August 31,2012

Hibari!  Hello in Swahili.  Part of what I paid for in my program is lessons.  They are getting a bit tiring though, as they all talk very fast.  The same thing that they say about us!  And I just read yesterday that I have been requested to start 1 month in advance (right now) to start practicing Italian for 2 hours a day.  Swahili is enough for now!

Ok.  I moved yesterday into a new host family.  The move is for 1 week and then I will go to Dar Es Saalam next Thursday, Friday till Sunday to Zanzibar and then Sunday evening, 9/9, to my new-new host family!  Let me explain the ‘bad’ part, because I am definitely now in the ‘good’ part.

What I realized very quickly in coming to Mukumbu is that something was very off.  Mama Linda not only founded Mehayo, but was also my ‘host’ family.  The only problem is, she likes to play the role of the victim and exploit innocent handicapped children.  Where she started, and where she is, is very different.  Mam Linda has had well over 100 hundred acres of property donated to Mehayo, buildings, houses, money, you name it.  And though it is for “Mehayo”, she runs it all.  She lives in a house with her daughter and granson.  Their part is nice.  She even rents a room out, also.  They also, or her daughter Lucy, has a car.  And then theres the guest house, where volunteers stay.  And her housekeeper/nanny/chef/domestic engineer young woman.  She has everything done for her.  Everything.  Then you get to Mehayo.  She takes in people in need, and gives them food (basic), clothing (basic), etc.  They then work for “Mehayo”.  She lives the life of Riley while ‘directing’ all her “volunteers”.  People look to her like a god.

She accomplishes all of this due to her explotation of the children.  They are not kept well.  No hygeine is done.  Classroom time is done by two great woman with only nursery school experience.  They have no materials.  I gave her ~$150 in beads & cardstock and they are yet to make it to Mehayo.  I will push it next week before I leave.  I bought a soccer ball to work with the children, its gone.  Her response to everything is, “ahhhh, I don’t know”.  She is good.  She should be an American.

The sickest part of this is Rebekah.  She handed Tsh1,000,000, in cash, to Mama.  She used some for food and was suppose to purchase the windows and doors for the medical clinic and have them installed.  She had one door, which she already had, put up.  She does not know that I know about the money.  I asked about the clinic.  She  said it needed ceilings & paint.  I asked about the windows.  Yes, that too!  One window installed is ~Tsh70,000.  Rebekah gave her more than enough money, but it won’t see the clinic.  Thus, I am at a new home and leaving.

There were people here this past Monday through Wednesday giving her donations.  The second day, the one came back and looked me straight away and asked me what is going on?  She assured me it was ok and I told her.  She said she new it.  All the clothes they had brought were given to the nieghborhood children while the centres children got a pair of underwear, a piece of candy & a toothbrush.  Wait – 3 pieces of clothing were given to the children of Mehayo.

Let’s just say thanks to my Irish blessing – I didn’t know what I was going to do.  My sponsoring program didn’t seem to want to hear me.  And I was loosing it!  After spending more than 1/2 my life advocating and educating children with special needs, I was literally becoming physically ill and depressed.  But its over.  I will be out of here in a week and will be having a very detailed dialogue with my program coordinator and hopefully no American volunteer will ever go here again, and they will drop them completely.

I have bitten my tongue for two weeks.  If you know me, this has been a nightmare!  But my patience, and Irish blessings, and an email is making it all change.  Pray for all these people.  They deserve so much more than a greedy, manipulative, exploitive thing.  And I say thing because I have no word for her.

Please look at the video on Facebook of where she lives.  And I will figure out the media thing – I promise!


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