Monday, December 20, 2010

Random Acts of Kindness

Simple random acts of kindness are especially contagious – you do something nice for someone, and it sets the mood for that person to carry that kindness forward to another person. And so on… And so on... And so on…

I was in the store about a couple months ago, and grocery bill for the gentleman in front of me came to $20.03. He had a $20 bill in his hand, and started to fumble in his pocket for an additional 3-cents, only to find that all he had was another $20 bill. The cashier looked at him with a look of “don’t you have a smaller bill?” and he looked back apologetically.

Without much thought, I reached into my pocket and pulled out a nickel and handed it to the cashier. The gentleman seemed almost embarrassed, and kindly insisted that I didn’t need to do that. I told him with a warm smile “It’s ok – just pass it on next time you see someone who needs 3-cents.” We both chuckled and he went on his way. Just a simple act of kindness. Nothing big.

A couple of weeks after that, I took my daughter to her friend’s farm where she helps care for the horses for her friend’s family. She was brushing one of the horses, and I was standing nearby watching. Her friend’s father came into the barn. When he saw us, he smiled and said hello. I had met him only once before, but never really had a chance to sit and chat. We got to talking, and at one point, he laughed and with a smile, he remarked, “Hey, by the way, thanks for the 3-cents at the store. I really wasn’t looking forward to getting $19.97 in change.” Ahhh – that’s why he looked familiar! But when I was in the store, I couldn’t place where I had seen or met him before.

I told him, ”No problem” -- a bit embarrassed myself that I hadn’t recognized him earlier when we were in line in the store. When I asked him kiddingly if he had found someone else along the way who had needed 3-cents, his face lit up and he proceeded to tell me a story of how he was at the gas station a few days after that, and had done the same thing to help another customer in line -- with a dollar-bill. He said he remembered that I mentioned to “pay it forward”.

Just a simple act of kindness.

Amazing… The ripple of kindness spreading as with a drop of water into a pond.

You may never know the full impact that your simple act of kindness will have as it gets carried forward to others. But isn’t enough to know that you have the power, with one simple act of kindness, to make a difference in the lives of others?

You can truly be an inspiration to others. What simple act of kindness have you shared?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"Messages from the Heart"

Thousands of cards and letters containing greetings and notes of friendship and encouragement have been distributed to the children of Tanzania, Africa within the last month.

Each child receiving a "Message from the Heart" from someone elsewhere in the world.

Each child knowing that someone cares, and that they are loved.

Click on the following link: "Messages from the Heart" to see our latest video clip of the Tanzanian children receiving their cards and letters.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Social Networking Sabatical

This summer I took a one-month sabatical from all marketing and electronic social networking. No Twitter tweets. No Facebook updates. No blog writing. No updates to the Hearts in Unity website. No newsletters. No video productions. No presentations at schools, churches and to other organizations.

I wanted to prepare my heart and mind for my upcoming return to Tanzania. I wanted to take time to think about the beginning of Hearts in Unity years ago, and where we have come so far in this mission. I wanted quiet time to contemplate the future of the Tanzanian children we support, and to consider how we might best be a part of their future.

I wasn't sure how the sabatical month would play out. Those of us who have delved into the social networking realm find it a natural and rewarding part of our daily lives. It's a wonderful way for an organization like Hearts in Unity to keep all of our supporters apprised of the wonderful progress we are making in our mission to help feed, clothe and educate the children of Tanzania, Africa. It is exciting to talk about this mission and to watch as more and more people open their hearts to the precious children of Tanzania.

It is also exhausting. Mission work is not for the weak.

During this self-imposed social networking sabatical, the world didn't come to an end. There was really no "hole" in my life. It was in fact, one of the best things I have done (or haven't done, in this case) for a long time. I feel rested and rejuvinated and ready for the return to Tanzania, Africa to continue this work.

And while I worried about the mission slipping into obscurity without these regular networking updates to our friends around the world following and supporting this mission, my worries were in vain.

Once I dipped my toe into the familiar waters of marketing and social networking for the mission of Hearts in Unity, I found that our Tanzanian children were still in the hearts of our Hearts in Unity family.

