T Minus 75
The following article appears in our Church Newsletter “Good News” today. It’s a summary of the past few months and our goodbye to SMB.
We’re moving to Tanzania!
In a whirlwind of a week in early February I applied for a teaching job, was interviewed and offered that job within 5 days. I had been mulling the job over for a couple of weeks but this job was no standard teaching job.
This job would entail a move…….. a move from Milton Keynes to the city of Mwanza in northern Tanzania.
It would mean moving from my current job in leafy Oxfordshire to a city in the mountains on the shores of Lake Victoria. Moving to Isamilo International School in Mwanza.
Above all it would mean leaving family and friends, a church I have been a member of since 1988 and the comforts of home.
I have long held a desire to teach in Africa – so now I am realising a dream. I never believed that pushing on the door would see it burst open before me. We believe that God has called us to this place and so on 22nd August we’ll be flying out. It’s going to be exciting but scary but we’re all looking forward to it. There has been lots to do to get ready and only 6 months to do it in.
Isamilo is a British Curriculum School catering for children from 3 to 18. the children get free places at what otherwise would be a fee paying school. Having said that the fees for all are much reduced as the school
aims to reach parts of Tanzanian society that could not otherwise afford such education. Furthermore each week, in the words of their website, they run a
“Saturday School, which was born out of a desire to actively help disadvantaged youngsters from the wider community and to share the privileges enjoyed by students at Isamilo. It is run by teachers and pupils who volunteer their time for about two hours on a Saturday morning. They teach English and then run football, basketball, music and swimming sessions for about 150 disadvantaged children and young people. It takes place on the school site.”
This is one if the things that attracted me to the school. My contract is initially for two years but I would hope to extend to at least 3 (allowing my daughter to complete her IGCSE’s and possibly two more to complete A levels. So this is hopefully a long term commitment.
Anita, as many of you will know has lived in Africa before, having spent two years in Malaŵi in the ’90s. My own African experience is limited to a week in The Gambia. However, last year I spent almost a month travelling in the developing world, through Cambodia and Vietnam as part of a school trip. It is this that rekindled my desire to travel and teach abroad and led me to pushing some doors.
Anita and I are convinced that God is in this and has smoothed the path for us even when it seemed impossible. The children have found it harder and we would value prayers for them as we make this transition. To their credit they are embracing the changes but it’s tough.
We were initially looking to rent our house out although the practicalities of this soon dawned on us – unfortunately rental would not cover our existing mortgage and the lower wage in Tanzania made remortgaging a no go. So we put our house on the market. Due to issues with our solar panels, selling was not straightforward. But God has worked in this and the loan of funds to buy us out of our contract was very quickly followed by a sale. More miraculously, our buyers are looking to rent out our property and have agreed that we can be tenants until August.
The last few months have been spent clearing, sorting, selling and storing so much accumulated goods. In the end we leave in August with everything squeezed into 8 x 23kg bags and any hand luggage we can take on the plane. Everything else has to go.
The next few months are going to be scary and exciting, stressful and exhilarating. We’re leaving behind a house we have lived in for 17 of our 19 years married and a town where between the 4 of us we have lived for 83 years!
We are really going to miss St Mary’s. I came through the door of church at about 11am in early November of 1988.
I was looking for a lively and engaging service – but found something old fashioned and a little dull. I might never have returned but for a friendly man in a red sweater by the name of Tony. He suggested that I might prefer the 9:45am service as it was more modern than the 11:15 I’d just attended. He gave me a service book so I could see what it was like as long a I brought it back next week.
Of course I did and so started a relationship with the church that has spanned more than a quarter of a century.
Members of One Way Drama Team – circa 1990
Morning Star Trip as Youth Leader in 1992
In that time I have been a Youth Leader, ran the Drama Team, been a steward, was Deputy Churchwarden for 5 years and a member of the PCC for most of the last 22 years. I have worked on the PC at the back of church and sung in Christmas choirs. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with each and every one of you with whom I have served and will miss you all.
Anita served in the Children’s team and in various Worship groups as well as the Drama group and Christmas choir – I know she feels the same as I do.
Being part of church Sunday by Sunday does require time and effort but brings rewards and we would encourage anyone to get involved wherever you can.
The children have benefited from the strong and committed work of the Children’s and Youth teams. We want to thank all of you who have been part of this valuable ministry over the years.
Leaving St Mary’s is going to be hard. We will be having an Open House on Saturday 19th July and we would love to see you any time from 10am until 4pm for a cup of tea/coffee, to say goodbye. Our last service at SMB be on 20th July.
We would love to remain a part of SMB even from a distance. We hope that whether by social networking, email or letter we can keep in contact with you from afar. You can follow our progress by reading our blog https://tanzalongs.wordpress.com