Mother’s Day…

Kendyl giving Mama some loves. Happy Mother’s Day to one incredible woman. For 30 years she’s been putting her own needs aside to ensure the safety, love, and guidance for hundreds of children. We are so grateful for to you Mama. ❤️ #tembisatots #mothersday

Advertisements

Always Smiling…

We were lucky enough to take a photo of my parents, my daughter and me and have it delivered to Mama back in South Africa.
Dominic and his family went to visit the orphanage the day after they returned home from the States. They checked in with Mama and the kids and gave her our photo. She is doing well and is smiling from ear to ear.

The community has really stepped up and providing for Mama and the kids. Food vendors, neighbors, schools, and even local businesses are chipping in when and where they can. I think with the updates and progression, many people are more willing to help Mama.

They still struggle with day to day living, but they have many more helping hands surrounding them. We love and miss you Mama!

IMG_1674-1.JPG

Video Update on our Tembisa Tots…

For the last few weeks our friends Dominic and Moipone have been here in the United States. They traveled from South Africa to visit a handful of families they’ve grown to know and love. Many couples have had the oppurtunity of opening their hearts and lives to these wonderful people while serving in Johannesburg, South Africa.  The Tshabalala family are one of the most incredible families I have met. With six children, Moipone and Dominic do an amazing job raising their kids in today’s world.

The cultural differences between South Africans and Americans range from many things. Both countries have many things each can learn from, and also many things that are hard to understand since we aren’t familiar with it.

In meeting Dominic and Moipone in 2011, I’ve come to understand a little bit of their culture and history. Less is more. It’s okay to not have everything. Really cherish what’s in front of you. Don’t take anything for granted. History is powerful. Your roots are strong but don’t shape your future; you shape your future. Faith is endless. Hope can be eternal. Family is home.

Dominic and Moipone have been a huge part of the Tembisa Tots. Dominic has been a wonderful translater for me and my family when we’ve visited. He’s been able to explain how things work in Tembisa. From the township’s system, explaining things to Mama, and working with the community in helping where they can. He’s been able to build a trusting relationship with Mama and the kids living in the orphanage. Moipone has grown to love each and every child and knows them individually and collectively.

I trust them completely. They have the best interest in mind for the children and Mama.

Since Dominic and Moipone are such a large part with the Tembisa Tots, Dominic and I made a short video message for all of those who have donated and those future donations. We want everyone to know that their donations go to a wonderful cause and truly help dozen of children.

With the funds that have been donated we have been able to do many great things at the orphanage. But there is always more to do. The kids need funds to attend school, uniform costs, and school supplies are always needed.

Please share and think about helping these darling tots this upcoming holiday season.

God bless and many thanks…

Growing, growing, growing…

In the past several months there’s been a lot of love spread between the gates of our Tembisa Tots orphanage. From the LDS missionaries who consistantly check on Mama and the kids, to many offers from locals who offer their help and services, a wonderful family from Denver Colorado contacted me and is going to visit Mama and wanted to take supplies to her and the children, and an amazing fifteen year old girl celebrated her birthday at the orphanage and now has taken on a big duty to help the tots and Mama…. I feel so blessed to be able to witness these miracles.

As of March 12, Mama has 32 children to take care of. I can’t even imagine. I think more and more kids are getting dropped off. The latest little tots were brought to Mama a couple weeks ago. One is three months old, a baby girl. She doesn’t have a name yet. She hadn’t been cared for. The mother was out of reality, and is now hospitalized.  I believe she had two siblings arrive with her as well.

Image
This little babe is just too cute. I wish I could go get her and bring her home!

I continue to love these tots and Mama from afar. I keep them close to my heart and in my prayers. I love to hear and see their successes, and their smiles from my dear friends who help watch over them.

Image

Thanks for sweet Georgia! She and her friends went to the orphanage last Saturday and posted a bunch of photos of the kids!

Georgia and her friends have decided to take on the orphanage as a project of their own. They have an opportunity to meet with a large South African Corporate called BIDVEST, to present the orphanage’s needs to the executive board.  They really want to improve the outside play area, and had the idea to request either sponsorship or donations to lay down grass in the area under the trees, get new playground equipment and fix up the paving so that it becomes a place where the little ones can sit on the grass and have a picnic in the shade etc. etc.

Their plan is to get everything done by “Madiba Day” – the 18th July 2014 – and then have a big celebration of the new play area!  Yesterday was a day to take photographs etc., and then they will be brainstorming over the next three weeks on what is the best approach to take with their request for sponsorship etc.  They have a lot of work to do as far as getting in quotes and sourcing suppliers, and at first thought that the 18th July 2014 was a bit soon (my instruction to them was that they have to have a goal – end date, otherwise nothing will actually be achieved).
Everyone is on board with the idea and are completely committed to the project. 

The Tembisa Tots “Power Team” consists of nine 15 year olds who attend school together and Southdowns College in Pretoria, South Africa.  Among the parents are two Accountants who will assist with managing any donations they receive and will be able to account for all income and expenditure and report to donors on an ongoing basis.

