Thursday, September 20, 2012

Irente Update 9/20/12

Everyone at Irente Children’s Home is very busy getting ready for graduation of the second year students, which will take place next Friday, September 28th.  The program for the day includes a tour of the facility and refreshments in the morning, followed by the graduation ceremony.  Afterward, lunch will be served.  The invitations say that the celebration will begin at 9:30 am and continue until 2:00 pm.

The second year students are so excited to complete their studies here.  They have already finished their written and practical exams.  These include working in the farm.  Each student had to demonstrate their knowledge of proper farming techniques.  Along with these, written exams were taken in First Aid, Childcare, Midwifery, Pharmacology, and English.  I was happy that all of the students passed the English exam.  The high score for the second year students was 97.  One of the first year students scored 100 in the exam.  For us, this was personally rewarding.

The last two weeks have seen some painting being done.  Several places in the stone walkways have been repaired.  Today several second year students were scrubbing all of the walkways.  Even the flower beds seem to know that next week they will need to look their best.  Many roses, calla lilies and some beautiful blue flowers that remind be of allium are blooming.  

The students have been busy practicing the songs they will sing.  One song is in English with words of farewell to guardians, teachers, and “our sisters” (the first year students).  Some of the girls have already started crying.  It will be bittersweet.  

We are at 30 children now.  A new baby arrived named Falista. (Fa-lee-sta)  She is in the nursery with twin boys Issa and Hashimu.  One of our favorite little girls from Room 3, Amina, went home with her grandparents.  We miss her very much.  She is a very social little girl who loved when we got visitors. 

With anything in life, you have to take the good with the bad.  Lately, our connectivity has been a challenge.  It is one of the frustrations we are getting used to.  Our apologies for slow emails.  The electric also has been intermittent recently.  Fortunately the outages seem to run through the night when we are asleep.  We have gotten used to cooking and eating our dinner before dark, though, just in case the lights go out.  

Our biggest challenge lately was a problem with the car.  While driving to town on  Sunday the 9th, there was a loud sound near the front right tire.  Fortunately, we were able to continue to town, but Tom drove very slowly.  When we parked the car at Tumaini Hostel (owned by the ELCT) we could see that the front right side of the car was sitting lower than the left.  We went to do our shopping.  On the way back from the bakery, a driver pulled his car over to say hello.  He was a member of Irente Church who we see each week.  We never knew that he is a taxi driver.  Tom asked where we could find him when we finished so we could have him drive us back up the mountain.  We are so blessed to be well cared for here.

The next day Tom and Christian, the driver for the Home, went to town to take the pick up truck to the repair shop.  Now, we use the term “shop” very loosely.  Julius repairs cars and large trucks in a field just outside the center of town.  His only building is a storage area for tools.  Instead of a lift, he drives the vehicle up onto stones in order to work underneath.  Julius looked at the truck and diagnosed a broken tension rod, shocks, brackets and belts.  Tom, Christian, and Julius then went to several automotive parts stores in Lushoto.  The parts needed for the repair were not available in town.  Here the car owner must purchase the repair parts and take them to the shop.  Also, there is no such thing as calling for delivery of the parts.  It must all be done in person.  

So.....the next day, Christian and Julius took the bus to Tanga (3 hours away by car, up to 5 hours by bus) to buy the parts needed.  Tom gave Christian the money for the parts, the bus fare and their lunch.  They had to go to four shops to get all of the parts needed, then they returned to Lushoto by bus.  It was a full day’s journey.  The following day, Julius installed the new parts.  We got the car back on Thursday.  

This is just a small example of how complicated things are here that we take for granted at home.  We thank God that the car was drivable, since we were on a narrow road down the mountain.  With the condition of the roads here it was bound to happen somewhere.  We were very fortunate that it happened close to home.