It feels like I left England for Africa years ago, yet I can't believe my time at Karibu Nyumbani is over already, so maybe it has only been three months and I just wish it could be years. I arrived in the evening, so was greeted with dinner which is always followed by family time, involving lively worship songs, shared prayer and a Bible reading. I was touched by the hospitality of the Tanzanians and their very apparent love of God; gladly these two things have been consistent throughout my stay. 

Learning to count to 100 in Swahili before coming proved useful. Drawing with the children created good opportunities for shared learning too as I could speak English to them and they would teach me the Swahili. I hoped to pick up more through conversation, but it doesn't matter that I did not because I am going home with something far more valuable than knowledge and a reminder of the greatest lesson. 

The lesson is that love is the key to life. When we love God and we love others as ourselves we receive the fullness of life. Sometimes we clearly see that the things we believe are true because we experience them and I have experienced these truths in my stay. 

I could feel pity or despair visiting such a poor area surrounded by children whose circumstances have led them to reside in an orphanage but it would be inappropriate. These children are filled with the Holy Spirit- they are loving, kind, obedient, funny, they listen, they are patient and they enjoy their lives. They have the fullness of life! 

I really believe the hard-working and faithful Mamas and Aunties who run the orphanage are providing these children with a better life than many rich children in Europe. I also believe that the key to their success is the fact that the foundation of their own lives, and of Karibu Nyumbani, is faith in Jesus Christ. 

The kindness of the people here and their thankfulness to the God who they acknowledge as blessing every part of their lives inspires me and gives the simple home life here an irresistable magnetism. 

What will I miss most? Patrick's amazing drawing skills, Gertrude's eccentric giggling fits, Sabina and Shangwe's cheeky laughter, Samweli's JOY-filled smile, Queenie's gentle curiosity, Adventi and Onesimo's insistent efforts to (successfully) make me jump on my way to and from my room, Isaya's comical mini-performances at dinner, during football, in my stolen shoes or anywhere else he happens to be. 

In short I will miss time spent with the lovely people who live here. I love everybody here and I feel loved by them.


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