People continued to inquire about how they could help. Our mailbox continued to be filled with letters and postcards for our Tanzanian children. People continued to sew and send us the simple fabric school bags they were making for the children. Our knitters continued to knit warm hats for our kids living high on Mt. Meru and Mt. Kilimanjaro. Pen pal letters continued back and forth to kids in our villages.

It's amazing and I am encouraged.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook as we travel back "home" to Tanzania. Our children our waiting with anticipation. Welcome to Tanzania!

www.heartsinunity.org
www.twitter.com/heartsinunity
www.facebook.com/heartsinunity

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Receive a Postcard from a Tanzanian Child

Hearts in Unity is offering a unique opportunity for you to help in the education support of an orphan or at-risk child in Tanzania, Africa, and in return receive a postcard of thanks directly from that Tanzanian child.

Hearts in Unity representatives will be returning to Tanzania again in November 2010. For each $5 donation you make to Hearts in Unity before October 15, 2010, we will purchase -- on your behalf -- a postcard, postage stamp and school supplies (pens, pencils, paper/notebook) when we arrive in Tanzania.

We will present your gift of school supplies to a child in one of our Tanzanian villages. The child will then write a thank you note to you on the postcard, and we’ll mail the postcard to you directly from Tanzania, Africa.

To learn more information and to participate in this special project, please visit the Postcards from Tanzania page of our website.

Do you have room in your heart to reach out to a child in Tanzania?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

An Encouraging Word

It's amazing!

In just 3 short weeks since we announced our partnership with Postcrossing.com, we have already received over 100 postcards with wonderful, heartfelt messages of encouragement and friendship for the orphan and at-risk children in our Tanzanian villages!

Our grateful thanks for the postcards we have already received from those in:
Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, England, Finland, Germany, Helvetia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, Ukraine, and the USA
We at Hearts in Unity are sincerely humbled by the outpouring of love that has been shown towards these precious third-world children who have so little.

The postcards that have already been delivered were placed in the hands of Tanzanian children looking up with huge smiles of anticipation on their faces. Imagine the delight as they looked at the pictures on the postcards and listened as the written greetings were read to them. Their eyes lighting up in wonder as they saw phrases in their native language of Swahili written by someone in another country so far away.

Postcrossers are truly a special group of people who have hearts of gold! On behalf of the children, ASANTE SANA -- THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts!

To learn more about how you can send postcards with notes of encouragement to the orphan and at-risk children of Tanzania, check out the blog on Postcrossing.com

To learn more about how you can become part of the Postcrossing community, so that you, too can send and receive postcards from wonderful people like these all over the world, visit www.postcrossing.com.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Postcards from the World

We are pleased to announce our newest partner in our mission to help the orphan and at-risk children in Tanzania Africa. Karibu! Welcome to all of our new friends at:
www.postcrossing.com
Through this new partnership, people around the world will be able to send words of encouragement and friendship on postcards that will be hand-delivered to the children in our Tanzanian villages.

It's a wonderfully heartwarming way to show these children that they are loved and that people care about them.

Read all about the project and learn how you, too, can send a postcard to one of these precious children...
"At Postcrossing HQ we are always looking for ways to do good through postcards. Today we are happy to share with you a simple but very powerful way to ignite big smiles..." (read more...)
For more information about Hearts in Unity, and our "Messages from the Heart" project, please visit us at Hearts in Unity

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sights on a Cow

There is a very special group of students at Kennedy Middle School who have their sights on a cow. And they have embarked on their own unique journey to help make a difference in the lives of orphan and other at-risk children on the other side of the world in Tanzania. Africa.

What set these children on this path?

For the third year in a row, Hearts in Unity was warmly welcomed to the classrooms of Mr. D's "Foods" classes at Kennedy Middle School. While listening to stories of life in Tanzania, Africa, the students had a hands-on lesson on how to prepare several traditional Tanzanian foods... chapati (flatbread), ugali (stiff porridge), and mchzi wa mboga (vegetable stew). Yum!

Take a look....

video

(If you are not able to view the video above, CLICK HERE)

So what is the connection to the cow?

Hearts in Unity helps to support the students and teachers at 2 schools in northern Tanzania. When meeting with the teachers at Seela Primary School on Mt. Meru this past November, we asked what more we could do to help them, as teachers, to teach the 1,000 children at the school in this remote village.

Expecting a discussion about the ongoing need for additional textbooks, school supplies and other teaching materials, we were surprised with the request they shared.

