Tuesday, February 28, 2012


We are sitting in the Tanzania Revenue Authority office. It you think the
revenue offices in the US are good for your patience, you should try Africa.
It is great. I am thankful that they had the second and third step of our
paperwork complete when we returned, but now we are sitting in another line
(the second for today.) I don't know how many more we will have.
One of the other missionaries told us that he had taken a video of his wife
speaking Swahili at language school and Joshua is in the background. (Laura
and Joshua are in the same class.) He asked our permission before putting
it on his website. We gave him permission and here is the link where the
video is. http://everytongue.co.uk/blog/2012/02/language-matters/#more-2815
We haven't seen it ourselves, but it will give you a bit of flavor of what
is going on here and you can hopefully see Joshua. I hope he is behaving
My health is still about 95%. Classes are challenging.
The paperwork on the container is still "shagalabagala" (not very neat.)
The seal and container still seem to be wrong on the BOL.
I still don't know for sure if we are getting one or two BOL.
We so appreciate all the prayers and answers to them.
On another note, we saw many bush babies (greater galago) yesterday night
and also a small owl very close to our path. It didn't pay much attention
to us because it was hunting. It soon swooped down to the ground and back
into another tree. Today two missionaries from the Congo arrived. They are
Americans that have been working there on and off for three years. Seven
other language students left today. Seven more campers arrived in camp for
the night just as we were leaving, also. We have not met them yet, but they
are camping very close to our banda so we will meet them when we return from

Monday, February 27, 2012

Paperwork and confusion

Yesterday we received an email stating that it would cost us $100-$200 more to have our bill of lading name changed.  I am very confused on this issue.  Has it been issued and if so in what name?  Why are they asking us what name it should be under if they already have a name?  I have sent another email with more questions, and received another confusing email.  Hmm....
In the mean time we have come to Iringa to get our TIN so we can get the container after it arrives.  I believe that stands for Tax Identification Number (not very Swahili, eh?)  We went to the correct office, and then Doug had to go to another place to get photo copies of our Passports.  Then he came back with that.  We were directed to an office where they gave us forms to fill out.  We did that, and they sent us to another office in the same building.  We got there and he said to come back tomorrow, his computer system was down.  So, Doug will try to come tomorrow and see if that is working.  Doug will get a doladola tomorrow.  Hopefully he can get both of them without me.  We will find out, eh?
My health is stable today.  I would say I am somewhere between 95%-97%.  I am thrilled with this number, and might not remember how to act when I am back to 100%!  I am willing to figure it out!
Thank you to everyone that is praying regarding my health and the container.  We continue to need prayer regarding learning the language also.  We are trying to learn  A LOT in a short time! 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Improved Health - Heavy Studies

I am feeling much better.  Yesterday and today are the first two days when I think I am actually "well."  I hope I stay this way!  Thank you to everyone that has been praying.
This week we have been adding to our language knowledge and reviewing a lot. 
Kujua Kiswahili ni kitu kimoja, lakini kusema, kusikia na kuelewa Kiswahili ni kitu kingine!
To know Swahili is one thing, but to speak, to listen and to  UNDERSTAND Swahili is ANOTHER thing!
Today we plan to practice, review and rewrite many notes.  There has been a lot of learning.  We want to make sure we are retaining and can apply what we have learned.  I find that writing Swahili is the easiest for me.  Reading, speaking and understanding while others are speaking is more challenging.  I am trying to have conversations with the workers here.  We have to step out of our comfort zones and be willing to make many mistakes in what we say.  I have said some pretty silly things! 
We have two more weeks of classes.  We hope to make the very best of them.  There are currently about 21 students here.  7 will be leaving in two days and there are more coming today or this week.  We are constantly meeting new people, which we enjoy very much.  We have had some very nice conversations and discussions. 
It rained all night here last night.  The termites (kumbikumbi) diligently worked to get indoors away from the rain.  We had a few of the big winged bugs in our banda this morning.  It looks like the rain has finally stopped.  Maybe we will see some sunshine today, yet! Some of the students are rather sure they heard the hippo this week, also!
This week some of the people passing through camp include people from the following countries:  Australia, Japan, France, Netherlands, Belgium and South Africa.  In addition to that some of the new students this week have been from the US and Switzerland. 
No real news on the container at this point.  I appreciate the continued prayers for this situation.  It should arrive in the next couple of weeks, Lord willing.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Under-the-weather, surprise visit and zip-line.

