HomeMissionTanzania 2011PostsWhat a great day!!!

What a great day!!!

Yesterday we went to visit the homes of two more nursing students, Daniel and Alpha (we call them affectionately, Belinda’s boys). They both live in the village of Mhweza, about a 20 minute drive from Murgwanza.

At Daniels

Daniel is one of 5 children. His elder brother is married with 6 children then Daniel who has just completed his first year of Nursing. Then two younger brothers, one in Form 1 and one just completed Standard 7 this week. His mother, although old, works for the Catholic Mission cutting grass for food for the pigs and the cows - she earns about 25,000Tsh a month ($17 AUS). His father is a drinker and doesn't work but drinks all day then comes home and begs for food despite having done no work. Daniel is very keen to ensure his younger brothers both complete their Secondary Schooling. Daniel is a lovely boy and very concerned for his mother and her poor situation. His is very upset by his father’s drinking and keen to complete his studies and be able to assist the family more financially.

The family and all the neighbours came to greet us and were so happy to have visitors. We brought some balloons for the kids and they were so happy. It is always awkward when we visit such poor areas and we are all given soda as the guests but all the others look on and have none. Daniels mother gave us a gift of a kuku (chicken) and two large fruits called Finesse or Jack Fruit in English. Again I am so humble when those who have so little insist on giving us what they have. It would be impossible culturally to refuse and Gershom assures us it is the Tanzanian custom and not just because we are white. I wish I had taken bags of t-shirts with me as there were so many kids in rags but gifts aside, our visit was enough to bless them.

At Daniels

After leaving Daniels we headed on to Alphas. Two of Daniels brothers and a mate piled into the car to come and visit Alpha’s place as well. So now in the car we had 5 Lawler’s, our friend from Dodoma - Gershom, Daniel, Alpha and three extra’s as well as one kuku!!! This is Africa.

Alpha is an orphan, his father died when he was young and his mother was murdered a few years ago. Alpha has an older brother who is married and lives elsewhere and so Alpha is the head of the house. While he is at Nursing School in Murgwanza, his 17 year old sister Grace, who has just completed Standard 7 this week, is the head of the house. She goes to school (which is a 2 hour walk each way), works the shamba, prepares the food and cares for their two younger brothers who are 12 and 6. Grace is unbelievable!!! She is such a lovely girl with a huge responsibility on her shoulders which she takes on with a smile. When their mother was murdered she wanted to stop school to look after the family but Alpha encouraged her to continue and now she has completed Standard 7 and hopefully will go on to Secondary School next year. Alpha is so proud of her as she works so hard and never complains. Many other girls her age would have run off and got married and left the family as it was all too hard, but she has stuck by her brothers and clearly loves them.

Alpha showed us his goats that he has been breeding - from 2 or 3, he now has many. He showed us through his small mud house and all the work he has been doing in the nursing school break. He recently got a secure door built for the house so they can lock it up safely when they are not there. He showed us the tubs of beans that Grace has grown and harvested so they have a food supply and how she will take beans to the markets and exchange it for flour so she can make ugali for the family. He showed us their shamba and their plans to plant mahindi and more beans when the next rains come. These holidays he has been home and dug a long drop toilet and the frame for a kitchen as presently Grace cooks on an open fire outside. He told us about his brother Matthew who is in Standard 5 and loves to study. He comes home each afternoon after a 2 hour walk from school and takes the goats out to graze and fetch water. When Alpha told them we were coming to visit he said he wanted to give us his kuku(chicken) and please to make sure we didn’t come while he was at school as he wanted to meet us. Grace similarly began collecting eggs for us to give as a gift and we came home with another kuku and 6 eggs. Again they have so little yet what they have, they want to share with us. I had brought some t-shirts for them so Grace and the two boys got two t-shirts each and I left the rest of the bag with them to give to other local kids. It seemed like so little to give. We took lots of photos and of course they all love to see themselves in the pictures - thank goodness for digital cameras!!

With Grace and Co. at Alphas

I hope to return again to see Grace and give her a solar light and to encourage her to keep studying. She has very little English and all I could say was Hongera sana sana (Very very well done) for all she has done.

So we all piled back in the car - 5 Lawlers, Gershom, Daniel, Alpha and three mates and 2 kuku’s now. We dropped the extras off at their place then home to Murgwanza. Alpha and Gershom ran off quickly to join the last of the football match and my boys tried to introduce the new chickens to our current kukus. There was a bit of a brawl between ‘Crest’ and ‘Georgina’ and we are wondering if ‘Crest’ is a boy hence the arguments.

Jake has spent the morning trying to get all the kukus to be friends. He is very concerned that ‘Crest’ is in hiding and that ‘Caramel’ is on the outer and not being included in the group. I have tried to assure him that they are chickens and will work it out!!! Today is Georges last day as he starts Nursing School tomorrow so I have baked a cake for chai. His replacement, Imani, is here ‘learning the ropes’ today and Oliver appears to have already got him helping to build yet another cubby.

Rob is back from market now so it is chai time.

So after cake and soda, speeches, photos and gifts George is now offically finished. He has gone now to walk his goats from his house to his parents to stay while he is living in at nursing school (this is a 3 hour walk). Imani has been orientated and will begin work officially on Monday. Rob has gone up to help Liz with another electrical fault in her house. Tonight we will go and celebrate Megan's (Womancraft Director) birthday and welcome Ellie back to Tanzania (that's for you Mr and Mrs Dart!!).

Rob and Gershom and I will go to the catherderal in the morning - it's always better when we have a translator.

So much else has happened in the last couple of days but I too exhausted to write anymore. Needless to say I feel like I am finally feeling comforatble here and very aware that our time is rapidly ticking away. More and more we are being asked by the locals why we are going after only one year and can we not extend our time or when are we returning. I'm still so aware of the poverty and the great needs here and also understand that I only see such a small part of it. It's so tough to compare the inequalities and we still get frustrated by the untruths we are sometimes told. We are continually confronted with needing to make decisions about financial help, who and how much???

Next week the Form 4 graduation ceremonies begin. Those who are not up to date with their school fees are desperately trying to find the last fee monies they owe or they will not get their leaving certificates. Their exams start in October and for those who don't pass, they don't worry about payment but for those who do they have to pay off their debts before they get their certificate. Two boys I have been helping with English this week both owe about 20,000Tsh each (about $14), do I just give it to them or make them work for it or tell them too bad??? They are all very keen for me to come to the graduation on Wednesday at Murgwanza and Friday at Ntobye. Ephraim has offered to translate for me and all the Murgwanza boys want to escort me to Ntobye!!!


Time Difference

For the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will be their Shepherd, and He will guide them to the springs of the waters of life; and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.~

Revelation 7:17
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