Top Guns in Tanzania
Thirteen years ago Jodi and Willis Kleinjan came alongside Teresa Nyirenda Litchy to collaborate, support, and provide hope to an orphanage in Songea, Tanzania. Following a long hiatus and a long flight, their Top Gun efforts pay off again, while returning to assist at St Teresa’s Orphanage (STOF) in January. Powerful experiences and heart-warming reunions where old friendships were rekindled and new friendships born, highlighted the mission. Generously donating their time and efforts to assist the orphanage with farming projects, bolstering the school programs with textbooks and library material, and setting up resource management systems for donated items were key elements of the trip.
With the transformation of the first container in 2018 and the addition of a second container in 2019, joined all together by an enclosed courtyard in 2020, a beautiful gathering area now known as the Kleinjan Library was established. The container transformations continued this trip by adding yet another organizational space known as Jodie’s Closet, which will be a place to find attire for special needs, occasions, and events.
With five acres of corn to plant and many nuts and bolts missing from the equipment, many fixes needed to be figured out. Since there is no garage to go get a tool, you use your imagination to configure pipe wrenches on bolts and to fix chains with no additional links. The reality of the language barrier and the student’s lack of experience and therefore the knowledge of equipment and how it works, made us realize how essential it is to ensure that we deliver instruction and training along with the goods to provide life-changing opportunities.
Bringing with them eleven suitcases (two of which were packed with Top Gun t-shirts for the children), Jodi and Willis are true wingmen in their efforts to love, care, and provide hope for the staff and the STOF children.
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