Tamara reporting, here.
I am still not "well." 
God has answered my prayers and helped me to attend class each day, even with fever, headache and bowel issues.  Thursday my headaches were severe despite various means of trying to get it to settle down.  I did make it through class and after lunch went straight to bed.  Doug buried me in the comforter and the five blankets in our room.  After about two hours of sleeping on and off under my mound of blankets I was getting a bit concerned that I was not heating-up.  Doug had returned from his hike up the hill to send and receive email.  He took Joshua out to try to let me get more rest.  I didn't go back to sleep.  I felt impressed to start singing praises to the Lord and thanking Him for my current condition.  I know that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.  I just asked Him to help me to glorify Him during my illness and that I would learn anything that I needed to learn through it.  I am learning that being thankful is a choice, not a feeling.  God is SO GOOD. 
Joshua crossing a crevice
I started singing very, very quietly different praise scripture songs.  I was surprised how quickly each one came to my mind, especially in the current condition I was.  I soon realized that my voice was a bit stronger as I continued to sing.  I don't know how long I sang, or how many songs.  I even sang the two songs that Daddy would request me to sing to him when he was in the hospital and in ICU.  I cried during those.  I am about to cry just typing about that.  That may forever be a very emotional issue with me.  Anyhow, I was soon pulling off a few blankets and then I even went down to one layer of clothes instead of the two layers I had been wearing all day. 
My fever finally "broke."  I was even more thankful.  Truly a merry heart doeth good like a medicine, just like the Bible says.
I was feeling better for a few hours and then started having more fever and continued headache and bowel issues.  The activated charcoal helped to keep my bowels from being too bad.
Friday my head was better.  I was still having fever, but went down to one set of clothes half way through classes.  Bowels were about the same.  After class, I felt worse again, then a bit better.
Friday night I my fever broke and I woke up all wet with sweat, then I had to try to get warmed up again.  I didn't sleep very well.
Saturday my bowels were the most painful that they had been, but my headache was much better.  I was having some fever again also.
It has been such a roller-coaster of ups and downs with whatever it is that I have. 
Late in the morning we had a surprise visit from the Fournier family (Kibidula's director and family.)  The caught us bundled up in our beds listening to the Bible.  We were quite a site, I am sure.  God blessed again, and I was blessed with good enough health to visit, and enjoy our day with them.  Not too long after they left I started feeling very bad again.  God is so wonderful to give us what we need just when we need it. 
I think my fever was down a lot last night.  I only had one blanket and not night sweats.  I took a lot of charcoal during the day yesterday and so far today things have been "manageable."  They are MUCH better bowel wise than yesterday morning and evening.  My head is 95% good, also.
Zip-line over the river (Joshua already on the other shore)
So I am not "well."  I am back in bed under the comforter typing this, but SO MUCH BETTER THAN THURSDAY and some other times since.  I appreciate the multitude of prayers for us in all areas.
We had the blessing of meeting the owners of the neighboring campsite who are friends of the Fournier family.  To get to their house, we had to take the zip-line across.  It is the type that you sit in a swing seat and zip across the river.   
That was a new experience for Joshua and me.  I am so thankful that God kept me well enough to be with friends.  It was a very blessed day.  The owners of the other campsite have some beautiful horses and even some rock hyrax.  

Rock Hyrax
We enjoyed seeing the hyrax and the children enjoyed being introduced to the horses.
The children enjoying the horses
It was nice to spend some time reviewing blessings from our Lord with good friends. 
Today, I am supposed to "take it easy."  We will see how well that goes. :)
Our friend Kirstein loaned us his phone to use as a modem so we don't have to walk up to the top of the road to send and receive emails.  Doug was able to use it and I will try soon.  It certainly is a LOT faster than what we have been doing.  That is another great blessing!  God is so good to us.  I am certain that I am not up to that hike today. 

Thank you to everyone for their prayers and support.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Prayer request for Tamara

This is Doug. I am updating the blog because Tamara is not feeling well.
She is running a fever, has upset stomach, a severe headache and aches all
over. She was well enough to attend class this morning. The teacher and I
have advised strict bed rest. She is now complying with those orders. I
would really appreciate prayers for her. There are others here studying who
also are not well also. We think it is just "going around".

The hippo has been sighted in the river this morning. Only two people were
able to see it. After the sighting, other workers said they saw it by our
banda last week.

