Habari za leo? (How are you today?)
We woke up yesterday at Sister Angelika’s and had a good night’s sleep. We had breakfast and then got to tour the school some more. This time we got to interact with the children a little more. We had donated a couple soccer balls to the kids and they immediately started a game of soccer. Of course, that also gave us a chance to play with them. The game looked more like kickball but after a little while, I realized that there were 2 goals (two small rocks toward an imaginary end of a field) and they actually had teams. I have no idea how they knew who was on which team but it was a lot of fun playing them. After a while, I needed a break and noticed that the girls were playing a different game, “netball”, where they throw a ball from one child to another while others try to get the ball. I couldn’t discern if there were teams in this but the girls were really having a fun time with it. We were playing right next to and inside the same area that the soccer game was continuing to be played and at one point one of the boys came up to me and said, “You are playing on the wrong team”. He was implying that boys play soccer and girls play netball. It was sad to see the gender roles happening in the games they play too. 🙁
The highlight of the day (and might be the trip) was definitely from Anya and Annaliese. They announced that they wanted to each sponsor a girl at the Naserian School. They have seen the difference education can make and are taking the responsibility to make that available for a child here. With this announcement, Elizabeth said that there were 5 kindergarten students that didn’t have sponsors yet and she wanted to know if she would like to meet them so that they could make the personal connection and choose which child to sponsor. The pictures are of Annaliese with Nwoke and Anya with Meresa.
After lunch we said our goodbyes to Sister Angelika and Elizabeth. It was definitely difficult to leave here. After receiving her calling at the age of 8 (from her account), Sister Angelika has come a long way. She started a school in the middle of nowhere and built up that school from 9 students the first year to 350 students currently and she also has an orphanage in Arusha that she has started and runs. God is working through the women, staff and volunteers, at both locations and their hard work is definitely making a difference. Please keep them in your prayers!
.We finally made our way to the church at Malambo where Cross of Christ paid for the roof in 2012. The church is probably the nicest we’ve seen here and it is growing. They now have 200 people worshipping, have baptized about 150 people in the surrounding area and confirmed 25 youth last year. The roof looks wonderful and the church now has beautiful stained glass windows. The church honored us as guests and the choir sang for us. It was a great small ceremony that reinforced the relationship we have created in the past.
We then travelled 2-3 hours to Loliondo. The area is very different than the Arusha area. The dry plains are gone and the hills are here. We are at 7,000 feet and the air has a chill to it. There is a lot more farming here (probably because there is more rainfall) and it completely reminds Andrea of the rural farm land of Brazil where her family used to have a farm when she was younger and spent the summer there. We are staying at the Catholic Guest House but the accommodations aren’t great and so we are hoping to move to a Guest House in Wasso which has been updated to have better accommodations since 2012 when the last mission team was here.
For the next couple days we will do day trips from Loliondo to churches that are somewhat nearby. We continue to be healthy and in good spirits. The youth are getting along very well together which is great to see. We thank you for your continued prayers – they are definitely helpful!
Matt Pohle, on behalf of the 2016 Cross of Christ Mission Rural Team