Since we launched our very first school in 2005, we have somehow always managed to have enough, or almost enough, sometimes just barely enough teachers for our schools. This has been another one of those suprising and pretty much "unexplainable" facts of life these past six years given the rather acute shortage of teachers in this country.

January Highlights

January Highlights from Tanzania

As things get busier and busier here in Tanzania, we have found that we have less time to write than we would like. But every month we would like those of you who are interested in this work to have the chance to at least hear a few of the highlights of our lives here ...

Extreme Makeover

Adriano and Juma live alone quietly on the outskirts of the village of Mlevelwa. We aren’t quite sure of their history but they have been surviving day to day without anything or anyone for at least 14 years. In addition, their diminutive size has kept them from participating in the rigors of village life. It is a wonder that they are still living.

To say some nice things about my wife

Very quietly and calmly, with fanfare only in our hearts, the AIDS clinic that our students have worked so hard to build, that so many of you have given so joyfully to build, opened its doors today, all totally unexpectedly.

In the village that has decided not to give up

I haven't sat down to write even once since the new year began. Part of that has simply been that I can say in all sincerity that I haven't had really a quiet moment to collect my thoughts and to sit down at the computer and write. We went straight from the Christmas festivities to a leadership retreat with nearly 50 of our headmasters and project managers. Then another team of missionaries arrived from America, and Godfrey, Emmanueli and I have been concentrating on office work these past two weeks.

I told them the story of these two fathers

Rocks, gravel and gullies make the Mlevelwa road a bad one to drive over -- and it requires all of my concentration -- so much so that I almost missed seeing the old man so intently trying to wave me down. I did see him though and I stopped. Sitting further off the road behind him was a very sick and emaciated young man. During our conversation, I learned that the old man had accompanied his son John on the long journey to the mission hospital at Mudabulo where John had just tested positive for HIV.

A soft knock at my door

A soft knock at my door. It was Rose, one of our Madisi students. Shy by nature, strong in her faith – that’s the way I would describe this lovely girl. “I want names of sick people to help.” Really? “I want names of a lot of sick people who need help. We want to help and comfort those who are hurting.” What a joy to learn that more than 50 of our students, entirely on their own, had come up with this idea! Something good had happened inside of them so that they would come to realize that they were indeed blessed enough to help others.

And no one could have predicted the ...

It was very late Friday afternoon, almost evening, while we were stuck in a horrible traffic jam in Dar es Salaam that we got a message from Festo that was as perplexing as it was angering: the director of the primary school met with the 22 people whose farms and forests had been destroyed in the fire which had consumed 20 acres of our forests on the college land -- and basically announced that it had been decided that there would be no compensation for anyone -- that the primary school had nothing to give in the face of such enormous destruction.

As we venture into these uncharted waters ...

"Nina virusi," were the words spoken by Movinus. "I have the virus," the little boy told me. Usually children aren't told anything in our villages about any illness they have, much less AIDS, but somehow 8-year old Movinus had figured it out. He and his mother had been to our house for the make-shift clinic when lovely Dr. Leena had come with two carloads full of doctors -- specialists from Europe -- to spend the whole afternoon one day using our home as the clinic to examine everyone who had "unusual" problems. His mother had been encouraged to bring Movinus and she did.

At little Scola's Funeral

Sarafina's trial for killing her niece Scola did take place, but not in a court room or a government office, but quite unexpectedly at little Scola's funeral. The head government officials came to the huts where I and a crowd of mourners were sitting outside huddled in groups. They stated that the government had sent them not to mourn but to accuse Sarafina of causing her niece's death. Sarafina was put on a tiny stool in front of the crowd. She was asked to state why she had denied Scola the care that she deserved, especially given that it was all free.