We stayed out after supper to search for bush babies. We had just sat down
for a few minutes before they started coming through the trees. We were
able to several and one within 10-15 feet. There are plans for a larger
group tonight.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Monday Douglas and I (Tamara) had 15 pages of homework. After lunch we went
straight to work on it. It took between 3-4 hours to get it done.
Tuesday, we had 13 more pages of homework. We started right after lunch
again and it took until bedtime for one of us and the other was still
working on it at breakfast time.
Wednesday we had only 4 pages and we did one in class. YEAH!
We appreciate everyone's prayers. There is some sickness going around the
campers here. We have shared some charcoal with some of them. We hope to
stay well. Many have missed classes because of illness. We certainly don't
want that. We want to make the best of our time here.

Monday, February 13, 2012


There is not very much new to share.  We continue to study, study, study and pray, pray, pray regarding learning Swahili.

Today we did take some nice long hikes.  One hike we took was all the way past the water falls on the river.  We did much rock climbing on the river.  It is very dangerous, but we prayed and tried to be very careful.  We had not injuries there.


On the way there, Doug was leading.  He came to an abrupt halt with a very strange sound. He stood there still for a while and I finally asked him "what?"

He said a huge monitor lizard ran across the path.  It startled him nicely.

On the way back, I asked if I could lead (with guidance from Doug.)  I ran into a very vicious thorn bush which took its toll on my in three places.  That is the only injuries to report.  As I was leading this time, I saw the monitor lizard on the way back.  I tried to point it out to Joshua but it was in a huge hurry to get away from us.  We assume it was the same one that Doug had seen earlier. 

We had been told they were in this area, but had not seen on in two weeks.  We were glad to see that one today.

The pictures I take of the river just don't due it justice.  The rocks are huge and the water is swift.  It was a very lovely place to be.  It was just the three of us there, and the sounds of the rushing water.


We are currently sitting in one of the open air grass roofed teaching bandas. 

Tomorrow we start week three of lessons.  Thank you everyone for your prayers.  Oh, on another note, I only had ONE tick this time instead of 70 plus.  That is a great improvement.  <<...>>

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Our Banda

This is our banda at the Rivervalley Campsite and Language School.  The grass thatch roof is very interesting.  We had a gecko the first day, but he has been very reclusive since.  We get many lizards in the classrooms and other places. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Language School, dislocated shoulder, and snake.

Thursday and Friday Doug and I had Deo as our language teacher. Our friend
from Germany left early due to rain soaking their tent. We miss them. They
had become nice friends to us.
Friday the SIL International group started arriving. We now have another
family with two young children with a tutor, two other couples, and then the
HR director and a lady that will be helping with his job as they are leaving
the country soon. The latter two will be leaving tomorrow and the others
will be staying for many weeks. There are more people expected today with
children. We are making many new friends, which we are enjoying very much.
The lessons have been keeping us quite busy during the week. We do try to
hike and walk when it is not raining. We have been getting a lot of rain
here, and hope that Kibidula is getting the same. It absolutely poured rain
one day this week, so much that we found a few leaks in our grass-roof
banda. We didn't notice the one leak for some time because it was directly
above where we had a towel hung. That was convenient. I am trying to
practice my Swahili more and more. The locals seem to enjoy that but they
also laugh at us. We laugh along with them. The South African pilot that
came one day after us will be staying the same amount of time. We have been
enjoying our time with him also.
We went on a nice hike through the coffee plantation yesterday afternoon and
to the neighboring camp. We met several of the university students from the
US who are there for four months. I especially enjoyed my time visiting
with Amanda.
It seems that there is always a "shoe" issue with each of our trips. This
time as we were climbing some rocks, my shoe slipped off and fell down
between some rocks into a very deep hole. This brought Joshua into a
serious bout of stress. That was about the time that Amanda came down the
path and I visited with her. Soon Doug was out of site and then calling for
Joshua to join him. Doug spotted my shoe and there was a very small opening
that Joshua was able to squeeze through to retrieve my shoe that had fallen
around five feed down this hole. We were all very, very grateful.
The path over and back was very interesting as we walked between coffee
bushes, along the river and crossed fields and small ravines. Some of the
grassy trail contained many ticks. Since I was wearing a long skirt, I
scooped up most of them. I had 80 by the end of the day. Only one or two
actually had bitten me, the others we picked off my skirt, shoes and socks.

