Friday, December 18, 2009

Meet the Good Hope Family

Over the years since Josephine Machuwa opened Good Hope's doors some children have come and stayed, others have been able to leave and still others have taken their place.
Here are some the girls and boys who are living at Good Hope December, 2009

Musa Abdul was one of the very first Good Hope kids. He was about 8 when he came in March 2003 - his exact birth date is unknown, as is his father. When his mother died family members took in his five sisters but no one could take Musa, the youngest. When Josephine found him he was surviving by begging for food from house to house and had never been to school. Although he was school age the local school would not accept him so he was enrolled in a local nursery school and began class 1 in 2005. He has just successfully completed Class 5, enjoys school and is looking forward to going to secondary school. He has learned quite a lot of English thanks to lessons provided by a Peace Corps volunteer working at a nearby school and is overcoming his reluctance to chat with English speakers he knows. He has a real talent for things technical and spends hours making or fixing things. He is a strong leader, especially when it comes to the music making which is a part of every Good Hope day.

Whitney Mukure was also one of the first Good Hope kids. She came when she was about 8 and like Musa, her birth date is unknown. When Josephine found her she was severely malnourished and looked more like an emaciated 3-year-old. Her very young mother had herself been abandoned when her parents died and little is known of her other than that she left the baby with her grandmother to go to a distant town to find work and has not been seen since. Whitney and her great-grandmother subsisted on food begged from neighbours. She also had never been to school and joined Musa at the local nursery school. The following year she was still so tiny that when Good Hope opened its own chekachea (nursery school) she was one of the first students. Bright and creative, she loves to sing and dance and has flourished academically in primary school. She is extremely loving and responsible and provides lots of caring for the younger children. She is still very small for her age and continues to be susceptible to respiratory infections.

When Jacklina Bilini's father her died her very young mother disappeared, leaving Jacklina with a grandmother who was unable to care for her. She was passed from house to house until 2003, when she was about 8. A GH neighbour became aware of the situation and asked Josephine to take her in. She was extremely malnourished, very nervous and distractable. Like the others she had not been to school and would have been unlikely to ever go if she had not come to GH. Once she gained strength she spent a year in the GH nursery school before heading to Class 1. She manages by working very hard and is very proud that she has just completed Class 4. Her real strengths lie in all things related to home making. She takes pride and joy in helping with the younger children, in the kitchen and cleaning up - a task shared by all.

Bahati Santonini is also one of the original kids. When he was born his very young, orphaned, intellectually challenged mother was unable to cope alone. They were taken in by a very poor Good Samaritan but he was unable to care for them and gave up. When Josephine found Bahati in 2004 he was living with his grandfather who very ill and both were straving. He started at the chekechea and then joined Class 1. He is extremely bright, shows great artisitic talent and has excelled in school, where he has just completed Class 4. He takes pride in his sucess and loves to demonstrate how well he can write both English and Swahili. He is very sociable and his sense of humour and winning smile make him a real favourite with all.

Jacklin Aklei came to live at Good Hope in 2007 when she was 14. Abandoned at 6 months, she lived with her grandmother until she died, then was taken in by an aunt. Initially GH helped with her school expenses but later was asked to take her in. She completed Class 7 in 2008 but did not do well enough in her exams to be accepted for secondary school. Thanks to a generous GH supporter from Norway she was able to enroll in a 2-year tailoring course where she as been very successful and has discovered that she loves to sew. Once she finishes and has a sewing machine she will be able to set up shop at GH and produce school uniforms and other garments for GH and for sale as well as look after the mending that a household of kids creates. Jacklin is hard-working, quiet and shy but makes a lovely calm contribution the the GH family.

The Jerome family, Joseph 16. Pius 14, Riziki 12 and Dorcas, 3, joined GH in 2008. Their mother died shortly after the baby was born. Their father is seriously ill and cannot provide care of any kind. He lives nearby with his bed-ridden mother and visits when he is able.

Joseph had completed Class 7 and was living with a widowed man who was forcing him to work long hard hours for meagre pay without any hope of going to secondary school. He provides a lot of help with the GH farming and is in Form II at the local secondary school thanks to a caring Egyptian sponsor. He is soft spoken and quiet and a very hard worker. He likes school and is determined to succeed as he realizes that he must be responsible for his siblings. When he gets a chance he loves to kick a football around. He is a great role model for the younger boys who really look up to him.

Pius is 14 and in Class 3. He came to the chekechea in 2005 but disappeared when his baby sister was born. He ended up doing odd jobs, including hauling rocks and sand for builders to contribute to the household while his mother was so sick. After she died he wandered around the area carrying the baby on his back as he begged for food. When he was able to get a job he left the baby with an old woman and brought back what little money he has able to earn for food. Now he is back in school in class 3 and has struggled to catch up. However he is smart and determined!

Riziki is about 12. He stayed with his helpless father and bed-ridden grandmother, begging food for them all. When he came to GH he was very malnourished, had jiggers, a seriously distended belly and other problems associated with extreme deprivation. He had never been to school and has flourished since starting in Class 1, quickly moving up a class as he forged ahead. He is very bright, has a delicious sense of humour and a great appreciation for the turn his life has taken. He told Josephine, "Before I had nothing but now I am a shining man!"

