Sunday, April 8, 2012

New Shoes for Easter

It was the day before Easter. A grandfather and his 2 young grandchildren – a girl and a boy – stopped by our Hearts in Unity display table at the Mall to see what there was to see. We often bring a laptop to events so we can share our slide show of photos of “Life in Tanzania” for people to look at.

The granddaughter, perhaps 7 years old and younger than her brother, eagerly watched the photos with great interest, and began to ask questions about each one. Why are the children carrying wood on their head? What do they use the wood for? What are they doing by that river? Is that water in those buckets? Are those bananas? Why are those clothes on the grass? Look! A chicken! What is that? What are they doing there? Why? What? How? Why? I was delighted with her animated interest, and could tell she was intently listening as I answered her questions and helped her draw comparisons about her life here and what it is like to be a child in Tanzania.

Her brother and her grandfather stood patiently behind, quietly looking at the photos and listening to our conversation.

At one point, the granddaughter paused, looked at me questioningly and said, “Look. They don’t have shoes on. Don’t they have shoes?” “No, honey, “ I replied, “Those children don’t have shoes.” Her questioning look changed to confusion. She then lowered her eyes, and her eyebrows drew together for a moment as she thought about that. I added, “But that is one of the things I am trying to do…to get shoes for all the children in this village.” She looked up at me again in simple acknowledgement and then turned to look at the photos again.

Her brother and her grandfather still stood patiently behind, quietly looking at the photos and listening to our conversation.

The granddaughter and I were then back to our animated question and answer exchange as we looked at the next photos. I didn’t notice as the grandfather reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet. He laid his hand on my arm. Our eyes met for a moment, and he handed me a large bill. As my conversation with his granddaughter paused, she turned around and saw her grandfather hand me the money and she asked, “What’s that for?” He looked at her with a gentle smile and quietly replied, “This is to buy shoes for those children.”

At that moment, I don’t think she realized the full impact of that exchange. But after a short pause and looks to her grandfather and brother, she seemed pleased with the answer.

After a few more minutes of photos and conversation, the grandfather told his grandchildren that they better move on to go find their grandmother as she was probably waiting for them. The grandfather and I shook hands as I thanked him again. As the granddaughter skipped away with her older brother on one side and her grandfather on the other, she smiled and waved goodbye. I smiled and waved back.

As they walked further away, I heard the granddaughter continue to talk about the children she saw in the photos. And while the grandchildren probably didn’t realize it at the time, the grandfather, in his gentle and unassuming way, had taught his grandchildren a priceless lesson of compassion and sharing through his simple act of unexpected kindness.

As I turned away, I was reminded of one of my favorite quotes:

“We won't always know whose lives we touched and made better for our having cared, because actions can sometimes have unforeseen ramifications. What's important is that you do care and you act.” - Charlotte Lundsford

To give a gift to purchase a pair of shoes for a child in Tanzania, please visit our donation page HERE.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Textbooks for Tanzania

‎5 years ago, in the village of Seela (Tanzania, Africa) a single textbook was shared by 25 children who would gather around and copy the information into their small notebooks.

Today, through your generous donations to help us buy textbooks for the elementary school in this village, the ratio is lower, but we still have a long way to go to get textbooks for each child, in each grade, for each subject.

You can help with your $5 donation to purchase a textbook.

Please visit "Textbooks for Tanzania" to learn more.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Be My Valentine

This Valentines Day, give a gift from the heart in honor of your sweetheart!

Your $5 donation will provide textbook to a child in Tanzania and your sweetheart will receive an acknowledgment of your generosity.

Click HERE to show your love and give your gift!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hearts in Unity: Fair Trade for Tanzania

Mark your calendars!

You can help the children of Tanzania by simply shopping for yourself and for your family and friends.

And isn't now the perfect time to start thinking about holiday gifts?

On Saturday, October 8th, "Fair Trade for All" will donate 10% of all sales at their Wauwatosa (WI) retail store to purchase textbooks and school supplies for the children in Seela, Tanzania.

"Fair Trade for All" (8730 W. North Avenue, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, USA) carries a unique selection of socially responsible, eco-friendly gifts, clothing, jewelry, home decor, coffee, chocolate, baskets, music and more from 40+ countries around the world, including Tanzania.

October is Fair Trade month!

Shop at "Fair Trade for All" between 10am and 6pm on Saturday, October 8, and the treasures you buy will in turn be a blessing for the children of Tanzania!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Vote For Your Favorite Calendar Photos!

Our "Hearts in Unity" 2012 Tanzania Photo Calendar is nearly ready for production.

All that remains is to select the final 12 photos to be featured on the pages of the calendar. We've narrowed down the selection of our 10,000+ "Life in Tanzania" photos to just 40, and this is where we need your help!

Please go to to view the photos.

