An Update on Everything

It has been a while since I wrote an update on all of the happenings of our work with Walk In Love. So, I thought I would take a moment to fill you in on how our efforts are going here in Arusha.

The Kisongo Center

The Kisongo Center is a dream come true from a management perspective. The staff is a great team, and the manager is so confident in her position. I know it is the goal to create self-sufficient programs, but sometimes I feel like a mama whose teenager does not need her anymore. We were holding steady at our maximum of 35 kids enrolled. However, in the last few weeks we have had several kids move to different areas. Today we admitted a new little boy, whose mother found a job at the nearby factory. The amount of turnover has been a surprise to us. What we are finding is that people move in and out of areas fluidly. We have had one girl who came for several months, moved to Dar Es Salaam for several months, and is now back at the center again. Families go where the work is. Right now, we have 33 kids enrolled at the Kisongo Center.  

This past Sunday we hosted our first community seminar for 53 participants at the Kisongo Center. Julius, a friend of many years, demonstrated how to grow vegetables without the use of harsh chemicals, using just a small square of land, basic compost, and the water from washing dishes and bathing. We are so excited to partner with Julius and his organization, Miracle of Compost. It is our plan to provide four free seminars to the Arusha Community this year. Our goal is to help families. We want to be as holistic as possible. Our community classes will cover everything from gardening to dental health to self-defense. We know that education helps to strengthen families, and strong families makes strong communities.

The Market Center

We have a huge praise to report at the Market Center. Just this week we enrolled a set of twins, bringing our total number up to 31!! If you remember from this blog post, the Market Center enrollment was a slow process. We are thrilled that the daycare has finally taken root and the community is responding enthusiastically. We are now to the point where we need to build more tables and extend our playground space. We are now getting enough eggs to provide for both centers. We are still hoping to open the Market Center to kids with disabilities. This will be a groundbreaking step for the Arusha area, as there are no centers that integrate kids with and without disabilities.

Last week, we were happy to welcome a visit from the organization Hope and Soul. They brought helped the kids at the Market center complete a fun craft. Hope, the founder of Hope and Soul, is a friend we met when she came to volunteer with us several years ago. She has since started an outreach to street kids in Arusha. She also works with an orphanage. We were able to partner with Hope to assist Mama Lilly in reuniting her family. Lilly had been placed in an orphanage by her mother-in-law when Mama Lilly was away looking for work. Hope discovered this situation and contacted us.  We arranged for Lilly and her brother Ahmed to come to the Market Center. Mama Lilly has found a job and rented a house near the center. The family is together and thriving. It is a dream come true to help families reunite after a traumatic separation!

Maisha Matters

I hope you have been following the work of Maisha Matters on our Facebook page. If not, you should definitely go and check out all that they have been doing. Maisha Matters is run by the founder of Walk In Love, Aubree Packard. They are currently supporting 30 families with food, education and business start-up grants. I cannot say enough about how amazing the Maisha Matters project is. Maisha Matters helps families who are struggling to provide enough food for their children become thriving and independent. They do weekly food distributions on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. During these distribution times the families attend classes to learn everything from basic health and nutrition to budgeting. They also do emergency care for families in crisis. Two families have been staying in a rented room near the Maisha Matters distribution center to receive intensive therapy training for their children with disabilities. These kids’ lives will be forever better because of the therapy training their parents received at the center.

Working Together

I hope you caught my intentional name dropping when I mentioned working with Julius (Miracle of Compost) and Hope (Hope and Soul). One of the tragedies of international aid work is the potential for competition between organizations. Because we are all dependent upon support, there is a tendency to want to edge other people out of the spotlight. We are intentional, and excited, about partnering with other organizations. We know that they are doing things we cannot, and that we all benefit from a good relationship.

VBS Program

Is your church doing a VBS program this summer and looking for a child-centered organization to support? Last year we created a series of five videos made for elementary school children. These were a great hit for two churches who chose Walk In Love as the donation outreach. This is a great way for us to both raise funds and spread the word about Walk In Love. Could you please remember us when the topic of VBS comes up at your church? We would be so grateful and will supply you with all the resources to help both kids and families connect with the work we are doing.  

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