Monday, May 3, 2010

Kamwene! A Very Warm Welcome

Post submitted by Geoff Knight:

Kamwene, hello, and welcome to our blog. We are hoping to keep this updated often, but we’re hoping everyone will give us some forgiveness as internet connections can be troublesome at best sometimes from the bush in Tanzania. My wife Jenny Peck and I will be responsible for the first few posts, but we hope many others will be able to contribute as well as time goes on. My name is Geoff Knight, and in this month (May) I will have been in Tanzania for three years. I have been with Foxes’ NGO since April of 2008 volunteering as Administrative Manager which leaves me mainly responsible for the organization’s budget, and overseeing the development projects. My wife Jenny has already been in Tanzania for three and a half years and moved here in September 2006 to become a Peace Corps volunteer. She is volunteering with Foxes’ NGO as community outreach coordinator and oversees all of our programs and projects dealing with people living with HIV/AIDS and orphans and vulnerable children. We both plan to be here potentially for the rest of our lives, and we are extremely fortunate to be working with such an amazing community and with some incredible people. We hope to parley at least some of that in this blog. We also, wanted to open this blog with a personal story as we are so grateful to be living in a such an amazing place, and wanted to show our gratitude to our family here in this community in Tanzania.

We had recently returned from a trip to the US and Canada that we took so we could have our first child in the company of all of our family living there, and we were excited to get back to the village.Evangeline Twilumba Knight was born on November 29th, 2009 and she was welcomed into the community here by everyone! Twilumba means ‘We are grateful’ in the tribal language of our area- Kihehe. Within minutes of seeing our baby at the children’s village all of the mothers and children started singing the song from which she got her namesake. It was a moving moment as everyone started dancing and stomping in the traditional Hehe style. We were absolutely floored by the overwhelming welcome we received from the children and mother’s here. As soon as we arrived the children stormed towards us and gave us an enormous group hug, and a few children immediately grabbed Twilumba and took turns holding her. It seems this child will never touch the ground!

The road leading up to our house was covered in flowers and the children had hung flowers from the trees, and even strung some above the road which made a nice archway for us to drive through on our way through the familiar roads. Our house was also decorated with flowers, and it was so good to be home! We are so grateful to be surrounded by such loving caring people, and it will be so exciting to raise a child in this environment!

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