Saturday, August 15, 2009

Phyllis Shares a Story from the Trip

"This week everywhere I went I saw kids getting ready for school which, for most, starts next week. Most were excited with the thoughts of buying new backpacks and school clothes. The selection of notebooks, markers and pencils to put in those backpacks was unlimited.
As I watched this, and participated in the rush, I thought about our experience in Tanzania. Jim, Cindy, John and I took a break one day from the building site and walked across the road to the school. We were surrounded by maybe 15-20 excited children. We politely said "Jambo" (our Swahili is limited) and were greeted back. We greeted their teacher and gave her our giraffes so she could share them with the children.

The children were having a break outside. There were no toys or playground equipment except for a teeter totter on the dusty ground surrounded by a few trees. But the kids were like kids everywhere on recess. They were excited about having their picture taken. We asked their teacher and she gave us permission. They huddled around us and smiled beautifully. Of course, they all wanted to see their picture.

Being a teacher, I wished I could see the inside of their building. It looked so dark and small. I wondered if they had books, art supplies, even electricity. I have watched kids at school for many years. My students each have a computer, all of the special classes such as music, art, technology, p.e... with all of the equipment they need. They have wonderful libraries with huge screen TVs and the latest technology. But when you watch them at recess they are kids just like the kids in Tanzania. They want to be talked to, they want to play with friends, and they want to have fun.

Some of us later took some time at the contruction site of the eye clinic to sand down some of the remnants of the 2X4's into blocks for the Tanzanian kids to play with. I think what I took away from this experience is that we are all God's people, even though our lives are so different. We are so blessed in this country and I am thankful for the opportunity I have been given to see another part of God's world, so different from my own.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this piece of the story. I've never thougth about how other children 'prepare' for school. Some just happily go . . . without pretty, puppy-covered notebooks. I need to think differently about how to prepare for school and help another child prepare. It really hit home when I was a picture of a different class.