Greetings from MGLSS!
We have completed our fifth day at the school. It has been a wonderful experience so far. Matt has already recounted the first two days, as the rural team was still in Monduli.
As the rural team arrived at tea time on Monday, they did miss out on Morning Prayers. The girls assemble in the chapel at 7:00 AM and run a short service on their own. They start with singing, and their singing is wonderful and uplifting! The service follows a brief liturgy with a couple of scripture readings. On Mondays, it is conducted in Kiswahili, on Tuesdays in English, on Wednesdays in Kiswahili, and on Thursdays in Kimaasai. The service typically lasts about fifteen minutes, and it is followed by Morning Assembly. The girls stand in lines by Form, and an older girl, probably Form 6, runs the show. The girl in charge on Monday will make a formidable mother-in-law someday! Monday’s assembly begins with singing of the Tanzanian National Anthem and includes a report on dorm inspections. Dirty windows and cobwebs appeared to be endemic (I’m glad they didn’t inspect my house). Then, each day, two different girls give short speeches on an assigned topic to develop their public speaking skills. Finally, a school administrator makes a short address, then the assembly is over, and the girls go off to breakfast, as do we.
After breakfast and until tea time at 10:30 AM, most of our group has free time, but David Mehlum and I have been working in the Computer Lab. I’d like to report that we’ve made tremendous progress in nearly a week, but, in fact, we have managed to upgrade two laptops to Windows 10, and we have almost finished rescuing one of the secretary’s computers from a hard disk failure. The computer teacher, Helen, meanwhile thanks us profusely each day for our help, while we just wish we could be actually helpful. A big part of the problem is aging hardware. All of the school’s desktop machines except one are twelve years old. That’s several lifetimes in the world of computers. All except two of the laptops are from Cross of Christ’s donations in 2012. I won’t bore you with our tedious exploits, but it’s been three steps forward, two steps back.
Tea is taken at 10:30 AM with the teachers in the Tea Room in the new administration building. Lunch is served late at 2:40 PM. Between tea and lunch, we all have free time, as classes for the girls are in session. At 4:00 PM, we have been conducting Bible studies and English practice with the Form 1 (roughly our Grade 7) girls. They have been receptive and delightful! During conversation time, they love hearing about America, telling about their families, playing simple games, looking at pictures, and having their pictures taken! Their facility with English varies from rudimentary to impressive, apparently because the quality of instruction at Primary Schools varies considerably as well. Consider that English is the third language these girls have learned, after Kimaasai, the language of their homes, and Kiswahili. However, all the girls are polite, attentive, and cooperative, and many are eager to learn from us.
At 5:30 PM, there is a short Evening Chapel service, again run entirely by the girls, rotating languages as with Morning Prayers. Then, we return to the guest house for dinner, chat for a while, and retire for the night, usually between 8:00 PM and 9:00 PM. It is dark by 7:00 PM this time of year.
I should mention that our food, apart from tea and lunch, is being prepared for us by Rebecca who was Jean Wahlstrom’s and Marv Kananen’s cook for the entire time they were missionaries at the school. She is a wonderful cook, so you needn’t worry that we shall return as mere shells of our former selves. Within the past year, Rebecca has opened a bakery in Monduli, and today we broke from routine to pay her a visit. She greeted us with a wonderful spread of delicacies she had prepared herself, as we arrived around tea time. Afterwards, her son, Goodluck, took us on a walking tour of Monduli.
Weather has been very Seattle-like: overcast and cool in the mornings, and sunny and pleasant in the afternoons.
So, now you have a picture of our routine at MGLSS, but it doesn’t do justice to the depth of the experience. This is Christianity lived out in daily life. As Matt expressed in his last update, the hospitality and sense of welcome along with the genuine gratitude that we have journeyed to be with them leave us feeling very humble. Our brothers and sisters in Christ are known by their love, not by their nationality or color or gender or age or culture. We see this truth in Tanzania every day. Let us not forget it when we return home.
Thank you for your prayers and support. We are comforted knowing we are in your hearts, and know that you are in ours.
Pete, writing for the MGLSS Team