Friday, April 13, 2012

Bees, Bugs, Cat, Drivers License, Funeral and Jack Hammers

This has been a rather lengthy week, it seems.  I am certainly tired and ready for Sabbath.  Bees, bugs, cat, drivers license, a funeral and jack hammers - what do these things have in common?  They are part of my life this week!

Our neighbor came over twice today with bee stings.  After the second time, I asked if I could help.  Her house had become infested with honey bees last night.  We were able to get most of them out and down to a workable amount, before I left.  We used baking soda and charcoal for her, and sugar water on a spoon to catch the bees.  There was a LOT of bees.  We should have counted as we got rid of them, but there really were too many.

I was so thankful that I didn't invite anyone over for any meals today.
Breakfast was red millet that is very inexpensive at the market.  I don't know if anyone eats it the way we tried to today.  After being picked through at least twice and sifted it was still very sandy.  It also has a very strange texture when cooked whole.  It really was not pleasant.
And lunch was even more interesting.  Our beans got infested with bugs.  Our helper sorted through them, but didn't do quite the job I had hoped for.  After they were cooked and we had eaten quite a few, I noticed some big issues.  There were bugs "in" some of the beans and then a few floaters, too.  

Quincy, the neighbor's cat.
The same neighbor with the bees has a cat.  His name is Quincy.  Since she had been gone all last week and two days this week, he has become lonely and started to visit us.  He is even becoming friends with the dog!  I hope he might help out with the mice issue.  Today he came over twice and walks right into the house talking the whole time.  Joshua was on the rug finishing his "eye-patch-time" and some home school spelling, and the cat made himself very at home on Joshua's back.  He is a sweet cat.

The owner of the language school that we attended for six weeks died last week.  Some of the Kibidula staff that was acquainted with them wanted to go to the funeral and I did, too.  So we made arrangements to go.  With us going to Iringa and past, some others wanted to start the process of getting our drivers licenses.  When Doug heard that he suggested I try also. 
So we left at 5:20 am on Tuesday and I returned home around 8 pm on Wednesday night.
Getting the drivers license is a multi-step process including the following: getting the Tax Identification Number (which I had;) filling out the application; taking the application to room #6, getting your picture taken, answering questions, and getting a slip to take to a bank to pay the first 10,000 TSH; going to the bank and waiting in long hot lines then paying; waiting three hours for the payment to register at the TRA office (I went to the funeral during the waiting time;) going back to the TRA office with the receipt and getting another bank payment slip for 3,000 TSH to take to the bank to pay; paying at the bank (over an hour in line this time;) going to the police station.  
Here we ran out of time.  We were not told at this time, but the computers were down.  We were just told that we needed to come back at 9 am the next day.  The man that we were dealing with was talking to me and finally he asked me if I was a Seventh-day Adventist.  I said I was and found out he was also.  We talked a bit about various things and I asked him if he could suggest a hotel that was without lice/bed bugs and at a decent price.  He really took my request to heart.  He made us wait.  Many of us were very tired from all the traveling, walking, waiting in lines and such.  He kept getting on his phone going into his office and telling us to wait.  After a while another man came and they walked us to a vehicle.  At our puzzled faces he said it is a free ride to the hotel for us.  It was a friend of his that he had called to get us in a large vehicle (since there were four of us at this time.)  He took us to a very secured (fenced and guarded) government school and hostel.  It was clean enough and at good prices.  The man that brought us made sure that we were very comfortable and pleased before he left us for the night. I could tell of more stories, but will stop at that.  We were very blessed to be taken care of so well.  I even had a private toilet in my room!

The next day we walked across town to the police station to be told that we needed to go to the TRA office first.  We walked back, and were told the opposite.  We walked back to the police station again and this time we talked to our "friend" again.  He told us that the computers were down and they didn't know for how long.  We spent the day waiting, making trips back to check on the computer status (and praying.)  At 3 pm miracles started happening.  We experienced something I haven't seen before in Tanzania.  I saw "rushing around."  There was a LOT of people waiting now at the police station for the computers to come up.  We had made many friends by now and were invited to sit in one of the officer's booths with him.  Another officer came to the door and told us to give him our papers and QUICKLY disappeared.  A while later someone rushed in and gave a big stack to one of us.  The officer behind the desk took them.  I helped him sort them out and match up our names on the sheets.  He stapled them together in order and then another person rushed them somewhere.  A while later we were told to "come, come!"  We went, went!  We got to the door of another booth, and were motioned through to the back office.  The lady there started calling out our names and handing us our papers ready to go to the next step.  We were elated!  That is SO unexpected for Africa!  People usually don't get in a hurry at all.  God was working in our behalf.  We made our exit quickly and one of us went to get in line at the bank.  We knew that we had to go back to the TRA office, then another payment at the bank and one more time to the TRA office.  Time was running out and another one hour wait at the bank would put us out of time.  We went to the office, and were blessed with a short line and got finished there in probably 5-10 minutes.  We hurried to the bank, and our person was almost to the front of the LONG line (another miracle.)  The payments of 10,000 TSH each were made and receipts were in hand.  Our fastest person ran back to the TRA office and we walked quickly that way.  Just as we entered the gate I got a call from our "runner" saying he needed some paperwork that I had.  I told him I was walking in the door.  I walked past a LONG line of people and entered the office where he was standing at the desk.  I handed over the papers and we were told that we were done, and the licenses could be picked up next week.  We had finished before the office had closed!  We were elated and praising God for moving mountains.  I asked our runner how he was able to get in so fast with such a line of people.  He said they were all outside the door, and he walked in the office (inside there is a small waiting room.)  The line then followed him in the office. The man behind the desk motioned him up.  God has a thousand ways to provide for us.  We were praising Him, praising Him as we walked back to the bus station to get a bus back toward Kibidula (another two plus hour trip.)  It was a GREAT ending to two long days of adventure.

Just a few of the MANY people at the funeral.
The funeral was full of both locals and people from all over the world.  It was amazing how many people were there.  It was a sad event, but we were thankful that we could be there for the family.
We had an unexpected ride to and from the funeral also.  We made new friends in both rides (people from the US, England and an Arabic man.)  
Doug using the jack hammer

Doug was busy at home working to get the base of the antenna tower out so it could be used to mount the solar panels for the new solar water pump for the primary school and clinic.  After working with sledge hammers, Jason mentioned something using a jack hammer would be better.  There had been some used here at Kibidula and the phone calls were started to search them out.  The jack hammers were found and after MUCH work to get them started, they were able to make much faster progress.  I was told that they spent more time in trying to start them than in using them.  Each time we had to start them again, it was character building (and tiring!)  We were able to finish with that this morning.  So after four days the base is free.  We hauled the base and tower parts down to the new location. 
More Ag students making a place for the new pipeline.
The agriculture students have been digging up the trench for laying the new pipe, up the valley wall through our orchard, to the up-campus main tank, to the primary school and the clinic.  They expect to be done this weekend. 
They cut through existing water lines at least three times.  Two of which effect our water supplies.  Isn't that exciting?
Some of the Ag students making a place for the new water line and our moved tower for the solar pump.

We also fitted another person with reading glasses this week.  He was very excited about getting them.
To top it off, we were able to dig out the massage table from one of the buildings at the clinic.  We have it mostly cleaned up and now in the living room (thanks to some big help from friends.)

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