About ELCA Lutherans

 
 
 

Kibondo After Prince of Peace Family Member Shelly Slemp received her degree from Princeton, she decided to spend a year in Africa. The Princeton Affiliate, Princeton in Africa, connected her to the Tanganyika Christian Refugee Service, or TCRS.  TCRS operates refugee camps in western Tanzania, and placed Shelly in their office in Kibondo, Tanzania to assist with their work in the region. Since then she has returned to Princeton to earn a teaching license. Her story is an example of voluntarily working with the Street Children of Tanzania in a remote western community near the Burundian border. It is also a story of how our congregation responded to her request for assistance in sports equipment - for a people halfway around the world. It is a marvelous story of caring and the fact that kindness is understood world-wide.

 
 
 

The Saturday games and meals began very informally at the main soccer field and basketball court.  The cement for the court was poured in January 2008.  This field and court are one of the centers of the town, which means that many people and animals traverse this place as they walk across town.  It is pretty normal to have a game paused by cattle being herded to their next grazing spot.  The picture above is of the main basketball court.

I just realized that Prince of Peace can help out by sending some sports equipment.  Let me explain.  On Saturday mornings a friend and I play sports with some of the local kids.  Many of these kids are street children, who have either run away or don't have homes. 

After the games, we take the kids to a local restaurant and buy them a meal.  It's a great time, and though it's a small contribution to their welfare, it makes a difference. 

My mom sent some of our old balls early in the year, but the already old equipment is wearing out.   Do you think that some PoP members could send 3-4 soccer balls, 3-4 basketballs, and 3-4 volleyballs?  They don't have to be new—old ones are fine!  And if you all want to send more equipment (and/or shorts and t-shirts), any contribution is welcome.  Thanks for asking Christin!”


The excerpt above came from an email sent by Shelly Slemp, a PoP family member who worked in the small village of Kibondo, Tanzania from August 2007 to July 2008.  Shelly ventured to that remote corner of Western Tanzania to work for the Tanganyika Christian Refugee Service, or TCRS, at their office in Kibondo.  From that office TCRS operates refugee camps for Burundian refugees living on the outskirts of the town.  Shelly spent the year assisting TCRS in their operations primarily through writing grants and coordinating reporting. 

Above is a picture of the main soccer field.  Notice that it is dirt and that there are cattle on the field.  Nothing stops a good soccer game in this town!

When Shelly was not at work she lived and worked with the local community, and it was in this context that she met the local, Tanzanian street children of Kibondo. Thanks to several Tanzanian friends, she was provided with the opportunity to play with these kids. 

In a poor country with few social networks and supports outside of the nuclear family, children without homes are left to fend for themselves and rely on the generosity of others. 

Though they are burdened with incredibly tough circumstances, these children are still kids and they come running when there is an opportunity to play.  Games and sports bring joy to these kids in Tanzania, just as they do to children in the United States.  But, unlike kids in the U.S., these children do not have a ready supply of balls and other sports equipment at their fingertips.

Once the balls arrived from Prince of Peace in June, Shelly’s neighbors tried out the equipment just to make sure everything worked okay.  They were happy guinea pigs ;-)  The American football was a hit once we figured out how to throw it.  Everbright Nkya was especially excited about this strange ball (pictured right, catching the ball).

 

 

These children, the street kids of Kibondo, are the children mentioned above.  Once Shelly’s email was received by Christin Barnhardt on behalf of Prince of Peace in February 2008, the PoP Youth Group led a drive to support these kids—their neighbors—in Kibondo. 

A short fundraising and equipment collection drive ensued, thanks to the enthusiasm of the PoP youth group, the logistical work done by several dedicated adults, and the generosity of the congregation as a whole. 

One month, $303, 24 basketballs, 4 soccer balls, 3 volleyballs, 3 dodge balls, a Nurf football, and two air pumps later, boxes packed full of the goodies were sent on to Kibondo. 

Prince of Peace had responded with love to the kids in this small, forgotten village, half-way across the world.  These gifts were received with joy and gratitude, and the games began right away! 

 
 
 
 

 
 

The new equipment was put to use the minute the children in Kibondo had the chance.  The new soccer balls were especially popular!

In between afternoon and night chores, local girls in Kibondo come together to play netball which is similar to basketball.

Though it was a soccer day, the dodgeball and basketballs were tested.  
 
 

 
 

Several of the local girls have begun to run thanks to the enthusiasm of their volunteer coaches Tabitha Martin and Kuruwa.  Here they lined up to pose for a picture of the starting line.  This picture was taken the day of first “Kibondo Track Meet.”

Sindotumba has become one of the best runners in Kibondo.  She hopes that she will become good enough to be given an athletic scholarship at a high school in the capital city of Dar es Salaam.

 
 
 

 
 

Victor Martin and his mother Tabitha volunteer, of their own initiative, to play with, coach, and feed as many of the street children as possible.  In this picture, Victor (left with the whistle) poses with three of the boys at their post-practice Saturday meal.

Tabitha, the lady who began to organize and care for the kids, poses above with two of the street children.  It was Tabitha who invited Shelly to begin playing on Saturdays.

 
 
 

This is a video that Shelly took showing the children enjoying the Prince of Peace Basketballs in a game. It also provides a look at where Shelly lived during her time in Tanzania; some young friends watching the game; and others throwing a Prince of Peace football in front of her house or practicing with a basketball.

Single click on the arrow to begin play. Please allow a short time for the video to load (depending upon the
speed of your connection.)
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This is a video that Shelly took from a hill overlooking the village of Kibondo in January of 2008. She explains the scene below in detail including a description of the sounds she was hearing while videoing the scene below, and a view of a football game in full play.

Single click on the arrow to begin play. Please allow a short time for the video to load (depending upon the
speed of your connection.)
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This is a look, courtesy of Google Maps, of the terrain surrounding Kibondo situated in the western part of Tanzania, far from the coastline, and close to the border of Burundi.

 

 
 

 

 
 
 
© 2008 Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
177 Princeton Hightstown Rd, Princeton Jct., NJ 08550
(609) 799-1753         FAX (609) 799-0958         email: info2@popnj.org