Happy Birthday David!

It’s getting to be that time of year again… time for the kids to start school. Today is the fifth birthday of an amazing little boy, David, who has been through more in his five years than many of us will have to face in our entire lives. Today we want to celebrate his journey and how far he’s come!

David’s had the same great smile since day one!
David in 2010

David’s mother was sadly mentally ill, and in light of the lack of mental healthcare available in Tanzania, she abandoned him as an infant at the orphanage. At 15 months, he was badly burned in a fire at the orphanage caused by an electrical short – see Project Light Up the Night for details about the fire and our (now completed!) project to rewire the orphanage to prevent such a tragedy from happening again. Thanks to Mama Cantate, David and all the other babies in the fire were saved, and after six months in the hospital, he recovered with full mobility. However, he’s had some serious emotional repercussions from the long period of hospitalization and painful recovery. When we met him two years ago, he was completely incapable of handling any time of opposition without completely losing control and striking out violently at anyone who was around him, including mamas, volunteers, and other children, leading to alienation from many of them.

What a far cry from where he is today! David now has close and loving relationships with the other orphanage children, and even helps out frequently with the babies and younger kids. He loves to help and gets will happily escort little ones around, grab napkins, and help hand out food. His tantrums have declined to next to nothing, and he can frequently be convinced to stop himself before losing control. He still has some trouble with rocking and retreating when he’s in pain – in August he had a bad blister of some sort inside his mouth, and I only discovered it because I went to ask him why he was rocking in a corner instead of playing with the other children. He still didn’t say anything but dissolved into tears from the pain when I asked him repeatedly what was wrong. The poor boy is still afraid of the hospital and prefers to try to hide his illness – but he’s improving in leaps and bounds, and we are working hard to constantly reaffirm his secure and loving place in the Nkoaranga family.

Playing field hockey with Claire

In order for David to start school in January, he needs his year-to-year sponsors and up-front sponsorship – thank you to Kristina, her parents Wayne and Sandra Leland, and Emma Shaw for funding his future!  As for the up-front tuition, we have now raised over $7,300 of the $8,800 total we need to pay for two years tuition for each child (David, Andrea, Abdulli, and Pendo). We are just $1,500 away from that goal – but if we do not reach it before January, they cannot start school. Go to our Education page to donate to getting these wonderful kids started on their educational journeys!

Abdulli is also now fully sponsored! Huge thanks to Emma Shaw, the Williams family, and the Bianucci family! Now we just have to find that last $1,500 and all the kids will be able to start school in January! Thank you to all our amazing supporters. 

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