Thursday, October 24, 2013
“Cousins are those rare people who ask how we are and then wait to hear the answer.” ~ Ed Cunningham
We had the most wonderful visit today. My cousin, Charles Lyons, and his wife, Adrienne, and four of their friends were in Tanzania for a safari and were able to fly into a private airstrip at the Gremeti River Camp and then were driven from there to the Ndabaka gate of the Serengeti National Park where Shaban and I were waiting to guide them from there to our mission in Bunda. I hadn't seen Charles since my father's funeral in 2003, so it was really good to see him again. He is the son of my Uncle Tommy (now deceased) and my Aunt Kitty who is still my favorite aunt and quite active and supportive of our mission here. We have named the preschool at the Muranda Church after her but she insisted we call it St. Teresa's and wouldn't let me use St. Kitty's. Since she is my favorite aunt, it is called St. Teresa's. Charles is helping pay to finish the roof and his wife Adrienne has bought all the uniforms for the orphans there, here at St. Caryn's and at St. Penny's in Karikakari, and at the preschool in Tireme which I want to call St. Charles Guerin Academy in memory of the man my cousin Charles was named for. The group was only able to stay for a couple of hours before they had to head back to the private airstrip to continue their journey, but we were so blessed that they were willing to go out of their way to come see us and our mission. They are such an amazing couple and have been married 38 years which makes them part of a definite minority and are such beautiful people. They were serenaded by the preschoolers in the their new uniforms and the afternoon English class also sang for them. We were able to give them a tour of the mission and to feed them a Tanzanian feast of rice, beans, ugali, fish, beef, mango, banana, watermelon, spinach, and almost everything we and the people here eat on a daily basis. They loved the meal, the tour, and were really interested in all that we were doing. They brought gifts of pencils, Crayons, and other school supplies. Charles and Adrienne had already helped support our mission with really generous gifts, including new American shoes for every child that were supposed to have arrived on Monday, but we found out today that the packages were in Musoma and would be delivered to Bunda early next week. We will take pictures of the kids in their new shoes as soon as we have them. The staff did not have to ask which of the visitors was my cousin Charles. They all agreed that the family resemblance was remarkable. Complimentary to me--not so much to Charles. We made a connection and bonded today in a way that shouldn't have surprised me since they have fantastic hearts for giving and loved the kids who couldn't get enough of them. Karen and I felt really special that they altered their plans just to come see us and will never forget their visit. Cousins are more than friends in a way that is hard to explain (see quote above), but I am so glad to be connected to the Lyons family. I think that they are now connected to Africa. That's a good thing. It was a God thing.