I haven't been able to access my blog, so here's a post from earlier this week:

What an amazing two days! Yesterday we arrived in Bukoba with a warm welcome from Thadeus, his wife Ana and his colleagues & friends. Once settled at the Guest House, we went with Thadeus to the Orphanage to visit the staff and the children as well as community leaders and guests also present for the occasion. The children came running down the hill to greet us when we arrived with ‘Karibu Sana’ & loads of hugs. I’ve never had 10 little hands try to hold mine at once as we walked back up the hill. When we came through the door, there were more greetings, hugs and then formal introductions. We were treated with beautiful songs by the children – a memory I’ll never forget. To be honest, it was a bit difficult to hold emotions back…kids always go straight to your heart! We had a lovely dinner which the staff and housemother so graciously prepared. After which we said our reluctant (but thankfully temporary) ‘see you later’ (Tutaonana) and heartfelt ‘thank you very much’ (Asante Sana). Kindness can be pleasantly overwhelming when it’s so genuine and from the heart. Needless to say, we were excited to be return the next day.

Today we got an early-morning start as Thadeus took us to visit the local municipal office to meet community leaders, and then off to the building site for the new GOEC Centre. The twenty children at the orphanage’s current location are presently housed in a small building, and while these children are living much happier, healthier lives than before, they are quickly outgrowing its size and it’s becoming quite crowded. Our aim has been to construct a new Centre that will accommodate the growing housing needs as well as provide for classrooms, medical and spiritual facilities. We’ve raised enough to begin construction, and today they began pouring the foundation! We took a walk around the property perimeters, seen the construction crew hard at work, and were able to get a glimpse of the vision Thadeus has for the new Centre. It’s so encouraging to see this work in motion, to see this vision becoming a reality! If you are interested in donating to this project to be a part of brightening the future for these children we thank you in advance! And thank you to all who have already given and have made the pouring of the foundation a reality today…we hope to go back and visit the site this week and if possible, post updated pictures of the progress.

Today we also visited a couple of local schools, one which the children at Gerladina attend, and were able to speak to some of the teachers about the work they do and some of the challenges they face. They definitely seem to have a positive rapport with the children, and Thadeus is definitely a celebrated visitor to the children, obvious by the hugs he receives upon arrival!

Thadeus also took us to the location of the GOEC office, where he was kind enough to let us check our email and for myself, put up a quick post on Facebook. For those of you who haven’t done so already, please support us and ‘Like’ our page on FB!

Lastly, we ended our day by visiting the Orphanage again, this time with gifts from sponsors of the children and toys and clothing for all the children which were made possible by the generous donations of folks back home. Thank you to all who contributed – either through gifts or by supporting the first stage of building the new Centre! We ended by creating a ‘hand’ mural and playing games with the new toys and activities the kids received (wait for the pictures!!!). We were having so much fun with the children, I’m sure we could have easily played for hours! But we promised to be back in again and there were more ‘Tutaonana’s’…what an awesome way to end Day 2!

A bit of a challenge to get internet where we are, but I’ll do my best to post more this week – hopefully with some photos!

Asante Sana…and Tutaonana!

Miranda