Mama Lynn is a most remarkable woman, who has dedicated the latter part of her life to helping the children of Tanzania. LIGHT IN AFRICA is all about love for children, particularly the sick, abandoned, and handicapped children, of whom there are so many.
Mama Lynn first visited Moshi, Tanzania in 1999. Her plan was not to visit Kilimanjaro or do any of the “normal” tourist things such as go on Safari, she felt a “calling” to visit the local villages and experience African life and culture for herself. What she saw shocked her so much that it changed her life forever. What was it that she saw that changed her life so profoundly? Quite simply it was the orphans living, unsupported & unwanted, living on the streets by begging and stealing and dying at very young ages from the AIDS virus. What motivated Mama Lynn was exactly the same as Father Aloyce& the local community leaders when they established the UPENDO club. Someone needed to care for these children.
She returned to the UK, set up a charity and returned shortly afterwards to start an orphanage in an abandoned derelict building in the foothills of Kilimanjaro in a remote area called SONU. Pretty soon villagers curious to see a “white woman” living in the area came to the gate to stare and to beg for some maize or rice. Thus began an affiliated “Out Reach” food program for the villages.
No child in need and is ever refused by Mama Lynn and she is currently caring for over200 children, many of whom have special needs. Many of these children are not actually orphans; they have simply been abandoned by their parents, overwhelmed by the difficulties of taking care of them. There are many children with cystic fibrosis, often with other complications, such blindness or AIDS. One of the children is a young albino girl of about 5 years of age, a small child with ghostly pale skin, white blond hair and eyebrows. Her story is particularly tragic. Albino children are highly valued by the local witch doctors, and, if they succeed in catching them, they kill them and sell their organs. Her parents finally brought this child, at some risk, to themselves, to Mama Lynn for safe keeping. The witch doctors had placed a $4,000 bounty on her head.
TUDOR VILLAGE is Mama Lynn’s latest venture. With help from supporters in the USA she was able to purchase 11 acres of prime land adjacent to a river. This site will allow her to build 22 bungalows each of which will house approximately 10 children living together with a surrogate mother. It will also permit the building of accommodations for the many volunteers coming from overseas to help for a period of time at Light in Africa. So far 3 bungalows have been completed and they currently house the very youngest babies, the most severely handicapped and one a group of older children.
Food: These costs are currently about $1,500 per week and, of course, are heavily impacted by price variations. This pays to feed not only the children but the 60 staff members and the multiple volunteers who arrive to help particularly in the summer months. The children’s diet is primarily maize, but, also supplemented whenever possible with fruits, vegetables, and some meat.
Medical Costs: These can be substantial and the needs are on-going.
Building Costs: Completion of TUDOR VILLAGE project & ongoing maintenance
Education: Funds are needed to send the brighter children to Boarding School as special needs children face significant problems in regular schools.Cost is $1,000 per year.
Vocational Training: Many children benefit from vocational training as opposed to regular schools and the goal is to equip these children to take care of themselves, and hopefully, assist TUDOR FARMS. One child has become a cobbler and several others have been trained as goatherds and been given pregnant goats and other livestock to help them become independent.