Sunday, August 30, 2009

Week In Mwanza

We have, for the past week, been in Mwanza, about a 3-5 hour trip from Geita, depending on when you can catch the ferry. It's only about 100K, but sometimes road trips just take some time here.  We've been staying with Jason and Emily Miller, members of the Mwanza team, who always graciously allow us to stay with them whenever we want, and even cook for us.  

We've spent the week running errands before we move to Geita next week.  We spent 2 days pricing and buying a few appliances: oven, washing machine, refrigerator -- it's nice to know we can actually live when we move into a house.  We also got some minor repairs done on our truck. We don't have a mechanic yet in Geita, so we get have to get that stuff done here.  We got some paperwork done for insurance, applied for a post office box, went to the dentist, and bought some food-type supplies for Geita.  Friday we packed up all the Groen's things that they are moving to Geita from Mwanza -- furniture, etc.  So it's been a pretty full week.  

I forgot how hot most of Tanzania is.  When we first moved here, we all sweat all the time, but after a month or so, started to get used to it until we moved to Iringa for language school, where it was cold.  So now, moving back up to the Lake area, we have to get used to it all over again.  I'm thinking being pregnant makes it worse.  I don't really have a way to test this theory though, as I can't be pregnant and not pregnant at the same time to compare.  I think Geita will be slightly cooler, at least.  That's probably why there are hoards of pregnant women hanging out there....

Saturday, August 22, 2009

And on the Baby Front...

The day has come that we have finally decided on a name for our soon-to-be-in-this-world daughter:          
                                                        Baylor Adelaide Harrison

She'll go by Baylor.  As you can see, her initials are BAH, just like a sheep sound.  I do enjoy a good sheep sound.

Also, as so many people from so many different places across the country have been asking us what we need for the baby, at the suggestion of my ever-wise sister, we have registered at Target, to prevent getting 80 pacifiers and 1 tube of diaper rash cream.  We are listed as Brett and Christie Harrison in Nashville, TN, as Geita, Tanzania was not an option.  In addition to what's at Target, we could also use baby clothes from birth to 2 years, since we don't know exactly when we're coming home or how fast our little girl will grow.  And we are happy to receive your previously used baby items for those of you who are done with that phase of your life.  Also, for anything we registered for like medicine, baby sunscreen, etc., we're happy to get generics; they just weren't online for us to put on the list.  We already have some baby things (particularly larger items) coming on the container in October (hopefully), but if you think of something exceedingly important that we haven't mentioned, feel free to pass that along to us. Please believe me when I say we really aren't actively trying to get all of you to send us stuff. We'd like your prayers more than anything else.  

Our current address is:
                                     Kanisa La Kristo
                                         Brett and Christie Harrison
                                         PO Box 1371
                                         Mwanza, Tanzania

As our team doesn't have our own box yet, the current Mwanza Team has graciously offered to let us use theirs until we do.  Whenever we get our permanent address, I'll post it, but know that even if you send something to this address and we get our new address the next day, we'll still get whatever you send.  Also, there are a few things you should know about sending letters, packages, etc. to Tanzania.  First, a letter or a padded envelope of just about any size will generally make it to us within 2 or 3 weeks.  A larger, boxier package can take anywhere from a few weeks to 4 months.  At the post office they will give you the form for this, but you MUST list the contents of the package on the outside of  the box ,or envelope larger than card or letter-sized.  You must also list the value of each item.  We have been told by the postal workers here that it is best for you to give the garage sale value for everything that you send.  That is for 2 reasons: 1.  If something is of great value, it is more likely to just somehow not make it to us, and 2.  If the package does not fit in our post office box (which is larger than average--most padded envelopes will fit), than we must pay taxes on the total value of the contents in the package.  This tax can range anywhere from 10% to 50%, depending on who is working that day.  You just never know.  If you have any questions about any of this,  let me know.  

Also in response to questions about items we would like to receive in care packages, I have put a list of things we will always love to get over to the right underneath our profile and such. This list will always stay on our blog, and we'll add and take away from it at times.  Again, we're content with generics of all kinds.  I'm sure we can always think of other things if you want to send something different, but these will just always be there if you want an idea and most are pretty lightweight (except perhaps for my velveeta and Brett's Diet Dr. Peppers--which might would explode, so I'm not too sure about them in the mail). 

