Neema Village Visit

In June 2022, following our Kilimanjaro expedition, we visited Neema Village, an orphanage and baby rescue centre in Arusha

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"There is a lot of talk about mountains. You think and say that climbing mountains is good. That you will gain something from it. But climbing mountains is also a form of greed." 

I was always struck by this line, said by the Buddhist elder in elite alpinist, Renan Ozturk's beautiful documentary, The Last Honey Hunter. It had occurred to me for some time that when visiting countries to climb their great mountains I had been getting more than I had been giving back.

So it was with great enthusiasm, yet some intrepidation, I took some of the clients, after our Kilimanjaro ascent in June 2022, to visit Neema Village, a child orphanage and baby rescue centre in Arusha, Tanzania.

Neema was founded in 2012 by Doris and Michael Fortson who have been doing missionary work in Tanzania since the 1960's. After a visit in 2008 they were moved to found Neema Village after seeing so many incidents of child homelessness in Tanzania.

Babies come to Neema in the most tragic of circumstances, typically when they have been abandoned or their mother has died and not other relative is able to take the child on themselves, often due to extreme poverty.

Visiting was a chastening experience. Overwhelming at times. Heartbreaking, but also heartwarming. It was incomprehensible to see so many unwanted babies and unwanted children.

At the same time it was moving to see that a small group of volunteers had devoted their lives to this incredibly challenging but vital work. Through the generosity of our friends and families we managed to raise about $10k for Neema which should be enough to cover the costs of at least 3 children for a year. 

We would like to do more in future and I hope that members of future expeditions will come to see this remarkable place as well.. Its important our experiences climbing mountains are not one way - that we give as well as receive.