Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Here is What We All LOVE About AFRICA.....

The BABIES....!!!

Our First Travelers Arrive!

What a month was had! Summiting Kilimanjaro, volunteering and generously supporting the orphanage, as well as taking in the best of safari!! We had the most fun! Your Sisters thanks our first group of visitors so dearly for all they brought for the girls in the way of clothes, games, and resources.  We treasured every moment with and will miss you indeed. Here is a little of what they shared as well as some highlight pic's!

"Thank you, thank you, thank you.  Beyond the wonders of Mount Kilimanjaro and the incredible safari adventures, the girls at Your Sisters and the people of Tanzania have touched my life.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you to the wonderful people at Your Sisters!  For you care, thoughtfulness, and attention to the finest details.  I may have to leave, but you will be with me always."
-Todd Miller, San Francisco, CA

"Remarkable experience unmatched by any other by this 50+ country world traveler.  Personal touches abound!  Attentive + flexible at every turn.  Even four+ weeks leaves us wanting more + more.  Your Sisters travel offers every possible design to your adventure from fully managed activities to allowing us to venture out on our own.  We cannot imagine a more perfect collection of special life-changing memories.  We leave Your Sisters with heavy, heavy love-filled hearts, and we will return!"
-Kelly Weaver, Seattle, WA

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

HELP Teams Up with Your Sisters!

Jambo from the Wazungu!

We and other HELP-International volunteers arrived in the lovely country of Tanzania on June 14th to meet the rest of our team.  We were full of enthusiasm and ready for the adventures to come.  We were lucky to meet Libby while pulling out our first Tanzanian shillings at the ATM.  She told us about Your Sisters, their plans for the future and the many volunteer opportunities available.  We were excited to hear about the home and education she and the organization provide for orphan girls as well as the opportunities for women in the community.  

A couple days later Libby invited us to the center to meet the girls.  Mama Sion opened her home to us and immediately made us feel like family.  We met the girls, who each have unique personalities and endless energy.  They were quick to find a spot in our hearts.  Expecting only a short meeting, we were surprised when Mama Sion cooked us an amazing, traditional African meal.  After we finished stuffing our faces with her delicious cooking, the neighborhood kids and the orphan girls couldn’t wait to play.  They taught us a game similar to one-sided dodgeball, we had a blast.  We were then given a quick tour of the grounds and finished an incredible evening with a song the girls had written about being orphans; even with the language barrier, it touched our hearts.  After only one night, it was hard for us to leave Your Sisters. 

Libby told us that the Maasai hut they use as their kitchen was no longer safe and needed to be knocked down and replaced.  We were eager to provide our new African family with what they needed.  We showed up bright and early the next morning with axes, hammers, rakes and shovels!  We worked long and hard all day, and by four p.m. we were filthy with dust, and there was a large pile of dirt and wood where the structure had once stood.  

Even though Mama Sion and staff had been given a temporary kitchen to work in, she still wouldn’t let us leave with empty stomachs.  We can’t wait to finish getting the fundamentals in place to start working on a more permanent building for the orphanage.

We have been so blessed to have the opportunity to work with Your Sisters and are excited for the next few weeks that we will spend with this wonderful organization! 

~HELP-International Team of Volunteers

Monday, June 25, 2012

A Letter From Your Little Sister

Hi, I am one of the little girls at Your Sisters Orphanage.

I am shy, but giggling with excitement to have this opportunity to meet you and to speak to you. For you to hear my voice.

They call me an orphan because I lost my parents. I don’t much prefer to be called an “orphan” because I believe that life brings family and blessings in so many ways. That is what my Bibi Grandma always said. I couldn’t believe how blessed I was to come here to this place they call Your Sisters.

We have a secret here amongst us girls…that blessings will find their way to you each day…IF ALL YOU DO IS SMILE. But you can’t just smile with your face…the secret part is…you have to smile with your heart. My grandma also taught me that you have to give thanks each and every day for what you do have. That is all.
So everyday when I get nice food to eat and I have warm clothes now and this loving family, I can’t believe it. I’m even learning to read and write. I can’t explain how happy it makes me…and my sisters, too.

