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A LIGHT IN AFRICA

"Go forth and let your light shine before men, that they me see your good works..."

A Light In Africa is an Non Government organization operating tirelessly in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro and beyond.
A Light In Africa, founded by Lynn Gissing, has helped thousands of children in crisis in its 20 years of love and devotion to children who have had very difficult lives out in Tanzania.  
Operating its numerous childrens' homes and outreaches, supporting the local community at large, including the local medical facilities,

A Light in Africa is such an important part of the lives of a great many children.

Currently guardian to over 150 children across 5 homes, the dedication and love of the founder affectionately known as Mama Lynn and the hard-working team, is providing a family home that is changing the course of each and every life blessed to be a part of it.

March and April Update

THERE ARE TWO WAYS TO LIVE: YOU CAN LIVE AS IF NOTHING IS A MIRACLE. YOU CAN LIVE AS IF EVERYTHING IS A MIRACLE.   Albert Einstein

 

Dearest friends of Light in Africa Children’s Home,

In just nine months Tanzania’s climate has gone from a severe drought to intensive flooding with many souls losing their lives from roads being washed away to mudslides destroying lives, homes, and crops. As I write this belated update we are experiencing torrential rain. Our celebration to open the new Kibioni school kitchen had to be postponed due to the road being under water and our vehicles could not get through to the school, hence the delay in writing the update. Our staff are busy with packing and cleaning as the disabled children are preparing to be moved to a new location with the landlord demanding an excessive amount of rent which we could not pay. More on the move in my next update.

This month your ‘matching’ blessing which we received has paid for two operations. One operation was for one of our teenagers, who I will call Miss Pringle, who could eat box after box of crispy potatoes. She was admitted to hospital for an operation on her ‘weeping’ belly button. The second operation was for one of our retirees who arrived late at night in great pain and distress: after medical diagnoses she received an operation to remove a very large hernia. Our reward was nine avocados and a bunch of bananas from a very grateful widow. Thank you for your support. Little John, the boy with the swollen face, is to have surgery to remove the swelling after the trial of injections has failed. Prayers please for this little three-year-old who will also have to undergo plastic surgery. Your funds will also pay for Little John’s operations.

The children of Cannon Peter Hall Christian School in Grimsby, UK were very active making and selling items to raise funds for our children’s benefit. We thank the staff and the children for caring about us and our needs across all those miles, and I hope sometime in the future to be able to come to the school and thank you all personally with some letters of appreciation from our children.

With the purchase of 200 plastic mugs and a huge plate of food the children were overjoyed at our celebration to open their new school kitchen. With clean fresh water flowing from the poly tank and with the help of a Government Education Officer we declared the kitchen opened for use. Maasai mamas who had to walk many miles to fetch water from the river for the builder to construct the building, received a ‘thank you’ gift of $10 to their great delight. On your behalf, we received a gift of three small chicks and two young goats. We were blessed indeed.

A MIRACLE IS GOD DOING WHAT ONLY GOD CAN DO. (Even if that means using a 5-year-old child): I was busy washing-up some pots at the sink, when Plum Pudding who was lazily laid on the sofa reading a book said, ‘The puppy has a ‘dodo’ in his mouth.’ I turned around to look at our two 4-month-old German Shepherd playfully bouncing around the room. Neither appeared to be in any distress so I returned to the pots. Five minutes later, Plum said, “God says” the puppy has a ‘dodo’ in its mouth. I dry my hands, pick up a puppy, open its mouth, and see a piece of cow bone stretched right across his mouth blocking his throat. ‘Oh, my goodness’ please, quickly go Plum, and fetch the vet who is looking at a pig on the farm”. By the time the vet arrived I had a pair of pliers waiting for him and he carefully extracted the tight bone along with a piece of meat which was attached which would have been hanging down the pups throat.

Amazing God. 

