We’re an international crew here at The Small Things, but today is as good a day as any to reflect a little on the past year and the (many, many) things we’re thankful for. So without further ado, a bit from each of us former volunteers about what we’re most grateful for from the last year.

Stevie, Emily and Dainess

Emily Butler: Amongst many things, I would say one of the things that I’m thankful for is the fact that I was ever able to know and be loved by those beautiful children – that I was able to experience them running up to me, shouting my name and jumping on top of me the second I walked into the orphanage.

Emily and Mama Vicky

next years schooling already. I’m so grateful to know that our wonderful children are being looked after by such loving and caring women- it gives me piece of mind to know that, even though we are all so far away from them, they are safe and happy. And I’m grateful for all the brilliant people who are helping to support the children and mama’s – including my fellow board members!

Dorothy with Dainess

Dorothy Goldberg: Who knew at the start of this year that I would be part of an amazing organization like The Small Things? I am so thankful for the courage and passion of my daughter Bekka, who opened up a whole continent to us that otherwise we may never have experienced. I am thankful for the wonderful people of Nkoaranga Hospital and Orphanage, who opened their hearts to us when we went to visit in April. I am thankful to be a continuing part of the lives of the children and Mamas there, who are teaching us so much about love and commitment. I am grateful to the young volunteers who give months or years of their time to help improve the lives of the children at Nkoaranga. And I am thankful for all those people, all over the world, who understand that we can make a big difference through small acts of kindness. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Megan cuddling Dainess

Megan Williams: I’m thankful for how the Small Things has taken off. I’m thankful that it means I’ll always have some way to be in the kids’ lives. Probably the thing I am most thankful for is that Project Education means that Stevie, Eriki and Dainessi will be off to school. Originally I was quite concerned that they might not get there and I think all three of them are the kind of children that will really really make the most of it.

David with Simoni

David Ross Russell: This Thanksgiving I am grateful for the experiences of the last year: travelling to Africa to visit Nkoaranga, for the friendship and lessons learned there, for family and friends, and for continued good health. We were so lucky to be able to travel to Africa and meet some truly amazing people- to learn from them some real values- that small things (people, acts of kindness, open attitudes) can make big differences and that so much of what we think we need is truly not a requirement for fulfillment.

Not least I am thankful to have had the chance to meet a truly inspiring group of wonderful young volunteers who give me a renewed sense of purpose and energy to believe that seemingly intractable problems are worth fighting.

Marie with David

Marie Korfits: I am so thankful for how far we have gotten with The Small Things – it is heartwarming to see how many people from all over have supported our work. It is truly amazing how small things can make such a difference, and I am looking forward to establishing further projects to give all these wonderful kids a bright and safe future!

Bethan with Simoni

Bethan Crisp: I’m thankful for my whole Tanzanian experience and the great opportunities I have been given – it taught me so much and made me see life in a totally new way. I’m grateful for the beautiful children that just make you realize what is important. I”m thankful for my family and friends, for the love and support they have given me and for helping me return to Nkoaranga this Christmas. They’ve led me to what I regard now as my extended family – the wonderful children, the devoted mamas and of course, The Small Things. Thank you for making it possible to do such amazing things for such amazing people.

Ebeni’s struggle
Emma and Pendo

Emma Shaw: I’m thankful that the children are generally so happy, healthy and loving individuals, despite all the stuff some of them have been through. I’m thankful that we’ve made enough money to employ an extra mama specifically to look after Peace until we can get out to Tanzania. I’m thankful for all the support and enthusiasm from both my fellow board members and everyone who’s supported The Small Things so far, and made everything possible – you’re amazing! And I’m thankful for Zawadi and Simoni overcoming rickets so well, and for Ebenezer making it through the pneumonia that he was struggling with when I left, and for Pendo and Miriam settling in so well, after their struggles at the beginning! Thank you so much.

Farajah and Maureeni cuddling

As for me (Bekka), I’m profoundly thankful for so many things – for Maureeni’s kisses, for Frankie’s smile, for David’s laugh, for Ebenezer, Simoni and Zawadi’s incredible progress, for the strength of the mamas, and for Amy’s help in keeping us up to date. I’m grateful for Mama Pendo’s incredible devotion to the children for over 22 years, and her warmth and openness in working with us to improve their lives. I’m so thankful for the love that the children have for one another, and the way that sustains them and feeds their souls.

We miss you, Reziki

I’m grateful beyond words for the support that has been shown to us from all corners of the earth – by the Seedlings Foundation, by Real Nappies, by Kozy Carriers, by Rebecca Woolf of GGC, by Tracey and Anna Black, and by everyone else who has contributed whatever they had – every bit makes a difference. I’m thankful for the tireless work of the board, and of the volunteers who are currently out there and those who are planning to head out. I’m thankful for getting to know Reziki during his brief sojourn on earth. I’m thankful for solar power, which hopefully in the next year will allow us to make blackouts a thing of the past for the kids, and for preemie formula that will help struggling little ones like Peace, for water filters that keep the kids healthy, and for vitamins that make them strong and prevent more rickets. I’m grateful beyond words to every one of you reading, for loving our kids. Thank you.

Simoni’s incredible progress walking – and his silliness!
Mama Pendo’s patience and love
Maureeni’s kisses
And David’s giggles

As always, there are a number of ways to help us out, and we are grateful for anything you can give.

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