Sunday, July 29, 2007

Back from The Motherland

(Havilah Village's first residents move in)
Finally back from our trip to Tanzania. Havilah is open! The dedication went off swimmingly. After much praying, prepping, painting, shopping, tweaking, sewing, sweeping, planting, planning - the house was finally ready. There's a lot I want to talk about in regards to this trip, but also a lot I'm not sure I should put in this blog. I'm still debating which parts to out and which parts to keep.

But on the which part to "out" - It was a big day for all those who have worked so hard to see this project from dirt to destiny. Having been a part of the thing since the dirt days 3 years ago, to see the house setup so beautifully was very moving. These kids will live in a standard far from what they've ever known. I'm just praying that we don't end up raising a bunch of selfish brats - as is known to be human nature.

As I watch this project, I see a kind of grand experiment. Nothing like this has ever been done before. What happens when you give children who have so little, so much? How do you guide them into the realization of their blessings and the obligation that because they have these blessings they MUST grow to serve their community with honor and dignity. They must give back. It's not optional. How do you teach that? I watch parents in America struggle with the communication of those values every day. So, I wonder what the plan will be to communicate that big picture message to these kids as they grow. It's a deep thought - and I welcome comments on it. How do you make sure that you raise great Tanzanians - and not American wannabes?

Now on to dedication......

Dedication day began cloudy and cool, but because of much prayer ended up sunny and even hot! There was a stellar lineup of speakers..... African church leaders, the village chief (we love Loti!), the leadership of Global Vessels, and of course, the local African dignitaries.

First and foremost, we began by asking God's blessings on the homes and all who work and dwell there.

Then came the lineup of speeches.

As you can imagine, there was a lot of talking. There were the dedication speeches, (here's Bob Wallace with the dedication to his mother).

And the dedication of the second house by Pastor Gene Donaldson of the Capitol Hill SDA Church in Washington, DC to Gilda Allen's mother.

Our Pastor, Marcellus Robinson gave congratulatory remarks on behalf of the Emmanuel SDA Church in Ashton, Maryland.

The Chief of the village of Ngongongare- Loti Nnko - made his remarks as well.

My personal favorite bunch of fellow musicians helped us praise the Lord with music.

"Unity Singers" from the University of Arusha

And Rebecca Trotter, the new housemom (Mama T, as she will be known) was introduced to the village.

After all the praying, speechmaking and praising....the ribbon was cut. Havilah Orphange Village is declared open by Virginia and Frazier Mathis.

Then came the food and the tour. EVERYONE in attendance (more than 300 people), sampled what had been provided, and then toured the facility. It was truly a day of celebration for all!

Here are a few pictures of the
house interior spaces...furnished and ready to go.

This beautiful artwork is set in the tile at the entrance to the house

Here's our new dining room. This one's fit for a king.

Bunk beds anyone? The girls get Dora the Explorer.

This ones for the boys..

There's a room for Mama T (Rebecca Trotter, our housemother)

And here is a "themed activity room"- all about reading

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