Thursday, December 28th

Thursday,  December 29th

Hey guys! My name is Emma and I am one of the students on this trip! I’ll be sharing about our day today. Today was our first full day in Tanzania. We were all a little jet lagged this morning, but were eager to start the day and experience Tanzania! Today was spent at the Feathertail Children’s home. This is a home for kids with special needs. We didn’t really know what to expect, but were immediately blown away by the work that the home is doing. Our biggest takeaway of spending time at this home was the beautiful and genuine love that the workers there give to the children. The way that Habiba and Stephen (the therapists) interacted with the kids was absolutely amazing.

They got down on the children’s level and knew all of them like they were their own. They not only provide medical care/physical needs of the children, but they also give the children love which is just as important, if not more important. The kiddos melted our hearts right away. They had the most beautiful smiles and light in their eyes. Having a home for special needs children is a massive need. We learned today that a common belief of the Maasai (a large tribal group in Tanzania) is that if they have a child with special needs, they are not right with God. Because of this belief, it is common for the Maasai to abandon their special needs children. This home takes those kids in and provides for them. They never turn anyone away and even as the children age, they still have a place there. We got a full tour of the home and then ran a clinic for any of the children that they had concerns with or needed an opinion on. We did an assessment and discussed a care plan for each child. We saw a lot of kids with cerebral palsy and\or hydrocephalus. While the home does an incredible job of caring for the kids there, they do not have all of the resources to prevent poor outcomes of these conditions. We felt guilty that we have so many resources to make cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus much more manageable than what they are able to do here. We had to focus on how to further prevent harm rather than stop it from the start. This broke our hearts and has weighed heavily on us. Vincent was one of the kiddos that we saw today with hydrocephalus. He had the most beautiful eyes and a smile that lit up the room. We all adored him and enjoyed interacting with him. Calvin was another little boy that we saw today. Calvin has hydrocephalus too; however, he did not have a shunt that drained the extra spinal fluid in his head. Because of this, Calvin had a very enlarged skull and the excess pressure is causing him to have suspected seizure activity. Calvin’s condition broke our hearts and we are going to try and refer him to a neurologist and pediatrician to take Calvin’s care further so that he does not have further brain damage. Despite Calvin’s deteriorating condition, he gave us the biggest smiles. Something that surprised us today was that the entire home is run by Tanzanians. The founder of this home knew that the home would only be successful if Tanzanians were managing it. The impact of this was very evident to us today. It warmed our hearts that local Tanzanians are choosing to support these special needs kids in their community. It just goes to show that the people here want the best for their country and are working hard to make a difference. Even when they don’t have resources, they get creative and make their own equipment. All of the wheel chairs that you see in the photos are handmade in Tanzania. We greatly admire the love that this home pours into each of the kiddos everyday. Today was amazing and we are looking forward to our next clinic tomorrow with full hearts. We are grateful that God gave these kids a home and gave all of the workers the hearts to love them.