Thank you, Mamas!

With all the sadness that has surrounded Nkoaranga Orphanage these past few weeks, I would like to take the opportunity to celebrate the Mamas. As the main carers for the children and having seen them grow from tiny little babies into happy, clever, wonderful children, the loss of two of our beautiful babies will have hit them hard. My heart is with them in Tanzania at this sad time.

Lunch time – and lots of hungry mouths to feed!
The Mamas are some of the most inspirational and hard-working women I have ever met. They work tirelessly day and night to ensure the children of Nkoaranga Orphanage are safe, healthy and happy. Not only do they spend their days washing, dressing, changing and feeding the children, but they also spend their days loving them. Seeing the bonds that have grown between the Mamas and the children is an honour and something really special to witness. There’s this unwavering, unconditional love that is shared between the children and Mamas and it is this love that keeps the orphanage thriving.
As a volunteer at Nkoaranga, I can honestly say that when I started at the orphanage, I was completely lost. There were suddenly all these children who wanted to play with me, and that was really lovely, but they also needed to follow a routine of care, of which I had no idea where to begin. I had no idea what I was doing. If it wasn’t for the Mamas, every volunteer that entered Nkoaranga Orphanage would be lost. They supported me, told me how I could help, advised me when I was unsure, and for that I am truly grateful. They welcomed my fellow volunteers and me into the orphanage and made us feel like part of this great family. They all have such warm, loving hearts, and when I left, it offered me a great comfort to know that these wonderful women would be there to look after the children.

Emily with some of the older kids!
Every time I have returned to the Orphanage, the Mamas have welcomed me like an old friend. It is always so wonderful to see their smiling faces and to be enveloped in their loving hugs. I didn’t just return to the orphanage for the kids, I returned for the Mamas, too. They will always hold a special place in my heart. 

So, whilst we mourn the loss of two beautiful children and try to find a way to get through this difficult time, I want to celebrate the women who make Nkoaranga Orphanage not just another Orphanage, protecting the safety of the children, but a home to grow up in. I know that in Hope and Lulu’s short lives, the Mamas will have shown them so much love and kindness, which is something that I am clinging onto at this sad time.

The Mamas who work at the pilot house also do a fantastic job!
Thank you to all of the Mamas who have loved and cared for the children as if they were their own. Thank you for working non-stop every single minute of every day to ensure the smooth running of what has become my second home. Thank you for welcoming every volunteer into the orphanage with open arms. Thank you for being you. We are all eternally grateful for everything you do.