Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mosquito Face

Relaxing in Geita is not always so relaxing.  People show up at your house unexpected, you run out of water or there's no electricity, and you still have to cook, because unless you want beans and rice (which I actually do really like), there's no place to eat in town either.  So Brett and I devised a way to allow us to get a lot of work done and still be able to enjoy our free time.  We work 6 days a week here in Geita and only take 1 day off.  Thus, every 6 weeks we have a full week off.  That way we can leave Geita if we want.  We can go to Mwanza, stay with friends and go to a couple of restaurants, even spend a day at a pool.  We don't always take that week off though; sometimes we take just a few days or sometimes none at all so we can have more time later.  For example, we want to make sure we have enough time to spend with friends and family when they come to visit.  Of course we continue working some of the time they're here and just take them along with us.  But it can take anywhere from 2 to 4 days just to pick them up from the airport and take them back and it's nice to be able to take them on safari or somewhere else if they want to.

Last week a friend of Brett's from college and one of his friends came to visit.  They spent a week in Dar and on safari before they came to see us and a week in Zanzibar for a week after they left.  During the week they were here, we showed them around Mwanza and Geita, took them out to a village where they got to experience real Tanzanian life (which most tourists never see), drove them to Kigali where they toured genocide sites and then out to Musanze (formally Ruhengeri) to trek through Volcanoes National Park to see gorillas.  Brett and I just enjoyed the cool weather around a fire with Baylor while they did that.  It was a super busy week, but a lot of fun.  Definitely worth the 6 day work week.

The only bad thing was that one night while in Kigali, a mosquito got into Baylor's net and bit her little face 60 or 70 times.  She looked like she had the chicken pocks.  Fortunately, 1) they didn't seem to bother her at all and 2) malaria is rare in Rwanda because of the high altitude.  She just looks real sad.  I would post a picture of her, but I don't want you to be sad too.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Saturday Brett, Baylor and I went out to a village in somewhat nearby Sengerema (only about an hour's drive).  They were having a harambee, which is a coming together of people to help someone or a group of someones.  In this case, the church there (began by the Mwanza team some time ago) was raising money for a church building.  The community gathers together for a day of fun, worship, auctions, eating, and of course, giving.  There's an MC who moves things along: announcing performers, introducing important attendees, making fun of people who don't dance their way to the front to give their money (it seems that dancing, or some sort of shuffling, is integral to the giving experience at a harambee).

We were told to arrive there at 12:30, and knowing things were not going to start on time, we got there about 1:00.  When we got there, they were still setting up, tying logs together for benches, hanging tarps up for shade, testing the audio equipment (yes, they had microphones and speakers in the middle of rural Tanzania).  We talked to some people for a while and then were invited to have lunch.  This is a more wealthy village than most, so we were served rice, chicken, and sheep. They even brought us warm cokes. Now I am not normally a fan of warm coke, but it was given to me right about the time I was munching on a sheep liver, so I was happy to gulp it down.  Brett got the intestines.  I'll go for liver any day over that.  The chicken was downright tasty, though.  After eating we made our way over to the cooking area to thank the women for lunch and were amazed to find about 20 industrial-sized cooking pots over open flames.  "How many people were they expecting?" we asked.  "About 200."  That's a lot of food for a lot of people.  As Brett said, "I guess it takes money to make money."

Round about 4:30 the MC started things up, only 4 hours after the initial starting time.  We knew the rest of the people there would stay til the wee hours of the morning singing, praying, and giving, but it's not particularly safe to drive between towns after dark, so we left about 5:30, after being fed another meal of barbequed chicken livers and rice, and taking about 30 pictures.  We haven't heard how the rest of the event went, but I assume well.  A member of parliament was even scheduled to attend, which is a pretty big deal.

We really enjoy harambees.  It's so encouraging to see not only groups of Christians get together to help each other, but also to be joined by other members of their communities.  It doesn't seem like that sort of thing happens too often in the world.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Last week the Bailey's of the Mwanza team brought their 3 interns to Geita.  They'd spent most of the previous 6 weeks in a big city or villages so we'd thought we show them town life.  The first night Carson and Brett took them on a tour of Geita, visiting different locations and using those locations as a springboard for discussion on life in Geita, its joys and its problems.  The next morning they learned how to slaughter a pig, which is, fortunately for me, a part of Brett's life here, and not mine.  The afternoon they spent learning about church planting movements and our strategy for missions here.  Wednesday morning was pig processing and Wednesday afternoon Holly took them to the main market here, where they bought ingredients needed for the dinner they were cooking for our team that night.  Cooking here is an experience unto itself.  Wednesday night we had a time of worship (it was great to have our normal singing voices doubled) and games.  Thursday morning Calvin took them to visit Nelico, an organization here that works with orphans and protects albino children and to discuss Neema House, the orphanage he and Alicia are starting.  We all went out to lunch to the best cafe in town, ate some beans and rice, and went to on the English class I teach.  My students were so excited to practice the little English they knew with the visitors. We had about a 20 minute picture taking session after class.  Friday they all packed up and headed back to Mwanza.

It was so much fun to have them here.  I can see where having interns all summer is a lot of work, but totally worth it.  I loved my college internship in Uganda and it was interesting to me to see what internships are like from this side of it.  Internships are such a good way to not only see the world and learn about other cultures, but to learn about what God is doing in those places and perhaps to discover where you fit in to that work.

Anyway, we were really glad the Bailey's shared their interns with us briefly and hope they have a safe trip back to the States this week.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

An All-American 4th

I've always enjoyed the 4th of July more when out of the country.  Something about being away from home makes me more excited about celebrating it.  Our team got together on Sunday at Carson and Holly's house for hamburgers, french fries, deviled eggs, potato salad, jello, ice cream and American flag cookies.  Holly even made ice with blue food coloring for added fun.

The one thing that arrived in Geita last September in not quite perfect condition was our gas grill.  And by not quite perfect condition I mean 6 or 8 pieces.  Which was sad, because 1) we love to grill and 2) the weather's good year round for grilling and it's a terrible waste to not take advantage.  With the 4th looming and our desire for actual good-tasting burgers increasing, Carson and Brett set out to put the grill back together.  So Saturday night it was ready to go.  This was pretty exciting for us; not only for the holiday but for the many future opportunities for deliciousness.

So we ate, played bocce ball (an italian lawn game), ate some more, enjoyed fine conversation, and ate some more.  We were going to set off a firework, but it was forgotten back at the house, so Calvin set it off tonight for us instead.  It was a pretty good one, too.

We did have one cookie incident though.  I wanted a picture of Baylor in her 4th of July outfit and I thought it would be cute to include one of the American flag cookies that Holly made.  But Baylor tried to eat it so we tried to take it away and then it broke and fell on the ground.  This did not make Baylor happy.  She actually cried for almost a full 5 minutes.  This was the first time she cried over something being taken away from her.  But Baba made it all better by turning her bib into a cape and flying her around the yard.