Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Parade


  After weeks of faithful practice and preparation, Sunday, Dec. 2, the day of the parade, finally arrived. All of the children lined up in their formations, and marched out of the gates of the City of Hope at 3:00pm. The preparation included Imani Chacha working with the children in his drum line, Libby Hase working with the dancers and Alaina Ledyard working with the flags.  Greta Ledyard helped out the percussion by directing the children in making shakers from bamboo. They marched, danced, sang and played their instruments through the villages of Ntagatcha and Borega, stopping at the markets in the center of the village to perform. Kyle Ledyard and Richard Murray drove the truck and the tractor between villages. Since Sunday is market day in Borega, the roads were packed with people. This experience was challenging in that none of the children had ever done anything like this before but very rewarding. We want to thank Martinsville High School for donating the marching drums and carriers.  The community was amazed to see these strong, healthy children, full of life, hope and confidence. It is such a contrast to how the children were when they first arrived in March of 2009.  

    Now we are looking forward to Dec. 18th, when we are having a Christmas celebration for the community.  We have collected gifts for the children from their sponsors and also candy and pencils to be given out to the children in the community. We have also had several beef cows donated for the feast. We are targeting those who are most needy in the community. Christmas is such an exciting time at Teamwork City of Hope!!! 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Very Beginning

We can still remember it like it was yesterday; the day the children finally came to the City of Hope! Teamwork City of Hope began with an idea in 2007, everything between then and the day the children arrived in February 2009, had been simply preparation for the awaited day! Countless hours were spent in constructing buildings, collecting supplies, and preparing a new home for the orphaned children. Blood, sweat, and tears of volunteers from all over went into the newly established project. Expectations were high, and the sky seemed to be the limit! Thanks to the effort, money, and prayers given by so many, the day had finally arrived.

Hundreds of people had walked for miles and miles, from all over the countryside of Tanzania, in order to attend the momentous occasion. Aunts, uncles, grandfathers and grandmothers, family members and friends all wanted their children to be the first to grow up at the City of Hope.  The laughter of children filled the air, and joy filled the hearts of the staff of the City of Hope! Finally, the children’s home would be filled!

This day was to be celebrated with a feast, as most occasions in Tanzania are. The meal consisted rice and beef, a delicacy in the area. The meal was to be served at noon, but early on, we could tell we had many more children than we expected to feed, and even more, far too many children to accept into our children’s home.

After several months of finding and selecting the children with the greatest need, we settled on fifty of them. Unfortunately, many more people showed up in hopes of their name being called. They had hope for a brighter future. At last the climatic moment had arrived; the names where called out. The children were given new uniforms and showed to their new home. Their smiles were wider then ever as they slowly began to realize that they would sleep on a bed for the first time. Some of the children had never even seen a bed before and where accustomed to sleeping on the floor, others were used to sharing a mattress with their entire family. The new children had also been blessed with stuffed animals as well. Some of which, were made by the generous hands of our supporters. It was a happy day for so many! It marked the day they received a loving family with many brothers and sisters.

They could finally rest in safety: no longer searching for shelter or food. This day represented a future with no limit. We where able to provide them with the opportunity to learn and grow in a safe environment.

Unfortunately, this was not the same for every child. Because were not yet able to operate at full capacity, over 300 children were turned away. Our goal is to one day fulfill the dreams of all those children who left that day. We are growing daily because of people’s generosity, and have since nearly doubled our numbers.

The children we have now, are remarkable. Their stories are heart wrenching, but their futures bright! They have overcome great hardships in their young lives, but they refuse to let their circumstances hold them back. We can still remember what it was like to see their smiling faces each morning when they woke up. Not a day would pass that they were not thankful for the opportunity they had been given. These children are the future of Ntagatcha, Tanzania, and the world. Some of them dream of becoming doctors in America and others, teachers in their home village to make a difference in the lives of those they love. The children are the catalysts for change in the area, they are the beacons of hope!

We have done so much in such a short amount of time! The vision is less than four years old, but the results will echo for generations. We have already caught the attention of the entire nation, including its leader. Our supporters range from all ends of the globe. We only have the hands of many to thank for this mighty work, and our lord Jesus Christ.

Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward. Mark 9:41

Saturday, October 23, 2010

New Faces at the City of Hope!

This change of seasons has also come with a change of faces at the City of Hope. We not only welcomed back our long term missionary family, the Murrays, but we also welcomed many new members to the mission center as well!

Kyle Ledyard has been part of the leadership team at the City of Hope since May 2010.  Kyle graduated from Morningstar School of Ministry, where he previously led teams to Kenya. He developed a deep appreciation for the area, and after discussing it with Dr. Chacha, decided to come to Tanzania for a years stay. Since then he has helped lead the numerous volunteer teams that have trickled in and out over the summer months. He has also been a big part of cooperating with the local staff in day to day decision making. Kyle has picked up the language easily and enjoys interacting with many different people in the village.

Imani Chacha, the second son of Dr. Chacha, is a recent high school graduate who came to the City of Hope in June 2010. He came not only to serve at the children's home, but also to get to know his Tanzanian family. Imani has been made the supply manager; organizing and taking inventory of the the many shipping containers and storage areas in the compound. He is sharing one of his passions with the children by creating a drumline. Imani maintains a positive and humorous attitude, even when things are going so smoothly. He has been a great asset to the team. Already, Imani has developed a strong love for the community and can strongly feel the call of God for his life in this area.

Greta Ledyard is the older sister of Kyle and a Temple University graduate. She arrived at the City of Hope in September and has loved every minute since then! She has wonderful artistic ability and love for the children that is being put to great use! Greta is developing a new art program and has even put in a long term commitment of two to three years! Continue following her progress at her personal blog http://mwazaji.blogspot.com/.

Alaina Ledyard arrived with her older sister, Greta, in September. She decided to come back for an extended stay, after visiting briefly in the summer of 2009. Alaina enjoys spending time loving on the kids. She has also been helping teach the children English. She has begun tutoring those that have finished their exams.

We are also privileged to welcome to young women, Amy and Libby, to the City of Hope for the first time. They have been helping with projects such as teaching history and dances, as well as tending to stomach aches and small wounds. They are a great asset to the work in Ntagatcha!

Daniel Storment first visited the City of Hope in the summer of 2009. He immediately became enamored and was already planning his return visit before he had left the first time. Daniel is a skilled photographer and is enjoying this opportunity to take so many unique photos. He has also been teaching English and geography and helping out with whatever needs done!

Mendy Barringer is currently pursing her doctorate degree in education through Liberty University. She has been a valuable resource to our teachers by holding countless meetings and seminars to set a firm foundation for our up and coming primary school. She is an answer to prayer and has been a catalyst in helping us reach our goal to provide our children with the best education.

As you can see it takes many different skills and personalities to make such an operation work. We have people from many different communities and walks of life working together for a corporate goal. We are thankful for those that have given their time and abilities to serve at the City of Hope, but there is always room for more! Please consider putting your gifts to work and join us at the City of Hope!

Kyle and friends saying hello!

Imani and his friend Leonardi!

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Leader Worth Following

     This post is dedicated to one of our good friends. She has endured great hardships, but has always kept her integrity and her smile throughout. We are going to tell you of Sarah Ndera, a fifteen year old who is now a part of the City of Hope.

   Sarah’s parents both died when she was young, likely due to HIV. She and her younger brother were sent to live with her grandmother. Because her grandmother was unable, Sarah did the cooking, cleaning and other chores. She was responsible for the entire household. 

    One of our City of Hope staff was traveling and saw two children walking alone on a deserted road. She stopped and asked them what they were doing.  Sarah answered that she was going to another town that was about 20 kilometers away.  Though it is a great distance for a child to travel alone, Sarah said she needed to go and buy shoes for her brother. Everyone else in their extended family was getting something for Christmas, and Sarah wanted her brother to have shoes.  She had sold a chicken to her aunt (who only gave her half price) to have enough money.
When her family was contacted, Sarah’s story was verified. It was realized that Sarah had been mistreated in the household because, unlike her cousins, she had no parents to stand-in for her or help her and her brother.

