Christmas 2011

Christmas 2011 at St. Nicholaus Children's Center Kemondo

Christmas 2011 at St. Nicholaus Children’s Center Kemondo











For LOVE has come to bring “glad tidings of joy to the poor.”

Dear Friends and Supporters of St. Nicholaus Children’s Center Kemondo, Thank you for your continued support by which you have helped our St. Nicholaus Family to become possible. Be assured of our children’s prayers for you, at bedtime, every night.
We are wishing you and your families a Blessed Christmas Season
and a happy New Year 2012!

Stefanie Köster and the Children and
Staff of St. Nicholaus Children’s Center Kemondo

Christmas Thoughts
I am your joy –be not afraid to rejoice!
I am with you in your despair; because I have suffered through it myself.
I am with you in your dying: because today, when I was born, I began to die with you.
I will not leave you. Whatever may happen to you, although your path may lead through
darkness – know, that I am there! Believe, that my love conquers all! Then your night too, will be a Holy Night.
Light your candles  – so that they may brighten the darkness.
Karl Rahner (free translation from German)

Children at the Crib

Children at the Crib

Unwrapping the Gifts

Unwrapping the Gifts

Happy Children

Happy Children

Celebrating Christmas at Bukoba Beach

Celebrating Christmas at Bukoba Beach

St. Nicholaus 2011

selbstgebastelte Nikoläuse

Dear Friends and Supporters of St. Nicholaus Children’s Center Kemondo!

Advent Blessings from Kemondo, Tanzania where we are celebrating the nation’s 50th anniversary of independence today!
This week we were visited by St. Nicholaus who is the patron saint of our house.

In Tanzania people do not pay special attention to his feast day like we do in Germany. However, the children welcome any reason to celebrate. They like the Advent wreath that we put on the dinner table every night when we light the candles. The children are also ready to raid the Advent calendar three times a day if we would let them…! The night before the feast of St. Nicholaus we did some arts and crafts and made Bishop Nicholaus out of colored paper and toilet paper rolls. I then told the children to put their shoes out. They found them filled with treats the next morning. Also the next morning, Father Vedastus and the Sisters came to celebrate Mass with us in our living room.

On December 3rd we received a new child. Asimwe is 10 years old. She is suffering from a very rare skin disease that is not infectious but very disfiguring. Her face, head, arms, hands, legs, feet, her entire body is covered with nodules. One of the caretakers took out worms from her hands, feet and other body parts. Part of her problem are the lack of hygiene and the malnutrition that she suffered from for many years. We can do something about that. There is no cure for her skin disease and the disease is far advanced. However, we hope we can improve her condition with the right treatment.
By now Asimwe has adjusted to her new surroundings. She is talking and smiling and happy. For years she lived in a hut by herself while her family neglected and avoided her. I am proud of our children who treat her as any playmate, who laugh and play with her and who do not mock her for her looks. So far, Asimwe has not attended school yet and we will wait with her schooling until her condition has improved.

Asimwe at her old home/Asimwe in ihrem alten Zuhausee

Asimwe at her old home/Asimwe in ihrem alten Zuhause

The other children are off from school until January. In Tanzania, the school year ends in November and begins in January. The children are looking forward to Christmas. Like all children they have a huge wish list. So far we have received 17 requests to take in disabled children. However, we are only going to accept those children who cannot be cared for by their families.

Wishing you a blessed Advent season,
Stefanie Köster and the children, caretakers of St. Nicholaus

Prayer to St. Nicholaus

O good Saint Nicholaus, who brings joy to children, put in my heart the spirit of childhood, of which the Gospel speaks and teach me to sow happiness around me You, whose feast prepares us for Christmas, open my faith to the mystery of God made human. You, Bishop and pastor, help me to find my place in the Church. O good Saint Nicholaus, patron of this house, watch over all who come to this place to pray to Jesus, your Lord and theirs, and also, on those whom I humbly entrust to you today. From an unknown French parish

Finding the treats

Finding the treats!


Die Kinder während des Gottesdienstes

Die Kinder während des Gottesdienstes


Father Vedastus segnet die Kinder

Vedastus blesses the children


Nikolausfeier mit den Mauritzer Franziskanerinnen und Fr. Vedastus

Nikolausfeier mit den Mauritzer Franziskanerinnen und Fr. Vedastus


...Lebkuchen und Mandazi dürfen nicht fehlen

…Lebkuchen und Mandazi dürfen nicht fehlen


Opening Celebration: October 13, 2011

Dear Friends and Supporters of St. Nicholaus Children’s Center Kemondo,

To begin with the good news: St. Nicholaus Children’s Center Kemondo was officially opened on October 13, 2011!

No, there is no bad news to follow now. However, what is quite common in Africa and what nobody wants for a celebration happened. The day before and on the day of the celebration we had no electricity which means that we had to decorate past midnight with a flashlight, we could not recharge the digital cameras and so on. Furthermore, we are in the midst of the rain season and – literally – the celebration was rained out.

