The Pugh family recently returned to the UK after their assignment on a TIMO team. We asked Ella (14), Charlie (11), Imani (10) and Cerys (6) to tell us about it.
Where have you been for the last three years?
I (Ch & Ce): In Ga’ara, that’s in Tanzania. E: Tanzania, and boarding at RVA (Rift Valley Academy) in Kenya.
Describe Ga’ara for us?
Ce: Somewhere hot and dry. Kind people live there. E: It’s a rural village in North Central Tanzania. The people are really welcoming and live in houses made of mud bricks. They raise cattle and farm.
“Homeschooling was difficult; it’s so weird having your mum as your teacher.”
What was the food like?
I: Different kinds of beans, ugali, and on special occasions, rice. (My favourite: steamed maize on the cob.) E: Mainly ugali, made from maize or millet flour and water; it has the consistency of play-doh. Ch: It was suited very well to the lifestyle everyone lived. It wasn’t especially tasty, but some things tasted really good, like bolisa (dried, ground wild sesame leaves cooked with water). Ce: Tasty – kind of. (My favourite: bolisa) E: We could go to town for pasta, pancakes and things. But I do like Alagwa food.
What’s it like living in another country, telling people about Jesus?
Ce: Fun. E: Only missionary kids (MK) really know what it’s like and how you feel, which is part of the reason that I went to RVA. Most people there have been through what you have. Being an MK is good, because you get more than one home, but sometimes it’s bad, because you end up not really fitting in anywhere. Ch: Boring sometimes, but fun at others. It gives you a strong connection with other missionary kids, who’ve shared the same experiences. It’s brought me closer to God. Before, I had God as a concept – real but not really active. Seeing him work over the last three years has changed my understanding of him to a real, strong and moving person. He loves us so much, he doesn’t want to control us like robots; he wants to be with us and help us.
What was school like?
I: I didn’t like school with my siblings. Now [in the UK] I get to be with my old mates all day, which is awesome. Ce: I liked maths and art. I definitely liked doing science. E: Homeschooling was difficult; it’s so weird having your mum as your teacher. In our last year, I decided to go to RVA, so I did two years of homeschool, and one year of boarding. I really enjoyed RVA, even though it was hard being away from my family. I made so many great friends. I wanted to get good grades and work harder, whereas there was less incentive in homeschool. I look forward to going back in the fall. Ch: School in England is fun – I think – and great being with friends all day. [School in Ga’ara] was not as productive because my attitude for learning wasn’t great. Getting used to having my Mum as a teacher wasn’t easy.
Did you go to church in Ga’ara?
E: Yes. We used to visit other nearby churches, but after a while we met as a team with the local believers, in people’s houses every Sunday. Most times other people came to be prayed for at the end of the service. Ce: It was noisy. I: Three different ladies from our team did Sunday School for the kids.
What do you get asked most by friends and family at home?
I: ‘What was Africa like?’ ‘Where were you?’ People also say, ‘Look how much you’ve grown.’ E: ‘Were you the only white/ British girl in your class at RVA?’
“We used to visit other nearby churches, but after a while we met as a team with the local believers, in people’s houses every Sunday.”
Where do you want to live in the future?
I: Don’t know Ce: On a beach E: In the near future, between Ga’ara, RVA and England. After I graduate… who knows? Wherever God leads me! Ch: I think RVA, England and Ga’ara – a mix of all three.
Do you have any favourite Bible verses or stories?
I: Two stories: Esther, because of how she saves the Jews, and Ruth, who never leaves her mother-in-law. Esther was brave and Ruth was faithful. Favourite verse: Philippians 4:13 Ce: ‘For God loved the world so much he sent his only son’, because it reminds me of when Jesus came to save us. E: 1 John 3:1; Eph 6:10 Ch: John 1:1-5.