                                                                                          January 2024 Update

ABHOR THAT WHICH IS EVIL, CLEAVE TO THAT WHICH IS GOOD. Romans 12:9

Dearest Friends of Light in Africa Children’s Homes,
We have started the New Year with an unprecedented number of new children being admitted into our care. From the police bringing two children who were abandoned at the side of a road, to 6 more being brought in by the social welfare dept., plus twin boys of 19 months. This has resulted in two of our homes being filled to capacity, and the search is now on for two more rented homes for our children, and more certificated staff. The carpenter is being kept busy making 11 new beds & cots. We have well over 150 children now in full-time care. LIA can only approach these new demands due to all of your generosity in giving funds for these precious children. Thank you.
Angel, the little girl from Iringa with Sickle Cell Anemia has just received medical treatment for her organs which are sadly being affected. Little John, the boy with large face tumor, does not have cancer according to his biopsy. Treatment by injections had to be delayed due to a low blood count and his malnutrition. He returns for treatment in 3 weeks. Stella. a little Maasai disabled child whom we have cared for 10 years, died this month. Our staff are feeling particularly saddened by this event as they feel her loss. For me, I know she is now without pain or distress smiling into the face of Jesus.

THE KIBIONI SCHOOL PROJECT:
It is always a delight for me when we welcome returning volunteers to LIA. Paul, who visited last year with Tegan and did an awesome project, brought along for the ride this time Daniel & Michael who all work for Ultra Furnishings in the UK.
We have had problems with the well as twice huge boulders have stopped the workers finding the water so desperately needed. A dynamite charge is going to be placed to blow the huge boulder which should allow the water to flow. Until these problems have been resolved, the Maasai mamas have had long exhausting journeys to the river to bring extra water for the kitchen build. The 5,000-litre poly-tank which will hold the clean water for the school children is already on the site. The roof is now on the kitchen, and the windows and the security of the site is next.
And now for some text and photos from the guys about their volunteering experience helping to demolish the old school kitche & the walls came tumbling down…..

TANZANIA VISIT: January 13-23, 2024
Tanzania… what a place, what a country, what a people, what an experience! From swimming in idyllic pools to knocking down an old “kitchen” ready for the building of the new one, to camping in the Tanzanian bush. I have had the absolute best experience of my life so far and I truly believe everyone should go help Light in Africa Children’s Homes. Just from the 10 days I spent there I have too many stories to include here.
Seeing all the children’s homes really puts things into perspective how lucky we are. Life really is a lottery, but with the help of LIA those unlucky enough not to be born in a well-developed country with well-established health care systems and abundance of food, they can live a happy life and not need to worry about where their next meal will come from or when if they could see a doctor.
Mama Lynn is a force to be reckoned with and if she makes a promise, she will see it through at all costs. The other mamas, Shazma & Gudilla who are just as strong, have made the experience and it was amazing to see how they always put the charity first and do all the can to help the needs of the children. Special ‘shout out’ to Moses, the chef extraordinaire, who provided much enjoyment always coming up with some challenge or other in the downtime we had.
It was a special experience, and I WILL at some point in my life return to further help out this brilliant charity.
PS.. Now I have seen the pure size and scale of Mt. Kilimanjaro I definitely want to climb that one. ….Paul, Daniel & Michael

November 2023 Update

Sometimes, we become so busy in our daily lives that we forget to smell the salty sea!

 

Dearest friends of Light in Africa Children’s Homes.

It was raining quite heavily, and whilst out shopping I received a call from a caregiver that a 40 ft security wall has collapsed into a river. “What river?” I ask astounded. “We don’t have a river near the house.” “We do now!” replied the carer, and the line went dead. The first photo shows the collapsed wall and the surging new river. That night water started to drip through into the children’s bedroom from the flat roof of the house that we had rented for seven months. Three days later the second bedroom also had water pouring through. It was time to evacuate before the roof collapsed. I tore up the two-year contract in disgust that we had been rented a sub-standard house that the Landlord knew very well of all its serious problems.

But first…. to answer some of the questions that I have been asked about my month-long trip.

Q. Was it very uncomfortable for you in a tent at your age?!!! This was a two-edge sword. Yes, I did have an aching back in the mornings, but I would suggest that you all throw away your gym tickets and go camping, as I was really so much fitter on my return to our homes with crawling in and out of the tent and using muscles I had forgotten I had.

Q. What was your happiest memory of the safari? Undoubtedly, when Plum Pudding agreed to be piggy- packed on Mo’s back in the pool. It was sheer joy after all the trauma he had experienced from being thrown into the deep end of a swimming pool. He arrived home desolate and very upset when my other children vied for position to tell me all what had happened at the pool. He changed from his school uniform and fell asleep on his bed. On awakening he came to tell me that Jesus had sat on his bed and said “he had to hold his hand like this (he demonstrated to me) and that Jesus had said, not to be afraid”……what a loving experience from a loving God.

