Tashirat Newsletter – July/August 2013

Dearest Family and Friends,

This month marked Tashirat Orphanage’s 10th anniversary! Ten years ago, July 3rd 2003, we received our first 9 children from the DIF (child welfare) here in Mexico. Many of our younger children arrived in later years, but quite a few of our older children were among those who arrived in our first year.

Sami turned 18 this year.

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Age 10

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Today

 

Julio and Melina are close behind at 16 and 17 now.

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Ages 8 & 9

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The twins Aria and Isabel, who were once our babies, are nearly 12.  

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Age 3

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Today

Misha, Delan, Liana and Tanya all finished primary school this spring and are on to junior high. In short, so many of our children are now fast becoming teenagers.

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There were many highlights to this season. One dream came true for all our Robin Hood fans – a trip to a local archery school, which offered the children a free class, serendipitously after many months of a bow and arrow craze. However, the kids ran into some problems on the way there, or I should say our trusty 1982 Ford F150 broke down, and the kids had to lend a hand helping her to the side of the road.

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Once there, the fun began.

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At home, the only bows and arrows they had used up to this time they had made themselves out of scrap such as rubber strings from window linings and pliable metal from old screen frames, as well as whatever they could whittle from the woods around our homes.  The kids had a blast using the real things!!

The Ixaya School Closing Ceremony marked the end of a cycle within the school and the beginning of another. All the kids performed an adorable acrobatic number choreographed and lovingly costumed by their gym teacher. We are looking forward to next year, when we will begin our afterschool programs open to the greater community.

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We have been working with a few close friends who have formed a committee to promote and support our service work. One of their first initiatives has been to fill this afterschool program with different workshops and activities. Once a week our Tashirat Ixaya library will be open to children from the community to read books and participate in a storytelling circle.

 

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Our children are wearing their favorite T-shirts in the Ixaya photos above, designed and donated by Denise Ricciotti of Stardog T-shirts. Denise donates T-shirts to good causes through her company and the recently sent us a T-shirt for every child.

For more info on Star Dog you can go to: www.stardoggives.com

Thank you Denise.

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At the end of this school year, we received volunteer groups from the service organizations Muslims Without Borders and United For Service. These young people always form special friendships with our older children and teens, with whom they play a lot of soccer, climb the pyramid overlooking Tepoztlan, and just have a really fun time. When they leave, everyone cries a little, but looks forward to their next trip.

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Great news is that we are currently reopening our regular volunteer program! We have loads of good work to be done and hope to have up to 10 volunteers at a time, so please refer us to your friends looking for a fulfilling way to serve and learn. Please check out our website at www.tashirat.com/volunteer for more information.

By far the most exciting news this summer: Gaby is walking! Seven years ago, Gaby was born with dwarfism and a rare syndrome that causes hyper flexibility of the joints. His upper body is disproportionately heavy and his legs are double jointed which makes it a real trial for him to stand upright, but Gaby´s now walking with a mini walker, given to him by his sponsor Tanya. She has doted on him since the first day she became his sponsor, and always helped us to help him overcome his disabilities.

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As many of you know, we continue to be focused on becoming self sustainable and self sufficient. We are now renting out several of our bungalows, and are renting out our retreat facility (La Amatista) more and more often, including to various yoga groups led by our friend and yogi TJ Jackson from New York City. TJ has been a great help in getting the word out about us and our work, and  will be coming down another seven more times between now and March, in which time he has offered to carry with him any donations anyone would like to send. This is a great opportunity to avoid the elevated postal fees! Please contact us if you would like TJ to bring anything down for you and we will give you his address.

Our greenhouses our doing amazingly well!  We´ve been enjoying the biggest organic tomatoes ever and have been producing often double what even our tomato-loving kids could possibly eat!  That´s a lot! (Between children and staff, we eat about 100 kilos a week – around 220 pounds!!!). We are often invaded by white fly but still continue to produce increasingly large amounts of produce with each new crop.

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We are still short many sponsors for our children. If you or anyone you know may be interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact us or go to our website at www.tashirat.com/orphanage. Please help us find sponsors in any way you can!

Much love and many thanks always for your friendship,

Tashirat Staff and Kids

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