Written by Natalie & Kara - Interning in Tanzania
Our (Natalie and Kara) time at Mavuno Village has consisted of teaching the high school students about computers, business, and scientific research, leading our girls in English worship songs, painting murals in the Kindergarten classroom, experiencing camp, and working on the farm. As much as we were teaching, we were also blessed and privileged to be constant learners ourselves. The kids were eager to teach us how to sing Kiswahili songs and perform African dances. We were cultural kids ourselves, so there was so much for us to learn from the families— even simple activities like how to eat properly! As the weeks went by, I (Kara) was amazed at how Mavuno began to feel more like home, and our host missionaries, leaders, and Tanzanian families began to feel like my own family. Though these moments and growing connections were sweet, there were also many moments when I felt fearful and overwhelmed by my own insufficiency. But God made it clear every day that He would be present in my fear and sufficient in my weakness.
When we were asked to teach high schoolers at the beginning of this journey, I didn’t think I (Natalie) would like it, but God opened my eyes. God taught me to never turn down learning a new skill and try something different. A different world surrounded us. The people were different, the way of life was different, the food was different, and the church was different. Through the differences, God opened my heart to change and allowed me to realize different isn’t always wrong. Being a learner in a new culture is the right heart posture to have. Toward the end of our time in Tanzania, we did a homestay in a village called Nasa that was an hour away from where we were. We hopped on a Daladala (bus) and rode a piki piki (motorcycle) to stay with a Mama in a village who was the reason Mavuno started. We barely spoke Kiswahili or understood the language. The only form of communication we had with the villagers and the Mama were gestures. For a whole day, we just sat down and observed our environment. We watched the kids carry buckets of water on their heads, wash dishes, and help clean and cook. As a Western, I kept thinking is this okay or this is a part of their culture? When we returned back to Mavuno and talked to our missionaries we realized that our cultural perspective of what is right and wrong is again different. Therefore, to wrap up, Tanzania was different for me, but the more time I was there it became familiar to me. It all started with allowing God to break the barrier of the way of life I was used to and embrace the difference.
We will miss the sunrises, family dinners, and teaching, learning, and laughing with God’s precious children at Mavuno, but we know that though we had to say bittersweet goodbyes, the God of the harvest will send more workers into the harvest field if we ask Him!