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MeshackIsn’t he adorable?  He went to school today for the first time and they provided him with a sweater (part of the required uniform).  The shirt and trousers will have to be made for him by the women.  It is cold there now so the sweater is quite welcomed.  To think yesterday we did not have the money and now we not only  have money for his tuition (what they call his fees) but he has a future and he looks like one happy boy to me. 

Have you ever had a Sunday when you didn’t want to get up and go to church ~ when a pair of sweat pants and a good book or The New York Times seemed more inviting?  That was sort of my mood yesterday but I did promise my bishop I would be faithful in worship and other things.  And how thankful I am that we went.  Heard a brilliant sermon to begin with that answered some questions that I have.  AND, a generous couple at St. Mary Magdalene’s handed me a check for $300.00 saying they read our blog and they wanted to sponsor a child.  I wrote to Sandy at once and said it would be nice if we could know who the child is and maybe have a picture.  Immediately, she wrote this back:  “Tally, I have just the child.  I have been thinking about it for days ~ a little boy of one of our new teachers who is not being paid anything.  The teacher (George) just graduated with a M.A. from St. John’s University in Dodoma (affiliated with Mslato Theological College), had taught one course part-time last year and everyone loved him, but we could not afford to hire him.  He said he would work for a house at minimal pay and that is what he is doing.   He has come with his seven year old son named Meshack who is truly the sweetest little boy ever.  His wife and other children are still in Musoma ~ way north ~ she is trying to sort out school stuff for the other three.  I asked why he brought Meshack and he said: “I thought it would be too lonely without any  of my family, but the child has not started school because of the fees at Bishop Stanway Primary School.”   She went on to say that the father, George is another Moses Matonya, very bright,  well-spoken, and full of faith.  She says the child is adorable and that they all love him. Last week George went to the headmaster and begged that Meshack could start school today ~ that he had money for the uniform and trusted God to provide the fee.  IT HAPPENED.  Meshack started to school today and we will wire the money at once.  A life has been changed thanks to people with good hearts.  It seems a red letter day to me.  We often quote Dr. Paul Farmer:  “Lives of service depend on lives of support.”  Jessie and I have very grateful hearts thanks to the people in Tanzania.  P.S.  Sandy is going to try to take a picture of Meshack today and I will try to get it on the blog.

 

Girls walking off with waterYou won’t see any over weight children in Dodoma.  They walk everywhere; don’t have McDonald’s; sadly don’t have a lot of food.  But these little girls have water to take home.  One year Jessie tried carrying a small box on her head and flunked.  The large hole in the ground is where the trash is burned.  This is part of the college campus.  They will walk some distance to get to their homes. 

Girls carrying waterThere was no water at Msalato Theological College last week.  Since this is not a rare occurrence, Sandy and Martin keep large containers of water for emergency purposes.  When the  pump was fixed and water was restored in their home these two little girls from the neighboring village came one morning to see if they could have their extra water.  You can see the children are small.  They took their kangas and made head gear then they put these containers on their heads and off they went.  There is no way I could lift one of these heavy containers let alone carry it on my head.  Sandy asked them how they do it.  They start as wee tots carrying small loads and work up to large heavy ones.   “Necessity is the mother of invention.” 

I am noodling with a new computer and it has taken me hours to get this picture on.  If I can do it again, I’ll send one of them proudly walking off with their treasure.  (Don’t ask me why the color changed.  Computers can  have minds of their own!)

Lieder ohne Worte (Songs without Words) came to my mind when I looked at these pictures again that Jessie so kindly posted.  I even stopped and listened to some of the lyrical piano pieces that Felix Mendelssohn wrote which didn’t and don’t have a thing to do with Africa other than the music is as poignantly expressive as the faces in these pictures.

Much thought and many books have belabored the question of why church attendance is dropping ~ even some mega-churches are losing ground.  Fads come and go:   “Theology on Tap” sounds catchy but it isn’t really what Gen X’ers and Gen Y’ers are seeking.  Most say they are seeking Jesus.   I  am a seeker as well.  Looking into these African faces and the children waiting so patiently makes me think these simple village folk are not only seeking but maybe have found him.  See the joy in the old man.  Sandy was so overcome she had to hold back her tears.

I asked Sandy what Karimu could do to help these 600 new Christians in this village.  They need Bibles, hymnbooks and Christian literature.  Basically, they are biblically illiterate.  Please consider contributing to Karimu for this project.    

Mary Oliver ends her thoughtful poem  The Summer Day with these words: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life.”  Together, let’s help these people. 

Always, Tally and Jessie

 

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