It started with a light rain in the morning and we still had hope. Holy Mass was to take place in front of the main entrance. We had put up tents. However, during the Bishop’s homily heaven came down upon us. Some tents broke under the weight of the rain water and people ran inside the center for shelter. Improvising is a skill and a virtue in Africa. Eventually everyone had found a dry spot and Mass was continued in the inner courtyard. Some time after Mass and after lunch the rain stopped.

Despite the rain more than 300 guests had come including the Bishop, the auxiliary Bishop, the Vicar General, many priests and Sisters, some special guests from Germany, official representatives from the local government, directors of other institutions and schools as well as the family members of those children who live at St. Nicholaus and still have family.

Everyone was in a joyful mood, most invited guests came and the center turned out to be big enough to host everyone. In the end it was a wonderful opening celebration.

During the few days since the celebration six mothers with their disabled children have come to ask for help. This clearly shows how urgently the families with disabled children in this area need support and assistance. St. Nicholaus Children’s Center shall become a place where parents of disabled children receive counseling and where the children can be refered to therapists, doctors, schools and so on. Only those disabled children who do not receive the care they need at home shall be accepted to live at the center.

We have just begun and there remains much to be done. The caretakers need to be trained. Also we are looking for a physical therapist who can come to St. Nicholaus Children’s Center on a regular basis to do exercises with the children. In addition, we are looking for a special ed teacher who can teach those children who are not able to attend the local schools

I would like to thank all of you for your support because without your prayers and your donations St. Nicholaus Children’s Center would not be there today. In the entrance area of the center we have installed a plague in honor of all the donors.

God’s blessings be with you,

Stefanie Köster and the children and caretakers

Logo Nikolaushaus Kemondo

We have moved in! September 13, 2011

Dear Friends and Supporters of St. Nicholaus Children´s Center Kemondo!

On Saturday, September 17th we finally moved into St. Nicholaus with the first nine children. And it is only today that I can share this news per e-mail. As it was to be expected the first week was rather tough and I had no moment to sit down. But now after the first week, the children have settled down, a routine is beginning to form and I feel that we are slowly but surely arriving at our new home.

So far we have only the most important furniture such as beds, tables and chairs and the most important household items. The workmen are still working on some parts of the center. At present, we are drawing water from two large poly tanks and are carrying the water in buckets into the house. By December or January we hope to have water piped into our house. At least, since September we are in the rain season and there is no lack of water.

At present, one other caretaker who has been caring for a severely disabled child for 3 years and I are living with the children at St. Nicholaus. Other women from the neighborhood take turns in the mornings and afternoons to help us with cooking, cleaning, washing etc. Most co-workers are new and are working on a temporary basis. It will take time until we have figured out a routine and schedule that will work best for us. The non-disabled children are attending a nearby school. The disabled children are at home because there is no special school in the area. By next year I will look for a teacher for them.

Rev. Bishop Nestor Timanywa will officially open the center on October 13th. We are expecting about 300 guests. There is lots to do until then! Attached you will find some pictures.

We also finally launched a website: Make sure you click on the British flag in the right corner (top) for the English text.

Blessings, Stefanie and a house full of noisy kids

Logo Nikolaushaus Kemondo

Pentecost 2011

11.6.2011 Nazalius, Stefanie mit Christoph und Daniel, Helswida mit Aisha

„The Spirit of the Lord fills the whole world.IIt holds all things together
and knows every word spoken by man, Alleluia.“ Wisdom 1:7

Many Greetings for the Feast of Pentecost from Kemondo, Tanzania!

Today we are celebrating the feast of the Holy Spirit and the Birthday of the Church. In Kemondo we will celebrate both to the fullest!

I am happy to announce that on May 25th Christoph joined our family. Christoph was abondoned and found about a year ago. The social welfare office placed him at a government owned nursing home. They now asked me to take the child into my care and I am happy to do so. We presume that Christoph is between 3 and 4 years old. He is bright and happy and talking. Unfortunately, cerebral palsy is disabling most of his body. We have started physical therapy and I am sure he will be able do learn a lot. By now he has adjusted well to his new family and is happy to have siblings who play with him.

St. Nicholas Children´s Center is looking more homey every day. One half of the building complex is almost ready. The walls are painted, the workmen are fixing the bathrooms right now, even the beds were already delivered. Roofing is being fixed on the second half of the building.

We have electricity and are now working on our water supply. At present we are building a huge water tank to store the rain water. In addition to that we will also have to drill a well because the dry season can be long. We hope to be able to move in sometime in August.

God´s blessings,

Stefanie and the children of St. Nicholas

25.5.2011 Aisha mit Otto, Daniel, Christoph, Anita mit Paul

11.6.2011 Helswida mit Maria

11.6.2011 Helswida withMaria

9.6.2011 Mariselina mit Daniel

9.6.2011 Mariselina with Daniel

11.6.2011 Christoph, Aisha, Daniel, Anita

11.6.2011 Christoph, Aisha, Daniel, Anita


  • NIKOLAUSHAUS e.V. St. Nicholaus Children´s Center, Kemondo