   Teamwork City of Hope has given Sarah a chance to write a new chapter. As one of the older children, she has naturally taken up responsibility. She takes care of all the children just as she does her little brother. Sarah is a member of the student council at the COH. This gives her a voice in making decision concerning the other children. Sarah is a member and lead singer in the children's choir.

   Sarah has an outgoing, playful personality. She is one of the kids we connected to the quickest. Right from the beginning, she would tease and joke with us though we hardly knew each other. She is always smiling and it makes us give one in return! 

 Every since we knew her Sarah as wanted to become a seamstress. She has always been interested in learning how to sow the children's uniforms. This summer she was given the opportunity to follow her dreams. The City of Hope is supporting her attend a school to learn how to sew. 

   Sarah Ndera is a constant reminder to us of why we are helping. She was already a charismatic, natural leader, with great intentions. She just needed a little help. In return she inspiring those younger then her to make a difference.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Meet The Special Force!

The City of Hope is not only about changing the lives of orphaned children but about transforming an entire community. The Special Force is an example of that. They are also some of our closest friends!

The idea behind the Special Force is to take young men who are in need of a father and a purpose in life. In exchange for their service, we fill that need. They live within the City of Hope compound and are in change of helping in whatever way possible. We teach them how to help us with farming, building projects, water pumping and in taking care of the children. They in return, receive a home, food, school fees and an opportunity to change their future for the better. Recently, through the donation of one of our supporters we were able to provide them with bicycles for their commute to school and errands. This cut their daily travel to and from school from an hour and a half walk, to a half hour bicycle ride!

The Special Force is currently comprised of four young men: Mohono, Peter, Evans and Marwa.

Mohono is 21 years old and is finishing his final year of secondary school. He is a member of the Chacha family. He has recently been taught  how to drive the tractor and plow the fields. After he finishes his schooling, he would like to take over that job. Mohono is responsible, hardworking and trustworthy. He is currently learning English. Though he is quiet, he also enjoys joking with his friends. He is a great asset to the City of Hope!

Peter is 18 years old. He is in his second year of secondary school and speaks English well. Peter first became affiliated with the City of Hope when he came as a builder in the winter of 2009. He helped to dig the fish ponds and planted flowers in order to pay for his school fees. Peter showed excellence and responsibility and that is when Dr. Chacha decided to form the Special Force. The mission was to help those who where too old to live in the children's home, but needed a push to become something greater. Peter is a friendly guy who is loved by everyone. He is a good role model for the boys in the children's home. If he continues on the path he has started, he will go very far!

Evans is also 18 years old and is in his first year of secondary school. Evans knows everyone and is known by everyone in the village. He cannot go far without finding a new friend to talk to. English is just one of the languages he speaks. Evans thoroughly enjoys interacting with the teams that come through the City of Hope. He always has a story or joke to tell. He loves listening to music and is always eager to borrow an iPod. Evans is full of joy and can be found dancing and singing in church. He is a sharp guy who knows an opportunity when he sees one. He has come to see the benefits of helping others.
Marwa is 23 years old and is about to start his third year of secondary school. He is also a member of the Chacha family and the is the newest member of the Special Force. He just joined this past June. Three of Marwa's younger siblings live at the children's home. Their father passed away last summer due to an automobile accident. Because of his sparkling personality, we are able to enjoy his sense of humor even though we do not speak the same language. Marwa has been a big help this summer. He has helped build troughs for the cows and has helped put the finishing touches on the Tumaini Medical Center. Marwa is a dedicated worker and is a promising leader!

Some of our favorite times this past summer have been spending evenings with the Special Force in their home. We bring the chai and the biscuits, and they provide the bananas. We talk about anything from life in America, to soccer, current events and everything in between. They have taught us so much about the Swahili culture and they always enjoy hearing our stories from home. All four of them have helped us in our pursuit of learning Swahili and their tribal language, Kuria. They would sit with us for hours by candlelight writing our own personal Kuria dictionary. We are so excited about the bright futures the Special Force hold and are so thankful for their wonderful friendship to us! When we return to Tanzania we would love to continue working with them and disciplining them in their walk with Christ. These young men are the future of the City of Hope! They are some of our most missed faces and we are counting down the days until we see them again!

