For most of my life I have easily fit in just about anywhere; maybe most easily, as one of the guys. I drink with the guys. Watch football with the guys. Shoot pool with the guys. And talk shop with the guys. I guess that’s why adjusting to village life – or
life – has been more of an adjustment than I thought. I had some idea what I was getting myself into. I mean, I figured I’d have to give up my flat iron, heels and maybe even the sparkly eye shadow. And while camping doesn’t exactly come naturally to me, I have found that I actually love it! I thought that for four months I would trade in the girly side of me for the side that’s used to fitting in with the boys. What I didn’t know that while the first part of that was true, I would definitely not be fitting in with the boys. I am the last to be served at every meal. Not only am I expected to carry all of my own bags, I am usually expected to carry one of the men’s, too. I am rarely, if ever, included in any of the shop talk. And no one ever opens the door for me or offers up their seat. Village Schools Tanzania
I have to be honest. This was not what I had bargained for. I mean, I have tons of experience, right? I expected to be a huge help to this organization and to be appreciated and, I’ll admit it, even respected for what I can do while I’m here. Instead, no one really knows who I am or what I’m doing here. In fact, VSI has never had an intern before so since I’m not a teacher, I don’t quite fit into the hierarchy. And as a woman, without a title, that puts me at the end of the table with the leftover rice and - if I’m lucky - some of the sauce left in the bottom of the pan.
I realized yesterday that since I am not here to change the culture, the only thing that can change is me. And the truth is, it’s not about me. It’s not about the people that are around me. And it’s not even about
. It’s about God’s plan for me (which, let’s be honest, is still really about Him). I’m working through the book Sun Stand Still by Pastor Steven Furtick. It’s a pretty incredible book about the power of faith and desiring for your life to be so impactful that people have no other option but to say that it was God. Early last week while I was reading the book, I was struck by I Peter 5:6, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God so that at the proper time He may exalt you.” Village Schools Tanzania
Humble. I decided to make that verse my prayer. I knew I was struggling with a few things around me and figured a little humility might help me fit in a little better. Heck, it might even round out my character a little; prepare me for whatever is next. So, while we’ve been warned in church a thousand times that when you ask God to change something about yourself, sometimes it is painful, I marched right on ahead and prayed for humility. After all, I thought God would just flip the switch and change something in my heart. I didn’t realize He would continually place me in situation after situation where I was literally forced to be humble! And worse than that, I’ve been surrounded by some of the most amazing women I have ever met. They wash clothes, clean filthy bathrooms, boil hot water so the men can shower, cook meals, fetch water and clean dishes. But, more than all of those things, they are strong, and smart, and hard-working, and joyful….and FULL of humility.
So here’s the thing. I haven’t mastered it yet. In fact, I’m pretty sure I have a long way to go before this trait is anywhere near the list of my top ten qualities. But, my eyes have been opened to the true beauty of a humble spirit. The women of the villages here in southern
|Rehima, me, Suzie, Sara, and Antonina|