Step by Step Missions...

Helping One Step at a Time

Mission to Tanzania, August 2012 

What a busy summer preparing for our return trip to Tanzania.  Since returning to the States on June 10th from our first trip, we had a short two months to plan and schedule our next trip, fabricate prostheses, obtain items for the children at Buhangiji, and make many other preparations.

With the help of many generous people and companies, everything was ready to go by our departure date of August 11th.  We left home with 24 new prostheses, repair materials for others, and tools to make it all work (5 large boxes/totes).  Additionally, there were 6 large totes filled with toys, clothes, shoes, play equipment, dolls, stuffed animals, and more for the children at the Buhangiji camp (orphanage).  Unfortunately American and Kenya airlines were not sympathetic to our cause, so getting everything to Tanzania was very expensive.  There just isn’t an easy/inexpensive way to get merchandise from the US to Africa, but we made it.  After arriving in Mwanza on Monday, we encountered a one day delay waiting for the Tanzanian government to determine if we should be taxed for the relief supplies we were bringing into their country. 

Finally, on Tuesday around 4pm (and again on Thursday), we began seeing patients and delivering prostheses in Mwanza at the Bugando Medical Center.  The prosthetic department at this hospital had agreed to allow us to use their facility to see patients in Mwanza.  We had brought much needed supplies for their prosthetic program and the staff there has agreed to provide follow-up services to our patients in Mwanza.  As Sherrie delivered new artificial legs, we could see the joy on the faces of the amputees (some who had never walked without crutches before).  It was amazing how quickly they learned to walk with their new limbs.  By the time the patients returned for follow-up the next week, most were walking as if they had been using the limb for months or years.On Wednesday, we traveled to the Buhangiji camp in Shinyanga to deliver relief supplies to the children there and to fit Kabula (a young albino girl who had lost her arm to a witchdoctor induced attack) with her new arm.  In addition to working with Kabula, we really enjoyed installing 3 swings and 2 soccer nets for the kids to use.  We also distributed the 6 large totes of toys, clothes, and much more.  What a thrill it was to see the children’s faces, as they played with their new toys and received the hats, clothes, and other items.  We and our kids, Cole(18) and Claire(13), were truly blessed to be able to share your donations with these wonderful children.

Next, we visited the Bukumbi Care Center to deliver more artificial legs and other devices for the residents there.  When we visited in June, both Sherrie and I were struck by the hopeless expressions on the faces of the residents at Bukumbi.  We were so pleased that those expressions changed to huge smiles as they received their new limbs.  Again, the prosthetic fittings were a great success which is a credit to the skill of Sherrie and all those involved in making the prostheses for this mission.

All in all, the 2012 mission was a wonderful success.  With blessings from God and the help of so many, we were able to accomplish much in Tanzania this year.  We want to again express our gratitude to all those involved in helping through donations of items, funds, time, and services to this project.  We have already begun planning our next mission project in Tanzania.  Because of the magnitude of these projects in time and resources, it appears that we will have to wait until 2014 for the next mission.  Until then, please keep those in need around the world in your prayers.