As I arrived again the one phrase that will stick with me was “karibu nyumbani mwalimu” or “welcome home teacher”. It’s true I was home again and I felt whole again. One of the most influential priests in my time at Mailisita was the priest who followed Fr. Kawishe (Fr. Val’s brother) at Mailisita, Fr. Marunda. Fr. Marunda and I ate lunch every day for about 7 months and spent many other days together visiting the children, visiting his farm and running miscellaneous errands or pastoral duties. Needless to say we grew very close and shared many stories with one another. In multiple emails to me, my parents and conversations with Adam he has repeated a phrase that always stuck with me. He always said that “Mr. Terry needs to come home to Tanzania because he left half of his heart here. His children are here.”
|Greeting my P3's!|
The next morning I started right away and made my way over Stella Maris with Nathan Partain which was very fitting since he was the man I first met with when I thought I wanted to go to Tanzania. I was greeted very warmly by Mama Lucy with a big hug and as she held my hand, she kept repeating “My son is home!” After quick introductions to the new teachers Mama said “let’s go see your students”. She knew where my mind was! As I approached P3, the first class I ever taught as a teacher anywhere, I saw them turn and immediately start talking to one another saying “Mr. Terry!” They shook their hands in their seats and started shouting hello and “Good morning Mr. Terry”. I couldn’t contain my excitement either, because I immediately walked right in, interrupted the lesson, and we all started clapping and singing songs together like I had never left. P2 was also warm and excited as well and when Mama asked them “who is this?!” they all shouted out “Mr. Terry!!” P1 was a strange mixture of excitement and puzzled looks, which was the exact same look every class in Tanzania always gives me the whole “is this guy really here to be my teacher?” I am already excited about the opportunity to get to know each of them and be their teacher.
What is also exciting for me is the opportunity to share more of our stories with everyone at home. I feel more complete knowing that I can share in my journey, stay in touch with my loved ones, and fulfill my responsibility to the people in this community. I know for certain that God put a longing in my heart for this place and these people long before I ever came here. He put a desire in me to help these children before I met them. Now that I am back home, I can now continue to do the work He intended me to do.
When I left 10 months ago Mama Lucy told these children that “Mr. Terry is coming back for many years” right after I told her I was coming back for a year… but as always mothers know best and here I am staying for a couple years. None of this is possible without the commitment of the Mailisita Foundation, St. Joseph and the many donors and people associated with helping these children. I thank everyone from the bottom of this very full heart for helping me do this work and reuniting me with these people.
|Going over the recent test results, getting to work right away!|