Farewell Mara le Mahieu
October 28, 2017
Four years ago I joined Upendo Daima as Lay Missionary for the SMA.
It has been a privilege to work with the children and staff from Upendo Daima. They all have made me feel at home, from the very first day when I did not know more Swahili than “Jambo” (hello) and “asante” (thank you).
I have worked in various roles during my time at Upendo Daima. I started as office assistant and tutor for the children. Slowly over time my role has changed more to office work, such as monitoring and evaluation, communication, fundraising, etc. But there has always been time to also work with the children, not in the sense of counselling (for that our specialized Tanzanian staff is more than capable), but just for interacting with them as the child they are. To love them unconditionally (Upendo Daima) and to give them self-worth and self-pride.
I have learned a lot from the children, about being resilient and not letting negative things influence your life to much but to take positive action (in their case leaving their homes to find a better life and/or force their parents to reconsider their roles as parents). I also learned a lot from the Tanzanian staff, on how to deal with many problems, with the government, on being patient and trusting that all things will work out eventually (which they always do, even though not always as you had planned in the beginning). They also gave me a little insight into the Tanzanian culture and why certain things are done the way they are done (very helpful as you do look at situations from your own perspective) and in the importance of interpersonal relationships.
The things I have learned here I will take with me back to Holland. It will be difficult to go and I am sure I will miss everybody very much. But just as we want our kids to go home to be with their family, it is time for me to go home and be with mine.