Guest Post by the lovely Amy Summers!

Amy is a great friend of Nkoaranga orphanage who is in the process of finalizing her adoption of Pray, a gorgeous five year old who lived at Nkoaranga until he was three. She has graciously agreed to write a guest post (hopefully one of many!) to keep us updated on the kids! You can read more about her journey at Kusali-To Pray. Thanks also to Amy for letting us use her gorgeous photos here and elsewhere on the site.

Amy and a grumpy Zawadi
Maureen Ndogo

Gracie pushing around Amy’s son Pray!

Oh wow, my first post on The Small Things! I feel honored.

After almost two months (school starting, moving, etc. A busy time of year!), Pray and I finally made a much-needed visit to his old home. I, of course, had to take photos of Zawadi for Bekka! The kids are doing well. Frankie and Filipo were in the hospital with malaria, but the rest of them were running around as usual! Zawadi was being changed when we got there and seemed a bit grumpy. Probably because of the diaper changed–no one likes those! I managed to get a few photos, then she waddled off to play with the kids. I only saw her once more in the next hour–busy girl! Gracie is practicing her walking skills. 
She almost has it! Maureen mdogo is proudly crawling and is more beautiful than ever. I didn’t think it was possible! Frankie was almost crawling when we visited in late July, so I imagine he is a pro by now. Vicky was being held and then put to bed, so I didn’t see much of her.
Ebenezer and his proud Baba

David is so big!
Ebenezer’s baba (father) was there visiting! He seemed very proud of his son. I pulled up some pictures of Ebeni from his first week of life and his baba was amazed and said he forgot Ebeni was so small! Ester is running everywhere. She politely asked for a banana and proceeded to stuff it all in her mouth. She was another one that was so little. Thanks to Annette and Miriam takinig her home every night, she thrived and you all know how precious she is now! David mdogo is another walker/runner now. He was glued to the TV and Faraja was nicely sharing her lollipop with him. Neema has lost some of her chubbiness now that she runs everywhere! I don’t think I saw her walking at all, just running. She still has her gorgeous dimples and has turned into such a little helper.

Baracka has been one of my favorites since I met him at two months old. He was such a difficult baby. He spit up every ounce of every feed and would scream within 10 minutes because he was hungry again. I love watching him grow. Despite his many days of crying and fussing (even now), he was in a great mood on Wednesday and kept asking me to turn my camera off and on. It has a little picture on it as it turns on. Maureen mkubwa was outside most of the time, so I didn’t get to see much of her. She had a very serious face on when she finally came inside (against her wishes!). Pray is as ornery as ever. He went straight for Claire so she would hold him. He still seems a bit behind, but he’s much healthier than we ever thought he’d be! He was another sickly newborn that I often worried about. 
Andrea (left) and
Baracka holding hands

Simoni offering to share his candy

Saimoni, oh Saimoni. His unusual gait from the rickets is hardly noticeable now. You would never know he struggled so much! I love that smile and his happy attitude. David mkubwa was helping Gracie walk. I am always relieved to see how sweet he has turned out. Besides his physical battles, he went through a period when he would just walk up and bite even the tiny babies. And with a smile on his face! He now prefers to hold them and help the mamas. What a mini adult! Andrea was my second favorite before Baracka came along and still has a big part of my heart. I will never forget the night when he was 14 months old and sick with pneumonia and malaria. I watched his little heart beat and I thought it would beat right out of his chest. Ironically, after that hospital stay, he lost weight and started walking! He talks up a storm and had no interest in the TV–yay! Loveness sat and watched over the volunteers who were holding the babies. She’s still such a little mama! 
Pendo was also outside most of the time, but seems to have settled in. She gets along with the other kids (mostly). Back in July, every time I heard someone crying, it would be her. Of course, our visit was only two hours, so maybe she was just having a good morning – but we hear good things from the mamas. Dainessi has three missing teeth! It makes her look SO much older and fits her new mature personality. She can’t wait to start school. Stephen was busy watching a movie with Ericki, Faraja, and Aroni. He obliged when I asked for a photo and gave his big ol’ trademark Stepheni smile! Ericki is just so 
Proud Dainess

Stevie is way too cool
handsome! He was watching a movie and then playing with pictures. I often wonder about him and his history of headaches, but he seemed well and happy during our visit.

Farajah and Aroni *should* be going to SOS on Monday. The twins from Cradle of Love are going on Monday and they have been waiting since April, too. I asked Mama Andrew, but she said she hadn’t heard anything and Mama Upendo would know better. Unfortunately, Mama Upendo wasn’t there. Wema, an older Nkoaranga kid, will also join them, along with two older kids, Allan and Vumilia. HeavenLight is supposed to go, also, but he recently went to live with an aunt and last I spoke with Mama Upendo, everyone was very happy with the arrangement. Hopefully we will hear something soon about the kids going to SOS. It is past time for Faraja to be in school! And I don’t know why Aroni stayed behind after the summer holiday. His English had been progressing so quickly and he loved school. I hope SOS ends up being the perfect place for all of them.

Abduli is still Abduli. Pray was often in tears asking to leave because Abduli pulled his hair, pinched him, or punched him. I remember the days when Abduli’s father and other family members would visit every weekend. I wonder if they stopped because of his obvious delays? It breaks my heart, because we all know how hard life in TZ is for people with disabilities. (Hopefully we can find a school that will help him to thrive for next year -Bekka)

In related news, there are two new babies. Shugya (I need to check her file for the correct spelling, but it sounds almost like “sugar” but with a “ya” at the end) is about two months old. I don’t know her story, as the mamas were very busy and we didn’t have much time to talk. She looks very healthy, though. The other newbie, Daoudi (“Dah-oo-di” Swahili for Davidi, said Mama Andrew), turned two weeks on the day we met him, making his birthday October 12th. He weighs all of two kilos and is very skinny. He is not as small as Riziki, quite a bit longer, but looks very unhealthy. I hope he will get the love and nourishment he needs to grow
New baby Shugya

I will try to go back this Wednesday or Thursday now that Pray’s midterm break is over. Hopefully Zawadi will be smiling and Mama Upendo will be around to get more updates! 

Until then,

Little Daoudi

Without a huge amount of attention and care, premature babies like Daoudi and Ebenezer don’t make it – as we learned the hard with with gorgeous little Reziki. Please consider donating to help us hire more staff to care for these incredible children.