Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Scholarship Recipient Update

The African Orphan Education Fund began granting scholarships in 2005. It's first recipient was Mwasiti Juma, a young woman who had been accepted to college but didn't have the funds to attend.

After Mwasiti, the next two recipients were David and Vincent. Both had been the original two student teachers at The Rift Valley Children's Village. They had worked on site for over a year - teaching and tutoring the children, in exchange for a scholarship to secondary school.

Below are pictures of David at his secondary school graduation! He graduated last year. He is pictured with a classmate and with India Howell, Founder and Director of The Rift Valley Children's Village.

We are so proud of David and his accomplishments! I just saw him at RVCV for Christmas - a proud graduate! Moving to Arusha to begin job interviews!

And Vincent was home with his extended family in Karatu for Christmas as well. We got to spend some time together, catch up. He still has a few more years of secondary school to go but he is doing exceptionally well!

We are so proud of David and Vincent! As well as of all of our other scholarship recipients. These are some of the hardest working young men and women that I have ever met. They are an inspiration!

They have been afforded the opportunity to pursue their education because of generous donors like you! Thank you again for your support of these scholars! Your donations are helping them succeed!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Me and the kiddos at Gibbs Farm

Doesn't look much like Christmas time, does it?

Belated Merry Christmas!

I spent Christmas up the mountain at the Rift Valley Children's Village. This was my first Christmas in Africa, as I usually get home in time to celebrate with my family.

But if I couldn't be with my family in Cleveland this year, RVCV was the next best option.

Christmas eve the kids all get new pajamas, read The Night Before Christmas, and go to bed in time for Santa to come.

The adults all get to have a lovely dinner together before becoming Santa for the dozens of children at the village - gifts in the stockings and under the trees!

We woke up on Christmas morning at 6am and every single gift had been opened by 6:05. It was the fastest Christmas morning in the history of Christmas mornings! But then we enjoyed the day - singing and dancing - playing with new toys - eating a family feast in the rec hall.

Here is a picture of India and all of the kids - wearing their brand new Christmas shirts and dresses - made locally with local fabrics!

I hope that everyone had a joyous holiday back home!
Happy New Year! (a little early in case we don't have internet between now and Thursday!)
Love, Meredith

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Here is one of our amazing nurses, Safi.

She is holding Coleton who came into the clinic last week with a little fever - he is fine!

I have said this before, but COMPASSION cannot often be taught. And without it, medicine isn't as good as it could be, no matter how "state of the art" a hospital is!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Christmas Treat!

Lots of people have kindly asked for a bit of an update on the babies. So, this is my Christmas gift to all of you who read this blog. Here they are, Coleton and Addison. He is about to be five months and she is about to be seven months. But they are the same height and he out weighs her by over 5 pounds. She is dainty and girly. He is huge like a line backer.

They are both incredibly happy and healthy. I am blessed each day to have them. We are still in the waiting stage of the foster period. Three months have to pass before we can go to court. And then "court" here is NOT like court in the US. Who knows how long it could take.

We miss everyone back home! I hope that everyone has a wonderful holiday season with their friends and family!

Keep these two in your thoughts and prayers - for health and a speedy process here in TZ so we can get HOME to Ohio ASAP!!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008


As we wait for the momentous climax of the advent season, many other people sit waiting too.

But not for Christmas.

They wait in line for medication. ARV’s. Drugs needed each month in order to delay the effects of the AIDS virus.

Last week when I travelled to Dar es Salaam I visited an AIDS clinic. People sat waiting for their medications.

Waiting and waiting.

I met a young Maasai girl who had been waiting for hours. She hadn’t eaten. She hadn’t moved. She lay in the grass, waiting.

She didn’t complain. She didn’t pout or cry. Her courage in the face of a disease that is killing her was astonishing to me.

She reminded me that we are essentially all waiting for the same thing – she for medications, and I for a cure. We both wait for the suffering to end.

Pray this Christmas season for an end to the suffering. For this little girl and for all the others in the world suffering as she is.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Tree

Here is my little african christmas tree! It doesn't compare to the giant, real trees of my childhood, but it does the trick!

The afternoons here in Karatu are getting hotter and hotter - I keep asking the staff when the snow is coming? It doesn't feel like Christmas at all.

The clinic is doing really well. In the last four months since I arrived, the patient load has increased tremendously. The word is obviously getting out!

Otherwise, life here in Karatu is quiet.

Missing everyone back home! Hoping that all is well ...

Monday, December 8, 2008

Our Christmas Picture!

Happy Holidays from the entire staff of FAME Medical!


Here are Dr. Frank, Dr. Mshana, and Nurse Safi caring for a young girl from the village who had an infection in her leg. Frank gave anesthesia and Dr. Mshana went to work cleaning out the infection. She was back on her feet that day!

trip to Dar

Again, it has been quite some time since I last blogged.

This time it is because I was out of town on business - Frank, Susan and I went to Dar es Salaam last week to visit laboratories there that we needed to see before finalizing the plans for the extensive lab Frank is building here at FAME.

We actually only spent Wed and Thurs in Dar but that means going to Arusha on Tues and returning to Karatu on Friday - a long trip for an "overnight."

What made the trip SO much longer is that Dar is NOT Karatu. I have come to love the rural setting of Karatu, the villagers, the quiet mornings, the cool mornings/evenings.

Dar is the OPPOSITE. Hot, crowded, huge, disorganized. This was only compounded by the fact that I got sick - Frank too. Some bug. But sweating non-stop and feeling like puking, not a good combo.

So, back in Karatu - very happy to be "home" - glad that Frank doesn't like the heat either and decided to build here, as opposed to somewhere like Dar - or else I couldn't have worked for him - the heat would have done me in!

More to come ...