Karibu Nyumbani Mwalimu!

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!
It’s absolutely true and I could not put it better than he already has.  From the moment I stepped off the plane my mind was set on the school.  As I left the airport and looked out at the sea of African drivers, I could not find anyone there to pick me up.  Then through the crowd Matt Partain shouted “Hey Mzungu” (the equivalent of saying “hey white guy” in swahili) all of the drivers first stared at me and then began to laugh hysterically.  When visitors come to Tanzania from the plane they are most often tourists or volunteers from America or Europe and are greeted by their tour guides or hosts which are almost always African.  I am sure every driver was there looking for their “mzungu” guest, yet I was the only one being greeted and identified by that.  In Tanzania it is very common for people, especially children to point, stare and shout “mzungu” when they see white people, especially when traveling to rural areas.  It is not meant negatively, but when it is used it often still draws laughs from many older locals. 

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.
Asking the children "why is Mr. Terry here?"

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!
There are many stories and emotions that I want to share from these first few days, but I am still processing and reflecting on it.  Things have been very busy, and as I am posting this I had to take a break we to get rid of an unwanted guest... a Tarantula!  Check back soon and I will update everyone on the most memorable moments from the first few days at school and first weekend helping the hotel…Also I will have some more new pictures!


  1. Hi Terry,
    I'm so glad that Sharon & John sent me the link to your Blog. I want to keep in touch with you and see the great work you are doing. It sure looks like you enjoy teaching those beautiful children. I will take time in the next few days to read your earlier posts....such an interesting and fulfilled life!! You are doing so much good and getting so much in return, I'm sure....you are a real blessing to those children. We'll be in touch.....
    Love, Maryellen Shute

  2. Mr. Mulligan,
    We are so excited to read all about your life back in Tanzania! Brady and Sam would love to see a picture of your unwanted guest, the trantula! We will continue to keep you in our prayers and look forward to your future updates.
    The Walsh family

  3. Thank you so much Maryellen! It is definitely a very interesting adventure/life everyday but it is a lot of fun! For some reason all of this suites me very well. I really do feel very blessed everyday. I do not know many people who are as luck as me. Also thank you Brady, Sam and the whole Walsh family. I do have a picture of the "unwanted guest" so I will be sure to post it hopefully later today! Thank you so much for your prayers and I hope you are all doing really well!