I hate that this is the last time I will be writing about my experience from this continent. I hate that this is my last full day on Africa soil. I hate that I have to say goodbye to my sweet kiddos and the teachers tomorrow. I hate that I must pack up all my belongings and leave the Outpost Lodge without a trace of my belongings, without a trace of me even living here for the past month.
After being a resident of Arusha, Tanzania for a little less than 4 weeks, I have learned many, many things. The impressions that this priceless experience has left in my soul will forever be a part of me. I feel as though I have a part of Tanzania in my heart and Tanzania has a piece of my heart here. I will be leaving tomorrow evening to jet set back to American soil but I must remind myself that it is only a “see you later” to Africa. It is only a “baadaye” to all my new friends.
Not only have I been able to watch all 80 of my students grow as learners, but I have also grown through this journey. If anything, I feel as though I have gained much more from my students, teachers and people of Tanzania than the other way around. This trip has solidified my decision to be a teacher and has increased my passion for loving and serving others. My eyes have been opened to a completely new way of life. I have learned and have begun blending into the African culture (although my skin color makes me stick out like a sore thumb). I have learned that education is a privilege in Tanzania and that it is the child’s responsibility to learn the material. If something is not learned or a student doesn’t do well on homework/exams it only reflects the effort that the student put in, not the teacher’s. It amazes me to see the respect that these students have for their teachers and the responsibility that the students have at such a young age. I am impressed every day when I see students taking the public transportation across town to school alone or walking from their villages to school alone. In America, parents actually take their kids to school and some even hold their hand as they walk into their actual classrooms. These children are expected to come home every day wash their school uniforms for tomorrow, complete their homework, do their chores and help get dinner ready for their family. I respect these students for having so many responsibilities at such a young age because responsibility in America is just so overlooked, so unexpected for young students.
There are numerous things back home that I took for granted that an average Tanzania has absolutely no access to here, and I thank God for the things I have been blessed with.
The biggest realization I have had on this trip is just the fact that these Tanzanians and I are not at all that different. The only thing that really separates us is where we were born. I have been asking God a lot lately, “Why did you pick me to be born into a loving family in America when I could have been born in Africa or anywhere else in the world?” To me, it doesn’t seem fair that i have electricity, hot water, a family, a room of my own, an education, money..etc. when others do not. God obviously has created me to glorify Him and created me with an intentional purpose and with beautiful plans to use me. So why do I have all of these things, these opportunities but others halfway across the world don’t have the same? Throughout the past week or so, I have been pondering and thinking about why this is the case. Although I cannot and will not ever be able to fully comprehend God’s thoughts and reasoning, I can make a pretty educated guess that He has given me all these things, resources, money, passion and love for teaching so that I can bless others with these gifts. Even though there is nothing wrong with me enjoying what God blesses me with, I must also bless others with what I know and with what I have. It is so easy to get caught up in collecting clothes, money, cars, movies, music and luxuries back home but God calls us to enjoy what He has given us with thanksgiving and to continue to give, serve and love others. He doesn’t call us to merely keep, collect and save.
The impressions, experiences, silly moments, happy memories I had in Tanzania will continue to pop up in my mind for the rest of my life and I just hope and pray that these these things will stick in my mind forever. I must never forget the love I have for the people of Tanzania and the beauty that this country holds.
Luke 12:32-34, 48: “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been please to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no their comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also[…]From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”
2 Corinthians 9:11: “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”
For now, “Tutaonana Bedaaye.” (see you later!) I’m coming for ya, America!