April News Update

Sarah with the kids - She gave each of them “Canada” stickers
Sarah with the kids - She gave each of them “Canada” stickers

April news update from Joyce:

As usual, this month has gone by really fast. The children and our matrons are doing well. Our new child, Shiela, has been very good at adapting to living at Peace Matunda. She is getting more and more settled into her new home. Three volunteers who came in March – Susan, Nancy, and Carly – left this month. They did a really nice job at Peace Matunda. We appreciate their big help. The kids had a lot of fun with them.  Carly, Oliver, Johanna and Madeleine had a birthday this month so they celebrated with the kids. We had chocolate cake and birthday crowns at each party!

Naomi, Magreth, Jesca, Doris, Calvin, Livingston, Corfield, & Alex
Naomi, Magreth, Jesca, Doris, Calvin, Livingston, Corfield, & Alex

We had a new volunteer named Sarah arrive from Canada. She is staying for six weeks and she is doing a nice job. The kids love her so much. She is teaching in the baby class together with Anna. She and Anna are really doing an amazing job. It is so nice to have two volunteers in one class because the baby class has more than forty five kids.

More good news …We are about to finish our new building. Madeleine and the builders are helping to paint. Madeleine is so cool! She is doing an amazing job. We are very lucky to have Madeleine here. In the past, Madeleine took two kids into town to have fun. Oliver is resuming this tradition. Oliver took Magreth and Emma to town to eat lunch and play on the computer. We are really thankful. Anna, who has been here for 3 months now, recently accomplished the biggest feat in all of Africa: she climbed Mt Kilimanjaro with Bella, Kaaya’s cousin. Good job Anna!

Bella, Kaaya’s cousin, with Livingston, Doris, Magreth, & Mery in their New York T-shirts
Bella, Kaaya’s cousin, with Livingston, Doris, Magreth, & Mery in their New York T-shirts

We also received donations from Madeleine’s mom and two of Madeleine’s friends in Nashville, TN. Madeleine’s mom donated underwear for all of our kids and even our neighbors’ children. We really needed more underwear here! The kids were thrilled. The Krauss family from Nashville donated pillowcases, small hand-knitted towels and a book for the kids. The handmade book and each pillowcase were donated from the children in Glendale Elementary Kindergarten class. Thank you so much for your big support. Our children can now use the new pillows that Madeleine donated (20 pillows!). Before, the kids had no pillows on their beds. Susan gave each of our kids “I LOVE NY” T-shirts from the big city in the United States. Susan used to live there. The kids will always remember Susan when they wear them. Also, Carly and Nancy gave each of the children blue jean skirts (girls only) and athletic shorts for the boys. Team Waki donated mattresses for all the new kids who will be joining us. The new room is almost complete. Thank you for all of your donations!
This month, Livingstone moved here. He was very happy to move to the main house. He is very good in class and he is also a good helper. He helped set the table, clean the table, and pick up the trash. He is so nice. He is also good friends with Corfield.

This month we had a new Matron named Tumani. Dorris is no longer working for us. Instead, we have hired Tumaini. She came from a small town nearby and she has a lot of working experience from another orphanage known as Nkwaranga Orphanage Centre. Doris went back to her family in order to take care of her three kids.

My Volunteer Experience

bryce-with-kids Arriving in Africa is an interesting experience. Riding the daladala for the first time is an exhilarating and truly horrifying experience. Walking into the playground at Peace Matunda, however, is a heart-breaking and awe-inspiring situation… cathartic. When I arrived, I knew it was an orphanage, and my mind was prepared. But my heart wasn’t. The children surrounded us, touching our clothes, jewelery, skin, hair. From the get go, I saw all smiles, heard their laughter and felt their hugs. I realized that you cannot help but to love these children for their basic joy and acceptance of all.

Even though was a short stay, I was privileged enough to be able to teach the kindergarten class with another volunteer. English, Math, exercises, activities (painting, drawing, puzzles, books) and Kiswahili are taught and my class had 15 wonderful students. Never having taught before, I looked to the children to teach me what they needed. Strengths and weaknesses showed after the first or second class and teaching then took on a fluidity and ease that I never thought would happen.

Post-school playtime was some of my favorite moments spent here. “TRYING” to make animal shapes out of balloons, swimming in the river and drawing pictures on the porch was the perfect mix for belly shaking laughs and happy memories, especially with the 10-15 devilish little angels that accompanied such activities.

As for the rest of the stay, the locals are great. There is always a greeting as someone walks by, and there is no end to the people that are genuinely interested in who you are and where you are from. I am thankful that Richard has an ample supply of pipi for the kids, that Bella is such an open and friendly waterfall guide, and Kaaya and Joyce are welcoming and wonderful hosts. Tawny, Madeleine and Johanna – I am happy to have gotten to know each and everyone of you, and appreciate all of the guidance.
To all the children of Peace Matunda, as well as my new friends, I will miss you all very much.

Bryce is originally from Connecticut, U.S.. He volunteered at Peace Matunda for two weeks in January 2009 together with his brother Ben.

Christmas News



With the school being closed, December has been very calm.  In the beginning of the month, most kids went back to their respective families for Christmas.  Only Doris, Jesca and Magreth stayed.  With only three kids left, Tawny, me and the kids all moved back up to the main house where Joyce and Kaaya stay together with Corfield.  Calvin also joined us, as well as two other cousins of Corfield’s so all together we had 7 children up at the main house.

having-funThe children who went home were very excited to spend Christmas with their mothers and/or other family members.  Thanks to many generous donations and with fewer kids at the orphanage, we were able to do some fun activities with the ones who, for different reasons, chose to stay at Peace Matunda for Christmas.  We took them Christmas shopping, braided their hair etc.  It felt very important to spend some quality time with the kids who didn’t get to go see their families and we ended up having a great Christmas together.

