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Hello from Lake Victoria, Tanzania

Dec. 21, 2011

We have had a very successful 3 weeks with the 15-17 school-age orphans. They have had math and English practice, singing and reading every day for 2-3 hours. We all enjoy the lessons and laugh a lot. Every night they come to our room to exchange reading story books to take with them to bed.

Since we were here last year some things at the orphanage have changed. The kids who attend primary school have moved to the dorms becaus the school is now a boarding school for the primary grades as well as the middle grades. This leaves only the smallest children "home" during the morning on school days. The children old enough for preschool come to the preschool in the mornings and return to the orphanage at lunchtime and remain there the rest of the day playing, eating and laughing.

The primary school orphans have been on holiday during December. (the reason we come in December to teach them) They have spent their days at the orphanage helping with the younger children and doing chores such as cooking, washing clothes, gardening and feeding the pigs. They studied with us and enjoyed the Christmas celebrations. They ate at the orphanage but continued sleeping in the dorms at the boarding school..

The orphans are happy, healthy and intelligent. Their biggest need seems to me to be for more adult help. There are 3 sisters, a mama for the infants, an older man who does the laundry, and older kids who help as they are able. There was no water for a few weeks at the orphanage. The younger sisters from the convent and all the kids helped carry water at that time.

Jan 1, 2012

School begins January 7. All are bustling at the school preparing for the arrival of the students this week end. There will be 100 first graders this year who will be boarding students-last year there were 48. People were carrying single beds from the primary dorms and bringing bunk beds from the higher grades. A man is blackening the chalk boards with a stong smelling paintint it on. Others are cutting the grass which has grown with the rainy season.

January 3, 2012

Last year water was a problem too. Before school started in January there was a big effore to get water to the elementary school. One sisters was sent to Mbeya to find a pump as a solution to the water shortage. When we arrived in mid-November there was a row of buckets lined up at the spigot waiting to be filled and carried to the elementary school for cooking, bathing and washing clothes. This year a well drilling company arrived the week before Christmas promising water by Christmas. After 2 tries one well produced insufficient water and the next one ran into hard rock and a swarm of bees. The drillers then tried dowsing for water with a forked stick. and so far no water with school beginning Jan 7.

Enough for now we leave Musoma tomorrow and fly to Dar to meet Seattle Maryknoll Affiliate Maureen Little and then take the 12-16 hour bus ride south to Chipole for 2 more weeks.

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