This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
opportunities for disabled young people beyond school age. “Families are hungry for that

information and that feeling of support and acceptance,” said Kelly Lytle, international relations direc- tor for Mosaic.

Betsy Buschkemper, a pediatric nurse, finds her volunteer work supporting children in the BCC program to be rewarding and inspiring.

lives spent in the shadows, Shoo “invited Mosaic into the relationship” to grow the ministry, DeFreese said. Today, 10 BCC day centers carry

out their work in parish buildings or on donated land. Contributions from the parishes, diocese and Mosaic, as well as grants from ELCA World Hunger (, cover the operating budget. Led by Tanzanians, the multicul-

tural centers serve Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Muslims and practitioners of traditional African religion. Shaeli Urassa, director of Moshi

Center 2, was working in her Lutheran congregation’s kinder- garten when her pastor suggested she volunteer with BCC. She began knocking on doors to find hidden children and opening doors to new arrivals like the mother carrying her 2-pound, 10-month-old with hydro- cephalus (excess fluid in the brain). “I love children, and when I work

with these children I feel so happy,” she said. “I see how important it is to live our faith this way.” Te center’s goal is to help

families move beyond isolation and stigma into full participation in their community. Besides caring for kids in the centers and in the homes of especially fragile children, BCC staff train parents to care for special needs, set up projects that increase family incomes, and provide job

December 2015 39

Addressing medical needs Since kids like Brian also have com- plicated medical situations, the BCC program offers regular physicals and visits to doctors and hospitals when necessary. But doctors “sometimes don’t

know what to do with them,” said Buschkemper, a pediatric nurse practitioner who volunteers her clinical skills to help the BCC improve medical outcomes. “When you see a 4- or 8-year-old

who can’t walk or talk, you wonder why,” she said. “Is it cerebral palsy, a traumatic brain injury, a genetic syndrome, complications of labor or premature birth, or autism? A more informed medical diagnosis makes it easier to know how to help.” When the children first began

to turn up in clinics and hospitals, “we had a tremendous amount of struggle,” Buschkemper said. “Some doctors refused to treat our children because of their disabilities.” Relations have improved, but in the future Buschkemper hopes

to offer in-service training to BCC staff and local physicians to increase their capacity to diagnose and treat disabilities. “Tere are ways to help kids with

swallowing difficulties eat without aspirating, or assist with toileting and bladder control problems,” she said. “We can also look at medica- tions and adaptive equipment like bathroom rails.” A frequent visitor to Tanzania,

Buschkemper previously volun- teered in the diocese’s hospitals, most recently in its nursing and clinical officer training program. Te member of Augustana

Lutheran Church, Omaha, has also volunteered in Malawi, Central and South America, and Asia. Working with the BCC, she has

moved from “feeling pity” for chil- dren like Brian to celebrating “the potential and the happiness and joy they feel and know in life that they wouldn’t have had a chance for oth- erwise,” she said. “Brian has a shot at a normal life now and is a happy little boy.” 

Author bio: Basye is a freelance writer living in the Pacific Northwest.

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52