Dorcas came to Good Hope with Pius. She was sick, weak, seriously malnourished and extremely wary of strangers. For a time we wondered if she would live but she has made amazing gains and has developed into a smart, happy, loving, curious toddler who is every one's pet. She loves to spend time in the chekechea where she seems to absorb all that is going on. She will have a wonderful head start when she is old enough to go to school

Grace Solomon is about 14. She was a student in the first chekechea class but left when both her parents died. She was passed from household to household working as an unpaid, ill treated house girl until a neighbour called Josephine in the summer of 2008 asking for " for a suffering orphan" he had rescued but didn't know how to help. Grace had never been to school but was eager to learn. Since coming to Good Hope she has enrolled in MEMKWA- a Ministry of Education alternative primary education program for out-of-school youth. She reached Class 4 level in less than 2 years, is delighted with her new-found ability to read and write and is is anxious to join the others in Class 5 at the local primary school. When she arrived she was terribly thin, weak and stooped but now is a strong, healthy young lady. She is quiet and shy, a very hard worker with great initiative and really enjoys helping with the cooking.
Delphina Mushi is about 5. In April 2009 a young woman came to visit Good Hope and then vanished, leaving Delphina behind. Several months later she reappeared to explain the painful circumstances which had led her to abandon her niece. Soon after Delphina's father died accidentally their house burned down leaving her mother and two sisters homeless. Her mother went away, leaving the sisters with different neighbours and Delphina with her grandmother and the widowed aunt who has five children of her own. When their house also burned, killing the grandmother, the aunt was desperate. That is when she came to 'visit' Good Hope. She soon after became seriously ill and had only just begun to recover when she returned to tell her story. She said that she was unable to care for any extra children and had heard that Good Hope looked after kids who had no one to care for them. She could tell that Delphina was a smart little girl and wanted her to have a chance for a future that schooling would give. Delphina is indeed bright and is very happy at GH. She loves nursery school and has blossomed. She makes it very clear that she wants to stay and she and Dorcas have become the much loved little sisters in the Good Hope famil

Dotto and Kulwa Minishi, twins who are about 9, were left at GH in the fall of 2008. Little is known about their parents although they do have a distant auntie in Dar es Salaam. When they first came thay had no language other than garbled sounds and signs which they seemed to use to communicate with each other. They are extremely active, highly distractible and impulsive and at first seemed oblivious to their surroundings. The other Good Hope kids have taken them under their collective wing and slowly the boys are learning to speak and beginning to be able to control their their compulsive and sometimes dangerous behavior. The local primary school is unable to accommodate their special needs so they spend some time each day with the younger children in the chekechea where they seem to manage for short periods of time. The future for these boys is a big question but it is clear that right now the best place for them is with the adopted brothers and sisters who have become their family.

John Joseph, 15, never knew his parents who died when he was very young. He lived with his kind but destitute uncle and aunt and their several children in a very small, crowded house. When he was younger Josephine spotted him hauling sand and rocks to buy shoes, uniform and school supplies so he could stay in primary school and began to help with school fees and supplies. In 2008 he came to Josephine to ask if he could please come to live at Good Hope in return for work around the place because he "... needed a place where he could learn."Like Joseph he has just completed hit Form II final exams and is confident that he did well. He is able to continue next year thanks to the same generous sponsor who is helping Joseph. In addition to studying hard he and Joseph do a lot of the chores required to keep the fields of maize planted and weeded. The large vegetable garden is their special responsibility and they organize everyone to do their share. He also provides a wonderful role model. He aspires to nbe a doctor and with enough support should certainly be able to realize his dream.

Mama Josephine Machuwa is the heart and soul of Good Hope. She grew up in a small house where Good Hope now stands and built the original GH building as a home for her late parents. She left Moshi as a young woman and went to Nairobi where she brought up her two sons. She became a successful business woman and retired from a senior level position with a multi-national corporation to return home when her widowed mother was very old and needed care. At that time she started looking around for a way she could make a difference in her home community which, she discovered, included abject poverty hidden very close by, was very hard hit by the HIV and AIDS pandemic and was seriously lacking in hope. So Good Hope Trust was born. After surveying the needs on foot she discovered many children who had been orphaned, often after caring for their dying parents, left to fend for themselves or to live with destitute grandmothers and sometimes great grandmothers. These, she decided, where the people who needed her most. What started out as a home for a few abandonned kids soon evolved into a more comprehensive support program: in addition to the 'family' there is also a nursery school that provides a nourishing meal half-way through the morning, follow-up support as tboth resident and nursery school girls and boys move on through primary school and now secondary school, provison of school suppplies and uniforms for a large number of kids who have no other way to stay in school, and income generation projects with local women to help them support themselves and the many children who need them.
While the community was initially quite suspicious they slowly began to understand what Josephine was ready to do for her community. This is evident in just some of the roles she has been asked to assume: treasurer of the committee responsible for building a new primary school close by, member of the boards of directors of two local secondary schools, representative on the district HIV and AIDS committee and friend and counsellor to the countless people who come to the door. One result of her outreach has been the formation of WAVUMBE, a dynamic, multi-age group of about 50 people living with HIV who actively advocate for greater openness and understanding about HIV and AIDS and the pain and fear caused by stigma and discrimination. The group also provides encouragement and support to each other as they struggle to stay healthy. They also help other community members deal with the challenges of going through the process of testing and follow-up. Together with Good Hope they are currently trying to build a community medical clinic close to home which the district has promised to equip and staff.
The miracle of all this is that it has, so far, mostly been accomplished without any official donor support. Rather funds have come from Josephine's own pocket as well as contributions from individuals and their families and friends in Canada, the USA, Norway and Egypt who have in one way or another learned about Mama Josephine and Good Hope. She has absolute faith that God will provide and so far she has not been disappointed! As the needs grow so does that circle of Good Hope friends.
If you would like to be part of that important circle contact

Josephine Macuwa at
Rosemary O'Shaughnessy,

Donations can also be make on line through KESHO Trust: . Just follow the Good Hope link.