Arthur and Melina’s second week took up from where the first week ended: visits in the Cleckheaton Howard Park and Whitecchapel CE Primary and a sneaky after hours visit to Robertown. At Howard Park acquaintances were renewed as the Head, Mr.Marcus Newby, had visited Tanzania in February.
Everywhere they visit Arthur and Melina are greeted with song. From a rendition of ‘Bring me Sunshine' from the choir of St Mary’s School Gomersal to the choir at Whitechapel singing a specially composed song ‘Talking our Language’, written for our diocesan schools to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the King James’ Bible. The children of Howard Park literally made Arthur weep with joy as they sung African songs with a depth of joy, feeling and true emotion.
Thanks to a gift from one of our diocesan schools, Melina can record the event on the IPad for the children back in Mara. Technology is helping us develop friendships with the schools of Mara. There are such huge differences if resources and teaching styles, but the bottom line is that these are all children who will learn from us and we must remember that we can learn from them.
It’s wonderful to see the diocesan link with Tanzania developing across the new diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales and being introduced to new schools. The undoubted value of talking and sharing experiences with real people is tangible. Whether the link be Sudan, Tanzania, Sri Lanka or anywhere else in the world, the reality of friendship and open dialogue which values the richness of cultural and global diversity can never be undervalued. In our church schools we speak of ‘Christian values’, but in these exchanges we see their very essence lived, worked and shared in one world.
Away from Cleckheaton visits were made to Linthwaite Ardron CE J&I School, Horbury Bridge CE J&I Academy where pupils and staff representatives from Horbury St Peter’s and Clifton also came to greet Arthur and Melina.
Every day underlines why this link is so important. Horbury Bridge has a wonderful ‘forest schools’ outdoor reflective area. “Oh this is just like home in Tanzania with the chickens”. Comparisons were exchanged and it became clear that on this one, Tanzania is way ahead! Both schools gave gifts for Arthur and Melina to take to their link school of Mmazami.
The school even manged to arrange a small ‘Fete’ for them with an amazing array of fundraising stalls in the playground. Home-made refreshments, home-made candles, bracelets, calendars and so much more were all for sale raising £250 towards a water harvesting system at their link school of Mmazami. Mmazami school will work ‘bega kwa bega’ (shoulder to shoulder) with these two Horbury schools and will provide the cement and the labour needed to develop the water project. It’s about working alongside each other and sharing what we have – whether it be skills with chickens and growing crops, financial support or friendship. But it’s this last one which is the aim of the school link project.
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.