Tales from Tanzania - O'Neil Family Blog

Though we have already been in Tanzania for one year, this is a journal of our time at Haven of Peace Academy in Dar es Salaam. Karibu sana.

February 10, 2007


They recently grated the road to our house (this is truly a miracle). But what it did was turn up loads of garbage all of which had been buried under the dirt. Somehow, now when I turn off of the main road and head towards home I am overcome with feelings of hopelessness and despair. Perhaps it is the dirt road laden with plastic bags, garbage heaped up on the side, broken pipes sometimes spurting water wastefully into the drainage ditches already full of sewage. Perhaps it is the little girl who came knocking on my door last week. She really just wanted some money to go to school. Though school is supposed to be free here, one still needs a uniform, shoes, and 100shillings a day to give to the teacher. Where on earth is a little girl with only enough food to eat to get this much money each day? Perhaps it is news we just heard from our old guard, Felix. He just graduated from university where he was studying to be an accountant. We had encouraged him (and even helped pay for) a computer class. He stopped by to ask for work as a gardener or anything as there is still no work even for someone like him who is educated and speaks good English and worked hard to take all the right classes. Perhaps it is the Malawian woman, illegally here in Tanzania. I had to send her away with no hope of ever getting a job with any of my fellow Westerners as she is illegal. She went home with tears to a baby. I am sometimes just overwhelmed with the hopelessness of it all. I know each and everyone of these people not only want to survive, but also have dreams – dreams to drive a car, be a business owner, travel – but dreams that will never be fulfilled on this earth.

But Jesus reminded me this week that He is our hope. He not only gives us hope for heaven – this for sure we all hope for – but also hope for right now on this earth. He reminded me of William. William is a gardener at HOPAC and he works a hard nine hour day raking, planting, and mowing on campus. But William has been given Jesus’ hope. He does not have a hopeless life filled only with physical labor. When the day is done, William uses his spiritual gifts to minister to children in his neighborhood. He runs an after school tutoring program from his home. He also teaches the kids Bible and sports. The hope that God has purposed in him right now is being lived out. Jesus also reminded me of Zena. She has worked for me helping clean my house – and a million other things – since we’ve moved in. It is not a very exciting job. But God has gifted her with faith and at least two nights a week she spends in prayer – all night. I still don’t know how anyone can pull this off but I am watching her in action day after day. She has hope that God has put in her life right now and she is able to bless with this hope right in the position she is in. It does not matter whether one healthy or unhealthy, educated or not, legal or illegal, or weather one has 100shillings and a uniform – God dishes out his hope and free gifts from the Holy Spirit to all who believe. Hope to be used, lived out and lived in the moment we meet Him.

I think that driving down my road will still bring over me a sigh of despair and I know living here will certainly result in more desperate feelings. But Jesus has and will keep reminding me that there is in Him neither rich nor poor, male nor female, Jew nor Gentile. We are rescued from this worldly type of hopelessness. He replaces it with His hope and lavishes us with gifts to and riches to use right now no matter what our place or position. Praise God!