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.
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