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.”

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Weekend

Day 33: Friday. Had African style lasagna and watched “What’s Up Doc?” with my neighbors. Cheery conversation. A pleasant time.

Day 33-Saturday. Solid community building accomplished today. Two of my 12th graders organized a huge charity fundraiser for violence against African women. It was a real community building project, bringing together students, teachers, families, and community members for games, face painting, a garage sale, a coke guzzling contest, raffles, hamburgers, and so much more. For a while I ran a bean bag toss, but then was recruited to be the teacher in “throw sponges at the teacher’s face” booth. Quite a few students had good aim and hit me. At one point I even did some arm wrestling, but here I triumphed against some high school girls! That rebuilt my self esteem after the earlier sponges in my face. Overall the event was a success-fun and beneficial to all involved. I’m proud of those girls for organizing it.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Halfway there!

Day 30: Wednesday- Swim coaching. My community building today was encouraging my secondary swim team to swim hard, but to do it with a good sense of camaradrie. To build a strong sense of teamwork I had them do team relays and cheer each other other. It was a solidarity building practice.

This marks the halfway point of my 60 day challenge!

Day 31: Thursday- During our 12 Grade Lit class this morning we were discussing feminist literature. After a discussion on feminism and its relevance today I encouraged my girls to not fight for equality with men, but to know they are powerful women created differently by God then men- but not weaker or less valuable. My response from them were wide, empowered smiles.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Weekend rest comes to an end...

BUT continues into the work week!

Day 27: Sunday-Sympathetically listened to a man from church vent about job frustrations. Massaged my housemate. Got a massage in return. Talked with housemates. It was good company; good community.

Day 28-Monday: Got sweaty. Picked up trash around campus during an after school teacher clean up initiative for our upcoming 15 year Haven of Peace Academy (HOPAC) birthday celebration. The Tanzanian cleaners appreciated the help, bridging some of the gap between national staff and foreign staff.

Day 29-Tuesday: Talked to my Grade 8 homeroom about Ephesians 4:17-32 and exhorted them to only speak-or type on Facebook-what is true, necessary, and kind.

Spent some time swimming in the Indian Ocean; then wandering along the beach with Ursula, the Kiswahili and German teacher at HOPAC. More relaxed conversation about everything from students we’re concerned about to why people don’t visit us in Tanzania. Some of the most satisfying community building comes from taking the time to visit with others.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Lazy Saturday

Day 26: Saturday finally arrived! I took a dala dala bus down to the local market to buy a more secure backpack-the zippers are broken on my old one-that I will protect me more from pickpocketing. At the market I had an interesting conversation with a Tanzanian at a backpack stall.

Later I went to visit my neighbors over tea and had some lazy Saturday afternoon conversation. Mainly my community building was through friendship and conversation: all just what they and I needed!

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Day 23-Wednesday:

While Crystal, my housemate from Michigan, was cooking dinner I sat on the floor and we did a part of a Bible study on Hebrews chapters 1-2 together. Good discussion and a good time learning together.

Day 24-Thursday:
Led a Homeroom Bible study on an issue I felt was destroying community and oppressing our Upper School-bullying and ranting on Facebook. The general trend at HOPAC is similar to what's happening in schools around the world, students bash eachother and teachers on the internet and don't think of it as wrong. In the words of my homeroom students, "What happens on Facebook, stays on Facebook." After much prayer I spoke about what was on my heart. Thursday I showed them a specific instance of Facebook bullying in Canada and the horrible result. I read them the Proverb warning to "guard your mouth." An interesting discussion ensued amongst my students and I.

Thursday evening I went to a dinner and cell group gathering a local pastor's house. I teach his son and daughter and enjoyed seeing them lead cell.

Day 25: Friday morning I arrived to find an anonymous e-mail written to me entitled "get out." It was filled with horrible insults to me personally and was obviously from a disgruntled Grade 11 or 12 student unhappy with his or her grade on a Literature Mock Exam test he or she sat this week. What struck me was how they hurt me where I'm most sensitive, and the student couldn't possibly have known that. Is this because of my Thursday homeroom?

Spent sometime in the evening with Crystal praying about this and other spiritual attacks.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Silver Sands Beach

Day 21: First day back to school after break. This meant reconnecting with teachers by talking about their long weekend and catching up with my Grade 9 students. It was nice to get away from Dar for four days, but it’s nice to be back to teaching my teens, too.

Day 22: After school Ursula- a German lady who’s been teaching in Tanzania for 15 years- and I meandered down to Silver Sands Beach. With the hotel escari (guard) watching for thieves we swam in the choppy waves and luxuriated in the sun and the miles of clear sky. Afterwards we sat on the sand and talked about, “cabbages and kings.”

This was community building. This was pleasurable. So why are there so few harmonious communities? People are missing out by isolating themselves from relationships for their electronics, work, or sports, or whatever occupies their time.