Tanzanian Christmas is traditionally celebrated on the 26th of December, American Christmas on the 25th and the Swedish Christmas is on the 24th… so we decided to celebrate 3 days of Christmas.  Thein-the-pool 24th was spent at Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge where we had lunch and used the pool.  On the 25th, we were invited to Havilah Village Children’s Home, an orphanage close to Arusha National Park.  We had a great time having lunch together and playing with their kids.  On the 26th of December we had a calm day at home with gift exchanging etc.

Peace Matunda received a lot of donations before Christmas.  Kathy Franklin has continued with the calendar selling and also raised money at schools etc. in Esterhazy.  Ex-volunteer Heather Campbell also raised more money through a used books sale.  Furthermore, we received a very generous donation from the Hope family that came to Peace Matunda with the Unique Expedition group in September last year.  In terms of donations, the greatest news this month is that the money has reached us!  After a lot of waiting, postponing, organising and endless of help from ex-volunteer Andy Rosenhek we finally got the 17,000 Canadian dollars that have been donated over the past year through  Thanks to this money, we have been able to start building the next school building.  We will have another classroom, bedroom and more showers.

On behalf of staff and children at Peace Matunda, I want to say thank you for all the support that have been shown and given to us during 2008. We wish you all a happy new year!

Johanna Hemmingsson
Project Manager

buildingKaaya by the new school building

Paypal problems again…

We ran into problems using the Paypal system after all and we will therefore not be able to receive donations via Paypal anymore. All donations/payments made so far will reach Peace Matunda, but future donations will have to be made via bank transfer. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Doris moving in

A series of unfortunate events brought Magreth and her sister Doris back together. Since over a year back, they have been living at separate orphanages; Magreth at Peace Matunda and Doris at Mama Nora’s Orphanage. The other day, after learning about a tragedy in Magreth’s family, we took her to visit her grand-father. Since he lives nearby Mama Nora’s orphanage, we stopped by so that Doris and Magreth could meet. They hadn’t seen each other since September 2007. It was a very happy reunion and a lot of tears were shed, so when Magreth asked me if Doris could come with us to Peace Matunda it was impossible to say no. Mama Nora didn’t oppose to the idea since she hasn’t had the funds to school Doris. Doris is only one year older than Magreth, so they are now studying and living together at Peace Matunda. We are all very happy about how things turned out!

Moving In!

The children have finally moved into the new orphanage! We’ve waited so long for this, and sometimes it felt like it was never going to happen… but they’re at last down there! Our two matrons and nine children slept their first night in the new building last Saturday. Since then, things have gotten more and more in order. This morning the matrons could prepare breakfast for the first time in the new kitchen. This is a lot thanks to the safari group Unique Expedition from New Zealand who helped us finish what was missing in the kitchen (shelving, gas cooker etc). I think it’s so important that the children finally have a home of their own. I was a bit afraid the change was going to be difficult for them; having to move, no longer share beds with each other, not be on the same compound as the volunteers etc.. However, the children have been nothing but excited over these changes and say that they love their new house. I want to give a huge Thank You to everyone who’s helped in making this possible. So many people have contributed in such various ways (roof, windows, doors, cash etc.). It wouldn’t have been possible without you! Thank you!

A Volunteer’s Day

Describing my day… You usually wake up to the sound of a rooster. The first few days you are seriously thinking about just how to make him “disappear”, but after a while he becomes your friend and you wake up with a smile on your face. Then you sit down by the breakfast table and discuss politics and other serious matters with the other volunteers… or something in that direction 🙂 School starts at 8:30 and is finished by 12:30. It is nothing hardcore; you pretty much try to teach them something they don’t know. After school you have a lot of options. You can go to Arusha to use the internet or just to hang out. You meet a lot of interesting people there, believe me. You can also walk up to an amazing waterfall or even just sunbath on the roof. Playing with the kids is always a fun option too! All I can say is my experience has been wonderful. Watching the moon and the stars at night, hearing the monkeys in the trees talk to each other… I love it! It is like hitting the “reset” button on yourself and discover what it is you want out of all this. As long as you come here with an open mind, you will be welcomed with open arms, I promise. 

— Mackenzie, from Iceland, has been volunteering at Peace Matunda since mid August.

I’m back

Wow – I’m back, yet it feels like I never left. Although so much has changed; the orphanage is 3 weeks to being finished, new bathrooms/showers, we have grass!, the kids have more personality than ever and speaking very good English. I truly believe we have thee coolest kids in the village. I’m so happy to call Mt. Meru “home”. The beauty is unreal. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. I can’t remember the last time I worked this hard – I’m constantly needed whether it be in the kitchen (cooking or dishes, so many dishes), with the kids, at the school teaching, helping volunteers or teaching English to Kaaya’s cousin. But I love every minute of it. I admit I get a bit frustrated cooking dinner by candle light, using one propane burner and hauled water for 20 people 3 times a day… But this experience is priceless and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

New Matron

Tawny Hutchings, who volunteered here in March this year, came back last week. Along with Mage, she will work as matron until April next year. As soon as the orphanage building is completed, Tawny, Mage and the kids will move in there. With her positive attitude and hard working spirit, Tawny is a great asset at the Orphanage. We are very glad to have her back with us!

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