrest....the kids at majengo sang a couple of songs thanking Montcrest for their wonderful donation last year of over $3,500. raised by Sierra and her classmates....with our girl Tato fluent in English now...speaking and answering questions over the line, projected by mic in Toronto to a room of cheering and teary Toronto kids.
The kids were ecstatic about moving into their new home..running around, measuring shelving, furniture....Everyday asking When!! Everyday coming over to help.....
packing their clothes wrapped up in huge bundles of sheets, books, desks,
beds broken up and taken down stacked into the back of the old red truck, it took a day with 6 people puzzling how to put them together, floors painted, beds in...
shelves....mounds of clothing divided up, the big boys in house 1 painted bright lime green...the little boys and girls in house 2, mauve....and in house 3 the big girls, sky blue..clothing stacked in piles, divided up into all three houses, kids on the floor folding into piles, and onto the shelves...workmen installing door knobs, plumbing in...one toilet working - in the whole place, you head toward it TP in hand, a crew of 20 lounging on a big new porch taking a break, cheering you on....Hamidu our truck driver, hauling a long hose over into house 3...sloshing in the water to clean the floors, handfuls of soap thrown helter skelter the kids with squeegies again, pushing it around and out the door, dancing skipping singing....

Warren Majengo's Matt McKissock..with his 12 year old daughter Jaqueline arrived 6 days later, with his mom Diana, and  mother in law Ronnie, and a friend Pam from Warren......rolled up their sleeves and pitched in to help...Murray and Barbara Brown from Edmonton showed up on safari with their son and his girlfriend, a great visit first to the new site with a great talk under a canopy of trees meeting all of us....then over to the current Majengo...meeting the kids..what an experience for them, and what a great time to be there on the cusp of the kids moving in...

Ronnie, a dental hygienist laden down fully with dental equipment, setting up shop on the huge open porch of house 3...inspecting each child meticulously....for cavaties....any problems...
Diana taking pictures with Jacqueline recording, here with Fillipo....a roomful of waiting children inside, sitting on benches in a circle singing... 

The kids moved in at night....only Charles and Hamidu were there to help, it was so late they ushered us off, no doubt thinking that we would have only gotten in the way...we'd just had a welcoming celebration with all the local village leaders, speeches of welcoming and good wishes for the new site. Chickens and ducks were to be carried over by hand by the children a few days later....
flashlights led the way, we don't have electricity yet, here we are drawing by flashlight! could be months before it is installed, but our staff there  seem to take it all in stride..imagine putting 72 kids to bed....in the pitch dark...!
But they love it here!!!! Here's Jacqueline making bracelets with the kids

Ed and I and Matt brewster took off the next day on a 5 hour safari bumping along amidst zebra, giraffe, buffalo, elephants, wildebeasts roaming freely in the Manyara national park, 15 minutes from Majengo....monkeys and baboons leaping and jumping wildly threw canope of trees, knarled...sitting on logs cleaning and picking away in pairs.....another great day....wonderful meals with all of us, meetings about Phase 2....including a new library with computers, books, dvds, soccer field and playground, all three to be shared with the whole surrounding Majengo community...the idea being that our kids now living in homes far superior to surrounding mud and stick huts...will open up Majengo and share what we have.....
It continues to plague us, the financing of such a magical endeavour....this year our operating costs $105,000, plus about *15,000 more for special English education....with $85,000 more to raise to complete the buildings.....
Again and again, thank you to everyone who has contributed through these last 4 years...and welcoming you to bring Majengo to your friends and family....every bit counts, and I can only wish that you could be over there seeing where your dollars have gone...it is a miracle to me that we have gone this far!!!
And here we are, Charles on the left...me, with Matt expressing a little mock frustration! an incredible team with an incredibly wide expanse of skills, philosophy and methodology...but most of all, each and every one of us are drawn together with an incredible love for these kids...
we've watched them grow up....they are close to us as our own...

Home again...after 13 days, and for me back up to Dunedin....the night before i left June 2...ahuge party here to celebrate marci lipman's birthday, Rusty playing rock and roll, dancing, great food and wonderful people....her gifts, donations to Majengo....thank you everyone who participated....

will write again, when i am fully awake!!
xxLynn













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