It's been absolutely too long since I've posted on my blog, so here's a quick update:
Since I last wrote, we completed our three-week orientation course in Dar es Salaam and traveled inland via local bus line to Riverside Campsite, just outside the town of Iringa. On our trip to Iringa, we drove through Mikumi National Park. Our kids were delighted when we saw a family of elephants, giraffes, gazelles, zebras, and even a baboon. Their excitement was contagious!
We have been here at Riverside Campsite for nearly 3 weeks now and will be staying in Iringa until the end of the year studying Swahili. We are grateful to have be given a little banda (cabin) to live in during our time here. We're all sleeping in the same room like we were in Dar, but here we each have our own beds and we have our own bathroom and study room. That is so nice! We also have one of the best views of the entire campsite (See right). We feel blessed.
Language learning is going well for us. It's amazing how many grammatical structures and how much vocabulary we have learned in just 3 weeks. Today, we put some of our new Swahili ability to good use. Our class took the cook's grocery list and went into town to buy supplies for the campsite at the open-air produce market. We bought things like papai (papaya), tikiti maji (watermelon), mchele (uncooked rice), mkate (bread), pili pili mbuzi (hot peppers), ndizi (bananas) and maharagwe (beans). It felt good to feel confident enough to use Swahili and to be understood as well. (Picture 2: Me with my friends Tena and Ellen after buying our produce.)
Many people have asked how the kids are doing. Thanks so much for your prayers on their behalf. They have adjusted well to life here in Tanzania. While we are in class in the mornings, they play with the children of other students and are watched by a Tanzanian nanny. Our nanny, Nikwisa, is wonderful, and the kids adore her! She is teaching them Swahili greetings, too, which is an added bonus. (Picture 3: Anna and Nikwisa)
Josiah, our nature lover, is in heaven here at Riverside. The camp is nestled in mountains and located next to the Little Ruaha River, so there are tons of new things to explore. He has a collection box full of sticks, leaves, seed pods, and even a bug or two. If you let him, he would explore all day. (Picture 4: Josiah and me with our friend Ellen perched on one of the highest rocks at the campsite.)
Okay, so now I feel better about finally getting something new posted. More later... (hopefully sooner than later). Thanks for reading!