I’ve mentioned that I have recently started working at a refugee center where I help teach English. It has been a rewarding experience and a place that I am happy to spend my time – the students and the staff are amazing. I always thought by this time in my life I would be preparing to move across the globe where I would become a long-term missionary teaching ESL…I had hoped to be in Sudan, I do believe a big part of my heart stayed there. Life is good at throwing us curve balls though, so obviously I am not exactly across the globe – I’m planted firmly in the suburbs of DFW. Back to the tea story though… Last week, a student asked if I could come to her apt. and tutor her. She needs some extra help studying for her citizenship test. She and her family are Sudanese refugees. I have loved visiting her in her home over the last week and getting to know her and her family! We have shared stories of Sudan and I have felt like I was right back there. But the best part? The first day I was there she made me African tea from Sudan – the same tea I drank every single day when I was there. It was my FAVORITE part of the day. Sometimes I’d even manage to get someone to make it for me twice a day. The conditions in Sudan were pretty bad…and we didn’t get to eat much… At the end of long teaching days we were often SO hungry… I had actually forgotten how hungry we were until I recently reread through my journal from that time. But that tea? It was divine. I did not care that it was over 100 degrees outside – I’d sip that tea like I was drinking iced sweet tea on a front porch in a rocking chair. And I didn’t care that it was always served in a glass and I’d burn my fingers and tongue every.single.time because I was too impatient to wait for it to cool. I was all about the “tea time”. My fellow missionaries didn’t share my love of the tea, but they went along with it most days because it’s “what you did” in the afternoons! ha! When I think of my time in Sudan, I mostly have fond memories…(these are pictures of pictures from a photo album).
The classes we taught…
Going to church or hanging in the village and being surrounded my all these beautiful kids that would sing and sing! And also, try to look cool to have their pic taken… They were fascinated when they would look at the pics on my digital camera after I’d take them.
And sometimes when I was teaching I’d get the strangest visitors outside the window…
We’d walk over to the banks of the Nile and watch the boats come in…you can see some crazy stuff down at the river!
And I even found this old rusty bike at our compound and I’d ride it around and around where we lived. I was really into triathlons back then so this bike was one of my favorite things to do!
The day we left, I had someone take a pic of me and the other teachers drinking our tea. I remember them laughing at me because I knew I was going to miss that tea so much!
Who knows if I’ll ever get back there…Maybe some day. For now, I’m lucky. Parts of Sudan have been brought to me in the forms of my students. I recognize the smiles and languages and best of all… that TEA!