Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016

I can’t believe that the year is over. There has been a lot of great and positive things that happened at the orphanage in 2015. I wanted to give a short recap of everything and also share a few goals for 2016.

There are about twenty kids at the orphanage now. Ten of the kids have left, but about ten others have been dropped off. I hope and pray that the ones who left are safe and will be taken care of. Many of the parents had realized their kids were gone or have finally gotten to a place in their lives where they feel like they can take care of the children now. I pray that is the case and they can all be happy and safe.
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There are always things that need fixing, taken care and dealt with. Fortunately, there is a local company who has offered their services and making things even better. There has been constant construction going on for the last few months. An additional building has been put in, a new kitchen, cupboards, sinks, running water, an additional toilet in another building, and sliding doors. Thank you Travis and his crew at NURV Decor for all the hard work you’re doing. Mama and the children are so grateful!

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Sliding door will be placed here.

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Additional building for more room.

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New roof!

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More construction and work going on.

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Putting in the flooring.

The kids are all doing well! They are growing up so fast. Prynce, Esa, Tnandza, Esa are all still there. And there are a lot of new faces I’m meeting via photographs.

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Mama with one of the girls…

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Esa, Moipone, and Tnandza.

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Everyone takes care of everyone ❤

There are a couple goals that I’d like to accomplish for 2016. The one that’s most important is getting electricity. Mama currently has a stove that puts out some, but not enough. There is a lot of debt that Mama has and that’s why the electricity is not on. It would be wonderful if we could raise more money to help pay that debt off and the kids can have electricity. Warming up water, taking baths and showers, winter is only a few months away. I’d hate to think of everyone going through another winter without electricity.

The second goal is to make sure Mama gets proper dental hygiene. Her teeth have been in such bad shape she needs to get it all fixed. She has visited the dentist for a consultation, but will need to go at least three more times to make sure she is healthy and not in pain anymore.

I know everyone is getting ready to ring in 2016 with dinners, parties, drinks, treats, and spending expenditures that we may feel is necessary for tonight. I’m asking you to donate a few dollars to help ensure the Tembisa Tots can have a great 2016.

https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_flow&SESSION=UP8OIKBoeCsLMDhWtQQMSaCEMblywfPwxx7Y3wLYovMtzOJkshTBWA2MrLu&dispatch=5885d80a13c0db1f8e263663d3faee8d64ad11bbf4d2a5a1a0d303a50933f9b2

Happy New Year everyone!

xo

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Mama with Duba Duba. She was dropped off at 4 months. She’s now almost 3!

Update on my Tots…

It’s been over a year since I’ve seen my Tembisa family. My life’s perspective changed in December of 2011 because of a handful of children who live close to 10,000 miles away from me. It was then when I met them and again in June, 2012.Since then I still think of them every day. I wonder if they are receiving enough food. If they are sick, being cared for, playing with friends, going to school, freezing in the winter months (opposite of our seasons), crying themselves to sleep, minding Mama and Simphiwe, do they remember me… I sure hope they know there is someone across the world praying and thinking of them every day.

A few weeks ago I was able to talk on the phone with my dear friends Dominic and his wife Moipone who have graciously said they will help with the orphanage and make sure the children and Mama are okay… I am so grateful they are there, speak the language, and understand the ways of South Africa to know what needs to be done to help Mama.Since the work we started a couple years ago, the maintenance and orphanage building have come along way. They now have a solid roof over their heads, they a washer and dryer, a stove, an oven, and warm water. Now the most important issue are the children and keeping them healthy and fed.

Many of the children have caught Impetigo again. This is a contagious skin infection that usually produces blisters or sores on the face, neck, hands, and diaper area. It’s a bacteria the kids get which can also turn into strep throat. It can be passes along others pretty easily and is just horrible. Blister like sores that bleed, itch, and puss. Very uncomfortable and awful. It’s on their faces, hair, feet, and ears. I wish I could snap my fingers and help them right now.

