Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Paul Hefft Salon

After moving to Dodoma one of my burning questions was this: "Where do I get my hair cut?" I expected the answers I received (knowing a little from friends and family about the typical missionary experience), but secretly I was hoping for a much different reality. If you are a mzungu (white person) here in Dodoma, your best option for hair cutting is to either do it yourself (and, really, how does one cut the back of their own head in any sort of straight line?) or have a trusted friend do it for you.

Last night, I reached the end of my rope. After five months without a haircut, washing my hair in dirty river water for four of those months, and general dissatisfaction with the style of my hair, I asked Paul if he would be willing to try and cut it. Being the "go-getter" type, he agreed.

The before picture:

First, we did a little research on the internet - a simple, medium-length bob didn't seem so difficult. Then, I wet my hair down, we grabbed our hair cutting scissors and clips, and he gave it a go.After half an hour or so, the work was done. My hair was shorter and healthier. And, personally, I think he did a really good job. He even gave me some basic layers.

I guess we have one more talent to add to his long list of abilities. (Although, he's made me promise that I won't offer his services to any of our friends.)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The First Real Meal

One of the things I missed the most in the last 6 months of transition was having my own kitchen. Sure, it was great to have every meal catered and to not have any dishes to clean up, but Paul and I both love to cook. So by the end of language school, we were both in a serious state of cooking withdrawal. How does one medicate a serious state of cooking withdrawal? Well, get in that new kitchen and cook everything you've been missing for many, many weeks and months, of course.

In our first week in our new house, we've made spaghetti sauce (starting from fresh tomatoes), chocolate cake, buttermilk biscuits, cinnamon rolls, pancakes, beans and rice, and pigs in a blanket. Everything has tasted so good, but I must say that our first real dinner created in our new kitchen was the best!

Mexican food, a family favorite, is hard to come by in Tanzania, so our first home-cooked dinner in our new house had to be Mexican. We had great fun creating a chicken fajita feast.

Anna and I made flour tortillas from scratch. Paul then used a few of them to fry up some homemade tortilla chips.My master chef hard at work:
We also made guacamole and fresh salsa. Washed down with a bottle of cold coke, we were all quite satisfied at the end of our meal. Yum!Cooking is good medicine!

Our New Home

After many months of transition (since June to be exact), we have a real home again!

We arrived in Dodoma last Thursday (after 2 flat tires on our way here from Iringa) and have been working on unpacking and settling in since then. We are living on a housing compound of another organization working in this area, and we feel blessed to be here. Our neighbors and colleagues have been extremely helpful and welcoming, which has made the moving in process a bit less hectic.

I'll post pictures of the inside of our house once we get a little more settled.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Today, we graduated from language school. We're in no way fluent in Swahili, but we have the foundation we need to communicate on a basic level and continue to progress in our ability to speak and comprehend.
It's hard to believe that we have been studying Swahili and living here for 16 weeks now. We had the privilege of studying with 3 other members from our organization, Jacob, Tine, and Ellen. We have become good friends during this time, and it will be difficult to say goodbye to them. At least we know we'll get to see each other again at our branch conference every year.
We've also enjoyed getting to know Kay and Les, the Riverside Campsite directors. They have made us feel so welcome here, like family. We'll miss them.
We're grateful for our nanny, Mama Gretia as well. The kids have grown to love her, and they will miss seeing her every day.As I look back at the whole experience, it really has sped by. In the last 4 months, God has taught me a lot about myself and revealed Himself to me in many ways. I keep thinking of that old hymn I Need Thee Every Hour. Boy, isn't that the truth? Without Him, I cannot get a word of Swahili out of my mouth or understand anything that is said to me. Without Him, it is impossible to parent my children in a godly manner. Without Him, I can't be the wife my husband needs. And the list goes on. I'm so grateful for the power and strength God provides His children through the Holy Spirit. I am blessed.

And so it begins...the part of the journey we've been anticipating for months and months. In the morning, we'll get in our car (which is loaded to the gills) and make our way to Dodoma. All of us are excited to begin unpacking our things, making friends, and finally settling in to our own home. Paul is looking forward to starting his ministry with the language project, and Josiah can't wait to start school in January.

I'm excited to see what God has in store for this next phase.