My first mission on this beautiful and vast continent was to bring new clothing, school & hospital supplies, and nutritional supplements to a group of orphans in Tanzania. In the fall of 2005, I started taking a part of my weekly paycheck and earmarked it to help underprivileged children … where, had not even been decided. Time passed and my then fiancée started planning to lead a trip to the Serengeti and to climb to the summit of Kilimanjaro. Ah, contributing to orphans in that area was the answer! I told a few people what I wanted and in no time, an area serving 800 orphans in Northern Tanzania magically appeared.
I know my contacts were not sure I was really serious, wondering if they were just words. When my questions became more frequent, they gradually understood; I was really coming and I would be bringing a lot with me. What they did not comprehend was just how much would be forthcoming. In fact, I probably did not understand it either until I started packing up over 500 pounds of clothing, school supplies, embroidery materials and medical supplies and realized that I had budgeted for all of that (every item was brand new) and had not budgeted for the outlandish costs of shipping! In my despair, it struck me, “doing it all myself had serious limitations….and in fact, did not work!” And then someone asked if they could donate. Half stunned I said, “YES!”
A thunderbolt, “Why had I not asked for help? Ask and some would have stepped up!” It is our nature to be kind and giving when there is a need, even when we don’t think we have much ourselves.
Mission One done: 500 pounds delivered and distributed. Each of the 800 orphans in the area got at least one item of brand new clothing, the school got 6 months of supplies, the children got supplements and the hospital got some much needed supplies. The smiles and the gratitude were heartwarming and will last a life time. And still it was not enough! They needed food; much more of everything that was given to them on this first mission . . . so many to care for, so much more to be done. And, their hospital was in desperate need of a generator and a sterilizer. The entire area needed wells for clean water.
Mission Two done: Again, I started with the first group of 800 and the large hospital. The traveling distance was not easy so after delivering all the supplies for the hospital and the orphans there, I added another 57 orphans at the Kilimanjaro Orphanage Centre in Moshi. I found utter joy in being able to roll out of bed, grab a bite to eat and just walk to the orphanage with my guides (more like sons at this point). They stayed with me, took care of me, went to the orphanage with me ( and taught the children what I taught them!). I got to work with the kids everyday, all day. I taught them to stitch (it is important to teach a skill that can later sustain them). I spoke to them in English and used the words they taught me in Swahili. We taught each other. More of Werner Berger's team members stayed on to work with the children. (Werner leads Transformational Leadership Tours and we work together to provide an optimal experience for all.
Mission Three: A new orientation, many working together for the benefit of all. I personally have already purchased over 2,000 items of new clothing to take on the trip in mid-June. Perhaps you will join our cause, perhaps come on this year’s trip to Africa, perhaps be moved to make a donation – any amount (even $5.00) is so greatly appreciated. Please tell your friends and colleagues about what we are doing. They might just want to become a part of what we are doing!
Could We Possibly Grant Three Wishes?
If a Genie could magically grant 3 wishes for these 800 orphans and their hospital, this is what they need, this is what they ask of you …
When I asked the doctors, nurses, Father Aloyce and the Nuns what three (3) wishes they would want to have granted, there was no hesitation. The answers came immediately. A new, working generator, a sterilizer and wells for water.
When the 25 year old generator goes on the ‘fritz’, people die …. A sterilizer malfunction produces the same fate.
When the rains don’t fall, women and children carry 5 gallon pails of water 5 or more miles to help sustain life.
A twist on the song comes to mind, “Don't cry for me Argentina”…I mean “the orphans and the poor in Africa – in fact, anywhere!”