We have been able to get an antibiotic to the kids so they can apply this cream to the sores and hopefully ease their discomfort. Some of the kids have developed ring worm now too.  The school teachers have asked some of the kids to stay home from school in fear of spreading it to other students. Which only makes things a little more harder and stressful for Mama.
One of the little ones, Shorty, broke his hand the other day. It’s been over 2 weeks now and he still hasn’t been to the doctor for proper help. He needed to be cast but he hasn’t had one yet.
Some of the missionary couples have been able to go visit Mama and continue the help we started. They were able to give me a more detailed report a couple days ago on the kids and situation.
“We stopped by this afternoon. Shorty was using his arm.  The pain had been in the elbow area.  Elder Dr Hoffman looked at it and said perhaps his elbow had out of joint and reduced itself or perhaps he had a break that healed in the two weeks since the fall.  He did not feel anything in Shorty’s arm that would be a lasting problem.
He also looked at Essa, and several new children.  Some have impetigo, some have ringworm in their hair.  The little guy who had been burned by his drunk mother, Tabiso, had been dressed by a physician.  Mama had stuff to redress the burned area and Memory, a neighbor, was helping out and said she would be the one to do it daily.  Right now there are 18 children.  There are new ones. Mpho, Nelson, Larato, Nhlanhla, Mandela, and I can’t remember the rest….
Hoffmanns and Tshabalala plan to follow up with medication and instructions.
Simphiwe was studying algebra in the library.”
I am so grateful I have eyes, ears, hands, and loving hearts over in Tembisa to give me detailed reports like that one.I can’t imagine what Mama must be feeling with all of those additional children. Not to mention Dominic just told me a few days ago there are three more new children. A five year old boy, two year girl, and a four month old baby girl too.

I am going to do my best to visit again before the year is over. I don’t know what I can do but go show my love and support to these little people who have stolen my heart.

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I want to be a philanthropist

 

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What does it take to become a philanthropist? I often wonder if you have to have millions of dollars, know the right people, move to a third world country, or maybe just throw everything I have into what I believe. 

The philanthropists I know of are actresses, actors, investors, successful business people; like Warren Buffett, Oprah, or Angelina Joli. But what about the “regular” people who want to make a difference but find it almost impossible because everything costs loads of money?

That’s where I find myself. I’m in my early thirties, a single mother, rarely have excess monies, and am usually trying to help those who are less fortunate. I think I have found my calling in life (other than being a mother) and want to help children without a bright future. 

Two years ago I was introduced to a small, run down orphanage in the township of Tembisa, in South Africa. My parents served an LDS mission in Johannesburg, South Africa for eighteen months. While on their mission, they volunteered and took this humble orphanage under their wings until it was time to return to the States. 

The Bulamahalo orphanage belongs to a sweet and selfless woman named Regana Sekgobela. She is sixty-eight and has been taking care and raising parent-less children for the last twenty-three years. “Mama” (as they call Regana) is a seamstress. She is so talented and has put her sewing talent to rest to take care of ten – thirty children in the township of Tembisa. A widow and a mother to two son’s, Mama’s life is surrounded by little brown faces; tiny babies up to young adults. Mama never turns anyone away and never says no. She would literally give the shirt off her back.

My parents shared Mama’s story and the needs of the children with me March of 2011. From the first story my mom told me, I knew I had to do something. The fact that these children do not have food to eat on a regular basis was enough for me to drop what I was doing and go to action. They were lucky if they had two meals a day. These meals consist of “pap” and maybe some chicken scrapes to add flavor. No treats, no snacks, no nutrients. My heart sank. 

What can I do? How can I do it? Where am I going to get money to help these children? Who will help me, help them? I don’t have the money to start this project. Does this have to be something major? Small? Do I want it to grow and become so large I can’t wrap my brain around it? Will this work? Yes, this is going to work. Why? Because I believe in it. 

I started researching. I looked up how to become a “non profit”. What it takes, what you need to do, who needs to be involved. To my surprise it’s very difficult to become a non profit. There are so many forms, steps, council with attorneys, pay loads of money, tax forms, etc etc. All I want to do is raise money to feed helpless orphans in South Africa … and it seemed impossible. 

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t discouraged after researching. I couldn’t figure out why there were so many things to get in order just to make it so people can write off their donations. I wondered why people couldn’t just donate to donate. It seemed to go against the whole idea of being selfless and choosing to help those less fortunate. I was expecting much. In fact, I didn’t have any set expectations or goal of how much money I wanted to raise. You see, the difference between the U.S. dollar and the South African Rand is different that one U.S. dollar is eight Rand. So $6.00 in the U.S. would be about R70. That’s a lot of money to people in South Africa. 

We got to work and we’re only looking forward. One of my friends came up with the name Tembisa Tots. It was perfect! My little girl was excited to help and get her class involved too. 

If all of my Facebook friends (over 1100 people) would donate $5, that would be an easy $5,000 to go toward the Tembisa Tots. That would feed the kids for over 4 years. We can feed those children a decent meal(s) for about $200 a month! A month! 

