Saturday, April 10, 2010

Community Building in Zanzibar

Monday-Friday:This week I spent expanding my community out into Zanzibar island, which is a 2 hour ferry ride from Dar es Salaam. Most of the time it was rainy and slightly windy with the Indian Ocean a mass of waves-perfect weather for Marie and I as we are tired of the pounding sun day in and day out in Dar. We immensely enjoyed our holiday in Stone Town with our wanderings through the maze of stone alleyways filled with engraved wooden doors and curio shops. We ate in tiny cafes and at night in Forodhani Gardens, which is filled with row after row of vendors grilling all kinds of fresh seafood (shark, octopus, calamari, barracuda, tuna, king fish, etc), Indian naan bread, chepatti bread, and Zanzibar pizzas. We met new people each day-locals, Tanzanians, Indians, tourists, and a Canadian from McGill University studying abroad. Our conversations together are interesting as these people have unique stories to tell. Overall it was a unique island to visit, very eclectic as it is a trade port and people visit and work there from all around Africa, the Middle East, and East Asia.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Community Building Continued

Monday-Friday: This week I have built community by celebrating each day leading up until Easter Sunday-resurrection day. Palm Sunday we celebrated Jesus' triumphal arrival into Jerusalem on, surprisingly enough, a donkey. Jesus entered gently like a lamb to recapture his people rather than a battle horse to recapture the conquered city. A friend and I discussed how Jesus will return again, but this time as a roaring lion ready to fight!

Each day since Sunday we've been tracing Jesus last week on earth and what he did. In case you aren't familiar with his Easter week doings:

Sunday: Jesus' triumphal entry.
Monday: Jesus drove the money changers out of the temple.
Tuesday & Wednesday: Jesus preaching in the temple.
Thursday: Jesus instituted the Passover.
Friday: Jesus' crucifixion.

Thursday evening Marie and shared Passover together by taking communion. Friday morning we went to a Good Friday service and took communion again. Remembrance of not only what Jesus did, but continues to do over and over again for me is sweet! We need to remember so we can be thankful for the present.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wednesday: Today we taught more lower primary students in the morning, dropped off the posters we designed for the classroom teachers and librarian, then headed to our nearby housing for lunch and debriefing. I encouraged my girls to continue doing hard things beyond Service Emphasis Week by raising the bar in their own lives. This will build a stronger community.

Thursday: Today was reflection day and our entire school spent a good deal of time listening to other groups talk about their various service projects around Tanzania. Together our school had built walls at a center for disabilities, worked in a hospital, ran a soccer camp, and led kids clubs for orphans. My group also presented on our time teaching English at the Muslim school.

Friday: The last day of school! I helped make it a memorable time for our school community by timing swimmers during the swimming gala and swimming on the teachers’ relay team. The teachers lost, but we put up a good fight and students and teachers alike enjoyed the competition.

Saturday and Sunday: My housemate, Marie, and I relaxed and enjoyed each other’s company. We had several meaningful conversations and were able to start to unwind after a long school term.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Upanga-Asian are of Dar

Monday: Today was our first full Service Emphasis Week (SEW) day. Our careful late night planning Sunday prepared us for a morning of teaching English to primary students. The little girls with their head coverings, the boys with their embroidered prayer caps, they were so easy to love in their childish innocence. While I worked with my small biddu groups of 2-3 students I enjoyed watching my Haven of Peace Academy students carefully working with their little guys. In the afternoon we designed poster displays for the classroom teachers.

It was a time of building links with the Indian community in Dar.

Tuesday: The lessons we taught this morning were smooth as my students and I knew what to expect. Just like scaredy squirrel in the book we read our little Asian pupils, we were into a comfortable routine. For me it was a joy to be in a position to encourage my students while they blossomed and grew as teachers. Their interactions with their buddy groups were lively and engaged. Great job my team!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Day 41-Sunday: Prepared today for my trip to Upanga by packing and prayer. In just twenty minutes my students and I leave for our time teaching in Al Madrasa Muslim school this week. Please pray we bond well as a team and effectively minister to each other and the Madrasa students. It is an interesting combination as my team of students are a mixture of Christian and Hindu. I can feel God preparing good things for our trip.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Teaching in Al Madrasa Muslim School

Day 36-Tuesday: Today I stopped by the Boys Under 18 basketball game after school to watch my students play a team that last week beat them by only one point. They whooped butt, beating the other team by over 10 points. Go HOPAC!

What a perfect representation this is of a need for teamwork amongst my all students. They need to be pulling together, working together as team to win so much more than basketball games. They need to work to win each other. My students come from different countries, races, and religions; we need to unite as one Christ like community.

Day 37-Wednesday: In the evening I had dinner with the family of two of my high schoolers. It was like escaping to the Western world with their cheesy spaghetti, garlic bread, and house salad along and their country America decorating. The highlight was the casual conversation, creating that sense of a family community. Before leaving I recruited their 12 grade daughter to help make a struggling new student at school feel welcomed.

Day 38-Thursday: A Tanzanian boarding school student came to visit. Her boarding home situation is difficult as she’s often rejected for her bold faith, so it was a joy for her to share her praise and worship with us as she strummed along on Crystal’s guitar. She said, “they won’t let me sing praises in the shower, although others blare R&B in the dorm room.” This 16 year old is one of the strongest women of faith I know.

Day 39-Friday: Today I spent preparing with my team of seven girls for our service learning trip next week. We did some getting to know each other, team building activities, and gathering of supplies for our work in a conservative Al Madrasa Muslim school, where will be teaching English to lower primary school students. Our team shirts are brilliant pink, symbolizing our femininity yet strength in Christ.

Day 40- Saturday: Spent today in prayer about our trip this week. We leave tomorrow. Praying that my students bond together to teach these young Muslims effectively and that the two hindus on my team learn more about Jesus through my interactions with them. I am especially praying that my girls will see past the conservative clothing they will have to wear-long skirts and tops-to focus on their work. Modest clothing should not be their focus.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ps. 18:30- “He is a shield to all who look to Him for protection.”

Day 34- Sunday. My housemates and I had the Bible teacher over for coffee in the afternoon and had a powerful discussion on dealing with the spiritual darkness in our students. We have muslim, hindu, wiccans, and more amongst our eleventh graders and want to show them the more loving, stronger way in Jesus. As a community of women we will take a stand together for our students.

Day 35- Monday. A day of battle. A day where we women of God took a stand. My school, the Haven of Peace Academy, has a thief on the loose and large sums of money, electronics, and other things have been stolen over the past couple of months. During lunch break I led my small group Bible study on a prayer walk around campus, proactively praying for protection for students and staff and a heart change in the thief. We boldly stood together against the enemy and claimed that the Lord would “hold us up with his glorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

Ps. 18:30- “He is a shield to all who look to Him for protection.”