It is good to understand that schools in Mara are inclusive for children of other faiths and none, just as our Anglican schools are in this country. What marks them all out is the acceptance of the freedom and right to worship, acknowledging the right of all to seek God however they may choose. As is often said, our schools are for ‘those of all faiths and none and the simply curious’ and this is no truer than at Thornhill Lees Junior and Infants.
We toured classes, spoke with teachers and children and shared experiences as well as hopes and joys. Questions were asked on both sides. It was also a time for Arthur and Melina to renew acquaintance with Mrs Diane Burman who had travelled to Mara with the teachers’ trip last February.
This school has been supporting the Mara link for some time and Arthur and Melina were able to see a models of a goat and a well that had helped support the appeals for goats for Buhemba Rural Agricultural Community (BRAC) and the well at new Mara Primary.
After lunch with the children it was time to leave. We had no idea what lay in store for us. Not only were Arthur and Melina presented with £534.57 for the link school of Nyamasisi, but as this was being handed over, a guard of honour was forming in the playground.
Arthur and Melina walked down the centre amidst waving flags of Tanzania and England (made by the children) and bid an emotional farewell to staff, pupils and governors. And the icing on the cake….. parents had also come to wave goodbye. Leaning on the school wall they had an impromptu collection – and sent not just extra money, but heartfelt love and prayers to their new brothers and sisters in Mara. And so ended yet another remarkable visit.Truly bega kwa bega.
Our diocesan link with Mara began in 1988. There have been many visits in both directions. Many parishes pray for their link church every Sunday. Schools exchange letters and photos and learn about each other. Clergy training is supported, and agricultural projects are funded. This blog, written by different people, will keep us up to date with life in Tanzania, our relationship with one another, and events happening locally to support our links.