By Howard & Mark
In many languages the words ‘Thank You’ are often the first learnt. And so it is with Swahili. Even when you haven’t understood a word of what has just been said to you a heartfelt ‘Asante Sana’ with a smile seems to be all that is needed.
Today we said ‘Asante Sana’ to some of the secondary students who have been helping us with translation during the week. They have been brilliant. Turning up on time every morning and working hard everyday. Many of them have been supported by Grassroots for a number years and are grateful for the opportunity to give something back. There’s a real sense of God working in the lives of these young people and a hope that they will become a positive force for change here in the future. We, in turn, have been overwhelmed by the gratitude that they have shown to us for the help that they receive from Grassroots. They have so little but despite the challenges that they face day by day the love of God shines through them.
This morning Sharon said of the day ahead ‘It’s going to be a messy day!’ Interviews for over 100 secondary students + any number of others who turn up having not been able to attend their location earlier in the week. Following that over 2000 children attending feeding programmes at 7 locations across Mbeya.
Howard says ‘Today I interviewed a 17 year old boy who was, on his own, having to care for 4 other children. On top of this he is continuing his studies and waiting for his latest exam results. Despite an uncertain future I was amazed at his enthusiasm and optimistic outlook on life.’
Overall the students are very hard working in their studies and demonstrate a true desire to learn whilst not forgetting their responsibilities to their families.
The feeding programmes provide one of those bitter sweet moments on the trip. On the one hand it is great that Grassroots is able to support in this way and for several members of the team it was a real privilege to help the local volunteers serve the children and watch them tuck in to a hearty meal. On the other hand it is desperately sad that in this day and age this type programme is necessary.
The children enjoyed a lovely time of singing and dancing before their meal and it was clear that they get a huge amount of pleasure from coming together in this way each week. It really is something to see the volunteers preparing food for over 200 children in one small cookhouse – and to think they that do it week in and week out, in 8 different locations is awe inspiring.
Our day finished with another trip to the bustling market – the sights, sounds and aromas make for a truly African experience!
Several of the team are busy this evening preparing to speak in church services at Mabatini, Airport and Uyole in the morning and we are very much looking forward to the opportunity of worshipping with our Tanzanian rafikis (friends) for the final time on this trip.