Tuesday, December 24, 2013
“You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.” ― Brigham Young
Any missionaries who say they have no favorites among the people they serve, are probably not very good missionaries or are very good prevaricators. There are just some people here who have that spark inside them that shines forth so brightly it cannot be ignored. Edina, who has worked for us as long as we have been in Tanzania is just such a woman. She has fired other workers we have hired to help her because they just didn’t measure up to her standards. Every bush, shrub, flower, and tree she has selected, planned for the location, planted and nurtured. She is fifty-eight years old and can work rings around everyone else who works here (us included), and the Holy Spirit emanates from within her. She has lost a husband and children since we have known her and we have wept with her and paid for coffins. Her surviving daughter, Paulina, is now in her third year of a bachelor’s degree in nursing. We have paid all her school fees since her mother has been working for us. Karen taught her English and she has always loved learning. Her favorite subjects now are physics and chemistry. The picture at the right is from 2010 when she graduated from high school (for some reason everyone graduating gets lots of leis—no idea where that came from, but that’s why she is wearing them). When she asked for a computer to keep up with the other students at her college, I did not buy a refurbished, second-hand one, like I have with so many others who have needed them. Refurbished are good and do the job without costing me more than a couple of hundred dollars each. Paulina, being the daughter of our favorite worker and friend (a devout Catholic who gets time off during the week to attend services on special occasions) got a brand-new computer that John picked out knowing what she would need and what software is available. It arrived last week and Paulina came to get it only to discover that it needed quite a few upgrades that John had to download over the weekend. Her face fell when she found out she couldn’t take it straight home, but she understood. She got it yesterday morning and is coming over this afternoon for John to help her with the “sticky” bits she doesn’t quite understand yet. John is a good and patient teacher, so I know she will leave with a new weapon in her arsenal to become the best and brightest nurse her college can produce. Her smile brightens the room. As her own father died some years ago, I have become “Baba” for her (and I don’t complain). She will not only be able to get a really good job with her degree, but she can care for her mother when Edina can no longer work. Today, when I gave her mother the tuition for the upcoming year, Edina called down more blessings on me than I have ever received. Sometimes, doing a good thing, doing the right thing, doing a “God” thing just feels darn good.