After much thoughtful consideration, one of the teachers stood and humbly relayed the request of the teachers -- a request for two cows.

Two cows? Did we misunderstand?

The teacher went on to explain....

He reminded us of what it is like to live in this region of Tanzania, the 5th poorest country in the world. A single meal per day is reality for many of the children in this remote village. Neither the school nor the parents of these students have financial means with which to provide a daily lunch to the students at the school. The hunger these children live with is compounded by the long, exhausting walk up the mountain that so many children travel to the school each day -- more than 5 miles each way for some students.

And the connection to the request for two cows?

The teachers, responsible for their classroom of 75 or more students, are not able to effectively teach when the most at-risk children arrive at school hungry and exhausted -- only to faint when they finally reach the classroom.

And when a child faints, there is no school nurse. The teacher must care for that child... leaving the rest of the class to wait. Teaching on hold. Sometimes for hours.

And the 2 cows?

It's a simple solution, even if barely adequate. Having 2 cows would give the teachers the ability to offer a small cup of milk to the children at greatest risk for fainting at school due to hunger and exhaustion.

A simple cup of milk when they arrive at school. A way to help the poorest of the poor children to get through the school day. A way to help keep the teachers in the classroom doing what they are there to do and what love to do. To teach.

And so, as the hearts of the Kennedy Middle School children open to the children of Tanzania, they have set their sights on raising enough money for Hearts in Unity to purchase a cow as a gift for the students and teachers of this Tanzanian school.

Children reaching out to making a difference in the lives of children on the other side of the world. It's heartwarming.

To learn more about how you can help feed the children of Tanzania, visit us at Hearts in Unity.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Mail's Here

Check out the latest "Hearts in Unity" blog in our local community newspaper...
"The Mail's Here"

Friday, February 5, 2010

Father's Love Letter

Asante sana. Wanasuhkuru. We are so thankful to all who have opened their hearts to the orphans and at-risk children of Tanzania, Africa, through our mission at "Hearts in Unity"

Each of these precious children need to know...

they are MY children,
they are YOUR children,
they are OUR children.

And all are God's children, too.

The following "Father's Love Letter" reminds not only the children of the world, but also reminds each one of us, that we are loved.

The letter "Barua ya upendo wa Baba" is also available in Swahili. (http://fathersloveletter.com/Swahili/textswahili.html)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

My Child,

You may not know me, but I know everything about you.
Psalm 139:1

I know when you sit down and when you rise up.
Psalm 139:2

I am familiar with all your ways.
Psalm 139:3

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered.
Matthew 10:29-31

For you were made in my image.
Genesis 1:27

In me you live and move and have your being.
Acts 17:28

For you are my offspring.
Acts 17:28

I knew you even before you were conceived.
Jeremiah 1:4-5

I chose you when I planned creation.
Ephesians 1:11-12

You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book.
Psalm 139:15-16

I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live.
Acts 17:26

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Psalm 139:14

I knit you together in your mother's womb.
Psalm 139:13

And brought you forth on the day you were born.
Psalm 71:6

I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me.
John 8:41-44

I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love.
1 John 4:16

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you.
1 John 3:1

Simply because you are my child and I am your Father.
1 John 3:1

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could.
Matthew 7:11

For I am the perfect father.
Matthew 5:48

Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand.
James 1:17

For I am your provider and I meet all your needs.
Matthew 6:31-33

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.
Jeremiah 29:11

Because I love you with an everlasting love.
Jeremiah 31:3

My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore.
Psalms 139:17-18

And I rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

I will never stop doing good to you.
Jeremiah 32:40

For you are my treasured possession.
Exodus 19:5

I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul.
Jeremiah 32:41

And I want to show you great and marvelous things.
Jeremiah 33:3

If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me.
Deuteronomy 4:29

Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4

For it is I who gave you those desires.
Philippians 2:13

I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine.
Ephesians 3:20

For I am your greatest encourager.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you.
Psalm 34:18

As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart.
Isaiah 40:11

One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes.
Revelation 21:3-4

And I'll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth.
Revelation 21:3-4

I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus.
John 17:23

For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed.
John 17:26

He is the exact representation of my being.
Hebrews 1:3

He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you.
Romans 8:31

And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you.
1 John 4:10

I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love.
Romans 8:31-32

If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me.
1 John 2:23

And nothing will ever separate you from my love again.
Romans 8:38-39

Come home and I'll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen.
Luke 15:7

I have always been Father, and will always be Father.
Ephesians 3:14-15

My question is… Will you be my child?
John 1:12-13

I am waiting for you.
Luke 15:11-32

Love, Your Dad
Almighty God

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Thank you to fathersloveletter.com for reminding us of this love.