The Temabisa Tots Power Team consists of:

Georgia
Jordan
Nicolas
Jean-Pierre
Sandile
Xabiso
Dianne
Thato
Siyuri

Image

Bless these teens hearts.

Birthday Party with the Tots…

This young girl is truly amazing! Who would have thought a young teen would want to spend her birthday with a group of small orphans? Well, meet Georgia. Her birthday wish was to celebrate her birthday with Mama and the kids for her birthday.

Image

“Yesterday I celebrated my 15th birthday with the amazing children at Tembisa Tots orphanage. I hope the children enjoyed THEIR party, and I can’t wait to see them again – soon! Thank you so much Mama for all you do for these children, you are truly an inspiration. Lots of love to Mama and to each and every one of those children, from Georgia.”

I just want to reach through the computer and give her the biggest hug ever! The kids look like they are having the time of their lives. Georgia and her friends sure made an impact on their little lives and I know Mama loved every minute of it too.

Thank you Georgia. Thank you for being such a wonderful person and having a loving heart. Keep it up my dear, keep it up.

Missing South Africa…

I find myself thinking of the small orphanage I have learned to love over the past couple of years every day. Whether it’s in the early morning while I lay in my warm, cozy bed, or at lunch time while I eat in a local shop knowing I will be fully stasistified after my meal. Or at night when I help my daughter get ready for bed; turning on the warm water and helping her brush her hair and teeth.
My South African little family is living such a different life than I. How I wish I could drive down the street and check on them. Help them with every day tasks and especially be there to love and hug them.

Reminiscing about the first time I saw their faces and met them brings a smile to my face. It’s been such a blessing to help them and watch them grow through photos, emails, and occassional phone conversations!

Image

This was the first time meeting Mama. We met December 2011. I can’t believe it’s been three years since I first went to Tembisa, South Africa. She is as gentle as an angel. Her warmth and love just radiats. Her smile is inviting and her energy is contagious. I am so happy to know this woman.

Image

These children hold a special place in my heart. This is Mbali. I fell in love with her the moment I saw her photo. Her mother had given her to the orphange when she was about 3 months old. Her grandmother takes care of her when she can but Mbali had spent a lot of time with Mama. When I held her for the first time, we instantly bonded. She stared at my face and touched my mouth as I told her how beautiful she was. It broke my heart knowing that she was left with Mama and her little future is undetermined.
ImageI was able to see Mbali a few more times during my visit. The second time I went to South Africa Mbali was with her grandma and they had moved to a different township. I still wonder how this darling little one is doing. If her mother ever came back into her life. If her grandmother will be able to take care of her, provide for her, educate her, and help her create a successful future. So many questions… not only are these questions about Mbali, but questions I have for every single one of the kids at the orphanage.

ImageOver the last three years there has been much work at the orphanage. Conditions were so poor when I fist visited and with so many loving people, donations, hard work and dedication we have been able to help Mama turn her home into a safer and better environment for raising these children.

ImageNot only has the appearance of the orphanage change dramtically, but we have been able to build additional aminities! A small building was built for a library! The garden has been re-done and is now flurished and helps bring in fresh food for Mama and the kids. Secure doors, flood lights for the evening, cabniets for the kids, and many visitors who keep Mama and the kids smiling and healthy.

Every once and awhile I am able to hear Mama’s voice and her laugh over the phone. My dear friends Dominic and his lovely wife Moipone are my eyes, hands, ears, and heart while I live here in the United States and they are close to Mama and the kids. I have feared that Mama would soon forget me and my love for her and the kids, but I am lucky and she still asks about me, wants me to visit, and asks Dominic and Moipone about me and my daughter each time they visit. I just adore her and pray for her every single day.

Image

Right now, Mama wants to build a three story building. She has a certificate from the planning commission giving her the okay. She also had drawings to renovate making private bedrooms.  We hope a local construction company is helping her and will allow her to get government certification with funding.

There are still things we are working on. I keep in touch with Mama and her needs often. It’s my goal to go back and visit her and the kids. Currently she has 19 children to care for and love. They range from one year to sixteen years old. Mama is now 69 years old and doing a job that would be difficult for a young woman. She is surely being watched over and able to care for these children who depend on her so much.

Our Winter, Their Summer

It’s beginning to cool down and winter is on it’s way here in Salt Lake City, while across the globe Summer is creeping in on Mama and the Totes.

There are several new kids at the orphanage. The last update I received Mama has 20 children at the orphanage. The 6 new toddlers from a month ago are still here. I don’t know how she does it!

20131118-200239.jpg
This toddler was brought in by the police. Mama does not know her name. She asked me what my name is. I said Margaret, she said I will call her Margaret. While we were here, the dad came to visit. He wanted to take the baby with him, but he needs permission from the police. It was very traumatic for this baby to see her dad and them have him leave her.

20131118-200359.jpg

There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t think about the kids and Mama. I hope her health is well and the kids are getting all the love they need. I miss them so!

20131118-200713.jpg