Tuesday, November 24, 2015
“Our children may learn about the heroes of the past. Our task is to make those children the architects of a bright future for Tanzania.” ― Julius Nyerere (the father of Tanzania)
I just love to hear the laughter of the little children as they come to school every morning. Yesterday, as the Canadians were leaving, about twenty of the forty-five kids showed up early and our visitors were able to greet them and get some love in return. I don’t know if it’s because they are orphans or if it’s just because children in general really want to give and receive love, but it’s sure the way these kids are. You can get hugs from kids you’ve never even seen before if you ask. Their faces have to stop smiling to eat and learn, but those grins are always ready to pop out at the first opportunity. Since they stay for more than one year, we can’t be sure how many of the little orphans we’ve fed and educated over the past six years, but it has to be at least 200. We do know how many have been through the English class because they just do one year and that school has been going on for almost ten years now, first in the church building and then here on our grounds when we built a classroom here. At about twenty kids a year, that’s another 200 or so Mama Africa has helped to learn English. If you want to go to secondary school here, you must first pass a test in English and all our kids have passed. You must also pass a test in English to go from secondary to university, but we only teach beginning English. I’ve seen the test, and I’d have trouble with it. Still, we know that many of the kids who started here are now in secondary school and some in university. Through the scholarship program that we administered for years (Cornerstone UMC in Jonesboro, Arkansas, generously funded that program) over sixty new, Christian teachers are working all over Tanzania as secondary school teachers. The local teachers college is no more as the government has turned it into a university, but Karen is working with a school in Tireme that only produces teachers for Early Childhood Education. Hopefully, we can be providing scholarships to that school in another year or so. Bishop Monto, who lives in Tireme, has agreed to personally select the students to receive scholarships if we can get the funding. Not only have we been expanding the Kingdom of God here, but we have also made a dent (even if it’s a small one) in the expansion and enrichment of education here as well. We will never know how much we have helped because we are not here to harvest but to plant seeds. As my son said, “We are planting trees whose shade we will never see.” That’s just fine with us. We will keep on planting as long as we can put seeds in the ground or put the joy of learning in a four-year-old orphan. It’s what we do. It’s what we love. It’s part of why God called us here.