I don't like ticks. At least they were big enough to easily pick off.
Polly, the camp dog was glad to guide us there and back. There are many
beautiful trails here.
I have not been able to receive any emails since we have arrived. I am
thankful that I was at least able to send some to the blog so people know
that we are still doing well. I may not be able to get any email here. I
may have to go to town to the internet café to get them.
All the studies and altitude seem to have taken a bit of a toll on us. Doug
and I took a three hour nap yesterday! That is so strange for me. We had
slept in also. Then we slept in again today, Sunday. We had a nice
breakfast (oatmeal, fruit and toast.) Afterwards we did our devotional
time, had a great time of family worship and discussing more of our Bible
studies, and then Joshua and I started a puzzle while Doug studied Swahili.
I am concerned that there may be many pieces of the puzzle missing. It is a
complicated puzzle to begin with (not the picture that is on the box.) I am
not sure how far we will get with it. It is a puzzle that belongs to the
It is a beautiful day and I plan to hike up to the "voda rock" to see if I
can send this via "voda" internet. If you see this, you know it worked.
Now to choose some pictures. I hope this works!
Thank you everyone for the prayers. We continue to appreciate each prayer
very much! We have been having a few health issues and hope they all clear
up. And we appreciate the prayers that we will learn the language
exceptionally well.

Okay it didn't work. We tried for some time, but we never got signal.
Sunday there was some excitement here.
Several of the new people went to the neighboring camp along the river to
where there water falls over some huge boulders. As he crossed the rocks,
he fell. He fell into the swift river but fortunately was not swept away.
He was able to get his feet on something solid. He did dislocate his right
shoulder though. The owner of the neighboring camp re-located it for him.
It was an intense time for those that were there. Joshua and a friend came
over there about the time it all had happened also. Along with all that
excitement there was a huge downpour of rain. One of the campers ran back
along the path (dangerous in the rain) and brought a vehicle back to
retrieve everyone (so they stayed dry.)
Other than that, it was a nice quiet day. The camp manager saw that the
rain did cause flooding somewhere in Tanzania where 23 people died. We are
unsure where that happened, though.

We had a touch of excitement at the end of this day.
We didn't sleep very well last night. We though more exercise would help.
Just as the sun was going down, we decided to walk back up the road to the
highway. As we went, we were not using flashlights yet. There was a full
moon. Joshua was running ahead with the camp's dog, Polly.
He suddenly stopped and said there was a snake. It was a very small snake,
but we are quite sure it was a puff adder. I don't know if Joshua stepping
over it or Polly upset it, but it was striking at us. It was very small
though and we were not harmed. That is the first one we have seen alive.
It is a very interesting looking snake. I couldn't even tell it was a snake
until I used the flashlight because it had coiled up a bit and it was in a
strange shape in the light sandy road.
We were much more careful on the remaining walk.
We still didn't sleep well, though!

I hope to try to send my blog update again today. I hope I can receive
emails also. I haven't had any outside contact coming in since we arrived.
We hope to walk back up to the highway and see if there is a better signal.
If that doesn't work, I may pay for a ride into town so I can go to the
internet café. We will see how the day goes!
Classes remain quite challenging. We have a lot to learn! We are also
using other materials (our BYKI program) the Pimsleur audio and reading
program, and our books. We keep praying and working.
We are enjoying meeting all the new people coming here and making new
friends. There are people from New Tribes Missions in addition to SIL and
MAF. We have made many new friends. Along with this the teachers are
asking many questions about health and other things also. We enjoy sharing
when they ask.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Lizards, Health & Language School

Sabbath as we were getting ready to leave to church, we heard water coming into our tank for the first time since we have come to Kibidula. We praise God for giving us some more water.

It also rained.  We still need more daily rain, so we continue to ask for prayers regarding this.

Friday my (Tamara's) fever got up to 101*F.  I spend most of the day in bed or in the bathroom.  I had a fair night and after using charcoal with each episode I finally slept well.  Sabbath I was much improved.  I was very weak and tired in the morning but much better after lunch.  I was thankful that I was able to go to church with my family and to lunch with the mission families.

We have a lizard that is giving us some entertainment.  Doug saw it Friday in Joshua's room.  Saturday between church and lunch while I was taking a short nap, it dropped from the ceiling onto the bed just behind my head with a loud "thud."  It woke me up.  I called for Doug and asked him if there was a lizard on the bed.  He smiled and said "yes."  It moved quickly away as I turned over, but we believe it is the same lizard as he is missing his tail.

As Joshua was climbing into bed Saturday night, he starting making "oh, oh" sounds.

