Tuesday, February 2, 2016


I have put off writing this for a long time. I think about writing it constantly but despite my hands’ desire to write it, my brain refuses to let them take to the keyboard. However, today is the day. My hands are taking control and my brain is nothing but a passenger in the car. Hope you’ll join us for the ride! You know I never fail to bring adventure, right? :)

So, this is a 2-part entry.  Shocking, right? After the EPIC WATERMELON SAGA , I know you expect nothing less than a 8 chapter novel!  However, this time is different.  It’s 2-part because the stories are so opposite I don’t want them to share a screen. I don’t want them to be anywhere near each other for fear of one contaminating the other. Part 1 is The Sweet because good news needs to be shared first.  Part 2 is The Bitter.

I would have and should have announced this MONTHS ago but once you read part 2 (The Bitter) you will be far more forgiving of the delay… I hope.  However, without further delay.. let me tell you the sweet sweet news…

We did it! We made this happen and I’m SOOOO proud of everyone!!!! It has been an incredible journey (I cringe using this word as it’s been overused by every reality show on TV but it does seem appropriate for the adventures that have happened to make this a reality!) There have been oh soooo many ups and downs… so many obstacles overcome… socks pulled up… tears dried…  screams yelled… hugs given... laughs spilled… and love shared but through it all, WE.KEPT.GOING.  We all kept going.  You kept believing in us and we kept giving it our very best!  I personally cannot ever thank any one of you enough for your support, in the form of encouragement, hugs, a sympathetic ear, financial donations, equipment donations and all you did to help us spread the word! Without everyone’s commitment, we never would have accomplished this incredible feat! So, from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!!!

I now I need to take a minute to toot Tabitha and Victor's horn! I wish everyone could meet them!! They are an incredible duo who I have had the privilege to work with! They are the definition of a TROOPER!! They never gave up or gave in and in the end, Tabitha and Victor made this happen!! Throughout construction, they were on site every day, working alongside the contractors.  Through one of the rainiest rainy seasons, they were there! In the burning hot sun, they were there…   And as of October, ground that had just been officially broken in April, held a beautiful COMMUNITY CENTRE complete with an attached living quaters!  It may not sound like much but the amount of love, sweat and tears that have gone into making it happen makes it priceless! Check out more picture HERE!! It's beautiful! 

Our next step is to start running a nursery school in the building. It will be in the mornings and the plan is to keep our amazing after school sports program running in the neighbouring town until we are ready to move it on-site. Tabitha is just in the process of getting the benches and tables made and hopefully by February we can officially open our doors to the first class of nursery school students at Hero Home!! From there, the possibilities are endless! Our future plans definitely include workshops and seminars for community members, tutoring for students, and anything that can have a positive impact for the community!

That’s the amazing Tanzania news! Now on to Rwanda where the news keeps getting better and better with every visit!

In 2008, we broke ground on two little classrooms so we could help Marceline move her 80 students from her front porch to a beautifully painted, fully equipped classroom.  In 2013, we took it 10 steps further and added a library, books, toys, school supplies, a rain water catchment system, toilets, 7 amazing play structures, and a fence. In 2015, we were able to take it another huge leap further!  Thanks to Marceline’s incredible dedication, we now provide the students with warm, delicious and incredibly nutritious porridge everyone morning! Never did I imagine that we would be able to get to the point of offering a daily breakfast program for the kids but Marceline expected nothing less! The vast majority of the students walk to for 8am  with nothing for breakfast.  The play, learn, sing, and dance in the heat until 11:30, at which time they walk back home.  Some of them may not have their first meal until 1:00pm or 2:00pm.  Marceline saw everyday how this impacted the little kids (aged 3-6) and was committed to doing something about it.  She got parents on board and they contributed a small amount towards buying the porridge supplies – corn flour, sorghum flour, and sugar.  GO! provided some initial funds to buy the cookiing supplies and subsidize the extra costs to make porridge happen.  We decided to do a trial run for the last three months of the school year to see how it could work.  Thanks to Marceline’s dedication, it was AMAZING! She got up at 7am every morning to prepare the porridge and then set it to cool.  The kids then went in shifts around 10am to have a HUGE cup of nutritious porridge! (Sorghum flour is extremely high in protein, iron, fibre and vit B so every cup has huge benefits for the little kids). The parents were thrilled and Marceline could physically see an increase in energy in the students.

The new school year started in January and thanks to extremely generous donations and through the sales of the hand-drawn thank you cards, we have raised enough to cover the 5$/day that it costs to provide porridge for all 87 students! (Yup, you read it right! It costs 5$/day to buy the flour, sugar, water, and cooking fuel to prepare enough porridge for 87 kids!!)  The parents are still contributing towards the costs and we have committed to subsidizing the remaining expenses until we can come up with a way to find the money locally.  This may go slightly against our mission of creating completely self-sufficient projects, but when it comes to providing a healthy breakfast to a 4 year old for 6 cents/day, it's ok to make an exception.

So there you have!! I bet you haven’t read that much good news in one-sitting in a long time!!! When you look at all the saddest and destruction in the world these days, I think it’s always important to remember, there is so many people here and overseas that are doing incredible things for others and are succeeding in making their little corner of the universe a better place. TO ALL OF YOU AND ALL OF THEM, THANK YOU!!!!

Now, whether you read Part 2 (The Bitter) http://amazingamandaintanzania.blogspot.com/2016/02/part-2-bitter.htmlor not, is entirely up to you.  However, regardless of what you read, I do want you all to remember that there are AMAZING people out there doing AMAZING things everyday to make the world a better place! And theirs accomplishments need to be shared and celebrated!!!