Hmmm...I suppose that's all.  Thanks for all the encouraging emails and comments, we love hearing from all of you!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

We're Graduates!

Finally, after almost 4 months, we are totally fluent in Swahili.  We now know all the words.  Ok, so maybe not so much.   But we can communicate well enough to not sound like complete idiots and we are officially done with language school.  Yea!  Brett and I really enjoyed our time at school and will actually miss being there a lot.  We'll especially miss our teachers.  

If you finish the course, they force you to have a graduation.  Now, we really didn't want to have this graduation, but there really was no way around it.  They had us give speeches (in Swahili) and made all the other students give us a blessing or share a memory or something along those lines.  This is actually quite entertaining as some of the other students have only been there 1 week.  They gave us diplomas and made us a cake.  No one played the graduation song, but I felt it in my heart.  

This is Brett with Tunku, one of our favorite teachers.  Brett is also Tunku's favorite student, which we know by how much he makes fun of Brett.  Also highly entertaining.  
This is me with some of the teachers after I so excitedly received my diploma, given to me by Peter, the Danish guy at language school.  I'm not sure why Peter was involved in this process, but hey, when have you ever gotten a diploma from a Danish guy?
This is me with our friends, Carley and Kate, Americans who are teaching in Dar at the Christian School.  They're much fun, and I'm sad they live so far away.  They ended school the same day as we did, but were only able to stay for a month total, so they didn't have the joy of getting diplomas from Peter, though they were still forced to make speeches.  The kids made us our lovely laurel crowns as a graduation present.  So beautiful. 

I know we still have a lot to learn, but the language school was great, so if any of you are wanting to learn Swahili, I highly recommend it. 

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Well, it's been a while.  But I said I would tell you about our trip to Dar, so that I will do.  We went to Dar a month-ish ago for a check-up for me and the baby.  We left on Friday late morning and made it there just in time for bad traffic.  wahoo!  But that's ok.  We had a nice dinner, complete with real french fries, and then headed back to our guest house.  We spent Saturday shopping for some needed items, including a few small appliances.  Most of the things we could buy in Mwanza, but they're way more expensive there, so we thought we'd take advantage of cheaper prices.  We also took advantage of the movie theatre, since Dar is the only place in Tanzania that has one.  Fortunately for me, the sixth Harry Potter movie came out the day before we got there.  wahoo for real!  

Sunday we spent trying to find a place for Brett to watch the Tour de France (which we were unsuccessful doing) and then decided to spend the afternoon at the beach.  There's a resort close to where we were staying that, while their room rates are pretty ridiculous, they let you use their facilities: pool, restaurant, beautiful beachfront complete with umbrellas and chairs, for just about $2.25.  The second picture is taken from the restaurant there.  We were invited to stay the night with some friends we met at language school who live in Dar, so we headed there for a nice evening.  

Monday was our doctor's appointment, which didn't go quite as planned.... We saw a doctor who wasn't the one we made an appointment with, then were told their facilities aren't capable of reading the ultrasound so they needed to send us somewhere else.  This was slightly frustrating, as we had called a month earlier and told them why we were coming.  Anyway, we were supposed to go back to Iringa after that early morning appointment, but since we had to make another appointment that afternoon to see a different doctor, we called upon our friends for another free night's lodging and stayed for our second appointment.  This was a much better experience.  Everything went great, baby's healthy, we got to find out it was a girl, and eat more french fries.  The last picture is of our ultrasound.  It's actually really great quality, but it's just a picture of a picture since we don't have a scanner.  But if you look at the top, you'll see she's waving at you, a very friendly girl.

Also pictured is me, Brett, and his beard, in front of our little house at language school.  Pretty impressive, no?

Monday, August 10, 2009

we're here

Hello.  Just a quick note to let you we're still alive.  Sorry for the lapse in posting.  The road work to get to an internet connection has gotten a little ridiculous.  On a bright note, this is our last week of language school and we will soon be going to a land where there is internet everywhere.  We'll post pictures soon!