“Stop, stop . . . Wait, wait, wait! . . . they're so precious!" I'll never forget the sounds of the children welcoming us as we approached the newly built Twing Memorial Elementary School (TMES). No doubt these sounds still haunt my husband, Randy, our daughter, Tammy Twing Pannekoek, as well as our friends Curtis and Carol Frembling. We are all so very far away, we’ve seen their needs, and gratitude with our own eyes!
Ethel Twing was a registered nurse when she returned to the place she served with her physician husband, Dr. James Arthur Twing, who in 1972 lost his life in an airplane accident. Since 1975 she has worked with more than 300 young people. She’d take them into her home, determine their aptitude and character. She helped those who had promise. Ethel became known all over Tanzania as “Mama Twing.”
“Mama Twing” had three children of her own. To her grandchildren, including my children, James, Tammy, and Jeremy; Bruce’s children, Denise, Shawn, and Tara; as well as, Sylvia’s son, Jeff, she was known as Grandma Africa. Their childhood memories include trips with Grandma as she raised funds for her African children and projects. They spent time with her on item specific shopping trips, and watched her carefully pack up those precious supplies to return to Africa.
Several of her projects included purchases of property to build an elementary and secondary school for children. It was a great day when the first round of bricks was laid for the elementary school which opened in 2005! Unfortunately, at 80 years of age her time in Africa came to an end as Ethel suffered a stroke and was sent by medical transport back to the United States. She tried to return to Africa at age 83. With her frail condition and lack of access to appropriate medical care, she returned after a few months. Last year at age 92, Ethel passed to her rest at a nursing home in Kennewick, Washington.
Why do I share all of this with you?
The children and grandchildren of Ethel are now responsible to raise funds and operate her ministry which has obtained non-profit status as: Twing Memorial Ministries. The ministry funds Twing Memorial Elementary School which currently has enrolled more than 600 students. The 12 full-time teachers each receive $140 salary per month. The school operates in two sessions, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon.
Some children walk five miles each way to attend school. Most of the children have a single parent or no parents at all. Many are refugees from conflicts in Rwanda and Burundi. These children are loosely supervised by adults in the nearby communities in which they live. None of the children attending this school can pay tuition or fees.
After grade seven some of these students are sent all over Africa to continue their education in government secondary schools, even as far away as Dar es Salaam. Three classes of students have graduated while Twing Memorial Secondary School (TMSS) is being constructed. There are a few more things that must be done by the end of August to obtain permission to accept students in January 2016.
An African, Musa Mitekaro, one of Mama Twing's students, is directing the work at the school. I asked him why he has worked so hard to build the school in memory of Dr. & Mrs. Twing. His reply was, “My people must know of the sacrifice made by those who come to our country to make our life good.” He has developed an official African non-governmental organization for the school to make it easier to get things into the country. It reports to our US non-profit which has ultimate authority of the program.
We must raise $100,000 by the end of 2015 to fund teacher's salaries and to finish the secondary school. Our school and children have many other needs as well: supplies for the teachers and children, well water, a meal each day, shoes, clothing, and school uniforms.
Should this school close there are no other options available for the education of these children. Poverty will continue to plague them for generations to come. A gift of $50 will educate one child for one school year. Where else can you do so much for so little? Please make a tax-deductible gift here. Your entire gift (less a modest credit card processing fee), goes to the ministry. There are no paid employees for our non-profit.
On behalf of our children, Thank You!
(Dr. & Mrs. James Twing, in their early 50's, before his death from an airplane accident in 1972. Ethel returned to Africa in 1975 and remained there for more than 30 years until she became ill with an African fever.)
(Dr. Twing transported patients in his airplane to the hospital from more than 20 dispensaries in the region.)
(Children in front of Twing Memorial Elementary School in 2007, Phase I)
(Phase II, classrooms built in 2008-09)
(Phase III, New campus for Twing Memorial Secondary School, currently under construction.)
We desperately need your help. Would you partner with us in doing good - educating young people in Tanzania - Grandma's children? On behalf of the children, thank you so much.
-- Rachel Twing Terwillegar, President
Twing Memorial Ministries
- Randal & Rachel Terwillegar
Rachel Twing Terwillegar
TWING MEMORIAL MINISTRIES
Donations are 100% tax deductible.