The part I like most is being around these people who care so much. I also love bread with Blue Band butter and writing new words with colored pencils.

I am so lucky to have been brought here to this special place.

Me and my sisters are so happy to be in class together everyday. We’ve been learning simple exercises, reading, writing in our own lesson books and learning to speak two languages!

We know that you are the ones helping us. We know that it is because of YOU that we have beds to sleep in and even a net to protect us from mosquitoes and horrible malaria. It is because of you and your help that soon we will have our own clean running water at the orphanage for washing ourselves and drinking. That way Mama doesn’t have to break her back carrying all the extra water so far for us in buckets each day.

We know that plans are being made for this whole center and very soon I will have many more little sisters in my family.

I say prayers every night at bedtime. I say prayers giving thanks for you and all of your help. For helping this place to be and for helping me to be here.

Heart Keepsake Bag

Get your own Heart Keepsake Bag today! Any donation of $100 or more, along with monthly sponsors, will receive a Heart Keepsake Bag made by women in the village!  Even the little girls helped cut some fabric.
Please visit our donation page to make a donation. Thank you for supporting Your Sisters Foundation.  Folds into a heart.  Unfolds to a carry bag!

Mama Sion: The Heart of Your Sisters

For the first and most important story, we bring you that of orphanage Head Mother, Mama Sion.

Mama Sion is GRACE. She is LOVE. She is DIGNITY…and

She is the HEART of Your Sisters Orphanage (YS).

Sion personifies this selfless love and grace more than anyone I’ve ever met, and she holds this quiet dignity every day of her life. It is her heart that is the lifeblood of Your Sisters Orphanage. It is her Spirit!

When I first met Sion I felt such love in the world. Beyond raising seven of her own beautiful children, Sion has spent her life opening her home and arms to countless children in need. She was a doctor at the village clinic for many years delivering babies, as well as becoming renowned for being an advisor to women on all sorts of issues ranging from Aids and sexually transmitted disease prevention, family planning and general counseling.

It is as if Mama Sion is her own temple of love and everyone who is in her presence wants to come into that temple.  I knew soon after our friendship started and I was able to witness how much her touch and heart healed children that I had to find a way to shine a light on this woman.  I needed to find a way to help her reach more children.

I always felt strongly about working to help women in tanzania, as well as connecting women from the west to the amazingly strong women of this region.  When I came together with Mama Sion, I was absolutely certain she was built into the very DNA of Your Sisters.  It became very clear that the first phase and the true heart of Your Sisters would be our orphanage for girls.  We would be supporting and expanding this special woman's reach into the lives of many more women.  

We felt that no one could appreciate and benefit from this loving temple more than innocent orphan children who have lost their parents.

Each day that she wakes up, Sion faces a mountain of poverty, but it doesn't seem to effect her spirit.  Even more, you wouldn't know the mountain exists.  She has shown me much about the true meaning of intrinsic value.  A woman the world might view as extremely poor by external measures may be one of the richest among us.

With the smallest means, Mama Sion enriches all whom she touches.  It is our intent to help her expand her heartfelt vision.  It is our intent to stand with her and build upon this magnificent temple of love.

Amidst all the daily challenges of raising her own, Sion has selflessly opened her very small home to our seven little girls.  Each girl has been led to YS over the past 14 months.  She and her incredibly big-hearted husband have shifted into the smallest room so they can give these precious children a chance at life.

Her heart and passion for children in need is palpable and that is what YS is ALL ABOUT.  We are about HEART...we are about CONNECTION...and we are about FAMILY.  We are also about what it really means to be a global community, joining at a make amazing things possible.

With your help, our first goal is to create a special sanctuary and center for 25 orphaned girls.

YS is the nexus of our organization, and Mama Sion is the lifeblood that pumps through that heart every day.

We have taken a stand behind this incredibly selfless woman, and we ask each of you to take a stand with us.  To stand with Mama Sion today and help us build our Phase I Orphanage Center.  To build our first and most honored building, one that we most fittingly and with pride will name: THE SION CENTER.

We need each and every one of you.