Study Abroad

Hearts Full of Love

May 27, 2017

Habari za leo!

There are really no words to describe this experience teaching.  We've all gone into this unsure if we could do it and left on our last day with hearts full of love and eyes full of tears. It is amazing how quickly you can fall in love with these children. I knew it would be difficult to leave them but I didn't think it would be this difficult. I want to tell a few stories about our experiences with these students. 

The first is about a 6th grade girl named Christina. In the beginning, she was quiet and didn't have much to say. Aliza had showed the students one of her camp songs, which I just called the Moose Song. I'd always joke with Christina after class and ask if she's ready to sing the Moose song and she would just roll her eyes at me. Of course, that same day on the playground, as soon as Aliza began signing, Christina was by my side singing along. On our last day we got to class and told them that we would not be back. Her face changed and she put her head down; she, Nicole and I cried through almost the entire lesson. The rest of the day, she would wave to me from the doorway or window of whatever room I was in. Joyce was another 6th grade girl who was in Morgan and Katie's group but made an impact on all of us. She was tall, one of the most intelligent students, and beaming with confidence. She taught us all of the songs that they sing during recess and loved to include us in the games. Because she was so bold we didn't think that she cared too much about us being there. When we were saying our goodbye's she was sobbing and clung to each of us. At one point, the Headmaster held her hand while she cried and told Nicole and I that her father had just died and all of us had filled the void for her and that is why she is so upset. 

In the final moment before we left, the Headmaster had all of the children line up and sing the national anthem for us. In Tanzanian culture, it is very rare to see the children crying. All 500 children stood before us with their heads held high and tears rolling down their faces as they sang for us. I have never seen anything like it, and have never felt the way I felt at that time. Our final day at the Lundamatwe Primary School proved that we made a difference to those children and to the teachers. The connections that we built in the short time there will never be forgotten. It was easily the hardest goodbye of my life but I am so happy to have had this experience and met these wonderful children. I have left a piece of my heart with each of these students and with Tanzania. 

Shannon Murphy