Evans & Peter and their new bicycles! 

Mwita, Monica, Marwa & Mohono

Friday, August 20, 2010

The City of Hope: Families Building Families

Here at the City of Hope we know that the key to a successful future is built on having strong families. That is why we are so excited that we have entire families cooperating together to serve one common goal. 

One of the most remarkable things we saw this summer, was a family being restored.  A friend of ours had had trouble with his wife for awhile and finally she left him in pursuit of a more peaceful life. This summer, though, things changed for them. He began working at the City of Hope were he found positive friends and a greater purpose to help those even less fortunate then himself. The City of Hope provided him a new home and Dr. Chacha was able to walk him and his wife the process of restoration. She returned home with their two daughters. We will not ever forget the overwhelming feeling of joy we felt when we turned around in church to see him there dancing his heart out and praising God for his blessings. He has not wiped the smile off of his face since his wife returned. He is a new man with a new mindset. He told us one afternoon, "If you cannot love your family, who else can you love?" God is the healer of broken hearts, the restorer of mankind and the mender of relationships! 

The headmaster at our primary school, Godfrey, is one of our integral people at the City of Hope. He has done much to improve the education and the structure at the children's home. This summer, his wife graduating from nursing school and the City of Hope had the perfect opportunity for her! With almost 90 children living there and even more coming to our school from the village, having an on sight nurse was crucial. She was just the person to fit the job. Now both Godfrey and his wife are flourishing. Their five year old son also attends our school and he is among the brightest in the class. Now the whole family is unified and are fulfilling the purpose planned for their lives! 

Our agriculturalist, Lucas, came as one of the first employees of the City of Hope. Though he resides in Kenya with his wife and sons, he commutes daily to Ntagatcha. Through him, many of his family members have also caught the vision of the City of Hope. His brother has since become the plumber we rely on for repairs and for the building of the Medical Center. Lucas' nephew, Jakob, was hired as a teacher and is well loved among the students and staff. His niece, Janet, has become a great help in the guest house. She cooks and cleans for the guests and resident missionaries. She has since met her husband, Jack, at the City of Hope as well. He is one of our best teachers! Their family has made a huge impact on the City of Hope! 

There are also families in the United Sates bringing hope. Marion Myers has been with The City of Hope and Teamwork Ministries from the beginning. She has been spreading awareness and raising crucial funding for years. Her son Jeff Myers and his wife Claire serve on the board of Teamwork City of Hope, and have become key components to raising support. Also, many of Marion's grand children have volunteered on the summer missions teams.

We cannot talk about families without mentioning the most influential families at the City of Hope. That is the family of Dr. Chacha. Dr. Chacha founded the City of Hope on land owned by him and his brothers. One of the brothers, Julius, is the top manager of our labor force as well as public relations. As an influential leader and pastor in the village he has filled that role well. He has six children and his wife, Margaret works in the Mission Center. Other brothers are builders and watchmen, and his sister is the seamstress for the children. Many nieces and nephews both work, attend school and live at the City of Hope. Sisters in laws help the children with carrying water and braiding hair. 

Right now the Mission Center has been left in the hands of Dr. Chacha's nephew, Kyle Ledyard http://www.kyleatcoh.blogspot.com/, and second son, Imani, who will be at the City of Hope for the next year. Kyle's sisters Greta and Alaina are soon to join this September. Also Dr. Chacha's in-laws, Glenn and Velma Horst, have volunteered at the City of Hope building beds, shelves and playground equipment and teaching the children.

I (Mwita Chacha) am his oldest son. I have been blessed with the opportunity to get to know my family through the City of Hope. By working with them, as well as countless others, the less fortunate have in return been blessed. The City of Hope is also were I met my fiancĂ©, Monica Harnish http://www.dreamsfromafrica.blogspot.com/. We have a similar goal to give hope to the children in Ntagatcha by building families,  because strong families are what helped build us. 

Marion Myers and the girls at the City of Hope 

Mwita Chacha, Monica Harnish and Mwita's cousins 

Glenn & Velma Horst, Imani Chacha, Kyle Ledyard and the children of the City of Hope