Thursday, October 29, 2009

All Creatures Great and Small

You know you live in Africa when your son comes running inside first thing in the morning yelling, "Hey, Mom! I see monkeys!"

I must admit, when that happened yesterday, I almost didn't believe him. But when we went outside together, I quickly discovered that he, indeed, was telling the truth. On the rocks just feet (or meters...still haven't adjusted to the metric system) from our banda, three monkeys were jumping on the rocks and swinging in the trees. Of course, we ran for our camera.

See, I wasn't lying:Living here in Tanzania brings out the kid in me. I don't care who you are - as an American who grows up seeing all of your "wild" animals from behind the safety of zoo bars or Plexiglas, it's an amazing thing to see these creatures roaming in their natural habitat. Following is a sample of some of the animals and insects we have come across while living here.

Giraffes we saw while driving back to Iringa after our language school break:
ZebrasElephants under a tree (hard to capture without our telephoto lens):I love watching these lizards. Their colors are so striking. We have one that lives near our banda.A green mamba some of the guys discovered at the campsite (I kept my distance):A praying mantis Josiah found:
Siafu ants - amazing little creatures, but you need to stay out of their way.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Break Time

I promised to be better at blogging, but alas, it has again been weeks since my last post. I'll blame it on being busy in language school – a true statement, indeed. By the end of the day, I'm so exhausted that I've typically lost the ability to write anything longer than one sentence. Language learning is simply an exhausting process, no matter how challenging the language.

Because of this, our entire family was overjoyed to have a one-week break after nine weeks here at the campsite. We've had more relaxing vacations, but we certainly accomplished many important tasks (and we had some fun along the way too).

Our lakizo (holiday) began last Friday when we boarded a bus to Dar es Salaam. We visited our friends Crystal and Marie, spent a day at the pool, and went car shopping. The first day of car shopping was highly disappointing. None of the ideal vehicles (rugged SUVs that will handle the dirt roads up to the villages) in our price range were in good shape mechanically. We were both discouraged, and began to pray that God would open a door for us. God did.

The next day, we found a Honda CR-V in good condition with low miles that was being sold by another expat. This car is not ideal since it is not nearly rugged enough to handle roads to the villages (we need something that is a “real truck”), but the CR-V will serve as a temporary solution for our need to transport our young family around Tanzania. The price was very good, so Paul and I both felt peace about buying this vehicle. We plan to drive it until God provides the additional funds we need to purchase the rugged vehicle that will meet all the needs we have for our ministry. For now, we are really enjoying having our own wheels again!

After we purchased our car in Dar, we spent the remainder of our break in Dodoma, the city where we'll live after language school. We really enjoyed our time there. We met the Burunge translators and other staff with whom we'll be working. We visited the school that our kids will attend. We found a house to rent. And, we spent time with our friends, Jonathan and Rachel.

Here we are out to dinner in Dodoma (a place run by an Italian that serves great pizza!):

The house we'll be renting:

We arrived back at the campsite on Saturday evening, and are beginning to settle back into our little “home.” Even though our break was busy, we were grateful to find a car, visit with friends, and see our new home. Our time away gave us the renewed energy we need to buckle down again and finish strong.

Before we know it, the next phase of our ministry will be underway!