Monday, May 25, 2009

Do You Sew?

Education is the key to overcoming the crippling poverty which is part of the daily lives of children in Tanzania. Yet, the educational environment in this third world country makes learning a daily challenge.

Schools, classrooms, teachers and textbooks are in short supply. Classrooms with up to 75 students taught by one teacher are common. As many as five students share a single 4-foot long desk. A single textbook is often shared by as many as 20 students. Several students often share a pencil, or use a pencil that has been cut in half by a parent for two children to use.

Few children in Tanzania are fortunate enough to have a backpack in which to carry their pencil and small notebook for school. Having even a simple fabric school bag is a luxury when a Tanzanian family, often with 6 or more children, is struggling to survive on an average income of just $1 a day.

How can you help?

Hearts in Unity is seeking volunteers who would like to participate in a project to sew simple fabric school bags for the children at Seela Primary School and Maring’a Juu Primary School in northern Tanzania, Africa.

This is a wonderful project for both individuals and for sewing/quilting clubs, church groups, scout troops and anyone else who loves to sew.

If you are interested in learning more about helping with this project, please visit our website at www.heartsinunity.org and click on the “How Can I Help” tab at the top of the web page. Additional information and the instructions/pattern for the school bag are on the website, along with Hearts in Unity contact information if you have additional questions.

Karibu! We welcome you to join us in showing these Tanzanian children that people all around the world care about them.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Tapestry of Our Lives

Have you ever taken a close look at a piece of tapestry?
It is uniquely representative of the “fabric” of our lives.

On one side is an intricate design of stitches. The different colors of threads are our family, our friends, our teachers and mentors, our faith, our hopes and our dreams – interwoven together in comforting unity. The beautiful design is a pattern for the path and plan for our lives.

Turn it over, and the underside is a mass of loose ends, frayed threads, knots, and seemingly random stitches… designs and images that are not clear because of the bold presence of the many surrounding “imperfections.”

So often, we narrow the view of our own life to the underside of our tapestry. We focus on our circumstances, problems, inconveniences, struggles, and life’s roadblocks and we label these as the imperfections which impede our progress towards a meaningful and rewarding life. And in doing so, we lose sight of the other side... of the beautiful top-side of the tapestry.

For the children of Tanzania, heartbreaking poverty and a perpetual lack of access to adequate food, clothing and education are the imperfections of life that make up the underside of their tapestry.

Yet, for all of the struggles of their daily lives, they have the faith to believe, and the courage to trust that all of the knots and loose ends that are so visible on the underside of the tapestry are actually part of something spectacular -- even if it is not readily apparent to them at any point in time. The people of Tanzania have a strength of faith that continually reminds them of the beauty that is theirs to behold on the other side of their tapestry.

What are the struggles of your life? Do you let them overpower the joy in discovering the amazing path of the plan for your life?

Which side of the tapestry do you live on?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Nyumba Yangu... My Home

Where we live is not who we are.

The precious children of Tanzania may live in a house made of mud and sticks with a dirt floor and a thatch roof. Their house may be made of rough hewn lumber with slats between the boards wide enough to peer through. Their house may be constructed from handmade bricks and a tin roof.

These are the houses of Tanzania – the houses of these children, the houses of their relatives, the houses of their teachers, and the houses of their friends. However, it doesn't matter what their HOUSE is actually made of.

What really matters is the picture of their HOME as they see it in their minds and feel it in their hearts. They may not have much of a HOUSE, but their HOMES are built of love and faith and hope.

Isn't that the way it should be?

Below is a sneak preview of part of a new collection of artwork by the children of Seela Primary School and Maring’a Juu Primary School in Tanzania. We hope that you enjoy this show of selected pieces of artwork from their “Nyumba Yangu” (My Home) collection.

Soon, hundreds of pieces of artwork like these will be published in an online Art Gallery for you and the world to see. Drawn with delight by the children of these two schools, their labors of love are a gift for all of the people of the world, who have joined together, with “hearts in unity” to help care for the orphan and at-risk children of Tanzania.