Q. What was the worst thing?

A. Looking so forward to eating a chicken pizza only to find the base had mushed carrots instead of tomato, and finding two small pieces of chicken, and being so hungry I ate it, complaining at every mouthful of how ‘horrible’ it was.

B. The second was ‘liquid’ brown water coming from the shower head at the cheapest hotel that we stayed in.

C. The third was drinking a ‘doctored’ watermelon juice and not leaving the hotel until the effects had worn off.

Q. Would I do the trip again?  Sure I would! What is a little discomfort if it means 200 + school children have clean drinking water, and the Maasai mamas don’t have to walk 8 hours a day to fetch contaminated water from the river. From the trip we have raised sufficient funds to dig a well for them so their cattle won’t then die in a drought. Definitely a positive. Also, I was impressed that the Maasai leadership had a Lawyer write a letter to government leaders to say ‘how can they expect a 7-year-old child to walk 30 kilometres a day? They need a hostel for the children, or they have to break the law and not send the children to school. Impressive.

 

And now for the update on the three more serious cases we brought to the hospital in Dar for medical treatment. Angel, shown with her father, was found to be suffering from Malaria and undiagnosed Sickle Cell Anaemia—a very serious condition. She is now on a monitoring program for this illness and living under LIA care--another life saved. Jackson’s heel was on the front of his foot. He has had three plaster casts on and off and an operation to straighten his foot. Tumaini was the young girl that I believed God wanted me to help. When she was one year old someone poked a stick in her eye, and for fourteen years she never received any medical intervention. She was taken to the surgical theatre and two surgeons for one hour tried to make a pin hole through the muscle that had thickened and covered her eye. Sadly, the operation failed, and the surgeons could do no more. But……. Jesus the great healer has plans to heal this child’s sight. Everyday our children and I are praying for Tumaini’s sight to be restored. We believe in prevailing prayer. Will you join us ?

When the group of Maasai saw the Indian Ocean for the first time there were “shrieks” of delight and amazement. The following day they came to the hospital carrying 4-liter empty containers, (where they found them, I have no idea) and Moses was ‘urged’ to stop the car to allow them to fill them. It was really something to see this group of Maasai, shuka’s ( material) flying in the wind, running down the beach and straight into the sea. It was so thrilling for them. We take so much for granted we sometimes forget to smell the wonderful smell of the salty sea. On our return from six weeks of hospital appointments, I am given the request from a desperate father to help his 4-year-old daughter. The little girl has been diagnosed with cancer and is desperate for an operation. Funds from the matching donation will help this little girl receive the operation that she desperately requires. Thank you.

In March 2024 we are going to open up our farm and piggery to volunteers who wish to learn farming life-skills. These volunteer places are limited to 10 per month, and the volunteers will work beside our staff and trainees on life-skill and survival training. Families are most welcome.

Thank you, dear friends. May your Christmas time be full of love, joy, and happiness as we celebrate the birth of our Savior. Remember: The best is yet to come.

Mama Lynn - staff and children of Light in Africa’s Children’s Homes.

Safe Haven Hostel Project

Fundraiser 

The Aim

To raise funds to build a shelter for the Maasai children who have 30 kilometers of dangerous paths to walk each school day, on an empty stomach.

The shelter will allow them to sleep over during the week instead of doing the daily trek.

Funds raised will also be allocated to build a school kitchen which Light in Africa will manage to feed a further 200 students.

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A translation of a video of one of the girls. 

"My name is Halayna Thomas and I’m studying at Kibaoni Primary School. I’m walking 30 kilometers each day to school and back home. I’m staying hungry the whole day from morning to evening. On our way to school we can see some wild animals like elephants, hyenas, leopards—but we have never been attacked, only chased by elephants.”

Inspiration for the project
 

We paid a visit to Kibaoni  school recently and found that all the food we had previously donated was now gone and the children were not receiving any food at lunchtime.

No crops have been planted as the rainy season did not arrive in the bush lands.

On our return, we sent a vehicle with sacks of food from our store to last them until Xmas.

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Project Outline
 

Travelling a 2,000 kilometers journey for one month around Tanzania, wild camping along the route with 10 different Maasai tribes.

Going from Dar es Salaam to Mtwara along the Malawi border - up from Lake Malawi, then Dodoma to Arusha.

