Yesterday, Ally, Marianne, Margaret, Jasen and I left for Arusha. It is about a 2 hour bus ride to the west of Moshi. Thankfully, Ally was able to drive us. Thanks to his speedy - and terrifying - navigation around Fanta trucks and cattle, we were able to make the trip in just under an hour and a half. After running a few errands, Jasen decided to book a couple of hotel rooms for us for the night. Marianne, Margaret and I are staying in room 405. Jasen is in room 305. He could hear us down in his room screaming with delight when we discovered that our bathroom had not only a western toilet, but a jacuzzi tub in it, as well!! I woke up a few times during the night last night and forgot I was even in Africa.
The medical clinic JustUsFriends is building won't be ready for another 3 or 4 weeks, but we have plenty to do in the meantime. There are a handful of orphanages in the area who requested medical checkups for their kids so we decided to get a head-start on the work. Today we went to Jane Olivolis' Orphan Center. I met a woman named Jane who shared with me the story of why she started Jane's Center:
"I started the center because my husband and I found out we could not have children. I cried out to my God and He said, 'Look around you. There are children everywhere who need you.' So I took one of them in. And then another. Soon we had several children under our care. But we were struggling to feed them and provide for them. So I cried out to my God again, saying I could not care for all of these children. He responded - and gave me more children to care for! But he also provided for them. I met a woman who committed to supporting the center and we were able to care for the children. After some time, we began to struggle and I cried to my God again, 'God I am struggling. We do not have the means to feed and clothe these children.' When I opened my eyes, God brought more children to my doorstep! But He has provided. I am also listening to my sister - she told me not to cry out to God anymore saying that we can't do it!!"
Sometimes it is easy to focus on what is not getting done here. Or who isn't doing what they said they would. Or what isn't going the way I had planned. And then I meet people like Jane. She reminds me to focus on what is being done! Jane has over 200 kids in her care now...in only 6 short years. She and her husband could not have biological children of their own. But instead, they are directly changing the lives of more people than many of us could ever hope to positively impact. I wish you could all meet Mama Jane and her children so that you could see for yourselves what I am finding difficult to convey to you in words.
Tonight, before dinner, Marianne decided to use her shower gel in the jacuzzi tub. It made quite a few bubbles...sound familiar, Naomi? About 20 minutes later she was sitting in the tub, in her bathing suit, listening to her ipod, drinking a Redd's malted cider and singing away. It is one of those moments where someone else's joy becomes your own; a great end to an even greater day.