Today is Wednesday. We are leaving Tanzania tomorrow. Is this real life? I feel like it was just yesterday I was getting off the plane at Kilimanjaro with a group of people who I barely knew, who are now some of my great friends. I feel like it was just yesterday that we ventured into this seemingly big city, eyes wide, a new culture at our fingertips, and now we take on the city of Arusha confidently everyday, waving to the smiling African faces who all call us “rafiki”. I feel like it was just yesterday that I first said good morning to the first students that have ever been mine, and now I’ve already said goodbye to them. As hard as it was to say goodbye to my students yesterday, I have peace knowing that I did what I came to do. I have learned so much here and while it is sad to be leaving this place that is filled to the brim with life-lasting memories and endless life lessons, I am so excited to share what I have learned and continue to grow through whatever God has planned for me next.
As I was hugging my students yesterday, I couldn’t help but think, this is it. This is what God has called me to do. One day spent loving on and serving my students is worth so much more than countless days living for myself. I have loved every moment of teaching and playing with my students, even when their noisiness has made me want to rip my hair out. I have loved every moment of being an encourager for them, I think that has been my favorite part. Telling them that I believe in them never got old. I can’t wait to be a full time teacher and spend my days striving to get my students to reach their full potential.
I have learned so much from the Tanzanian culture, from my fellow teachers, our safari drivers, and other people we have encountered along the way. Hakuna Matata, what a wonderful phrase… it means no worries, for the rest of your days. I think they’ve got it right. These people, fraught with so many more struggles than most Americans face in a lifetime, have tapped into something incredible. Many of the people I have met truly embrace that they have no worries, because they have put their trust in the Lord and trust in Him to meet their needs. When trials inevitably come, they put their trust in the only One who can satisfy, knowing that He is sovereign. These people have little, but they are filled to capacity with the eternal joy that only the Lord can sustain. That being said, this experience has exposed me to people in extreme need, and no longer do I want to remain silent and action-less. God has blessed me with so much so I can give more of Him to those in need. I pray for the desire to serve others with a heart full of Jesus for the rest of my life, and this trip has given me that. For this I am eternally grateful.
Tutaonana baadaye, Afrika. I have a feeling I’ll see you again.