28 May 2007

Settled back in Morogoro

Hi all....

We are having a great time so far here in Tanzania. It is a beautiful country and the people are also warm and hospitable. After a day and a half in Dar Es Salaam, we took the bus to Morogoro, arrived late, stayed one night, and left the next day for Mpwapwa. A huge blessing was that the Bishop of Morogoro let us use his land rover rather than having to take the bus, so we were able to make lots of stops and have a.c.! Amazing!
Our driver, Stanley, was a great tour guide and mwalimu (teacher). We got to stop at a side of the road market and buy sweet potatoes from a bunch of beautiful women and girls. Over all, it was quite and adventure just getting to Mpwapwa.

When we arrived, we visited old friends of Blair & Kevins, Godfrey & Rachael Tarling, missionaries from the UK who have built a clinic called St. Lukes. Godfrey is a builder and Rachael a doctor, and they have two kids in boarding school in the UK and Timothy, their six year old, still at home with them. They are pretty amazing people, and their love for and commitment to the community is evident. It is primarily a clinic for women and children--a birthing center--because many women still die in childbirth in their villages. They can come a few days before delivery and have a clean place and good medical care.

Our meetings in Mpwapwa were with the Tanzanian small group facilitators. There were 9 who were able to be there, these are all Christians who were chosen by their priests/parishes as people who had already exhibited leadership and service to their communities. They have received small group training in the previous workshops, and they will be the ones facilitating the HIV/AIDS education and small group activities, discipleship training and leadership development that will happen at the two workshops.

We had introductions, went over the new curriculum (Judy Dabler and the Peacemaker curriculum), talked about what they have been doing in their own communities with the small groups they lead there. Many are visiting the sick, taking care of orphans, doing H/A education dramas and choir performances. Mzee Wondo (Elder Wondo) has received more training in stigma reduction and is going to share with the entire workshop some of the things he has learned. The facilitators are lively and I really enjoyed just watching how they care for one another and how excited they were to see one another.

Our return trip from Mpwapwa was adventure filled as well. We said our goodbyes to the Tarlings and got on the road. Two of the facilitators joined our trip to one of the villages on the way out of town. There, in Kibakewe, we visited Father Dennis' (the priest we ware working with) house and saw the church he helped to build.

We also took a side trip to a village of one of the facilitators, Edwardi, to see if he had received the letter and would be able to come. That was only about a two hour detour!! (In Dennis' mind--5 minutes from the main road!)

Back on the road for an hour and a half, we took another side trip to an orphanage at Berega. It was about 25 km inside the bush off the main road. Ute, a German missionary, has been there for 9 years, but the orphange was established in teh 60's. It's actually more like a care center--an amazing idea. The crucial thing here is that if the mother dies in childbirth, the baby has to be fed with formula. Most formulas cost around $5 for a small can, which you go through in about 3 days. Most laborers make less than $30 a month, so village families have literally no way of feeding these babies. This home takes the babies in for the first two years of their lives to help get through that critical stage.

They also have started really incredible thing of having a young girl (12-20 years old) from the baby's family come to live at the home to be like the nanny. The girls receive a place to live, food and education about how to care for the children, and the baby then makes attachment to a member of their family. This enables them to readjust to life when they return home because they have attached to the girl who cares for them. It was both heartbreaking and a blessing to visit this home.

Yesterday was church. We missed the Swahili service (at 7 am!) and went to the English service. We spent the afternoon with Dennis, his wife Mama Elia and their kids. It was a relaxing day up the mountain.

Best go now, this is enough. Sorry no pictures yet, will get there soon.
Hope you all are well; please go to Shakespeare in the park for me!


21 May 2007

Hello from Dar es Salaam!

We hit the ground running, and so far it has been great to get to see the beautiful country of Tanzania. I arrived in Arusha with no problems--my luggage arrived with me as well, which is pretty amazing!

The first night we stayed at a small guest house, and from there, set off to Tanga to meet with Father Baji, an archbishop from the northern area. It was good to hear what his church as been doing in health care and spiritual care for the people in their parishes.

We stayed the night there and set off the next day for Dar es Salaam. We're staying here a few nights and i'll update later because my time is about up!

16 May 2007

and so it begins

images from Wikipedia

I leave tomorrow morning for Tanzania. I'll be flying STL to Michigan to Amsterdam to Arusha (near Kilimanjaro). I'm pretty tired right now, and I haven't even packed yet. I've "gathered" things...which basically means the floor of my sun room and my bed are a giant freaky mess. But I am terribly excited and happy to see what God is going to do in these seminars, and feel like I have so much to learn, so much possibility for sharing with friends in Calcutta & KTM.

I didn't get a chance to hang out with everyone I wanted to in these last few crazy days, and that is a big regret and sadness. I look forward to seeing folks when I return and enjoying a long summer evening or a walk in the park or a cup of joe.

Will try to post regularly here.

11 May 2007


10 May 2007

Instead of getting immunizations and doing productive study (four hours of reading a day seems to be the limit), I find myself distracted by this (listen, listen--there's a banjo, and trumpets!), thanks to little Liz. Thanks, girl!
This is mighty nice too...kind of glowy room music.

Last night, Helen (the spunkiest four year old around, except Jude of course), told me a story as we waited for housechurch to begin. It included Mer-mice eating cheese under the ocean. Isn't that fabulous?

Just have to say that family is great....whatever form it comes in.

Happy Birthdays, KitchenGnomes!

The leaves outside these windows are the most satisfied of bright green. Lift up your head, take it all in!

01 May 2007

Compline (night prayers)

Grief, mourning. Praise, hope.

Lord your ways are unsearchable to me. May I walk in faithfulness and obedience, may I never doubt your love.

"Is there no balm in Gilead?
Is there no physician there?
Why then has the health of the daughter of my people
not been restored?
O that my head were waters,
and my eyes a fountain of tears,
that I might weep day and night
for the slain daughter of my people!"
~Jer. 8:7

"O Lord, you are my God and King, and I will ever bless your name;
I will extol you every day, and evermore your praise proclaim.
You, Lord, are greatly to be praised, your greatness is beyond our thoughts:
All generations shall tell forth the mighty wonders you have wrought.

How rich in grace are you, O Lord, full of compassion, merciful,
Your anger always slow to rise; your steadfast love you show to all.
For you are good in all your ways, your creatures know your constant care.
To all your works your love extends, all souls your tender mercies share.

Your works will give you thanks, O Lord, your saints your mighty acts will show,
Till all the peoples of the earth your kingdom, power, glory know.
Eternal is your kingdom, Lord, forever strong, forever sure;
While generations rise and die, your high dominion will endure."
~Ps.145/C.H.H. Parry

heidi is great.

Utopian artists take over the world!Safe, But Not Sound