Choose your favorite photos (up to 12) and email a list of the numbers of your favorite photos back to us.

When all votes have been tallied, we'll finalize the production of the calendar. It promises to be a beautiful representation of the lives of the children who are being fed, clothed and educated through the generosity of all who support the mission of Hearts in Unity.

Vote now! Ask your friends to vote!

Voting will be open until September 30, 2011!
And -- As a special incentive to vote now, one voter will be selected, at random, to receive a FREE copy of the calendar after it is produced. There is one chance of winning per email address.

Did we remember to ask you to vote now?

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Postcards from Tanzania

Our "Postcards from Tanzania" project is back!

Donate just $5 to purchase school supplies for a child in Tanzania, and receive a POSTCARD with a hand written "thank you" directly from the Tanzanian child who received your gift of school supplies.

Click HERE for more information about how you can receive your own postcard directly from a Tanzanian child.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hearts in Unity: Coming together for At-Risk Children in Tanzania

To learn more about the mission of Hearts in Unity, please read the wonderful article written by our friends and partners at Vivanista!

Hearts in Unity: Coming together for At-Risk Children in Tanzania

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Share the Love!

Do you have a little extra love in your heart to share with an orphan or other at-risk child in Tanzania?

Sharing your simple words of friendship and encouragement on a postcard can make a greater impact that you could ever imagine.

And now it's even easier to be a part of Hearts in Unity's ongoing "Message from the Heart" program to bring smiles to thousands of children in Tanzania, Africa.

Our new "postcards" can be printed directly from our website at:

Decorating and writing notes on these postcards makes for a wonderful service project for both adults and youth, and for both individuals and groups at schools, churches, etc.

When your postcards/notes are ready, just mail them to Hearts in Unity and we will then send them to the children in our Tanzanian villages of Seela (on Mt. Meru) and Mwika (on Mt. Kilimanjaro).

Have questions about participating in this project?

Learn more about this project at or send us a MESSAGE and we'll help you get started!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Help Us Win $1,000 With Your Click!

Your vote for our "Hearts in Unity" photo in the "Share the Love of Philanthropy" photo contest sponsored by Vivanista will help "Hearts in Unity" to win $1,000 for our mission to help feed children in Tanzania.

It costs you nothing to vote, but we can't win the $1,000 prize without your vote.

You can vote once per day, but voting is open only until February 14th.

The photo with the most votes will win the prize!

To register your vote, simply...

(1) Go to

(2) Click the "VOTE NOW" button.

That's it!

You can vote once per day through Monday, February 14th, so hurry and click your daily vote!

Please cast your vote and encourage your friends to vote, too. Together, with our hearts in unity, we really have a good chance to win this $1,000 prize to help feed the children in our Tanzanian villages.

Thank you for your support in this effort to help feed the children of Tanzania!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hope in a Corn Crop

It’s early November in Tanzania, Africa – high on Mt. Meru. The annual corn crops have been planted everywhere there is available land – in large and small farm fields; in fields both on level ground and on steep hills. Corn is an important staple food in this region.

By early November, there are fields with corn plants that have grown to a height of just a few feet, and fields with plants stretching up to 5 feet into the air. The corn is planted in hand tilled and hand planted rows separated by shallow troughs to aid in irrigation when it does rain.

There is green everywhere, unlike so many of the prior years when seasonal rains never really came at all and grass and crops alike were withered and brown from the ongoing drought.

But the green on Mt. Meru this year is deceiving. Hopes were high a few weeks ago when there were several days in a row with light rains, but the rain never amounted to anything significant enough to soak deep into the soil. Scoop up a handful of the dirt in these farm fields, and it is light as dust, carried on the breeze that only gives temporary relief from the heat of the African sun.

Look closely at the corn crops and there is no real corn to harvest. By late November, the abundant rains needed to nourish these crops had not materialized. There are no tassels at the tops of so many of the corn plants, and the corn stalks that do have tassels bear only immature and underdeveloped cobs of corn.

By the end of November and the tail end of this “rainy season,” and with a resolute acceptance that is heartbreaking to watch, the villagers head out with machetes in hand, and begin to cut the drought damaged corn and clear their fields. They have given up hope for this year’s corn harvest. There will be no fruits from their months of labors. The corn crop has failed yet again.

In a sad twist of fate, the corn stalks and drought damaged corn will become a supplemental food source for the local livestock. But even for cattle, the nutrient value of the corn stalks and drought damaged corn is minimal.

As sustenance farmers living high on the slopes Mt. Meru, the people simply cannot afford to give up and become the victims of another failed crop. With their unwavering faith and simple acceptance that “God will provide” they resolutely head again to their now cleared farm fields, hoes in hand, to plant the seeds for the crop of the next growing season… potatoes.

But they are not simply planting the seeds for potatoes… they are planting seeds of hope.