Friday, January 29, 2010

A Tanzanian Meal

Do you like to cook? Do you like to try new recipes?

If you live in the Menomonee Falls or Germantown area (Wisconsin, USA), registration is now open for our Hearts in Unity "Tanzanian Cooking" class through the Village Recreation Department. See page 27 of the current brochure for information about the class, and page 40 for the class registration form.

We'll be making several traditional Tanzanian foods:
- chapati (flatbread)
- ugali (cornmeal porridge)
- mchuzi wa mboga (vegetable stew) and
- chai (Tanzanian tea)!

And after we finish cooking, we'll sit down together to eat our Tanzanian meal!

Yum!

Even if you can't join us for the class, you can still get a
"taste of Tanzania" in your own home.

Check out the recipes on our website!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Tanzania to Haiti with a Song

We tell the story of the mission of Hearts in Unity over and over.... of our dedication to help feed, clothe and educate the orphan and at-risk children in our villages on Mt. Meru and Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa.

We invite people to open their hearts to our Tanzanian children and to join us making a difference as we change lives... one precious child at a time.

Sometimes, however, a non-profit organization can get so entrenched in the mission that they have committed not only to paper but also to their hearts, that they lose sight of the basic foundation of the work that they are doing.

Isn't every charitable organization really built on a foundation of helping others in need? A foundation of caring and sharing?

I admire the non-profit organizations that keep their mission close to the heart, but who react with swift and decisive action to adjust to the ever-changing and urgent needs of the world that we live in.

One has to look no farther than organizations such as the American Red Cross, or World Vision, or Soles for Souls -- and their current focus on and committment to those in Haiti -- to see a ground swell of hearts opened to helping others. The efforts of organizations such as these are a testament to the impact and difference that our individual contributions CAN make when we come together in unity for others.

At Hearts in Unity, we don't want to lose sight of our mission to help the children of Tanzania, but at the same time, who would we be if we were to close our eyes and turn on backs on the children of Haiti?

In this time when there are so many children around the world with an urgent need for food, clothing and shelter, we at Hearts in Unity want to do our part to help the children of Haiti just as so many around the world have reached out to help our children in Tanzania.

And it is in this spirit that we are so very pleased to announce that, for the next 2 weeks, our long-time partner CDBaby will make a Haitian Earthquake Relief donation of $1 to the American Red Cross for each of our Roland Maanga "Omba!" music CD's purchased online.

In addition, Hearts in Unity will also donate an additional $2 to the American Red Cross for each online "Omba!" CD purchase through CDBaby. The remainder of the purchase price of every CD goes directly to the ongoing programs through Hearts in Unity to continue to help feed, clothe and educate the children of Tanzania.
Produced by Hearts in Unity, the "Omba!" music CD features original Tanzanian music by Roland Maanga, accomplished musician and the Tanzanian co-director of Hearts in Unity. The song lyrics are mostly in Swahili, but the music itself transcends all language barriers. Besides, each CD includes a wonderful booklet with all of the song lyrics in Swahili and English so you can sing along!

Listen to song clips on the CDBaby website, and feel the joyous beat of hearts overflowing with compassion for the children of the world as this amazing music flows around and through you. The music will fill your soul with the same hope that we wish for the precious children of Tanzania -- and now also, for the Haitian children who need your support now more than ever.

The children of the world are MY children... they are YOUR children... they are OUR children.

Let's join together, with hearts in unity, to make a difference. Take a stand for the children of the world and purchase a music CD for yourself and one for someone in your life that you hold dear in your heart.

Until next time, I'll leave you with a favorite quote from Charlotte Lunsford...

"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."

Asante sana -- Thank you very much.

Barnes and Noble coupons are always available for literary donations to deserving children.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Destination Tanzania!

Attention all world travelers
(and yes, world traveler "want-to be's" are certainly included)!

Today's destination?

