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Stories | Teacher Stephen Mattowo

teacher MattowoStephen Mattowo's story began: In the 1800's, his grandfather, then only twelve years old, was selected by the Village Chief and his Council to be the one sent to assist with jobs around the home of a German Lutheran missionary. But a fear persisted in the village: these Germans were cannibals. By tradition, the child's mother could say nothing to disagree with the decision of the Chief and his Council. The family tale, passed down orally to subsequent generations, has it that she went near the missionary's home every day, looking through the bushes to assure herself that her child was still alive. Over time, the missionaries found the boy open to Christian religious training, eventually baptizing—and not eating!—him. That grandfather's grandson, Stephen Mattowo has devoted years of teaching mathematics to students in the Lutheran church-managed school system.

"I couldn't imagine what this project could become," he said of the earliest discussions of the possibility of a resource center back in 1995. "When we were just talking about it, we never thought it would be what it is now. It's more of a miracle, more of a God-given gift," he added. "Mama Shoonie had such visions, and they came true! Imagine!" he said animatedly. "At first, there were only five dioceses. Now Mwangaza is national! Mwangaza has really changed me to become a student-centered teacher," he said, reflecting on his own performance as a teacher.

"Students are improving. The Mwangaza techniques are very suitable even to low-level learners," he offered. "This is the right system of teaching!" he stated emphatically. "For those donors who helped us do this, I must say we really greatly appreciate what they've done. The work of Mwangaza has affected not only teacher-leaders, but also students. Mwangaza is ahead of most of our national teacher-training colleges!"

How lucky we are that Stephen's grandfather was not eaten by white missionary cannibals, for without his grandson, Mwangaza's own story could not be what it is today!

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