April 2019 Newsletter

Visit to the USA

What a wonderful welcome I have received!

First off, I was treated to a pedicure, manicure and a new hairdo. A gift from my daughter, Patricia, and her husband, Dale Bauman.


What do you think? A bit different. Should it stay?


I saw many special people in my first month and a half in the USA. Here are some of them in some kind of order by location.

Early in my travels, I was hosted by the Waverly Presbyterian Church mission team in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Early in my travels, I was hosted by the Waverly Presbyterian Church mission team in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

What a wonderful evening I spent bringing them up to date on Urukundo and the Urukundo kids!

In State College, Pennsylvania, I saw Carol Falke, president of the Hope Made Real International Board.

Carol and Mama and the ice cream challenge. How awesome, and mine is vanilla, my favorite.

Carol and Mama and the ice cream challenge. How awesome, and mine is vanilla, my favorite.

The creamery at the Penn State University campus has the best ice cream ever. What a treat after Carol and her husband Steve gave me a personal tour of the campus! My first time ever.

More friends for Urukundo kids were at an open house at Carol’s home.

Joan Zimmer and Janet Madore in State College

Joan Zimmer and Janet Madore in State College

Jerry Brown of South Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Jerry Brown of South Williamsport, Pennsylvania

My son Jerry. He was such a reliable source of transport and lodging during my time in the Williamsport area. Jerry also serves Urukundo as the chair of Hope Made Real International Board.

Jeanne Willis of Hughesville, Pennsylvania

Jeanne Willis of Hughesville, Pennsylvania

My children in Rwanda remember Jeanne Willis. Jeanne has been a volunteer at Urukundo Village and is loved by the children.

Sherry Sechrist of Quiggleville, Pennsylvania

Sherry Sechrist of Quiggleville, Pennsylvania

My youngest sister. It was so good to touch base and spend a little time with her.

Darrel Bietz of West Chester, Pennsylvania

Darrel Bietz of West Chester, Pennsylvania

My nephew, Darrel Bietz. It was a pleasant surprise to see and spend a short time with him.

More of my family, this time in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Great-granddaughter Haleigh Moore, daughter Barbara Downs and great-grandson Nate Moore.

Great-granddaughter Haleigh Moore, daughter Barbara Downs and great-grandson Nate Moore.

I then traveled to the Philadelphia area where I was hosted and toasted by Diane Mastrull, reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and a good friend to Urukundo.


This is Pierce Keating. He has promised to visit Urukundo in the future. Holding you to that promise, my friend.


Katie Keating, who is Pierce’s wife, is the mom in this great family. Really Katie is a powerhouse full of love and compassion. Katie and her daughter Katrina have been volunteers at Urukundo.


What an awesome couple and lovely family!

Report on me

I am well and looking forward to more visits and fundraising events before I arrive home June 1. Yes, I am homesick. Miss my kids.

Urukundo is always in my heart. My goal is to complete four more classrooms for the Primary Learning Center and four classrooms for the Sewing Center. Each room will cost about US$25,000.

The Sewing Center is now an accredited technical school and part of the Urukundo Learning Center. More space is required for further expansion. Turning deserving students away because of a lack of space is not acceptable at Urukundo/Hope Made Real.

My next stop is Arizona and Tresor’s graduation from Arizona State University. Tresor has been part of the Urukundo family since he was 12 years old. His major is software engineering, and he graduates with honors from Barrett, The Honors College, at the university.

Update and more news in the May newsletter.


My journey begins

Here it is March 15, and I am in the USA.

Believe it. I slept most of the journey home and was greeted in the USA by friends from Reston, Va. I was taken to breakfast. It’s not unusual for me to have no camera. This time, I left it in Rwanda for assistant Olive to use to send me photos of my kids.


First photo from Olive. My kids waving to me.

Saying “Hello mama.”

Second photo. Love this.


New in Mama’s rock garden.



Here are some kids in my world in the USA. Remember, all under 65 are kids for me.


Thank you friend, Bruce, for sharing. His wife, Margie, took the photo. She’s on the board of Hope Made Real. A wonderful time seeing them, their children, grandchildren and guests at their home in Penn Hills, PA, USA. Hey, how do you like the new haircut???

