It’s been a whirl of busy school days, old friendships renewed and new friendships forged - and prayer has been at the heart of it.
Our two visitors, Arthur Mauya and Melina Galibona from our link dioceses in Tanzania have been spending their days in schools across our diocese and their weekends in the link parishes of Wrenthorpe, Ovenden and Luddenden in the Wakefield and Huddersfield Episcopal Areas - with one day off for a trip to London with Bishop Tony Robinson!
The arrived on September 22 for the three week trip which has seen Arthur and Melina go back to the classroom every weekday in the schools whose staff visited Tanzania back in February. Arthur Mauya is the Diocesan Education Officer for Mara Diocese and the Link Officer for Mara and West Yorkshire & the Dales and Melina, his assistant whose main work in Mara is supporting the School Links.
Teachers on that Tanzanian trip have created an education pack and Arthur and Melina were able to see that first hand and will be taking ideas back home with them.
The Revd Gill Johnson, our Education Development Officer, has helped them write a blog each day; here is a taste of their busy days.
Oct 4: Trinity Academy
This morning saw Arthur and Melina visiting Trinity Academy Halifax. It’s a huge and impressive building even before you get inside!
Arthur and Melina were shown the impressive facilities by students who did their academy proud. Then it was time for Y8 Collective Worship. The gospel reading was the widow’s mite and Marcus (chaplain) used this to illustrate the charitable giving of Trinity Academy over the past year. To our delight and amazement, Arthur and Melina were presented with a cheque for approx. £1,400 for the water project at New Mara Primary School. Earlier in the year the Academy had already raised approx. £700, so that has made a huge impact on the Mara Primary project - thank you so much!!!
There was much discussion with the chaplain, the principal and vice principal as to how Trinity might become more involved with the Mara education links and inspiring plans were hatched. A commitment to funding a pupil each year at Bunda Girls Secondary School was made to help us continue fundraising until Mara Primary has its well.
A welcome free hour in the middle of the day saw Arthur and Melina taking some reflection time at Wakefield Cathedral. “There is so much in our heads – we need some time and some space” (Arthur)
3 pm saw Arthur and Melina talking with a group of teachers and head teachers who either already had, or would like, a Mara school link. Arthur and Melina had brought profiles and gifts from all our link schools and these were distributed. There was tangible joy and thanks form the recipients who also had the opportunity to learn much more about their schools. Reasons for wanting links were discussed and the value to schools in both Mara and WYAD were aired. We all have much to offer each other. As Arthur had remarked earlier in the week, it doesn’t matter whether we are talking about schools in Mara or WYAD; "we are all talking the language of friendship and education."
Oct 5: The day began at Norland CE School with a reunion for Arthur and the older children in the school. They undoubtedly remembered him and he has very fond memories of the school. For Melina, it emphasised the range of our diocesan schools, having yesterday visited the enormous Trinity Academy and today visiting Norland – 98 pupils and a traditional building. Arthur regularly reminds us that the main reason for creating these school links is to share friendship and prayer. Norland almost the first thing you see is a reflective area with just that theme. In Collective Worship Arthur and Melina shared pictures from Mkirira, Mara’s link school with Norland.
Following conversations in classrooms we were privileged to meet with a very far-seeing school council. Lots of conversation ensued regarding caring about each other, the power of prayer and what is important in life. These pupils showed that they will both offer and receive much from this link. Arthur and Melina made notes of questions to take back to Mkirira as well as making notes of things that they thought were really good ideas to pinch!
The afternoon saw us in Sowerby Village CE School, pictured left, who also link with Mkirira. Once again, photographs were shown, questions answered and new friendships formed. The school council showed us around the lovely outside reflective areas that they have helped create. Each class has an opportunity to have their collective worship in the area every week. And at the end of another marvellous afternoon it was time for the presentations. Mkirira has sent gifts and a profile for the link schools and Sowerby Village students sent letters for the pupils at Mkirira.
This is their last weekend in the Diocese and our visitors will spend a lively Saturday evening at Battyford Christ the King, Mirfield being entertained by the Sheffield-based Bus Pass Buskers – a lively group of elderly musicians who specialize in blues and country and western music. They leave us on Oct 12.
Anyone interested in linking with our dioceses in Tanzania can find out more on the website links above.