Smile Bright…

Things have been going quite well with Mama and the tots. I receive emails, comments, and inquires about ways to help from many. Whether it’s a local business, students, or families who want to donate clothes, involve their company, or stop by and play with the kids; people are wanting to serve.

Summer is ending and winter is approaching. Where I live, summer is just beginning. I can’t wait to throw on some shorts and let me toes wiggle in the warm air. I think of Mama and the tots as the temperatures change and hope they are warm and safe.

There have been so many improvements over the past year they are all doing very well. I can’t thank people enough for being the eyes, ears, hands, and opening their hearts to the Tembisa Tots since I live so far away.

One important goal I’m trying to reach is for the angel who takes care of these special children. Mama lives and breathes these kids and hardly has time for herself. Since I met Mama 5 years ago, her dental hygiene is deteriorating. She wears dentures and they have been broken ever since I’ve known her.

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She’s had to super glue them together time and time again. A few months ago, Mama was able to visit a dentist and get an idea of the work that needs to happen. She will need to visit the dentist at least 4 more times to help ease the pain.

The cost is much more than what Mama can afford and I’d love to help ease the physical pain and also the emotional stress off of Mama’s shoulders.

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Let’s help Mama fix her pearly whites and help make her life easier and more healthy! Any donation is appreciated! No amount is too small. You have no idea how far it can go!

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Love you Mama! You always have a beautiful smile on your face no matter what!
You’re a true inspiration!

Help fix Mama’s smile here.

 

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.

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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.

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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

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Bless these teens hearts.

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

Help is always needed…

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I was able to talk with Dominic and Moipone this morning for about an hour and get details about Mama and the kids. My heart sank as I heard the condition of some of the kids and what they are dealing with. I wish so badly I could snap my fingers and be there to help take care of them.

There are so many things that need to happen and my mind and heart are frantically trying to get organized and prioritize the most critical things first. It’s very difficult when all their needs are number one.

Right now it is winter time. The children are in need of sweaters, shoes, warmer clothes. Even though it’s still about 70 degrees, it’s so cold for them. Most of the children have gotten Impetigo again. They had it around the same time last year. Impetigo is Impetigo, one of the most common skin infections among kids, usually produces blisters or sores on the face, neck, hands, and diaper area. They crack and bleed, itch, and are so uncomfortable.  We have been able to get the children the antibiotic for it. It’s a cream but the hard part is making sure they are applying it regularly and watching it. Some of the kids have been asked to stay home from school due to the impetigo. The teachers do not want other students contracting it.

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This is Esa and the back of her head is covered with impetigo.

It can be prevented with good hygiene, hand washing, clean sheets, and clothes. All of which are so difficult to regulate there at the orphanage. Once someone has it, they are more susceptible  to getting it again.

One of the little boys has a broken hand. He went out with other kids to a park and was chased by an ostrich and somehow broke his hand. He hasn’t had treatment for over a week! This little 8 year old boy needs a cast and isn’t able to get one. Luckily, we are taking him tomorrow to a private clinic/hospital and going to get it taken care of.  I just hope he doesn’t have any permanent damage or need surgery. I can’t imagine how painful that is for him! Bless his heart.

Mama is in sad spirits. My dear friends who live close to the orphanage said that she isn’t doing well. There’s so much going on and it’s hard for her to do it all.  She recently just had three more children arrive. One five year old boy, a two year old girl, and a six month old girl.

There are many things I want to try and implement and see if those things can help Mama and the kids. It will take some time and effort on those who live locally, but I am determined to make things better for these beautiful and helpless children. They are too dear to me not to.

Please help make the lives of these kids a little easier and donate to a wonderful cause. The money raised go to medicine for kids like Esa who is suffering from impetigo and several others at the orphanage.

Click here to donate…