Updates

A different kind of tears

Rain or shine Tua is out there working hard - usually with a baby on her back! She has been doing this for months now. We met when she came to our home to tell me that she needed some kind of work to keep her younger brother Jile in our school. I had no idea how big Jile’s debt was that day, but it turned out that his debt was huge. Impossible in fact. Jile has been in school for years now, but he has only paid a little bit over the last two years and nothing at all this year. Of course no one knows that.

A total failure

The trip to the big city of Dodoma was a total failure, to the point where it was almost comical.

Really need kids

I received the last of the reports today. In all of our schools last Friday we had a special day of celebration for the birthday of Village Schools here in Tanzania. I knew that the kids would collect money like they did last year, and indeed they did. It’s hard to really express the bundle of emotions that I feel when I see that the total of all that they gave came to just over 6 million shillings (almost $3000).

Until next year!

I remember how when I closed my eyes that first night, I saw visions of that reddish-brown road with the dust and the ruts coming at me. Godfrey, Emmanueli and Janerose had asked me to travel with a couple other teachers on a long, two-week tour of nearly 70 primary schools.

Godrey's email about the three million shillings

The teachers in Tanzania have a fund that they've been contributing every month to for the past several years. In a country where there is no medical insurance it allows them to provide a safety net for each other in case something bad happens to someone. Unlike an insurance policy where you have a contractual right, with their system that they've set up you can't even ask for help if you need it -- the group just sees those who need it and helps them out.

The boy whose name we do not know

The purpose of our trip was to hold meetings in the villages of Ikwega and Mayota where people were gathering, having come from miles around, to discuss the possibility of building two more new schools. Justin and I had originally talked about making the two-day trip just the two of us, but it seemed like such a great opportunity that we decided to take Yotham and Issac, two of our college students, on the trip with us.

The pain of losing Adelia aches inside

Behind those long dark lashes there were tears. Trying to hide her grief, little Lillian attempted to smile. She had come to tell me that Adelia's mother wanted us to return Adelia’s belongings from her dorm room to her house. There have been many tears and grief around here these days as everyone here at school has come to grips with our very big loss – dear, dear Adelia. Each time someone said something the memories of our time together came rushing back ...

... the day he graduates

It was an hour or so before dusk when Florian came to our door and Susan gave him a seat in the living room and called for me. It was too dark in the house for me to see his face and so I said let's go outside and go for a walk the two of us.

So, what do you want young man?

Priceless

Everyone -- all our students, people in the village, really everyone -- is just thrilled that last night the big D6 bulldozer arrived! Work has begun in earnest at the college clearing out three additional meadows -- we have a lab building to build in one meadow, 4 new lecture halls planned for a second meadow, and in a big meadow way to the back of the campus we're going to put in three more houses for professors. Once that's all done, we're going to use that bulldozer to put in a serious firebreak -- a huge road -- that will completely surround our entire 55-acre campus.

Some days there are tears though

A decade ago here in Tanzania, the song "Jesus will wipe away all of our tears" was wildly popular and I remember that our bus driver would play it over and over as he drove people on the three-hour trip all the way to Lugoda Hospital for AIDS treatment. Back in those days, people were only starting to come into the idea that AIDS was a disease you could live with, hope was in short supply, and it seemed that tears flowed all the time. People liked that song.