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March 1st – Email Update from Debbie

Jambo from Itegero,

We are well settled into our home in the village and Ebi’ family are very kind to us and help us with all the little things we need to learn each day. Our days are very full and the stories too numerous to tell here so I can’t wait to share them all with you. We were completely unprepared for the welcome we received when we finally all met up at Ebi’s Mom’s house on Sunday. Some went overland and Debbie and I flew. We arrived at the house as darkness fell and a crowd of well wishers poured out of the house before we got out of the vehicle. They were singing and chanting and sweeping us into there arms like their own lost children. Everyone was crying and emotions ran high. They are so profoundly grateful that we journeyed so far to share or love and respect for their Ebi. As we stood inside the house with only candle light, they sang beautiful songs and it was very special. Ebi’s sister thanked us for in her words “You brought Ebi’s shadow back to her homeland”.

The people are very hospitable but life is hard. It takes along time to do simple things and we have learned that life is all about WATER… we wash in boiled water to avoid the parasites and so use very, very little! Monday there was a downpour and myself and two others immediately shouted SHOWER! We raced outside and shampooed and had a luxurious wash in the rain

I have been into the school now for two days doing hands and singing and playing with the children and it is AMAZING and makes every hardship disappear. They are wonderful children shy and respectful and curious about our white skin touching our arms and giggling! I am taking many photos and the children get very excited when they see themselves on the digital cameras so thank you nursery school parents for that camera! It is a surprise for us to see the children do not know how to open a marker or use scissors etc but they are delighted to try them.

We are still sorting and organizing all the donations at the house so we can set up a fully functioning library and resource center. There is one lonely shelf of the books we sent last year but not for long! I must go for now as it is difficult to access this and I must share my time. I love and miss you all and hope you are all singing and having fun too. Love Darlene.

Just a short note to everyone to let you know we are all fine. Everything is falling into place better than I thought it would.

We arrived in Itegero on Sunday. That night there was a huge welcome for us at Mama Erica’s house (Ebi’s Mother). There were many villagers at the house when we arrived singing songs of welcome and dancing around us. Monday we spent the day with John the boy our family is sponsoring. We took him to the village to get his school supplies and later to the school to register him.

On Tuesday we went to the school for the first time. We met with the teachers and parents and introduced ourselves. We then spent time visiting classrooms and chatting with everyone. Today we went back to the school and gave our hands to the students and had them make hands for their friends in Canada. We will be visiting the school a lot…in the next week and will probably spend most of our time there.

Three physician packs were being dropped off today in clinics around this area. Tomorrow in the morning we hope to go to the bank to get money to pay for the uniforms that have been made for the students that need them and for text books that have been ordered. When we were at the school yesterday we saw the uniforms being made! Next week there will be a big celebration to give the students their uniforms. So as you can see we are very busy…it has been non stop since we arrived… but it is wonderful to see everything fall into place.

We are staying in a wonderful house… we have a personal cook… the only things I miss (besides friends and family) are flush toilets and running water!

Take care… love Debbie