Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Settling In

It's hard to believe that it has been almost a week since we left the United States! We began our travel to Tanzania on Tuesday evening, July 21. Several of our family and friends came to KCI airport to see us off.

Here I am with Anna, my sister-in-law, Katie, and my niece, Noel.

Me with my sister, Jen (Doesn't she look amazing for just having had a baby a few weeks ago?)

It was also special to have my dear friend, Mandy Buckley, and her family come and see us off. They had loaned us their Dodge Ram truck to use during our last month in the States. The truck was a HUGE help in getting our 12 bags and 7 carry-ons to the airport

It was a difficult goodbye in some ways, but we could also sense our loved ones' excitement about what God has called us to do. This made the goodbyes seem more bearable. As Paul's dad said to him as we said goodbye to him on the phone in Chicago: “We love what you're doing for our Lord!” That encouragement and similar words from others have stayed with us as we've begun our adjustment to Tanzanian culture.

Waiting in London to catch a train to the international terminal for our flight to Tanzania.

Our first views of Tanzania from the airplane.

Tanzanian ladies walking along the side of the road.

We landed in Dar es Salaam on Thursday morning, July 23. We were exhausted after so many hours of flying and very little sleep, but we knew we had to do our best to stay up all day so we could begin acclimating to the new time zone. (Tanzania is 8 hours ahead of the Midwest.) We tried, but the kids and I ended up crashing for a little while.

Thankfully, we had some distractions to keep us awake for a little while. Our friends and future Dodoma neighbors, Jonathan and Rachel, came by with another colleague and had lunch with us at the hotel restaurant. It was nice to have our first meal with people who speak Swahili so we could get the hang of how eating out works around here.

Somehow we made it to bedtime without napping again, and when we turned out the lights, all of us slept hard.

Speaking of hard, that definition can definitely be used for the hotel mattresses. We're thankful to have a room with a bed for us and one for the kids, but the mattresses are about as soft as an American box springs. We have tried to compensate by putting sleeping bags under our sheets and by adding extra pillows, but we still wake up with sore lower backs and hips nearly every morning. We're praying that the beds at language school are softer.

We tried to make our bed a little softer with an air mattress on top, but we eventually took that off and told ourselves we'll just have to acclimate.

We're looking forward to starting our mission's 3-week orientation program tomorrow morning. We have now been in Tanzania for five days, and though it's been nice to have several unstructured days to adjust to the new time and culture, we're looking forward to having a schedule again.

I probably won't be able to post again for a while, since our internet access will likely be limited for the next few weeks, but I did want to post a quick update and a few pictures while I had the chance.

Thanks for your prayers for us and our continued adjustment to life here in Tanzania!


  1. I love reading your update and praise the Lord you've made it there safely! Thanks for all the pictures - it's so fun to see. We are continuing to pray for you as you have so many huge adjustments in the coming days and weeks - miss you, friend!

  2. Thanks for the update - we've been thinking of you guys. Hope the next several weeks are profitable for you. God bless!

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  4. Loved reading your update (and seeing pics). Although a time of transition for all, it will be exciting to hear all of the adventures to come.