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Our Team

• Moses -  Driver / Chef

• Maasai Steven - who has worked with me for 23 years

• Maasai Doudi - who will help me to take care of one of the children from LIA, affectionately known  as "Plum Pudding" 

       Would you like to help?

If you feel that you can support the building of a shelter for these Maasai children,

you can donate by scrolling to the bottom of this page.

Thank you.

"Our actions speak louder than words.."

CONTACT US

Get in touch with A Light In Africa to discover more about our work and how to donate. We thank you for your support.

+255787378058

For Donation processing enquiries please email enquiries@sharetanzania.com

Getting ready...

"Plum Pudding's" essentials for a 1 month safari trip….

a pair of pajamas, his Mister Men collection,  stool and lego table, with a paintbox and coloring book thrown in for good measure.  We’re traveling light!

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Go.  Do all that is in thine heart; for the Lord is with you.

SAMUEL 7 : 3 (The word given from the Bible for this trip)

For my two Maasai travelling companions on this epic 2,000 + Klm. journey around parts of  the perimeter of Tanzania and ‘wild camping’ with the local Maasai tribes, it has already proven to be a ‘mind - blowing experience’ for the pair.

Practice sessions at putting up the tents was a bit of a challenge - until practice proved perfect!When the Maasai Chairman of LIA Childrens’ Homes, Vincent Songoi and LIA’s  Secretary Gudilla Maria, who arrived to wish us Bon Voyage stayed for an evening meal, for Doudi, it was the first time he had sat at a table to eat with women present - in Maasai culture the men eat separately from their wives and children.   

A month’s supply of stores was stacked onto the Subaru carrier and it was off to Dar Es Salaam Christian Fellowship for prayers over our trip, and our final photo of family members all together.

My next blog will be in 4 days’ time when we re-charge our batteries. 

Until then,Mungu Akurbiricki.

                                 Take a Look at the trip so far...

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                        The journey continues...

Psalm 91……I will say of the Lord. He is my refuge and my fortress; My God; in whom I trust.

 

What an amazing adventure this safari is turning into.

We arrived late at night at this small town and found there was no camp site so we had to look for budget accommodation.

In the morning, I enquire if we can speak with the local leaders and the landlady rings them to come over to the Lodge to speak with us.  When the two leaders arrive I ask if we can help in any way.  He nods enthusiastically and we all troop into the car.  He takes us to a home for the disabled child and a Primary school.  We speak with the teachers and I tell them how I would like to help the children by providing worm tablets and for them to have a head wash followed by head medication to eradicate a parasite.   To calm any fears the children may have I give each one a lollipop.  I then proceed to wash the heads of 53 students of varies disabilities.  The teacher informs me that there should be more students in her school but because the family cannot afford the school fee’s or the school uniform so they keep the students at home and they receive no education.

I am kindly offered  the meal that the children are having for lunch, ugali - made with flour and water - and beans.   I ask Mo to go to the market along with the leaders and purchase sacks of fruits and vegetables.  At least I will know that tomorrow they will be able to have vegetables with their ugali and beans followed by a variety of fruits.

The teacher tells me that the blind teacher who is sitting on a chair cannot teach his blind students anything as he has no teaching aids.   I am also shown four children who require orthopaedic assessments to see if corrective surgery could help them to walk.   I assure the leaders that if, when the story is published, and anyone should want to support the medical treatment of any of these four children, that I would contact him and arrangements would be made to bring the children to Dar es Salaam for treatment.

Our next stop is a long drive through the Livingstone Mountains  166 miles with no petrol stations or accommodation, so we set off on this long leg of the journey.   Twenty miles in, Plum says; “I can smell peanuts roasting”.  “Me too” I said and Mo pulls the car as best he can off the bend where we have come to a halt.    The fan belt has ‘snapped’.   What to do?   Mo gets on a motorcycle and goes back the way we came.   We ask permission from the Wayawe tribe if we can push the car into their encampment, of which they agreed.  That night, Mo cooked for over thirty children who sat in absolute amazement as the tents went up and gas was lit to cook the food.  They munched on biscuits and lollipops whilst the food was cooking, these children were

going nowhere at the promise of a cooked meal.   Two days later having supported the tribal leader we were back on the road and arrived late at night at Songea.  Hoping to take a shower when I turned the water on it came out brown mud!!!   Oh well, back to the wet wipes!