Kitty and I just arrived in Songea from Chipole. It's only one hour by car, but we take the bus. The bus takes four hours and leaves at 5 am. The bus's name is Tumaini (hope), which is appropriate. The Tumaini travels through every little village and the ride is bumpy. It travels through mud holes, but carries us, sisters from Chipole and many farmers with things to sell to Songea.
In Chipole there is hope (Tumaini). There are 70 orphans here now. From new born babies to students in secondary school. Most of them
are in primary school. The children have a good life. They eat well, have a nurse, and attend school from preschool through secondary or trade school. There are many children in Tanzania who have parents but only eat once a day and cannot always find money for school clothes etc.
Right now it is mango season. It is hard to find a child without a mango in his/her hand or mouth and maybe two more in their pockets. The orphans are getting a good education in the primary grades compared to other children in the villages. They are a real hope to the future of Tanzania. These children will be ready to succeed in secondary school, but expenses are exorbitant for students to attend secondary school ($1000.00 per year) This is out of reach for most children who are bright and want to attend secondary school.
Christmas was special in Chipole. Everyone received a gift of home made cookies on Christmas Eve. There was a big celebration at the church and midnight Mass. Before Mass there was a play performed by the sisters in costume. It began with the story of Adam and Eve in the garden complete with banana trees, live rabbits and other stuffed animals. It moved to Mary and Joseph looking for a place to stay and angry inn keepers saying there was no room in the inn. Herod was a big fat leader and the angels were beautiful.
After the play 20 girls led the procession into Mass with a dace and wore very beautiful costumes. We have videos on our camera of the play and dancing at Mass. The dancing girls had times to dance throughout the Mass and there were four or five drums and a choir of 100 sisters. The church is the best place to here good African music in Tanzania
Population is growing at Chipole. Last year the orphans were 50, this year over 70. The girls primary school has increased from around 250 girls to over 400, and the secondary school has increased to over 400. Last year they were fixing the power system at the day so we had little electricity. The power is fine this year, but the water system has failed. Various pumps have been tried and there is hope for a solution. Meanwhile the girls are transporting 5 gallon buckets of water to their dorms for bathing and cooking.
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