I visited the orphanage in September 2018 and was so touched and full of admiration for Emmy & Ndemno and the work they do, I decided to raise funds on their behalf. Their dream is to build a dormitory for 50 Maasai girls to provide them with an education (the Maasai life can be extremely tough, with no opportunity to receive an education). I visited again in April 2019 and with cash donations I organised a new roof (ceilings destroyed from leakages), new concrete floors (originals made of clay that were full of cracks, and I was told snakes/scorpions can come up through them), ceilings in main sitting room and girls bedroom. Both areas were also painted and electrics upgraded. There is still lots of work to be done to make life a little more comfortable for the children. My next visit was in November 2019 where we installed new toilets and a shower in the main house, providing tables for the children to have meals from. They can also use these tables for study time in the evenings. A lot of new shelving was provided in bedrooms and for food storage. I was booked to return in April 2020 but unfortunately due to Covid-19 this has had to be postponed.
I was very fortunate to return in December 2020 for 2 weeks, during which time monies raised in Ireland sponsored 7 children, replaced all mattresses, installed mirrors in bedrooms, bought chairs and completed some minor works. Paid for the upgrading of the Volunteers House (2 bedrooms) including tiling, new bathrooms etc. – works just completed in time for my visit. I am very fortunate to have received my Covid vaccine and am hoping I can return again in 2021.
In September 2018, I left my cosy home town in Switzerland and took on a 14-hour journey to Arusha, Tanzania to work in a local orphanage. At the time, I did not really know what I was about to embark in, but I know for a fact that the adventure it ended up being was way above any expectations.
Matonyok Children’s Home is a place led by love, I felt it the minute I walked in. Emmy, who is in charge, is the kind of woman little girls look up to. She is driven and has a heart of gold, which is very much so reflected in how she runs the orphanage. It is even more impressive when you know her husband and herself have built the place up from scratch.
I spent a total of 6 weeks teaching English to the youngest ones there. I was welcomed with smiles and hugs every morning, a whole pile of love daily, but I am convinced they had more impact on me than I had on them. Nothing can compare Arusha to Lausanne, my home town, yet everyone had their ways of making me feel at home. The children themselves are absolute sweethearts, from Innocent, the youngest one at the time I was there, to Upendo, a little girl as fierce as a lion, to Abraham, who, before I even had the time to pass the gates of the orphanage, requested daily lessons about Switzerland, in order for him to know which country he would have to fly to when he would become a pilot.
I am eternally thankful for the opportunity Emmi has given me, to have been able to spend time with her and the children, and as I have promised her and Innocent, I sincerely look forward to seeing them again, soon!