God gave me the beautiful opportunity to go to Tanzania where He taught me many lessons. One of the greatest lessons was on humility. Doing humanitarian work was always a dream of mine and I recall how I had many ideas of grandeur, dreaming of all the things I would teach, all the people I would help.
But God had a different plan.
It was about helping me, saving me, from what I couldn’t see. From my own selfishness, my pride, my vanity, from attachments and desires that I didn’t even realize I had. We never know how good ( what I really mean to say is we never know how not good ) we are until that moment comes, where you’re tempted and tested, and you fail, finally seeing the truth of who you really are. (This was all before I came to know Jesus, so I was still being led by my own ego).
There were many moments that humbled me. Like how each time Maliki and Bibi would give me the best boiled green banana from their plate.
There was one event in particular that opened my heart. We were meeting a very poor family. A single mother of 7, living with aids, all 8 of them squeezed in one small dark room, so small that the door could not open completely as the bed was in the way. I sat there, playing with the children, chatting with the mother. I remember the youngest boy, 3 years old, coming next to me and lifting his shirt exposing terrible fresh scars all over his upper body. He had fallen into the fire while the mother was preparing their meal…
I noticed such sadness in her eyes, eyes that wouldn’t look up, as if ashamed. I remember thinking how horrible it must be to have this stranger come into your home, ‘to help’. I remember thinking that the last thing I ever wanted to do was to bring about shame. I wanted to hold her, and tell her how sorry I was. How sorry I was that the world was upside down, how she should never ever feel ashamed, how she should be so proud, raising 7 children on her own. I wanted to tell her of all the struggles I’ve been through, I wanted to tell her of all the mistakes I’ve made…
A few months later, I found myself back in Sri lanka, and I was texting with my friend in Tanzania asking him about this mother, if she was ok. And he acted surprised, that I remembered her. My heart broke. How could anyone not remember?
But we do, we get tangled up in our lives and we forget…
God humbled me many times during my stay in Tanzania and Sri Lanka. Sometimes I would be sitting next to a child, colouring or doing additions and I would sit there in awe and wonder thinking how blessed I was that God would allow me to be near such life, pure and innocent. And that He trusted me , and chose me to love and care for these children, even if for only a short moment.
Today, we support this family through the foundation, by providing two of the children with all their school fees and supplies, and our friend in Tanzania regularly checks upon them in case of emergencies, like food or medical aid.