In many a third world country, birthdays are often not celebrated or even remembered. The addition of a child to a family in poverty is often not considered a reason for rejoicing. Such an attitude does not make a child feel welcomed in the world. And if a child is abandoned, the feeling of rejection is even more pronounced.
But at Treasures of Africa Children’s Home in Moshi, Tanzania, it has been our intentional practice to celebrate each child’s birthday. We want them to know they are valued and loved. Though our birthday celebrations are much humbler than a traditional birthday one might experience in the U.S., they are treasured by our kids because they mark the celebration of their birth. Here are some of our recent birthday celebrants - all who have lived with us here at Treasures of Africa for over 8 years. We delight in their maturation and rejoice over who they have become!
There are few experiences in life that can match the joy of seeing an abandoned child rescued and placed in a loving home. Though an orphanage is not the ideal setting for raising a child – loving families were God’s design – we try very hard to create a loving environment for all the children who are brought to us.
When we made the announcement that a new baby was on the way to Treasures of Africa, our children literally jumped and squealed for joy. When she finally arrived, their tenderness toward this tiny infant was so heartwarming to watch.
Weighing barely a kilo (2.2 Pounds) when she was found abandoned in a rural field, doctors at the local hospital determined that she was premature at birth.The infant child spent more than two months at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center before being placed at Treasures of Africa weighing just over 5 pounds.
Her story bore a sad but striking resemblance to that of our now 7 1/2 year old, Diamond. So in order to speak value over her (like we did with Diamond more than 7 years ago) we decided to name her Ruby Joy. She is a quiet, peaceful and absolutely beautiful treasure!
After three weeks of loving attention and lots of consistent nutrition, Ruby Joy nearly doubled her weight from 5 pounds to 9.9 pounds. Though we had a momentary medical concern, she has gotten the “all clear” from the doctor and continues to thrive without any medical issues.
We were thrilled to make room for another baby at Treasures of Africa, with a crib set up in the room where both 15 month old Gabriella and 13 month old David sleep. The addition of a newborn means more diapers, more formula and additional round the clock staffing. But Ruby Joy is worth the time, money and effort required to see her have a new start in her very young life.
If you would like to be part of “Ruby’s Rescue Team” you can consider becoming a Child Sponsor for Ruby Joy. It takes approximately $120 per month to care for a child at Treasures of Africa. Perhaps you and 3 friends could sponsor Ruby for $30 per month and fully cover her needs. She is a precious gem that is worth caring for! CLICK HERE TO SPONSOR RUBY
We are celebrating from one side of the globe (AFRICA) to the other (North America) over the news that we have been granted our TITLE DEED for the land purchased for Treasures of Africa Children's Village!!
As many of you know - this has been a long and hard fought legal battle since we purchased the land just outside the town of Moshi in April 2011. We are now in the possession of the TITLE DEED and we can move forward with raising the necessary funds to begin the long awaited building project.
Thank you so much for praying and supporting us during this long "fight of faith" - God has won the battle!
Our newest "treasure" at Treasures of Africa is a five year old girl named Jessica. This video shares a little bit about her story and her adjustment to living at Treasures of Africa Children's Home.
One week ago - this amazing event (pictured at left) occurred at Treasures of Africa Children's Home - we sent our first two children off to college! After living at Treasures of Africa for 7 1/2 years - Irene and Margaret - both now 18 years old - were packed up and taken to Mt. Meru University in Arusha. This is a real milestone for our organization bringing to fruition our dream of raising and training leaders for the nation of Tanzania (read more in our upcoming edition of VICTORY MAGAZINE which will be released on Sept. 15. Click HERE to sign up for E-version of our Bi-monthly Victory Magazine and other occasional updates).
Please consider making a donation to our Education Fund - which helps us cover School Fees and other Academic expenses for our kids from Kindergarten to University level! You can give securely online by CLICKING HERE and help us educate future leaders for the nation of Tanzania!
Jessica is the newest "treasure" to join the TOA family. She arrived on June 18, 2014. Jessica's mother was a very young teenage girl who was living in a local center for "street kids". The father is unknown. When Jessica was born she was immediately placed in a "baby home" - an orphanage that specializes in caring for infants and young children, but only keeps them until they are five years old.
When Jessica turned five, she "aged out" of that orphanage. Her mother is still unable to care for her. The Welfare authorities were desperate to place her in an orphanage that cared for older children. They asked Treasures of Africa to take her and we could not turn her away. It is our deepest desire to make sure that little Jessica doesn't feel like she is being shifted from one institution to another - but instead that she has become part of a big family. Will you pray for her young heart to be healed of any sense of rejection or loss and pray for our staff and the other children that they will be able to provide the love that she desperately needs to feel safe and secure?
