Monday, April 26, 2010

Meat Meat Meat

Living in Africa generally takes a bit more time than in the States.  Typically, I don't mind this, as the slower pace of life allows for it.  From making my own brown sugar to drying everything on the line to walking to the market -- I usually don't miss the little conveniences of life in America.  But I have found something I do miss: nice little wrapped in cellophane packages of already ground beef.  All you have do is go the store, pay for it, take it home and cook it.  So nice and clean.

It is not so much like that here.

I go to the local butcher here in town and while looking at large slabs of meat hanging from the ceiling in a hot room open to the outside, I place my order for 10kg (22 lbs) of beef fillet. We buy that much at a time because the process is messy and I don't particularly like to do it that often. We always get the fillet here because if we don't, we spend half our day on chewing.  So, the next day I pick up my 22lbs of cow in  black plastic grocery bags and take it home, where I hoist it up onto my kitchen counter and take out my knife.  The best chunks get separated out for slow roasting and the rest get cut into skinny strips and dropped into the meat grinding attachment to my kitchen aid mixer, where it plops out into a bowl all nicely ground.  I then pick up a handful that I think looks like a pound or so and drop it into a ziploc bag and stick it in the freezer, ready for use sometime down the road.  I then spend 20 minutes washing the cow off my hands and arms.  It takes about 2 hours once I get the meat on my counter to when it gets stuffed into the freezer.  All I have to say is, thank God for the kitchen aid mixer.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ladies Retreat

After a week-and-a-half of touring Geita and Mwanza with Brett's mom and aunt, Baylor and I left for Rondo, Kenya, for the 2010 East African Missionaries Ladies Retreat.  Last year, Holly and I were able to go to the retreat just a month after we'd gotten to Tanzania, and it was great to get to know so many women who were doing what we were about to be doing, some of whom for many many years.  

This year, it was great to see these women again.  It felt different this year--I was no longer this fledgling African adventurist, but rather a (sort of) seasoned missionary, complete with child (you're required to immediately begin producing children upon arrival as an African missionary), and ready for a break.  Last year I wasn't really taking a break from anything as we weren't really doing anything yet.  

We were blessed with the presence of Rosalinda Walker, former missionary to Botswana, currently (with husband Wymer) director of ACU's study abroad program in Uruguay.  She spoke to us about her life on the field, the life of Joseph, and the power of forgiveness and grace.  It was beautiful to praise God in song with 30 other women, in English, no less, and to spend some time alone with God. Baylor was held and played with often, enabling her to continue her track of being spoiled by grandparents and aunts.  

I'm already ready for next year.  

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The 4 Month Sitters

Nearly every time I go to the market I get asked by just about everyone how old Baylor is now.  As we go to the market at least 3 times a week, I find this a little odd, but hey, they're showing an interest.  Anyway, last week we were there and when I answered "4 months" to this ever-present question, the response every single time was, "oh, so she can sit up now."  Umm...not so much.  When I told them she couldn't they all asked me why.  I was thinking in my head, "because not all babies develop at the exact same rate." But apparently, in Tanzania, they do.  Something in the milk, perhaps?  Well, we went home and seriously, the next day Baylor started sitting up on her own.  I guess she didn't like being the kid left behind.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Going back in time a little....  After a fun-filled couple weeks with my family, we were blessed by a visit in March from Brett's mom and Aunt Carol.  They flew into the Kilimanjaro Airport so we drove to Arusha to pick them up.  On our drive back to Geita, we swung threw the Ngorogoro crater and the Serengeti.  I say that as if it were the same as going to Sonic for a cherry-limeade on the way home (can't say I'd turn down a cherry-limeade right now).  We actually camped for a few nights right in the middle of the park.  We slept listening to hyenas around us.   Not dangerous at all, I assure you.

We saw a lot of animals, especially in the crater.  We were so close to lions we could have been snuggling with them.  The only things we didn't get to see that we really wanted to were rhino, leopard, and cheetah.  People kept giving us directions to where we could see said animals, but alas, only more wildebeest and zebra.  It was a fun trip; not just to see the animals, but to get to spend time in the car with family.  I've also never seen a hippo so far from water.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


As a child, I liked Easter because of candy.  I liked Easter because of egg painting and egg hunts.  I liked  Easter because spring break always surrounded it and I didn't have to go to school.  I liked Easter despite being forced to wear a new flowery dress to church.  And yet I find myself giving no candy to my daughter and making her wear a new flowery dress.  But this dress was handmade in Greece, a present from my sister, and it's so much prettier than the flowers on my dresses, so I just had to make her wear it.  Of course, in this stage of her life, Baylor wouldn't care if she went to church naked or in a gorilla costume.

I like Easter in Tanzania.  It is the most celebrated holiday of the year.  There are no bunnies or baskets, and while it's still somewhat like our Christmas in the States, commercialized and whatnot, it's still nice that everyone makes such a big deal about Jesus dying and being raised for us.  Even my muslim friends celebrate.  Families and friends get together, they cook big meals, and they spend a lot of time worshiping our great Lord and Savior.  The church next to our teammates house celebrated for 3 days straight ( Very loudly, I might add.  Microphones are only to be used on the highest setting in Tanzania.).  I loved Brett and I being able to share the story of Jesus with Baylor.  I loved getting together with our teammates for the whole weekend: playing games, cooking, eating, watching movies, sharing communion and worshiping together.  I just loved everything about it.  I hope next Easter will be much the same, except in addition, I hope to be able to share the story of Jesus with my muslim friends like I was able to share the story of Jesus with Baylor this year.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


The typical woman here in Tanzania dresses daily in a wrap skirt called a kanga.  These kangas are colorful, inexpensive, and have 101 uses.  Or maybe more, but there's a book called 101 Uses of Kangas, so that's why I give that number.  Kangas are bought as one long piece of fabric that is then cut into two pieces and hemmed.  The first piece is used for the skirt and the second can be used as a matching baby sling, a head scarf, a table cloth, or any number of other things.  Or, if two women are good friends, they buy one together and each has a matching skirt.

One of my favorite things we did with our families while they were here was picking out, buying, and having sewn kangas.  After searching in nearly every shop that sells kangas, we took our fabric to my sewing girls, and they cut and hemmed them for us.  Our families bought A LOT of kangas to take home as souvenirs and gifts for friends.  So not only does everyone get a very authentic souvenir, but we were also able to boost the economy and give my friends jobs.  We got to sit with my friends and one of them, Johanna, just loved my sister, Amy, and now they are officially friends.  Perhaps one day they'll share a matching kanga.