I first visited Iringa and Africa in 2012, after being part of the FISCH UK Team for a good year or so. I cannot tell you how happy Africa makes me feel - there aren't words to express - but I can share with you that the sky is so big and transparent you feel like there is no roof on the world, that if you could reach far enough you would tickle Heaven.
It was exciting to go to Tanzania and to finally see this Project in action, to meet the fantastic Team I had learnt about and of course, most importantly, get to meet the Children!
Over my three visits to Iringa I have been involved with helping the Saturday Feeding Project, running a Holiday Club, teaching Kids to juggle, a FISCH Olympics, painting the Drop-in-Centre building, playing games with the Kids and of course showing them that women can play football.
One of my particularly fond memories was when I spent some time with the young girls in the 'FISCH Beauty Salon' in 2012 with lots of donated LUSH pampering items, having the chance to tell them they were beautiful ("nzuri") and pretty ("safi") and doing the simple thing of washing their feet, massaging in moisturising cream to their hands and painting their nails. To simply spend half an hour showing a Street Kid that they are valuable and precious and worth this time and effort and love. To me, it was surely what Jesus would do and it was a humbling experience. I so yearn to go back!
Men and Women working to survive. I saw woman with babies strapped to their backs Carrying bowls full of fruit on their heads - They were walking, walking, mile after mile To take their goods to ‘market’. Life in Tanzania is hard………
I saw men with bicycles with huge loads of wood, piled up high - Pushing them up, up, up the hill to market. Heavy, heavy loads! When I say ‘market’, I mean a tiny stall Just like a small table with a rack on top. Each trying to sell to another. Others just place their wares on the ground Waiting for ‘someone’ to buy ‘something’.
Life is hard here in Tanzania…...
Houses are tiny - Really like sheds or shacks made of dried mud or corrugated iron. One room, two if you’re lucky Plastered walls and a floor to match. Cold and stark and dark, no Electric lights to be seen
One large pot on an open fire, in the middle of the room Cooking whatever is available to eat. A bed in the corner, one that would sleep 8 or more - Even though it was only made for two. Mud on the ground, mud all around Washing to be done, to be hung between shacks Toys for the kids - What are toys? How can you afford toys when you can’t afford food? Kids left to play in the open and around, With sticks and stones, and each other for their fun.
Food from those pots, cooking for hours, meals that they eat of rice, beans and a slice of melon if you’re lucky But food and a friendly face is a great way to start Each of the FISCH team gives from their heart. There’s Pastor Peter who gives his warm love and Peaches of Jesus, God’s Son from above He speaks of God’s love and how Jesus His Son - Was a refugee too, from Herod did run
God loves the poor, but even more… He loves the Children. ‘Bring the children to me’ He said For of such is the Kingdom of Heaven, Children of all ages big and small Large and thin, HE LOVES THEM ALL.
(Poem, by Carolyn)
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