Since all the other TOA children are in school during the daytime hours (with the exception of our two infants) we have had to hire someone to work with Jessica on preschool prep to prepare her for entering first grade in January. This is an additional staff expense that we were not planning on. But it is vital to get her ready for school especially if we are going to send her to an English Medium school. There is A LOT of tutoring that will need to be done with little Jessica! If you would consider becoming a monthly sponsor for Jessica - it would be a tremendous help and an investment in giving Jessica a future and a hope! Thanks!
We were BLESSED recently to have Treasures of Africa featured on KSDW 88.9 FM radio station (San Diego CA). The morning show host - Jerry Langford - (who visited TOA last month) - enthusiastically shared about his experience with the kids and interviewed Executive Director Rita Langeland. Listen to these two 5 minute interviews:
One of the main principles that we emphasize at Treasures of Africa Children's Home is the importance of each child having a DREAM and vision for their life. We encourage all our children to DREAM BIG, work hard and trust God for their futures. In this new video - you will get a sense of the dreams that our kids at TOA have for their lives and how you can help regardless of your current situation in life. Everyone can DO SOMETHING to help an orphan's dream come true! Please watch this new video called I HAVE A DREAM and SHARE it widely on Facebook!
God places the lonely in families...
Psalm 68:6 (NLT)
Three Primary School students were headed to school one morning in Moshi, Tanzania, when they heard the faint cry of a baby. They stopped and looked around. There were no other people in the area and they wondered where the cry could be coming from. Suddenly, they spied a bundle on the ground under a tree. When they drew near, they realized that someone had abandoned an infant in the dirt. They saw that it was tiny baby boy whose tender skin was being gnawed by ants. They wasted no time in running to find help, instead they bravely scooped up the helpless child and walked with him to the nearest hospital. They turned the child over to the first nurse they could find.
The baby was a newborn, not more than a few days old, with the umbilical cord still attached. With no name and no family claiming him, he was destined to be turned over to the government Welfare authorities and placed in an orphanage. A Christian pediatrician at the hospital who was very familar with the work of Treasures of Africa, called and let us know of the new arrival. We visited the baby in the hospital nursery where he was being treated with anti-biotics for the extensive ant bites on his neck and foot. We spoke with the hospital social worker and informed her that Treasures of Africa was ready to accept the child upon discharge.
Baby David Joseph came to live at Treasures of Africa on April 14, 2014. We had the privilege of naming him after two Biblical figures who overcame great obstacles to become men of great destiny. Young David overcame the giant Goliath and Joseph overcame the rejection of his brothers who sold him into slavery to become the Prime Minister of Egypt. We believe Baby David will become a man of great destiny. Treasures of Africa is committed to raising him with love and calling forth the greatness in his life. Would you like to be a part of this important assignment? Consider becoming Baby David's sponsor!
Every year the city of Moshi, Tanzania hosts the international Kilimanjaro Marathon. People come from other nations to participate. Along with the full marathon, there is also a half marathon and a 3 mile "fun run." Three of our kids asked to participate in the 3 mile run this year - led by Antoni who was the enthusiastic leader of this group. His buddy Samweli immediately volunteered to join him and Mary represented the girls.
They all did very well and we were proud of them! We hope that next year we can actually buy them real running shoes as they all ran in the athletic shoes they had - but not true running shoes. We also hope to get more of our kids to participate next year!
Our orphanage Chaplain at Treasures of Africa, Christina Oberst, was at the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center with one of our kids when she ran into a doctor that she knew. Dr. Esther told her that the police had just brought in a tiny infant that was found in the trash. She wanted to know if Treasures of Africa would take in the child. Christina took the child in her arms and wept.
When God first gave us the name "TREASURES OF AFRICA CHILDREN's HOME" as the name for the orphanage - we knew that the name was significant because it spoke of the value that the children have in the eyes of God - not the value they have in the eyes of the world. What humans consider to be "TRASH" - God calls "TREASURE."
Our newest TREASURE is a baby girl. She was named "Gabriella" by the lady doctor who cared for her at the hospital. She was brought to Treasures of Africa Children's Home on January 30, 2014. The other children at TOA rejoiced when the baby came and the older girls are thrilled to be able to help care for her. They have already appointed themselves as "mamas" for the baby!
It has been a long time since we have had any infants at the orphanage. It has been almost six years since our youngest children - Maria, Justice, Moses, Diamond and Zoe were babies themselves. Our staff had to scramble to get the cribs out of storage and dig through our storage bins to find infant sized clothing.
With an infant comes the added expense of buying Baby Formula and diapers each week, and paying for extra staff since we need to provide 24 hour care. As the children at TOA got older and more self-sufficient over the years, we cut back on staff at the orphanage. Now we have to add 2 more positions to have baby Gabriella cared for 24 hours per day.
