Blog Tanzania

My Introduction


One of the many beautiful caterpillars crawling all over the help2kids home!

Mambo Wote! Hello Everyone!

My name is Cassandra Seidler and I would like to introduce myself as the newest member of the help2kids team. I have recently begun my position as Centre Manager here in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, and can tell you that I am nothing short of ecstatic to be here! A little background about myself: I am 26 years old and come from Riverside, California. Before coming to help2kids, I worked with orphans and street children in Moshi, Tanzania. My professional background is in behavioral therapy, where I specialize in children with cognitive disorders. I arrived in Dar Es Salaam on December 7th (after a 26 hour flight!) and began working with Tobias right away.

For my first few days, we have been tirelessly visiting our neighboring orphanages and children’s centers looking for information on finding the children in our area who would need us. Yesterday we arrived at Umra Orphanage where we met a darling young boy whom we suspect suffers from autism. We have begun the process of transferring him to our orphanage in the hopes that my experience can provide him the help that he needs. While things are looking optimistic, there are always complications in these delicate processes, so wish us luck!

Tobias and I also visited the homes of two other young children whom we hope will soon be joining us here. Their homes are deep within a shantytown, built around a severely polluted river and surrounded by standing-water pools created by the recent rains. As we crossed makeshift bridges made of rusted steel, we saw swarms of mosquitoes hovering over the neighborhood. As we walked over broken glass and disregarded rubbish, small children began to follow us as we made our way to a common area amongst the homes. There we met one of the mothers of the children that we had come to meet. Her story was unfortunately a very common one here in Tanzania. She had started a family very young and as soon as her daughter was born, the father disappeared. She has no means of support and no education. She knows that she cannot sustain herself as well as a child and has asked the leader of her neighborhood to find someone to help her. That is when Umra orphanage contacted Tobias and asked if we would consider her plea for help. The mother’s neighbor also contacted Umra and asked for help. This neighbor is the aunt of a child who’s mother is extremely ill, her body ravaged by unknown rashes and sores. The father of the child has passed away and the aunt cannot support another child.

Tobias and I have visited the homes of these children twice in the past week to collect the necessary paperwork to submit to the Social Welfare Office here in Dar Es Salaam. After we had collected the papers of the two children and the other child already at Umra, Tobias and I went on my first (of what is sure to be many) trips to the Social Welfare Office. Thank goodness Tobias has already established a relationship with one of the social workers there in the office, as it would otherwise seem like an impossible affair. The office has no filing cabinets, only buckling shelves filled with unlabeled files. The office itself is a maze of cubicles, each one housing several workers. We met with our social worker contact and introduced him to the paperwork of the two children. He told us that we must now have the two families visit him on Monday, where he will then conduct an interview to be followed by a home visit to determine whether their stories are correct. Tobias offered to drive the social worker on the home visits next week, otherwise the visits may take weeks as the social workers have no vehicles of their own.

As of now, we can only wait until Monday to see how the interviews go. However, there is a child here at the help2kids home which also requires our help. Our staff member, Patrick, unfortunately had to spend the other day in the hospital with his son where he discovered that his son has contracted malaria as well as a few other illnesses. On the bright side, Patrick’s son has begun his medicinal treatment as well as a strict vitamin regimen. Tobias and I have also purchased some good red meat to feed to the child to help supplement his otherwise lacking meal plans. The child is already beginning to look MUCH better and is running around and smiling once again!

Another positive side-note is that the rains which have been battering Dar Es Salaam at night have brought out some interesting creatures. Last night, Tobias and I almost stepped on something bright red and looked to see what was one of the most brilliantly colored frogs that I have ever seen! This morning, I also noticed the two dogs captivated by something in the grass. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that it was something quite large as the grasses all around it parted as it moved. Fearing that it was a snake, I moved closer to shoo the dogs away and I noticed that the grass was filled with neon caterpillars over five inches long each! The entire front lawn seems to be alive with massive, wriggling rainbows heading in every direction.

I will be sure to update all of you on the happenings of Monday and would like to thank you all for reading my first blog entry!

Kwa Herini, Rafiki Wangu!

(Go with blessings, my friends!)

help2kids_02Tobias crossing part of the river on our home visit.

help2kids_03Tobias driving, which was a very common sight these last few days!