By Sue Jenkins
Having flown into Kilimanjaro airport on Thursday, we awoke on Friday morning ready to shop for the items needed to pack the newborn kits. The generosity of the congregation allowed us to purchase supplies for 200 kits. The team decided to purchase supplies in Tanzania, since this supports the local economy.
Fortunately, our hotel was located in Arusha’s city center. Several stores were an easy walk away. Lisa ducked in a baby store front and the owner explained that he would give us good prices since he was soon converting to a hardware store. After explaining that we needed 200 cloth diapers and 200 baby t-shirts, he said he would check his stock and call us back.
Down the block was a housewares store. Part of the team bargained for 200 towels. We selected a good quality and then watched the pile grow! Our driver, Bashiri, began to wonder how he was going to transport all these supplies.
Rather than a baby blanket, we decided to purchase fabric that the mothers could fashion into baby carriers. This meant another walk, more bargaining, and more explanations of how the fabric should be packed for the journey.
Back to the baby store as we learned by phone call that the owner had the stock. Bob and I waited in the door of the shop while the rest of the team did business.
We were approached by some women who begged for money. We always say “no,” as saying “yes” leads to word getting out and hampers our ability to do business. Just then, the store employee reached behind our chairs for hot dog buns and handed them to the women. This was repeated with others asking for food. We gave schillings (Tanzanian money) to the employee, explaining that we wanted him to spend the money on food for those in need.
Meanwhile, the store owner had asked why we were buying so many baby clothes. After learning about the newborn kit project, he added a pile of children’s bracelets to give away. We had a God-spotting and we were happy to discover charity in the city!
Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to carry out your generosity. We look forward to sharing part two of this story when we gather with the staff to assemble later this week.
p.s. Bashiri and Tim loaded the supplies on top of the car and tied them down for our 8 hour drive to the hospital.