So we are looking for several child sponsors to help us care for this precious TREASURE who was rescued from the trash. If you can sign up to give $10, $25, $50 or even $100 per month - you can help us cover the cost of her formula, or her diapers or even help us pay for the additional care givers we will have to hire.
Please consider making an investment in this PRECIOUS TREASURE named Gabriella! Also - please forward this article to anyone you think might be interested in helping. Thank you!
CLICK HERE to make a donation now or to sign up to give monthly.
When the Christmas season winds down and January begins, the flurry of activity at Treasures of Africa is amazing to watch. The new school year in Tanzania starts in January and the preparation required to get all our children ready for school is intense. There are long lists of supplies to buy and uniforms to wash and a myriad of sizes of new school shoes to find.
The biggest excitement came on the first day of school when our five youngest children - Justice, Moses, Zoe, Diamond, and Maria (on the left) - started first grade. After participating in our in-house preschool program for three years, these six year olds were ready to step outside the gates of TOA and begin their academic journey. By faith, we enrolled them in a private English medium school in town, rather than place them in the overcrowded local government school, even though only one of the five had an education sponsor. The photo on the left shows them during the first week of school, still awaiting the uniforms the school had ordered for them. They were bubbling with excitement as they shared about their new experiences when they came home from school that first day.
This year we have chosen to move almost all of our children to private schools in order to obtain the best possible education. Only Antoni remains at the local government-run primary school by his own choice. We gave him the option to choose because he has only two years left in Primary School. If he had switched to the private school they would have required him to repeat his last grade, meaning it would be three years before he finished Primary School. And since his goal is to go to a vocational training school when he finishes Primary School, it seemed to be the best course of action for him to stay and finish out his two years.
With so many children in Private School this year - the need for school fees and other academic expenses at the orphanage has skyrocketed. A generous (and miraculous) end of the year donation provided the money we needed to get them all enrolled in school - and we are so grateful to God. But we need to pay the rest of the year's school fees in two more installments - so please pray for that to be provided.
Every private school requires that prospective students take an entrance exam and only a small percentage of those taking the exam are actually accepted to the school. Last year we were thrilled when Emmanueli passed the entrance exam to get into an exclusive Christian Boy's Secondary School called Living Stone Seminary in the coastal town of Tanga. He hada great year and came home with glowing reports of the school. This inspired Ray, our aspiring engineer, to want to apply to that same school. He took the entrance exam and passed with flying colors and is excited to begin his Secondary School career with his TOA "brother" Emmanueli.
Then we decided it might be best to have Innocent take the entrance exam for Living Stone also. He had already completed one year of Secondary School at a different Boarding School but we felt it was not the best environment. We wanted better for Innocent, who aspires to become an airline pilot one day.
Now it is important to understand Innocent's background to fully appreciate this story. Innocent was a hardened street kid when he came to live at TOA and almost got removed from Treasures of Africa for bullying the younger children. He could barely read a word and had spent little if any time at school. But by the grace of God, his heart softened and he literally was transformed as he accepted the love and discipline that was offered to him at TOA. He began to work diligently in school though his academic foundation was very shaky.
We prayed hard when Innocent went to Tanga to take that entrance exam at Living Stone. When the word came back that he had passed the test and was accepted to Living Stone the cheers went up! Now the three boys - Emmanueli, Ray and Innocent - are on the way to Boarding School together where we believe they will be well-prepared for leadership and future academic studies. Only Ray has an academic sponsor - so we are looking for sponsors who will help specifically with the education expenses of Emmanueli and Innocent.
If you would like to help Treasures of Africa by making a donation to the Education Fund - we will be thrilled to apply that gift to the school fees, uniforms, supplies and other academic expenses of our children. If you would like to sponsor a specific child's education costs - you can call the ministry office office at (714) 665-0407 and we can inform you of the amount for that particular child. Since our kids are at several different schools with some in Primary and others in Secondary School, some in Boarding School and others in Day School, the costs vary.
We are grateful to everyone who has prayed for our children's academic success and for those who have given financially. We believe that this year will be the best one yet for the kids at TOA!
It is Christmas week here in Tanzania and the excitement of the children at Treasures of Africa has been rising! We enjoyed a holiday outing to beautiful Lake Chala in northern Tanzania by the Kenya border. The children enjoyed hiking around and viewing the great natural beauty. They had never visited the area before. We brought boxed lunches and enjoyed a wonderful picnic.
Today the younger children received their beautiful matching Christmas outfits from the local tailor who made them. They were so excited to try on their new clothes and they looked so great! The older kids were each given a certain budget and spent a day at the market choosing their own special Christmas outfit. They enjoyed making their own choices of style and color and practicing the Tanzanian art of bargaining!