An evening spent with the Waverly Presbyterian Church mission team from Pittsburgh. Their visit was a memorable one. This one includes our newsletter editor Eleanor standing next to Mama.


It was great to be with this happy group once again.

Happy news

Come join the fun. A gala fundraising event in Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

Saturday, April 27 and Sunday, April 28.

Interested??? Contact Mama or Patricia

Emails are and .

Or phone 412-522-6450.

Can’t be there? Donations can be sent to:

Hope Made Real

P.O. Box 3222

Williamsport, PA 17701


Upcoming USA visit

I arrive in Pittsburgh on March 15. What an exciting time for me! Seeing friends and family during the six weeks I am in the USA is my pleasure. I return to Urukundo on June 1.


Wonder what this is about? Come to Pittsburgh April 27 and 28 and find out.

A full schedule of my time can be obtained by emailing me at .

Be happy to send it to you.

Lots of love,

Mama Arlene

Much ado about buses

In 2017, Urukundo purchased its first bus. We had money for only a small bus.

It has been our policy to purchase only what we have funding to pay for. We purchased this little bus (minibus).


Then we were able to purchase a big bus. With the big bus plus the minibus, we are able to plan field trips, sports events and special outings for our school children and staff.


A third bus was needed.

The news just got better.

Thanks to Rotary Club of Forest Hills, Pennsylvania, USA, and The Rotary Club of Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, USA, funding has arrived to purchase another big bus.

Starting the school year in 2019, we will have a minibus and two big buses for transporting our children. The buses also are a source of revenue as rentals on weekends.

The new bus is now in the garage being painted, and we are in the process of hiring another driver. It will be in service for start of school on Jan. 14, 2019.

The parking space at the school for the new bus will have a plaque saying, "In memorandum of Tom Nunnally, donated by the Rotary Clubs of Forest Hills and Willkinsburg, Pa.”

Special staff event

A special event in 2018 was for the Urukundo Village support staff. This included office staff, home mamas, kitchen staff, farmers, guards and cleaners. Two big buses were needed for the trip to the King’s Palace in Nyanza and dinner after the tour. This was the first time for many of the staff to visit this wonderful part of their history.


Special dancing cows at the palace.


Future Plans

With the help of family and friends, Urukundo continues to move into the future. Still in our goals for  the next five years:

    •    Four classrooms for the Sewing Center.
    •    A two-story high school.

Without your help, we stand still. Blessings to all of you who are a part of this this mission.

Latest look at Urukundo

Bringing you, our friends up-to-date on development at the Urukundo Learning Center.

You have made this possible. Thank you.

Overview of Urukundo Learning Center
Top Level: Preschool, Kindergarten, Culture Center (brown roof), retaining wall site of future classrooms for the technical school for sewing, Cleared, leveled and ready to start building foundation. Water storage reservoir.
Second Level: Classrooms for Primary 1, 2, and 3.
Third Level:  Restrooms for boys and girls. Funded by World Orphans Fund. Red Roof: Teachers Resource Center, Music Center.
Fourth Level: Classrooms for Primary 4, 5 and 6.
Black water tanks on three levels.

Photos by Jean Marie 

The second photo provides a closer look at a portion of the compound.

Space and construction begin for four classrooms to move the Sewing Center. The retaining wall indicates where the new classrooms will be constructed. I’m looking forward to when the Sewing Center will be part of this picture. The Sewing Center now is in a rented space which is scheduled to be demolished when a new road is completed. It is urgent we get the center moved into a new building before that happens.

In process: Clearing done, Leveling done, Retaining wall built. Need funding for foundation and construction. To construct one classroom costs $25,000, or $100,000 for four built at separate times.. To build four at a time, the cost is less than $75,000. A savings of over $25,000. Our aim is to build at lowest cost for quality work.

Would you like to help? Gifts appreciated.

Friends have responded to what has been built so far. Friend Lisa in Switzerland said, “You have built a dream many only talk about….Pretty sure that’s heaven there.  So well done, Mama.”

Friend Drew from the USA said, “Quite a learning center indeed!  Great photos!”