Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me;
and whoever receives me, receives not me but the one who sent me. Mark 9:37
Dear Friends and Supporters of St. Nicholaus Children`s Center!
Another year has passed – the fourth year since we moved to St. Nicholaus with the first ten children. Our family is growing steadily. Since we have moved to St. Nicholaus we have received sixteen children in addition to the first ten. We remembered this day with a Thanksgiving Mass at our center.
September 11th we received our 26th child. Mwolokozi is 2 years old. He is the little brother of Mwesiga (6) and Kalokola (4), who have been with us for a year and a half already. At that time when we took in the two older brothers, the mother was not ready to give up Mwolokozi. The father of the boys died in 2013, the mother is mentally challenged. Recently she has become the third wife of a Mulsim man and in June has given birth to a baby girl. There is no doubt that she loves her children but clearly, she is not able to care for them. Mwolokozi weighs only 14 pounds. He crawls, stands up and walks when being held like a one-year old. Like many of our children when they first arrive, his feet and hands were full of jiggers. His has a big belly full of worms and we have started de-worming him. He hardly has any hair and his hair has a blondish color – a clear sign of malnourishment. However, despite his poor nutrition and his delayed development we are positive that within a few months he will become a healthy and happy child. It is amazing how calmly he accepts his new oversized family! His favorite places to be are at the dining table in front of a bowl of food or he wants to be carried around on someone`s arm.
On September 13th Annajoyce returned to us. She had spent 6 weeks in Germany for her medical treatment. Annajoyce was born with spinal cord injury. Because of this, she cannot control urine and stool and she is walking with great difficulty. Two volunteers who were with us in 2014 felt moved by her fade. They were able to find a specialist doctor in Germany who agreed to treat Annajoyce free of charge. They could also convince two hospitals to admit her without any costs. The two volunteers started a fund raising campaign and were able to raise enough money to pay for Annajoyce`s travel expenses including a person to accompany her, for her expenses while staying in Germany as well as for all the medical supplies needed. The two volunteers stayed with Annajoyce the entire time.
Surgery or treatment on the spinal cord injury was not possible. Instead, two pairs of special orthopedic shoes were made for Annajoyce. With the support of the shoes, her walking has improved. Finally, she had minor surgery on her bladder and she has learned to use a catheter. Without this kind of treatment, she would suffer from long-term damage to her kidneys. She also has learned to irrigate her bowels. With this kind of treatment she no longer uses diapers. She now has to learn how to integrate these procedures into her daily life – at home and at school. This is a big challenge for a 9-year old but she is brave and she is doing her best. She has happily returned to us from Germany with much more self-confidence and with great joy. We too are happy to have her back!
Thanks to the new well that was drilled in March, we have made it through the long dry season in July and August. For the first time we have never been without water and even our neighbors could benefit from us.
The house that we built for the Sisters who are working at St. Nicholaus is almost completed. Soon the Sisters can move into their own house. As a new building project, we have begun building three simple bedrooms where we can temporarily host disabled women in crisis. A year ago, I shared the story of a disabled woman from our village who was raped and impregnated by her neighbor. We supported her during her pregnancy and welcomed her to our house after she gave birth until we were sure that she was able to care for the infant. Now with 26 children, caregivers, volunteers and guests our house is always full and every bed is taken.
The three additional bedrooms on our property will enable us to help disabled people in crisis-situations until a permanent solution is found.
In August two volunteers returned home and two new volunteers arrived. Katharina and Philipp are adjusting. There is so much to learn – the names of all the children and caregivers, the language, the culture, our daily schedule…
Elections are being held in Tanzania on October 25th. The election campaigns have started. Every village is covered with flags of the parties and pictures of the candidates. The same party has been ruling since Tanzania`s independence. This time the opposition parties have joined forces and have picked a strong candidate to challenge the ruling party. It is a rule that a Christian vice president accompanies a Muslim president and after the term ends, the next president must be a Christian and the vice president a Muslim. The aim is to keep religious peace in the country and so far, this has worked. Therefore, a Christian president will in any case follow the current Muslim president Kikwete.
On days where the current president, the former president or the new candidates are in town campaigning for their parties, it is advisable to stay home. However, so far the country has remained peaceful.
These were the „Habari za St. Nikolausi” (the news of St. Nicholaus) since my last general e-mail at Easter.
Those of you who are using Facebook, please look for news on https://www.facebook.com/NikolaushausAfrika or do a search with the word „Nikolaushaus”.
Thank you so much for your prayers and support of our center. Without you we would not be able to help the children!
Heartfelt greetings from all of us,
Stefanie Köster, children and caregivers