Updated: Feb 24
How time flies, it's now 8 months since we started Tesifa Safe Home, a safe place for children that had never lived in a safe, loving environment. This for them was a first, a place where they could for the first time be family, a place where for the first time they heard the words "I love you" and were able to express the same in return. A place where they would learn to smile, feel secure, feel protected and cared for, all probably for the first time. A place where for the first time they could be part of a Christian community and for the first time experience the love of God and we have been so blessed to witness God totally changing their lives as they grow in relationship with Him.
A first time to eat a balanced diet
We have been blessed with a home for the children with a lot of outdoor space, where they all help with growing our own fruit and vegetables. We are growing various greens that are eaten here in Tanzania, also Chinese leaves, lettuce, tomatoes, bitter tomatoes, egg plants, maize, hibiscus, okra, papaya, mangoes, pineapples and bananas. We hope to grow most of what will be eaten, but for now we make a weekly visit to the market. Up until being with us, the children had very little in the way of fruit and vegetables and now they are a part of their daily diet. Meat is another thing the children are now enjoying for the first time and they are now realizing that they don't have to eat as if they will never have again. They have loved having fresh eggs, fresh milk, chicken and beef on a regular basis and for some special occasions they have also enjoyed grilled goat and pork. We want life to be as normal as possible and for them to eat the same as we do.
School, uniform and new clothes
When the children came to us they had little in the way of clothes and as they are constantly growing they are experiencing for the first time what it is like to have new clothes on a regular basis. For some of them this is the first time they have been to school, or had regular education, the first time they've had proper school uniform. We are so thrilled to see how quickly they are advancing at school and it is in our hearts to seek to provide them with a better education and open up the possibilities for their future. At the moment we are raising funds for the next school year beginning in January, if anyone reading this blog wants to help with this, it could be life changing for these children.
A comfortable home with good quality furniture.
We are very blessed and grateful to those who have donated money to furnish the house and give everything needed for these children to be comfortable. For most, if not all, this is the first time they have had a mattress and a bed to sleep on. For their whole lives they have slept on the floor, normally a dirt floor. Now they have a proper bed to sleep on, sofas to relax on and a dining table to eat at.
First time at the ocean
What a joy it has been to take the children to the Indian Ocean for the first time. Now what makes this more amazing is that most of this children have grown up just 7km from the ocean and yet had never seen it. This we hope will now be a regular experience. They absolutely love the water and they have now been blessed with water toys to enjoy the experience even more. Recently they were also blessed to visit local caves, again something that we take for granted, but for our family it has brought so much joy and memories that they would have never had.
Birthdays and special occasions
Imagine being a child and never ever celebrating your birthday, not even knowing that it had come and gone. It has been awesome to celebrate every child's birthday during the last 8 months, the last one being just a week ago. We always eat together as a family, normally having a special meal. Each child has had a cake made specially for them. For the first time ever they have all celebrated their birthday, together as family. All singing happy birthday, receiving gifts and enjoying this special occasion for the first time. It's made into a really special event. As you can see it is expected to wear the cake as well as eat it. Is a family tradition that has become the norm, a really fun time together. As you can see this last time we were able to celebrate by the ocean.
Christmas and New Year are fast approaching, another first for the children to celebrate. We are planning to take them away for three days by the coast to make this a very special occasion together as family. The overall cost will be $800, this covers accommodation, transport and food. If anyone is able to contribute towards this we would be very grateful. You can either donate through PayPal using @Tesifa, or if you prefer another method please contact us.
So it's been a wonderful 8 months. This time last year this project was not even in our thoughts to happen any time soon, although Rachael has had a long term vision for this to sometime happen, and then God spoke and God provided all within a period of 6 weeks. We are just so blessed to be part of this journey and we are learning that God is not into blessing our plans, but when we give everything we are to Him, when we only seek His will, He always provides and anything can happen. Please continue to pray for what we are doing here, this is just the beginning, we are sure of that.