November 2012 Update
Mark & Nancy Waite (1986)
Dear Grace Tait Children’s Shelter Supporters & Children’s Sponsors,
Nancy and I wanted to send you an update on the Grace Tait Children’s Shelter now that we are here in Maroua. God has been so very gracious to us in meeting the Shelter’s financial needs through your faithful generosity. Thank you so much for your kind support each month.
As you know one of our goals in coming to the Shelter was to move it toward becoming an indigenous Cameroonian run and supported ministry which would be able to operate independent of any financial support coming from the U.S. We praise God that as we have taken the necessary steps to move the Shelter in this direction He has blessed so that we are projecting the Shelter will no longer need western financial support including the sponsors for any of the orphans after June 2012.
In conjunction with the Shelter’s new board of directors, the executive director of the Shelter, the Cameroon Office of Social Welfare, interested Cameroonian churches, individual Cameroonian supporters/sponsors, and ourselves the decision was made to see the Shelter begin operating as an independent entity as of July 1, 2013. Much work was accomplished during the past year and especially the last three months to bring the Shelter to this juncture.
Besides remodeling and in some cases rebuilding portions of the Shelter as well as replacing the old staff, training new staff, and beginning many self-sustaining agricultural projects, one of the other main projects we undertook was the reuniting of several of the Shelter children with their parents and families.
It is very difficult to try and explain to you all the complexities that go into understanding how things work in a country like Cameroon especially when it comes to western-operated social ministries. In a nutshell, many Cameroonians see orphanages as boarding schools which offer opportunities for their children that they themselves cannot provide. This has created a mindset among many in Cameroon which believes it is better to give up your child as an orphan to a western-operated and financed orphanage because of the better quality of life he or she will receive.
Sad to say, this mindset was taken advantage of by the former director of the Shelter who unbeknown to Mama Grace made self-serving arrangements to take in many children who were not orphans. We were not aware of any of this when we first came to the Shelter but began to become suspicious as we began to get around the villages and hear that many of our orphans’ parents lived nearby. We contacted the Office of Social Welfare, began researching the records, talked with former staff members, and eventually found that out of the 48 total children the Shelter was responsible for 36 had parents and families to care for them. Thus, with the help of the Office of Social Welfare, we have been working to reunite these 36 children with their parents or grandparents. The children were overjoyed to be going home. Most of the parents and grandparents were happy as well but a few did complain about now having to pay for their child’s education expenses.
We now have 12 children in the Shelter who truly are orphans. We have cut our staff to three. Julius, our executive director and his wife, a teacher, are “Ma & Pa”. We also have Emmanuel, a local farmer who serves as our farm manager overseeing the raising and selling of our crops, chickens, and pigs. All three of them love the Lord and the children. In fact, both Julius and Emmanuel attended and graduated from our first CM3T training school. Due to this decrease in the population and staff at the Shelter we are able to drastically reduce our costs and use our farm resources much more strategically for the benefit of the Shelter and its finances. In addition, and really so very important, local churches and individual Cameroonian Christians have committed to the Shelter’s support in the coming months. Some have already begun with their support!
Whereas, we could probably cut the Shelter loose right now in terms of finances our desire is to build a little bit more of a reserve for them as well as to purchase some much needed equipment. For instance, we desire to purchase a stove, refrigerator, and freezer and set them up with a computer. We also now have indoor running water and have begun building and stocking a children’s library of good books, videos, and Dvds. In the future we hope to also provide them with the lion’s share of what it will cost to purchase a better vehicle.
With all of this in mind, if you are able to continue to support the Shelter through June of 2013 we will greatly appreciate it. If however, you need or desire to discontinue your support of the Shelter or sponsorship now we certainly understand. I should also add that we hope our own personal support, coming primarily through CTEN, will not be affected by this as we still need it to continue ministering among the Fulbe and with our missionary training schools. For those of you who are sponsoring children, I have included a list of the children we are still caring for at the end of my letter. If your child is not on the list it means he or she is now living at home and is no longer under our care.
As for our future plans, we will continue to oversee the Shelter, albeit from a distance, until the end of June 2013 at which time it will become independent and our oversight will end. Again, we praise God for accomplishing this goal, revealing and dealing with the corruption at the Shelter, reuniting children with their parents, and turning what sometimes appeared to be a hopeless situation into a most hopeful one.
Thanks again for your faithful prayer and financial support on behalf of this ministry. We trust God has been glorified and you enriched for partnering with us.
Rejoicing In Christ,
Mark & Nancy Waite
These are the names of those remaining at the Orphanage: Annah, Patience, Moses, Grace, Dieudonne, Halley (Harris), Larry, Larissa, Mercy, Blessing, Jonathan, and Genesis
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