Team’s 5th Day

Jambo Rafikis! (Hello friends!)

My name is Karlie and I am excited to share with you about our 5th day in Tanzania. Hard to believe we are already on day five of this adventure.

This morning we awoke to rain, which has been a common theme these past few days. I don't think it is supposed to be raining much anymore because it is winter now in Tanzania. It is still in the 60s and 70s which feel s warm to us, so it is funny to see people wearing sweaters and warm clothes while we are in short sleeves. But God is good and the rain stopped because after breakfast we headed to Jericho Center to cook a meal outside for over 100 children. Yesterday we stopped at a market (that reminded me somewhat of the farmers market back home) to get all the ingredients for our meal, and this morning we stopped at another market to buy the meat. The meat here is hung in very large pieces from the ceiling. I do not enjoy the vision of meat from the ceiling but I am told that means it is fresh, so take that as you may.

Upon arriving at the center, the children were all sitting in a classroom, so some of us went and sat in the back of the class and listened. The children were quick to give up their seats for us which was very sweet. The rest of us got to work cutting the onions, carrots, and meat. I was able to work on my cooking skills because the women who worked at Jericho Center were able to cut and peel two onions in the time I finished one. I think by the end we started to get the hang of things.

We were able to have a Bible study with the kids and hand them Bibles we had made with both English and Swahili. The story we shared was Noah's Ark. After we read the story, which Julius (Mama Gayle's assistant) translated, it was cool to hear the kids answer questions and show they understood the story. All 9 of us students sat facing the many rows of children, with the youngest children in the front. I think the beautiful faces of the front row staring back at us will always be engraved in my memory. Experiences like these are hard to adequately describe.

I think I can speak on behalf of the team that tonight we have full hearts. This afternoon we got to play with the children for a couple of hours. Many of these kids were orphans, some were HIV positive, and most were probably wearing some of the only clothes they had. But these children were so full of joy and love. It is humbling how open they are to us and how they view life when they have so little. One girl in particular named Sophia stuck by my side all day. She was wearing a pink hat and dirty blue shoes that had bows on them. I don't think she said more than a few words, which included telling me her name, but in every game she was next to me holding my hand.

Sometimes it is hard not to feel inadequate when faced with so much need. But today as I was sitting with Sophia by my side and with another little girl napping in my lap, I realized that I am thankful that God has given us the opportunity to share his love. These children don't have parents and don't have adults who can show them affection. Sitting and talking in our group reflection tonight, we are all grateful to be able to share the love that God has first shown us. We trust Him to use us according to his will and to meet all of the needs where we may find ourselves inadequate.

The rest of the afternoon was spent with a little more shopping in the Maasai Market, where thanks to Mama Gayle we have become better at bargaining for the best deal. When we go into a store the people know her and say they will give us the Mama Gayle price. A few of us also took a very quick (and very cold!!) swim in the pool at Ahadi Lodge. Tonight we practiced a worship song and dance that we will share at church tomorrow morning.

Tonight we are thankful for the beautiful smiles of the grateful children, the lovely people of Tanzania, and God's grace and constant protection over our team.

Love and blessings to everyone at home. We miss you and hope you are doing well!!

Mungu  Akubariki Sana na lala salama. (God bless you and sleep well)

Karlie Schut                                                                                                                                                            




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