Once my paperwork is finalized, I’ll be travelling to Mugeta, a rural village in Northern Tanzania, to teach in the Mugeta Children’s School. Perhaps by some standards, it may be considered to be a poor village, but it is rich in love that never fails.
Primary school in Tanzania ends at grade 7. The first time Joash Gambarage wore shoes, he had to borrow them to attend his grade 7 graduation. In 2010, Joash, a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia at the time, told his family in Mugeta that he wanted to give back to the village by starting a primary school.
His father, who owed 15 acres, told his son to build his school on that land. Today, the school has approximately 300 students. An 80-bed dormitory ensures that students no longer walk up to five km to and from school daily. Academically, government testing ranks it as one of the top schools in its district.
Having received his Doctorate in Linguistics, Joash, who is now a lecturer at the University of British Columbia, travels to Mugeta with his wife, Neema, and his sons, Jones, and Eli, every summer to add to the school and visit his family there. The children of Mugeta follow him everywhere because they recognize love when they see it.
The people in the village support the school to the best of their abilities. Promoting equity in education, the school mobilizes educational, linguistic, health and recreational resources for the benefit of all the children in the area regardless of their gender, religion, or economic background. It advocates for the wellbeing of the community by empowering girls and women.
How does one develop the kind of love that starts a school with a bare piece of land and $300? That convinces a utility company to waive certain fees so that the school can have electricity from the main road about two km away? That convinces a drilling company to dig not one, but two wells in a remote part of Tanzania - one well for the village and one for the school? How do we develop the kind of love that perseveres, against the odds, in the centre of God’s will? How do we develop the kind of love that Dr. Joash Gambarage demonstrates daily to those around him, a man who, after all these years, still calls his wife “darling’?
He’s a humble man who’s risen from humble beginnings. What sustains him? Whatever woundedness he experienced, there is evidence that he exchanged it for love that never fails – the love of his risen Saviour!
It’s clear that he relies on these seven words: God loves us, and we love Him. How might our lives change if we rely on these seven words? How are our lives changing as we rely on them? Who can we tell about the comforting, constant and consistent love of God, the love that never fails? Let's pray about our answers. Amen
This article appeared in the June 19, 2023 Edition of the Springwater News (www.springwaternews.ca)