Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Your Glory Shines Above All

God has richly blessed us. On our first Saturday, we travelled to Angel House at 7 am to work in the Shamba. Some of the kids were already out working but what was so amazing was the rainbow that perched in the sky above. It was a perfect sign of God’s promise to His people.

Saturday mornings are a lot of work and the afternoons are fun. They get up and work in the Shamba from 7-10 or so. However, if they do not have their stuff done by 10 they stay out there. They then have lunch and the afternoon is FREE TIME!!! We can choose between any number of things such as swimming, play with toys, play games, etc. Eric and I worked our first Saturday this past week. My new nickname is “Bebe Shamba” which means Grandma of the Garden. We took our shoes off and took a jamba, a hoe, and went to work! We turned soil and weeded and then I began wondering how many worms were getting in my feet!?!?

Sunday is my favorite day of the entire week! The kids get up and have breakfast and get ready for church. Church is held in the big room, we just move in a pulpit from the back. The kids take turns leading songs and they all get up and dance and sing. We worship for at least two hours in Swahili of course. Tedi, one of the night matrons, leads worship because she can sing very well! The kids take turns praying and they have a time to give a testimony. They basically stand up and tell about how God has blessed them that week. After church, we do things that cannot be done during the week. It is Market Day in Tarime, so some of the kids enjoy going shopping for the weekly needs of Angel House, some get their heads shaved (requirement for the schools), some just want to leave the Orphanage for an hour.


Let me first tell you all that there are no “normal days.” Each day brings a new blessing or surprise; however you want to view it. I want to begin by telling you the schedule of events Monday through Friday. Monday through Friday goes like this:

4:45 am - 6 am ~ Take baths, get dressed, polish their shoes, scrub the floors, eat breakfast, and do any undone school work
6 am ~ The secondary students begin walking to school which takes them about an hour and a half to two hours.
6:30 am ~ St. Jude Pre & Primary School bus comes to pick up the other 18 students.
8 am – 2:30pm ~ School; except St. Jude because they have an extra class until 4:40pm
4:00 pm- 5:00 pm ~ Secondary students begin returning to Angel House and have a snack and time for rest.
5:30 pm ~ Primary students return to Angel House
5-6 pm ~ Work in Shamba (garden), fetch water, or any other chores they have not done
6-8 pm ~ Study time; Lucy and Richard return from school around 7:30 because they go to a school in Tarime
8 pm ~ Dinner!!!!
8:30 pm ~ Devotional
9 pm ~ Get ready for bed

Note: We have electricity that is run by a generator every day. They have electricity from 5-6 am and 7-9 pm everyday. However, we have not had this lately because the generator broke…twice. We broke down and bought battery powered lanterns so they could have some light to study and eat by.

So, that is the basic run down of what happens during the week for the kids. Keep in mind that this changes sometimes depending on who is sick, in the hospital, in trouble at school, etc. The schedule for the weekend is a different game and so another blog. The schedules for Holly, Eric, and me are completely different; but that will be another blog as well.
I never thought that I would experience such a strictly followed schedule, but it is definitely amazing to watch them endure everyday. God is good; All the time!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Kidogo Burtha

“Little Burtha”

In the United States one of my best friends has a truck that qualifies for the “Why are you driving that?” category. She has named her truck “Big Burtha.” I have found its African counter part and have thus aptly named the Angel House truck “Kidogo Burtha” (Little Burtha). This truck is tiny and certifiably ghetto. This is the truck that we use to transport ourselves, kids, and any supplies needed for the orphanage which is now fifteen minutes driving time outside of town. I have seen twelve people fit in this truck. For the truck to be used in this way is kind of sad though. So the following is a salute to Kidogo Burtha and Jeff Foxworthy.