We are excited about the pending international release of this art collection. We welcome you to visit our blog regularly to watch for updates as this and other amazing projects unfold.

Karibu! Welcome to the preview of this special art show...

(Be sure to turn on your speakers so you can listen to the children in the village of Seela singing for you while you watch the show)

video

Visit our blog again soon for more information. To receive an email alert when the Art Gallery is LIVE online, please visit our website at www.heartsinunity.org and send us an email request from there.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Connecting through Divine Caroline

Hearts in Unity is a member of the DivineCaroline community and publishes on www.divinecaroline.com. We think you may like to read their work.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Girl Scouts Rock!

Girl Scout Troop #944 (from Amy Belle School) recently learned about cooking Tanzania-style. They rolled up their sleeves and made chapati (flat bread), ugali (porridge) mchuzi wa mboga (vegetable stew) while learning about foods and meal preparation in Tanzania.

They also opened their hearts to the children of Tanzania, and through their generous donation, we will be able to feed a meal of ugali to another 750 hungry children in the remote villages of Tanzania!

It’s amazing what we can do to help others in need when we join together with our hearts in unity! Girl Scouts rock!

Check out the girls as they make their chapati!

video

Friday, May 1, 2009

Feeding 1,000 Children

Lunch at school seems simple enough. Feed a child's stomach and feed their mind. While there are some schools in Tanzania able to serve students a simple lunch of uji (a thin corn flour porridge) or ugali (a thicker porridge), there are many schools that can not afford this luxury.

The availability of a meal at school ultimately depends on the financial means of the children's parents. But with an average household income of less than $1 a day, paying for a school lunch -- especially when there are often 6 or more children in a family -- is often an expense that families can not bear.

This is the case at Seela Primary School on Mt. Meru in Tanzania.

The teachers tried to start a lunch program for the 1,000 students at this elementary school. But they were met with only the soulful eyes and empty pockets of parents who also wanted nothing more than to feed their children. The parents, however, didn't even have a tin of corn flour with which to to feed their own families, much less an extra amount to send to the school.

So the children are hungry. They arrive at school at 7:00 am to clean the classrooms and school grounds. There is no money to pay a custodian. Then they attend classes from 8:00 am until 4:00 pm.

There is time set aside for a "lunch break" at the school. Children who are lucky enough to live close to the school may wander home to see if there is any food available. Often there is not, and they will get their all-too-common one meal of the day in the evening after gathering firewood and fetching water from the river for the family to use in preparing a meal. Then they will do their homework before sleeping.

For those who live far from the school and walk many miles to and from school each day, there is no time to walk home with a hope that their will be food to eat.

But imagine a Tanzanian child's smile at the sight of a lunch served at school.

This is just what the students at Kennedy Middle School have done.

The students in Mr. Demers six "Foods" classes imagined the hungry children in Tanzania. And they opened their hearts to these children and reached in their own pockets to make a donation to feed the 1,000 children at Seela Primary School a meal for one day.

The 7th grade students in the 5th hour/gold class recently presented the donation to Hearts in Unity. We extend our grateful thanks to the generous students at KMS who have looked at the blessings of their own lives, and who have reached out to help those who are less fortunate.

To learn more about how you, or your school, church or community group can help feed the children of Tanzania, please visit our website at: http://www.heartsinunity.org/Feed.html

KMS students pictured above include: Emily A, Sara B, Rebecca B, Allison B, Edward B, Reed G, Ben G, Brian H, Jacob H, Britney H, Ben K. Matthew K, Taylor K, Sydney M, Abdulwasae M, Zachary N, Ashley S, Sara S, Tyler T, Joseph T, Dimitrios T, Jacob T, Brianna U, Hunter V, Alexia W, Robert W, Rebekah W.
Thanks to all and to Mr. Demers too!