Thursday, July 18, 2013

{African Adventure} Amani Children's Home

Amani Children's Home is a center for street children in the town of Moshi, Tanzania, at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro. The work that Amani (meaning "peace" in Swahili) does is amazing! Over the past decade, Amani has been able to rescue over 700 children from the streets of Moshi and Arusha and has given each a better future.

David volunteered at Amani back in 2007 and has fund raised back home ever since. We were also able to raise $2,000 this past December through the generous donations of the Texarkana Wilbur Smith Rotary Club, friends and family, which will be used as a part of Amani's education fund to support one child through four years of secondary school.

David has dreamed of going back to Amani and I was so excited to finally see this place that he has told me so about.  When we arrived, we met Salma, our host for the week, and she gave us a tour around Amani including some new additions since David last visited, such as a full kitchen, laundry area, wood shop, playground and a chicken coop. After our orientation, we played all afternoon shooting hoops and learning a few new jump rope tricks from the kids!

That afternoon, as we were leaving, David found his friend, Babu. Babu was at Amani when David visited last time and I had heard so much about this little boy! It was so nice to finally meet him!

On our second day, we taught the kids a little about where we come from in Texas. We showed pictures of different sports, landscapes, and big cities and even taught the kids some Texas vocabulary such as "y'all", "howdy" and "yee-haw".

After our Texas lesson, we went outside for our very own rodeo! We attempted to corral the 'cows' (balloons) while riding our 'horses' (brooms) but soon the cows popped and we moved on to horse races. It was so cute to hear "yee-haw, yee-haw" as the kids raced up and down the soccer field! We then had a sack race competition; the kids had a blast and everyone had a few good laughs!

While at Amani, we also had the chance to help the cooks prepare lunch for the kids and learned just how hard of a job that really is. These ladies cook four nutritious (and delicious) meals daily for the 80+ children at the center. We "chopped chopped" vegetables, sliced fruit and even tried our hand at cooking a little "ugali", a thick maize porridge. The cooks make it look so easy but stirring a large pot of ugali requires some serious muscle. 

On Thursday, we taught the kids about God with a few crafts and fun games sent over to us from the Genesis Class from Christ United Methodist Church . Our first lesson was "Mungu Ananipenda" or "God Loves Me". We wanted the kids to know that there was nothing they could do that could make God love them less. The kids colored a heart with 'Mungu Ananipenda' at the top and created a frame with craft sticks and beads.

Our second lesson was "God Knows You" - although the world looks at the outside of a person, it is what is on the inside that really matters to God.  We had a balloon race to illustrate this- however, each balloon was filled with different objects making some light and easy to race while others were heavier and didn't move as fast.  

Our third and final lesson was "God is With You". We created glow-in-the-dark necklaces and bracelets to show that even when it is dark and you feel alone, God will always be with you. The kids loved the necklaces and we even made a couple for the cooks!

Later in the week we got a sneak peek at an amazing project Amani has in the works for some of the older kids who have been with Amani. These transitional homes will house 27 teenage kids where they can live semi-independent while learning important life skills until they can stand on their own two feet.


We had such a wonderful week with the kids and staff at Amani and look forward to staying involved now and in the future.

If you are interesting in helping with the amazing work that Amani is doing for the children of Tanzania, please visit their website to find out how you can get involved! Asante Sana! (Thank you very much!)

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