The fall of 2011, we started fundraising. Starting at a grass roots level we were on our way. Philanthropists have to start somewhere, right?! From home made poster making, cutting flyers, bake sales, presenting at schools, giving presentations within the community, creating a website, Facebook page, YouTube channel, and help from family and friends we were gaining momentum. 

I was so energized. I was loving every minute of planning, updating posts, photos, making videos, spreading the word. All I wanted to do was get more and more people to hear our story and fall in love with these little children I hadn’t even met yet. 

We had made plans to visit my parents in December and most excitingly meet Mama and the kids! We were going to visit for about 3 weeks. 

With the help from friends, family, people I hadn’t ever met before, we were able to raise about $2,500. I was so pleased with that and couldn’t wait to share it with Mama and those children. 

That was the start of this wonderful and life changing journey… and I can’t seem to stop! I hope I can continue helping Mama and these children. I just have to keep thinking of ways to generate a larger audience. 

 

 

KUTV :: News – Pay it Forward – Pay It Forward: Sindee Savage

Last night my daughter and I were featured on our local news station, KUTV Channel 2 on a segment called Pay it Forward. A reporter had contacted me a few weeks and said he wanted to do a personal interest piece on the orphanage. I agreed and thought what a great way to spread the word about our Tembisa Tots!

Little did I know, Mountain America and Channel 2 pair up and surprise people with $500.00 to put towards a good cause. It was such a wonderful and generous surprise! Thank you Mountain America and Channel 2!

Mama and the tots will be so happy to know they are many people who support them and know their story!

http://kutv.com/features/pay-it-forward/pay-it-forward-sindee-savage

 

Tembisa Tots Fundraiser…

I do need to post about our summer and what we’ve been doing but that’s going to have to wait! I wanted to get this message out about a project I’m working on! I’m really excited and super passionate about it and I hope you  will be too!

My parents are serving a mission in South Africa. One of the many things they do; aside from their regular welfare missionary classes and work, is volunteer at a local orphanage. It’s in a city called Tembisa. 

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In 1989, 65 year old Regina Sekgobela, opened a small day care for the children of Tembisa. The main reason for her kindness was to look after children when they finished school. As time passed, parents who dropped their children off, would not return to take their children home. Leaving them in Regina’s care.  Word spread through the township and more and more children were getting left behind.

Today, “Mama” takes in all who enter through her doors. It doesn’t matter if the children come from foster care, are homeless, left by their parents, or dropped off by the police, Mama welcomes them with loving arms.

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This orphanage does not recieve any help or funding from government. A local school gives them extra food. Some high school students volunteer their time to help Mama with the kids and work in a small garden.  Mama sells some vegetables for money so she can buy goods for the orphanage. A local LDS ward also helps with necessities when needed.

The Bulamahlo orphanage consists of three trailers. They are about 40 feet long and 15 feet wide. The trailers are used for sleeping, cooking, laundry, bathroom, and playing.
Mama takes the elementary age kids to school each day in her truck and picks them up after school. The younger children stay back and play. Currently, are about 15 – 20 kids at the orphanage. There has been up to 50 plus.

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The biggest stress for Mama now is making sure the children have food. They eat two meals a day. The meals are usually “pap” which is like oatmeal, hamburger buns with aa  little jam, or fish pieces in tomato sauce. (delicious, I know) They don’t have treats or any sweets. It’s rare to have fruit and/or vegetables.

A handful of these kids are infected by the HIV virus. Most of their parents are infected and have passed it to on to their kids. These children have no one to look after them, no place to call home, and no one but Mama to look up to.

I know I can’t change the future for these children but I do know I can make a small difference in their lives by providing them with something small and simple. Things we take for granted are things that could brighten their day.

I have created a Facebook Page which I’ll post photos, videos, and updates of this journey.

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I’ve had a lot of people ask if they can make hygiene kits, make quilts, or things I can take with me. Honestly, the easiest and best way to help is to donate money. From $5.00 – $20.00 would be plenty. When I get to South Africa, we will go buy the things they need. I don’t have room to take things over with me. All donations go straight the orphanage. I’m not using any of this money for personal use.

Another neat thing I’m doing is documenting everything. Pictures, videos, and message so everyone can see the process. I’m really excited to show the orphanage, kids, and Mama. It would definitely be more meaningful to those who donate to see the lives they are blessing!