There have been many changes at the Valentine Children’s Home in the past year. In working with the new Bishop of Dar Es Salaam and his administration, along with the amazing community and church, the Valentine Project is positioned to best benefit the children.
The Valentine Project Children’s Home recently acquired a fish pond at the prompting of Sister Lucy, one of the Mamas. The fish pond will bring in capital through selling the fish as well as provide protein at meal time. The papaya, maize and greens crops have been thriving, and their range goes beyond the walls, providing income and a consistent food source. On a recent visit, the children loved showing the Joni Vanderslice and her family every crop, especially the “popo,” as they call the papaya fruit. The goats are shepherded out to pasture every day and brought in every afternoon. Several of the boys absolutely love helping with the livestock as it is brought in. The children have each found their favorite part of the compound to work on, using their natural gifts.
The resources ensure that the children are getting proper protein and proper nutrition through the milk, meat, vegetables and fruit grown on the property. In a typical East African diet, grain and carbohydrates are staples, however the Valentine Project want to make sure the children are not only full but maintain proper nutrition, growing healthy and strong. In the beginning of the project, many children came to the home extremely undernourished and with ailments resulting from a lack of proper nutrition. These same children are now strong and have developed healthy immune systems. On the Vanderslice’s recent visit to Tanzania, they saw the healthiest, strongest children yet; full of vitality and strength that comes from a balanced diet grown at their home. These projects contribute to the goals of long- term sustainability through nutrition and potential income.
From tutoring on the grounds to primary school at Stabella Academy, the children have been excelling in their studies. Even out in the community, the children are often at the top of their class. This is a testament to how the right care, encouragement and love can help any child succeed. The children are proud of their grades and show their report cards with enthusiasm. They are smart and they know it!
The most important and gratifying success is how much these children love each other. From the youngest to the oldest, they care for each other. They know who their family is. They know this is their home. The Valentine project is not a holding place; it is a playground, a worship center, a dining room, a farm. It is full of the peace that surpasses all understanding. It is a home.