I went for a run yesterday in what felt like 90 degree heat with Erin, our art teacher, and Lauren, our school counselor. It was fun to see a little bit of the area surrounding the school, as well as see the people. I bit the dust about halfway through due to the heat and lack of training over the past few months, but getting the opportunity to experience Tanzania and run off some stress was well worth it. As we made our way back to the school, about ten kids, aged 2-9ish decided to join us. They ran up, chattering excitedly in Swahili, grabbed our hands, and began running with us with huge smiles on their faces. It was precious. I kicked myself for the millionth time for not learning Swahili better before I came out here, but the exchange of laughter and smiles still completely made my day. As I looked back after we said goodbye and entered the gate to the school, I saw them all standing there, hands on the gate, many with shirts half falling off, torn, or no shirts at all, and dirt smeared on many of their faces, but all with HUGE smiles. It’s a mental picture I won’t soon forget. Jesus calls those kids to Himself. So this is Africa.
I walk the road between my house and the school about 2-3 times a day, and it is filled with a constant flow of traffic. It defies any laws of logic, and crossing is truly a courageous feat of the will. (Pray for me.) Dala dalas (buses), bajajis (rickshaws…similar to golf carts), bicycles, pedestrians, and trucks all compete to see who can get from point A to point B not the most efficiently, but with the most cunning (i.e.: passing whenever and however possible). As the buses pass by, often filled to twice the intended load of people, Tanzanians hang out the window or the doors and yell and grin, “Mzungu! Mzungu! Mambo! Habari! Karibu! Hello, how are you?” (Literally translated: “White person! White person! Hello, how’s it going? Welcome!”) Sometimes I can’t help but laugh out loud, especially if the person yelling seems genuine. Other times, I pretend not to understand if the person seems rude or facetious (As in, tagging on, “I love you!” to that). One thing, however, is true: you don’t go anywhere around here unnoticed. Jesus loves these Tanzanians with a love so fierce He would die for them. So this is Africa.
While shopping in the grocery store this evening, as I stood gazing at the perplexing prices (the currency is in Tanzanian shillings: Tzs) for canned fruit, a little boy came up to me, stood about two inches away from my knees, and stared up at me with an open mouth and wide eyes, not saying a word. Just standing there. It took me a good minute to figure out WHY he was standing there, staring at me, and then I realized I was “mzungu” (a white person). You’d think he had seen a ghost. I chuckled, then grinned down at him and said, “Mambo!” He continued to stare, while his father stood several feet away with an amused half-smile on his face, pretending to inspect the items on the shelves. God created this little “mtoto” (child) who is filled with wonder over a skin color so different than his own. So this is Africa.
- That Christ would give me the same love that He has for my students as they walk into the classroom for the first time on Monday.
- To be able to design and implement my curriculum so that these kids are given the best possible English education.
- That I would be able to incorporate a Biblical worldview into my subject in such a way that it provokes the MK’s (missionary kids), Hindus, and Muslims alike to think about and seek the one true God for themselves.
- Energy, strength, and confidence to this very overwhelmed and apprehensive, yet excited, teacher.