Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Community Team

Grass Roots Ministries is a project that is here for orphan relief and as a result community development. There is Angel House Orphanage, a children’s home open since December 2004. There is Angel Secondary School that opened in January 2011. There is a United Methodist Church that has been more and less involved in the community during its tenure. All of these are part of the ministry that Grass Roots supports in the Tarime District, Tanzania. It is has been a balancing act since the school opened earlier this year to make sure that we can grow this exciting new part of the project without neglecting everything else that has been in place since the ministry started in 2003. This last team, coming mostly from Northside United Methodist in Jackson, TN, however, did a great job doing just that.

Northside has the distinction of being the largest team we have ever hosted in our house, coming with 12 team members and 2 driver/translators from Kenya that we very much a part of the team and the work. With three bathrooms and bunk beds everywhere we were definitely packed. However, the team used the numbers and diverse skills to their advantage, and more importantly God’s, as the work was as diverse as the problems we face here in Tarime. They tackled clean water projects at Angel House and Angel Secondary relieving our hard workers from having to boil water which takes time and expensive fire wood. They built a hostel for female students from the school so that they have a safe place to study. They loved on the children at Angel House, something they cannot get enough of. They taught classes at Angel Secondary in English and Math. They also did some teacher training so that the knowledge can live on in others after they leave. Computers and first aid were skills that were added to our staff at both Angel House and Angel Secondary. There were two community medical clinics as well as the staff and their families. Over 200 people were seen in all and almost 1000 children were exposed to stories and crafts as a Vacation Bible School accompanied each day of medical care.

The most important thing though was that no matter where they were, the school, Angel House, in the community, at the hardware store, or on the construction site the way they treated people will stay in the hearts of those here for a long time. Everyone, educated teacher or day laborer carrying water, was put on an equal playing field the moment they met the team from Northside. It was visible in the way grandmother’s were greeted warmly in Swahili (even if it was the only Swahili Brain really got down), children were given medicine as if they were the volunteer’s own, and opinions were listened to during the whole construction process. If there is anything universally that poverty takes it is dignity and in that area alone there was a lot of living water handed out by these disciples of Christ.
Thank you Northside United Methodist and the other churches represented. You were great ambassadors for Christ.

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