Tanzania, Africa – home to the precious orphan and at-risk children who are held so close at heart by all those who support the mission of Hearts in Unity.

Let us give you a brief tour... Tanzania is the proud home to:
Mt. Kilimanjaro -- At 19,000 feet, it is the highest point in Africa and a destination for some of the world's most adventurous and dedicated climbers.

The "Big Five" -- lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, rhino. "Big Five" is a term originally coined by big-game hunters to refer to the five most difficult animals in Africa to hunt on foot, but is used commonly now by most tourist and wildlife guides that discuss wildlife safaris.

Some of the most beautiful national parks in the world are in Tanzania (Our Hearts in Unity website includes videos of some of the national parks and also includes links to the official websites for each national park in Tanzania).
Located in East Africa, the eastern border of the country is on the coast of the Indian Ocean. Tanzania is also bordered by 9 other countries including: Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mosambique, Malawi and the island of Madascar. The island of Zanzibar, along with mainland Tanzania, make up the United Repuplic of Tanzania.

The influx of refugees from neighboring Rwanda, Burundi and Congo over the last decade has placed a heavy burden on a country already struggling to care for its own people. Tanzania is the 5th poorest country in the world with families living in heartbreaking poverty -- struggling to survive on an average household income of less than $1 a day.

$1 a day?
Can one even buy a cup of coffee these days for less than $1?

Maybe "living on less than $1 a day" in Tanzania is easier to comprehend when put it into some sort of familiar context.

Let's compare it to poverty in the United States. Our government has established that the "poverty level" for a family of 4 is approximately $21,000 per year -- or about $58 a day. Yes, it's all relative, and one must put the numbers into context, but the difference between $1 a day and $58 a day is both striking and alarming by any measure.

But for all the ways that this crushing poverty affects the daily lives of the people in Tanzania, they are a people rich in culture and hospitality. Perhaps they don't know what they are missing -- other than the basics of life such as food, clothing and education for their children.

But they seem to have their priorities in order. Their foundation is their family. Their strength is in their faith. Their hope is in a better future for their children. Though complicated in so many ways due to the poverty of the generations before them, their lives are simple.
And they simply need our help.

To learn more about the many ways that you can join us is in making a difference in the lives of the orphans and at-risk children of Tanzania, please visit our Hearts in Unity website.

Asante sana – Thank you very much.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Travel with us on Twitter!

Check out our "tweets" on Twitter! You don't need to have your own Twitter account to read the exciting updates on our mission. Just click onto our Twitter website and read all the latest!

Follow us on Facebook!

Join our new "Hearts in Unity" group on Facebook and get all the latest updates on our mission to help the precious children of Tanzania!

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Partnership with "Cards for Kids"

Hearts in Unity is delighted to announce our new partnership with "Cards for Kids" -- an organization started by an amazing teenager who is dedicated to the creation of handmade and painted cards for children around the world who are facing poverty, homelessness, or difficult circumstances.

We just received in the mail our second package of beautiful hand-made cards from Haley and her friends at "Cards for Kids" which we will be sending to the orphans and at-risk children in our Tanzanian villages of Seela and Mwika.

These cards really do bring smiles -- and will be treasured by the children in Tanzania who will receive them.

Please visit the "Cards for Kids" website to learn more about our newest partner.

Become a fan of "Cards for Kids" on Facebook just like we are and read all about "Cards for Kids" in a recent news article.

When we join together, with hearts in unity for the children of the world, we can truly make a difference and change lives!

We welcome you to join us in this mission!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A New Year's Resolution

As you reflect on a the year gone past... and contemplate the year to come... consider the following...

"So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they're busy doing things they think are important. This is because they're chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning." -Morrie Schwartz-
Imagine the impact we could have on the world if we EACH were to make a New Year's resolution to do just ONE small thing to make a difference in the life of another.

A random act of kindness.
A friendly offer to help.
A word of encouragement.


It's really quite simple. And we can help you to help another.

All it takes is a pen, paper, a postage stamp and a few minutes of your time. Simple words of encouragement, written from your heart, can give hope to an orphan or other at-risk child in Tanzania, Africa.

It's a new year. Start it out with Hearts in Unity.

Visit us at http://www.heartsinunity.org/Message.html to help make a difference in the life of a precious child in need of your encouragement.