November 2018 Newsletter

First of all, it’s the end of the fiscal year. Do you need a tax deduction? Please consider Hope Made Real.

We are a 501(c)3 non-profit in the USA. You can donate on our website, or mail a donation to

Hope Made Real

PO Box 3222

Williamsport, Pa. 17701

Thank you. Mama Arlene


Hi everyone,

The last days of October were very busy for the team from Saint Johns-Newberry UMC, Williamsport and South Williamsport UMC.

The team joined our children in the monthly cleanup day. Umuganda is the last Saturday of the month. This day is designated by the president to keep Rwanda clean. Our hard-working kids taught Tom, Kent and Theresa how it is done. Good work guys.

The ladies did their turn and wrapped and tagged Christmas gifts for our kids.

The ladies did their turn and wrapped and tagged Christmas gifts for our kids.

Lori, Becky, Lynell, Theresa, Kent and Tom added string to crosses to be added to the Christmas packages at worship for the community kids.

Lori, Becky, Lynell, Theresa, Kent and Tom added string to crosses to be added to the Christmas packages at worship for the community kids.

I am grateful for the help we received.


Our partnering with NGO GO ED benefits both GO ED and the Urukundo Foundation.

GO ED volunteers Erin Mackenzie, who intends to be a librarian, worked in our library and Alicia Newmaster worked with the farm manager. Erin is from Messiah College and is an English major. Alicia is from Eastern University and is a museology and anthropology major.

Erin and Alicia enjoy devotions with the kids.

David and company teach volunteers Alicia and Erin to play marbles.

Erin directs arranging books on new shelves in the library.

New shelves to arrange books better


Kids enjoy the game room at the library.

Thank You, Erin and librarian I’rene, for making the library more “user friendly”

Alicia at work. She wanted to experience a farm.


Feeding baby chicks


Gathering eggs

Alicia came to work with two boots for the left foot. Of course, it did not work well. Sent her and a cowboy shopping for a pair of boots with a left and a right foot boot. That was better. She took a lot of teasing. She also spent a week with the cows and another week with the pigs. She is now a farmer.

More Visitors

More visitors

It was an honor for me to welcome a team that included members from both South Williamsport United Methodist Church and Saint John’s-Newberry UMC, Williamsport, Pa., USA . It truly was great welcoming my faith family to Urukundo. I felt right at home putting them to work. I raised my family in South Williamsport, Pa., and lived my later years in the Newberry section of Williamsport. To have both in one team was awesome.

The team consisted of team leader Tom Hirschle, Kent Weiland, Theresa Harlan, Lynell Whitnack and Lori Mahaffey from Saint John's-Newberry UMC. Also on the team were Pete Heilman, Dave Monks and Becky Steppe from South Williamsport UMC.

Their first day began with visiting the opening exercises at the Urukundo Learning Center.


Sorry Lynell is not in the photo of the group at the lake below. Very tough walk to and from the lake. She and I chose not to go. The team plus the girls from GO ED and kids from Urukundo Home.

I had an unexpected pleasure welcoming Collins Oyo from Uganda.


Collins was graduating from a university in Uganda the last week in October 2018. He came to Urukundo to thank and pay honor to Pete Heilman for sponsoring him in education these many years through the Compassion program. He has reached his goal and his future looks bright. Congratulations, Collins. Pete and all of us are proud of you and your accomplishments.

Lynell Whitnack spent her work time in the Sewing Center where treadle machines are still used. These are the kind of machines my mother sewed on. Notice her foot on the treadle doing the work.


She made a bag with the help of manager Theresa and student helper Dismas. A lovely bag in shades of lavender. Colorful and big. She can’t wait to get it home and show it off.

Dave Monks choose to lend his talent mending fences at the pig farm. Necessary work as 30 of our piglets escaped the pen and went to visit the yard at the girls’ home. The kids loved it, but the pigs are not easy to catch and return to the pens. Fences do need to be solid.

He also makes a good horsey.


Way to go, Dave.