You know you’re driving Kidogo Burtha when…

10. Even the Tanzanians laugh at what your driving (most of them walk)

9. The lights work on bright or not at all.

8. Getting stuck is okay because the truck can be picked up in the back and put on solid ground.

7. The only gauge that works on the dash is the gas gauge.

6. Though gas is important because you must have the gas pedal down at all time to keep Burtha going..even in neutral.

5. You can see through the floor board.

4. The same wire that holds the license plate on works to pop the grill out so you can open the hood.

3. You take it to the mechanic to get the tape traded out on the cords connecting the engine to the rest of the car ($40 US dollars).

2. The engine dies going down hill, in netural

1. You get passed by bicycles…going uphill.

This is our beloved orphanage truck and if we didn’t rely on it so much and really use it to transport kids it would be funny to no end. This is the truck that I am using to learn how to drive on the left hand side of the road, in a town with no traffic signals, signs, or apparently laws. If you are interested in donating money to replace Kidogo Burtha with a reliable vehicle of transportation please just use the donation button to the right of the page. We are currently investigating to see how much a new van or something more reliable would be. Thank you for your support.

Monday, January 25, 2010

God's Creation

Psalm 8: 1, 3
The Glory of the LORD in Creation

1 O lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name
in all the earth,
Who have set Your glory above the heavens!

3 When I consider Your heavens,
the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which
You have ordained.

Serengeti National Park has 600,000 zebras, 500,000 gazelles, 2 million wildebeests, and only 3,000 lions among many other animals. We took the oldest five Angels to the Serengeti National Park on a Safari. I have never seen kids so happy to be somewhere. We popped the top of the van up and let them stand up and take pictures with our cameras. They ooed and awed every time we saw an animal. We saw thousands of giraffes, hippos, zebras, gazelle type animals, baboons, and other Africa specific animals. The most amazing experience was the leopard that walked in front of our van. We were told that to be less than fifteen feet away from a leopard is very rare.

The Lord’s creation is so magnificent! The rays of blue, purple, orange, pink, yellow, and green that lit up the sky as the sun went down reminded me of how God has blessed all of us with the very breathe He has given us. The array of animals were so eloquent when they walked and ran or hopped through the fields. The innocent children did not even realize that God has given them so much. The most joy I saw in them the whole trip was when we saw a hot air balloon. They made us leave a pool of hippos to get closer to the balloon so we could explain it better. I was awestruck when I found out that they had never seen one before and the looks of amazement on their faces, I will never forget.

The mountains, seas, fields, trees, and animals that God has created remind us of His grace and love for all.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Strangers in a Strange Land

We are about a week into our time in Tanzania and there is already enough to fill several pages, but I will attempt to pick one topic at a time and to go in order. I am sure Liz will also fill in with her top experiences as we figure out how technology works in a different country.
This first few days in the country have been a whirlwind experience as we have been trying to learn our way around, meet all the kids at Angel House, get settled in, and navigate the barrier that not having a common language can be. Our first full day in Tanzania we spent in Moshi, recovering from twenty-four hours of straight traveling and getting settled into the country. As we walked the streets of Moshi (near Mt. Kilimanjaro) trying to get an ATM to work (you have to know which banks are international ;)), picking up a cell phone, and booking plane tickets to Mwanza, Liz and I both started to realize what it felt like to be a minority. We felt an instant connection any time we saw another American (we tend to stick out) or even another white person. As I was processing it later I realized how ridiculous it was to trust someone more because they are from the same country you are from, when we have already met people in Tanzania who are just as trust worthy. That was nevertheless my instant reaction. This may have something to do with other Americans understanding better how lost we felt or it could have to do with the survival instinct of not trusting anybody in a big city, especially when you don’t speak the same language. However, I don’t think ours was a reasoned response as much as it was a reaction of the gut. It was an experience that has already helped me to understand how minorities, especially ones with a language barrier, may feel. It is also a lesson of self discovering and while humbling, it has helped me start down a path of openness to new relationships with whoever I may meet here in Tanzania, including the very helpful pikipiki driver Kennedy who speaks English and whom I met today.

I write this post as just an example of how this trip is going to change our lives and outlooks on life. There will be more to come on kids, Safari, lessons in language, and lessons in life. Maybe it will even include some pictures.