Tonight, some very special Christmas memories were made. All the children received brand new pajamas and slipper socks and we bundled them all up in the van in their PJs and brought them to the Mission house for some special Christmas fun. There we prepared a new experience for them all - hot cocoa with marshmallows. Christmas cookies were enjoyed and popcorn was passed around while we all watched THE NATIVITY Christmas movie together.
But the biggest surprise of all - was the beautiful sight of Christmas stockings lining the stairway handrail as they walked into the Mission House. The squeals of glee were so precious. Each stocking had a child's name on it and was filled with treats for each child. Christmas Day holds more surprises for them. After church, a big Christmas feast is planned with Baba Warren preparing chicken on the BarBQue and our staff cook preparing more yummy items for the feast. Then we have a special gift for each child on Christmas Day.
All of these wonderful blessings for the children of Treasures of Africa came from the Lord through the generous hands of our wonderful donors. So we wanted to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU and God bless you! We pray your Christmas is especially sweet and that the New Year brings more blessing than you can imagine or even contain!
It is not too late to make a year end donation to Treasures of Africa to help us with our School fees which are due by the end of the month for the new school year which begins in January. Or make a donation to the BUILDING FUND so we can continue to prepare for the building of the Treasures of Africa Children's Village in 2014.
You can give securely online by CLICKING HERE or send a check to:
Treasures of Africa Children's Home
P.O. Box 3267
Tustin, CA 92781
Americans are estimated to spend close to $600 BILLION dollars during this holiday season - WHAT IF WE ALL GAVE A TITHE (ten percent) OF WHAT WE PLAN TO SPEND AT CHRISTMAS and directed it to BLESS ORPHANS????
Treasures of Africa Children's Home is trying to raise money for a CHRISTMAS FUND for the kids at TOA. In Tanzania - it is not the tradition to give out lots of material gifts at Christmas - but in families that can afford it - each child is given a new set of clothes and new shoes and a special Christmas meal is a big part of the celebration.
We want to buy each child at TOA a new outfit and shoes for Christmas, plus have a big FEAST on Christmas Day at the orphanage. We would also like to replenish the sporting goods at the orphanage - with new soccer, tether and basketballs, jump ropes, frisbees and the like.
Since the children are out of school in December - we would also like to take the kids and staff on a special outing to a beautiful lake about an hour away - where they can sit and have lunch at a restaurant that overlooks the lake and make a very special Christmas memory. We would also like to bless our hard working Tanzanian staff at the orphanage with a Christmas bonus - that will help them pay school fees for their own children. These are our Christmas DREAMS for Treasures of Africa Children's Home.
Would you SHARE a little of your Christmas budget with orphans? And SHARE THIS ARTICLE to encourage others to do the same? Thank you!
If ever a child was aptly named - 6 year old Zoe - whose name comes from the Greek word which means “life” - is that child. Bubbly, energetic and always on the move - this little girl exudes life with her winning smile and the sparkle in her eyes.
Abandoned at the hospital by her mother shortly after birth, Zoe arrived at Treasures of Africa Children’s Home as a newborn infant. With no name and no clothes, she was quickly showered with loving care and given a name by our Medical Director Jodie Schooley, that was prophetic of the personality she would soon display.
Zoe is athletic and loves to play outside and can often be seen scaling to the top of the playground equipment with the agility of a gymnast. She also loves to sing and will often boldly lead out in song during the children’s evening devotions. Her dynamic personality makes her a natural leader. She is as close as natural sisters could ever be - with Diamond and Maria - (also six year olds) who have been together with Zoe at TOA since infancy.
Zoe is bright and has excelled in our in-house pre-school. She loves to read and we feel confident that when she begins school in January, that she will quickly rank in the top of the class. We plan to enroll her in a Private English Medium Primary School as she is fluent in English and Swahili.
School fees and other academic related expenses are the one of the biggest challenges the orphanage faces each year. If you would like to help sponsor Zoe’s academic expenses - the cost for the year is $1,300.
It was beautiful day in Tanzania when we loaded up the Treasures of Africa kids in our two vans and drove out to the new TOA land to enjoy an American-style picnic. We spread blankets on the grass and enjoyed chicken, chapati and samosas for an African twist on the picnic menu!
A picnic is not complete without some fun activities - so the kids enjoyed flying kites and holding the newborn baby goats and trying their hand at badminton. Mt Kilimanjaro was in full view that day - showing its glorious snow covered peak through the clouds as it rose above our brick wall to the north. We look forward to the day when our land will be occupied with the magnificent Treasures of Africa Children’s Village.
Please keep praying with us for the funds for this building project and the finalization of our Title Deed which we have been waiting on for two years. I can say confidently - we are nearing the end of the battle for the Title Deed - thanks to God. You will hear the shouts all the way from East Africa when we have the final document in our hands!