He said something was wiggling in his bed around his foot.  We could not find anything, so we assume it is the same lizard. 

Sunday we got up and had breakfast and starting getting everything ready for our trip to language school.  We made arrangements for most of our stuff to be put securely into someone's container to keep rats and other things from getting into anything that we were not bringing with us.

We had a very enjoyable ride to Mafinga where we took a daladala (long minivan type vehicle) to Iringa.  We were at the first stop, so we were able to have seats.  It stopped numerous times and took over 2 1/2 hours to get to Iringa, with people getting on and off throughout the trip.  The highest number of people we counted was 29.  We would have counted higher but we could not see as people got packed on.  There were so many people that it got to the point where I could not even turn my head because of the press.  It was fun for about 1 1/2 hours.  After that I was feeling more uncomfortable but we were all in good attitude.  It was amazing that so many people can be pressed into such a small space.  The nice thing about the daladala is that it doesn't go at scary high speeds.  It is an experience that is hard to put into words.  I should remember not to put my hair in a bun when riding in a daladala again.  It was taking up more space than if I had put it in a braid.  I will try to remember that.  We then took a larger vehicle, maybe more of a bus, but just a bit bigger than a daladala.  This time all three of us squeezed on the hump that covered the engine beside the driver and the passenger seat.  At least this time I could see outside.  That was nice.  It did grow hot sitting over the engine after a short time.  They dropped us off about 1 kilometer past our turn off.  It was an additional 1.5 kilometers after our turn off.  We chose to walk after all that sitting.  We were very happy to arrive and get rid of our bags. 

1 Walking down to Language School


The language school camp is very nice.  It is mostly quiet and pretty.  The name is River Valley Camp.  The name changed this last year (per one person here) as it changed owners (brothers.)  It was Riverview previously.  We met and visited with many other people yesterday from various places.  There is a couple from Germany here along with two English Couples (one couple lives in Kenya the other in England,) an American (from Tennessee,) and others.  People come and people go quickly here it seems though.  The American is already gone, headed to South America, and many others we have not seen today.  Today, Monday, we have met someone that just arrived from South Africa.  He will be here for eight weeks. 

We started our classes today.  Joshua had his teacher and Doug and I shared a teacher.  Today they were finding out how much we know and teaching in some areas.  We found it very challenging.  We were also very glad for what we had already learned.  Joshua said his teacher said that he had the knowledge by the end of class of someone that would have been in their classes for one week.  I am glad that we have been trying to learn as much ahead of time.  If we were starting from the beginning, I think it might seem a bit overwhelming!  Class is intensive from 8:30-1:30.  Now we have homework.  I need to get to that soon.

We do not have phone or internet coverage with our current carrier in the valley.  We have been told that if we walk back up to the highway (1.5 km uphill) or up onto of a huge rock (which we have been told about) we can probably get coverage.)  We will be doing that soon.  It has been raining here yesterday and today (like it should be in Kibidula.)  Please keep praying for rain in Kibidula.  There was some fire there Saturday, but the rain that came put it out. 

The German couple went to town and got us a different sim-card so we can be called by those at Kibidula if they need to contact us for anything over the next six weeks.  We wanted to let them know that we arrived safely. 


We praise the Lord for my improved health, safe journeys, good classes, new friends (here and at Kibidula,) and answered prayers.  Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us. 

Please pray that we will learn this language well for the use of our Lord in His harvest field.



I was unable to get enough signal from the Voda rock to send my email update to the website on Monday.

Tuesday Doug went to town with some others to get our workbooks and notebooks.  He was able to send an email while in town, but by the time he returned I did not try to go up on the rock again to try my computer.  We had a different teacher this day.  Each teacher really stretches us to learn.  We had Joyce this day as our teacher.  Monday we had Moshi.

One of the workers came in during dinner time and told the owners daughter (who is running this place while her parents are gone for cancer treatments for her dad) that he saw a hippo today.  The river is mud colored right now with it being rainy season. According to Good Luck (a worker here) the rainy season is when the hippos come.  Joshua is praying that we will get to see one.  They are  very dangerous, but from a distance will be fine. 


Wednesday (currently today) we had another teacher, Ishmael.  Joshua was without a teacher today.  We have homework each night and so many new words to review.  It is really a very comprehensive class.  It has been quite rainy here (we hope Kibidula is getting some also.)  Today it has been beautiful, but I hear the thunder coming in and the wind picking up.  I had better get this finished, climb the hill and rock and see if I can get a connection to send this.