Terese Benton is the author of this two-part blog. She is a missionary in the village of Kapenta in Tanzania. She and her family have lived in Tanzania since January 2003 and have been used in mighty ways by the Lord. She has recently started ministering in the local primary school in their village. Join me now as we hear about this opportunity the Lord has given her. The second part will be posted next week.
Now that all of my children have left for college, I miss our fun times of home schooling together. One of the ministries I have been able to add to my plate is that of teaching English at the primary school in Kapenta. I’m going to try to give you details of how one of these visits to the school plays out…
Thankfully, I have a dear missionary friend who goes with me, Jodi Guilzon. She is the wife of the physician assistant from New York. They and their four wonderful children (now only two of these fabulous kids still live with them) live about a five-minute walk from our house. Jodi and I dress in the coolest possible clothes we can wear because it’s usually hot in the village. We wear skirts because that is the culture. As we walk down to the village, we have to be careful that branches from thorn bushes don’t get caught in our skirts, because they scratch our legs and take a lot of time to remove. Whenever I am walking on trails, I try to be aware of little reptiles that could be lurking in the bushes. We live in a place that has several kinds of deathly poisonous snakes but I’ve asked the Lord to help me not live in fear. I just try to be noisy so they will scurry away when we come close to anything. For the record, I’ve heard lots of scurrying and only actually seen one little snake slither away while out walking. That’s not saying I haven’t seen many snakes here that our men have shot…but the snake stories can be for another blog – back to the teaching. Jodi and I have a great time chatting together on our way to the school. She has become such a special kindred spirit. As we make our way down the path to the village, we have to cross a river to get to the school. Usually, when we arrive at the river, there are women bathing and doing laundry in the river, beating their clothes and cloths on the rocks, while their children play in the refreshing water. They always seem so surprised when two white women come walking out of the bushes, and we all greet each other in their tribal language of Kifipa. I do feel like we are entertainment for them – they watch us cross, sometimes jumping from rock to rock if the water is low enough, or walk across if the water is too high over the rocks. One time I was walking with several of the ladies from our women’s group and I had on tennis shoes. The water was quite high and one of the ladies said she would carry me across so I jokingly acted like I was going to jump on her back. She grabbed me and took off across the river. We all still get a good laugh about how Mama Elisa is strong enough to carry me across the river. After we get across the river, we greet many women and children who are carrying water to their homes from the river and we also often have to get out of the way of cows with big horns that are being herded down to the river for water. One time, one of the cows got so close to me I grabbed its horn and pushed it away.
Okay, we finally arrive at the school and the kids all scramble to get to their classrooms after just finishing chai (break) time….