Lori Mahaffey worked at the preschool.

Lori also was active in the Mama & Baby Project while she was here. Visiting the birthing center, cuddling Baby No. 1.

Mama and baby at the birthing center. Baby No. 2 and happy mother with Lori.


Lori also spent time at the Urukundo Learning Center.

Busy woman. She is an early riser so she also assisted with breakfast in Mama’s house each morning.

Becky Steppe assisted teachers at the preschool.

Sharing a picture book.


Sitting on the mat is fun for the kids but not so for teachers. We do what works. Hugs and affection work well. Lots of love.

Becky met Emily.

Emily is the daughter of one of our dental hygienists, Theodore Habiyakare. Emily comes to work with her daddy so her mother can attend university. Emily stays in the day care while daddy works.

Theresa Harlan was a helper at the day care.

Pete Heilman in conversation with Kavine and Benate. Activity and coloring books are so appreciated by kids and visitors alike.

Pete with Kavine and Claudine. Theresa working with Janette.

Tom is into music with this young man.

Uno in progress

A lively game of Uno. Who caught who cheating just a bit?

Dave milked the cow. Not sure how the cow felt about that. Dave felt successful. He got milk.

Preparing for Christmas

Preparing for the Christmas celebration is a 3 month project. Gifts are prepared for all children in our family both home secondary  and university kids plus 102 children of the staff and about 400 children from the community. That’s a busy job. I thank Tom Hirschle, Pete Heilman, Kent Weiland,& Dave Monks  now we have a head start. They Unpacked suitcases, sorted, wrapped, counted & bagged making the job easier for us come November.

New friends and old friends

Friends came from the Kiskiminetas Presbytery in Pennsylvania.

My children sing: “Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver the other gold.”

My friendship with is Betty Grunstra “pure gold.” She is a long-standing friend.

Two new friends are Natalie Jaworskyj and Rev. Dr. Donald Wilson, general presbyter of the Kiskiminetas Presbytery, PCUSA.

They are new to our family. We welcome them.


August Newsletter

Change in procedure: As visitors are prominent early in the newsletter, I thought it best to introduce them first.
Anna Symons arrived Aug. 7.  She came to Urukundo through indiGO Volunteers. She will serve at Urukundo Foundation for 23 days. The day care and Learning Center are her interests. Anna is a medical student at the University of Bristol in England.

Sarah Smith a graduate of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, arrived August 9. Sarah will spend 22 days at Urukundo Village. Sarah’s degree is in accounting. This is Sarah’s second visit to Urukundo Foundation.
The last Sunday in July we welcomed Tom MacGregor and his family to Urukundo Village. Tom was taking our visitor, Charlotte to his home in Kigali to help her reach the airport at a “too early” hour in the morning. Tom and Char are both from England and are good friends.

Tom has a lovely wife Ritah and two daughters, Kiza and Tona.  Charlotte was a delight, sharing her time with Tom’s family and Urukundo’s family.
The girls had a good time in mama’s toy room.

Char was a welcomed volunteer.
Kevin Castle, our Rwandan volunteer, returned for the second time to spend time with Urukundo’s kids during his and their school break. Kevin is a university student in Kigali.
Patricia, better known as Trish, and Marvin Scott arrived at our village Aug. 20. They are world
travelers and interested in new adventures. It was our pleasure to have them include Urukundo in interesting places to visit while in Rwanda. We welcome them as part of the friends of Urukundo Foundation/Hope Made Real. We thank Tom MacGregor of Azizi Life for making them aware we are in Rwanda. Jean Marie, Executive Director for Urukundo, helped me welcome them.

School Break

School break is time to play and just have fun. During school breaks, volunteers are such a blessing.
Sarah and Anna share in a hot game of Clue. Board games are enjoyed by the older group.
Clue moved to the porch.  David was the winner.
Kevin Castle and younger group are more interested in artwork.  Coloring is the purest form of artwork when you are under 6 years.
Visiting and having lunch at the university house was a special treat during this break time.