Currently the Majengo Orphanage is comprised of 3 small rental houses situated closely together within the agricultural area of the Majengo community – a twenty minute walk from the village of Mto Wa Mbu, Arusha.
The facility includes indoor and outdoor toilets, showers, an outdoor dining area and open fire kitchen, a small playground and an on-site pre-school for children under 7, living either inside or outside the orphanage. In March, 2009, we celebrated our grand opening with 27 children living in one house at Majengo. For two years, all was relatively manageable. There was easily enough space for 27 children to play and run about, tend to their school work, and live, uncrowded in their newly-renovated home.
Until December, 2010. The government closed down 5 local orphanages and, without notice, dropped off 67 more children to us, in two days! Within hours, 77 children from 6 different orphanages were jammed into 3 small houses, the original house and two adjacent cottages quickly renovated on the spot – a complete, fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants, makeshift and reactive, temporary solution. But we had no choice. These children had been subsisting under horrific, indescribable conditions; the government was ready to shut them down, but only if we agreed to take the children.
The new kids amalgamated with our original children and settled into Majengo within a few weeks – thanks hugely to the amazing efforts our staff. Even though this arrangement is adequate it is, without question, totally unacceptable – we are way too crowded, even by African standards. It has been over a year now, in rescue mode, and increasingly we realize the urgent need to move the children into a much larger environment.
Our wonderful staff have been miraculously feeding, clothing, cleaning, housing and teaching over 100 kids, 24/7. Things have calmed down considerably, the kids are doing really well: healthy and happy now. But lest we forget, we are in major survival mode. We’ve got 77 kids crammed into three small makeshift cottages – clean, but barely adequate.
So…the visiting established orphanages, planning, designing, cost estimates has begun! Very exciting…