Sunday, May 26, 2013

TOO MUCH Adventure!

Sorry for a long time in updating.  I started this update while in Dodoma, and just now found it and have completed it.  A lot has been going on in the last few months.  Joshua's health has returned, also.

Time flies ...  all the time!

From our one month working in Dar es Salaam, we rode back to Kibidula with Bill and Hanne Lise in Bill's truck.  It was a good trip.  We left early and we saw LOTS of animals as we drove the highway that goes through the national park.  We saw so many animals close to the road, and even crossing the road.  It was the closest I have been to a wild elephant, for certain.  It was still not light enough for any really good pictures, most turned out blurry, but Bill helped me get a couple of really good shots by stopping in the road and taking some out his driver-side window.
Elephant just below the road going to get some water from the stream

On their  (Bill and crew) way TO Dar es Salaam, they (Bill, Hanne Lise, Daniel & Ryno) saw a LION!  That is a rare treat, as they stay out of sight most of the time.  I haven't seen one yet.

Elephants crossing - SLOW DOWN
I enjoy seeing all of God's beautiful creatures.... the elephants, the giraffes, wildebeest, warthogs, antelope, zebra, baboons, cape buffalo, and a few others.

Zebras crossing

Chameleon (a very little one on a child's hand)
We made it home safely, thank you for your prayers.

We then spent a few weeks at home getting various odd jobs worked on, especially school work for Joshua.

We were asked to go to the ATAP meeting in Dodoma to represent Kibidula (as Temboh had been invited by the conference to attend but had other pressing issues.)  I  really didn't want to come, but finally I surrendered my will and have made the best of coming here (I am in Dodoma at the moment of writing this paragraph.)   We had a very EVENTFUL bus ride coming here.
"old" friends at ATAP in Dodoma

New Friends at ATAP in Dodoma

First we arrived at the bus stand, and had our tickets that were purchased the day before.  There were MANY people waiting there for the same bus, including Meida (the teacher that is trying to transfer to Kibidula.)  We were very happy to see Meida and spend some time with her.

The bus was about 40 minutes late arriving.

When it arrived the people started pushing and trying to get on the bus, but the conductor, told everyone to get off and started letting people off the bus.  He was also holding up JUST TWO FINGERS...

After the people got off, the people started getting on the bus again, and again they were told to get off.  Doug had gone to get our luggage put into the luggage area of the bus.  Then the ticket person pointed to Joshua and me, and told us to get on the bus.  We did.  BUT THERE WERE NO SEATS.  Meida also got on, and I think maybe a few other people, but NOT EVERYONE, including my husband.  The bus started to leave, and Doug was still not on.  The other people wanted on still, and Doug had a hard time of it getting on the bus, but he did.  We sat on the "hump" area for about three hours.  Joshua made good friends with the driver during this time (as we had many stops for construction.)  At Iringa, more people got off and we then were put in the very back of the bus.  We were together and had seats!   We enjoyed our home-packed lunch and enjoyed sharing it with the man on the left and the man on the right of us.  They were very friendly (after we started being friendly to them.)

We were very happy to learn that the conference organizer for our area was actually on the same bus with several others going to the meetings.  So we made friends early, and that was nice.

Since we were in the back of the bus and not by windows, I had Joshua go ask the driver if we could come back up to the hump to watch for animals as we went through the national park area.  He agreed, and even went a bit slower than normal in many locations and helped point out some animals and told the conductor to watch for animals for us too.  It is a blessing to make friends along the way.  I think the driver really enjoyed it, also.

 At Morogoro, we pulled into the bus garage and they worked on broken brake lines for at least 40 minutes.  We were falling further and further behind schedule.  I took advantage of the time and got some exercise on a set of stairs in the garage area.

Then we headed out and were about one hour back on the road when we hit one of the huge speed bumps at a fast speed.  It was strong enough that it sent us up and out of our seats to land hard back into them.  It hurt my lower back fiercely.  Joshua said he hurt his head.  We then pulled off the road, and they started trying to find out where the problem was this time.  After over three hours on the side of the road it had turned dark and quite cold.  Many people abandoned the bus and caught rides with passing vehicles.  This allowed us to use a bit more space to try to get a little sleep.

Just a few minutes before midnight we arrived at our hotel.  It was a very eventful trip.  But we enjoyed getting to know our seatmates and Mr. Bukuku and Pastor Mwasomola.   We also enjoyed seeing Meida until she caught a ride while we were broke down also.

Thursday we learned that the actual meetings would start that afternoon, so we headed out after breakfast to get some of our errands done (like finding an ATM that we could withdraw money from our US account, getting some copies made, and buying whole grain bread and fruit.)

After we had already gotten most of our fruit, a couple of men had targeted Doug as a prime candidate for an unauthorized donation.

I was picking out fruit, and then asking Doug for money to pay for it.  So I think others were watching where he was getting his money also.  Doug told me to go ahead and find the next item I was to buy and he would follow behind.  Joshua and I set off, and then we heard Doug yelling at us from a distance behind.

Come to find out, Doug noticed two men approaching him from different directions at the same time.  Knowing this could be trouble, he was paying attention.  The one guy came up and and bumped him.  Then stopped and started backing up into him, and the other guy came up to the side where Doug's money was in his front pant pocket.  Doug immediately started asking the guy "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" and the guy started arguing with him and Doug started yelling at us to come back.  As I started to understand the situation the guy quickly got away from Doug, and I approached the guy from a different side and was in his face before he knew it, and I started asking him the same thing.  About that time some men came up and kicked the guy, then started to hit him.  I realized this guy was about to die.  Doug, Joshua and I now turned sides and started to defend this guy.  We didn't want him to die in his sins!  The culture here is often to take the law into one's own hands because often people that get arrested are back on the streets in no time, and the cycle continues.  We did not want to be any part of the death of this guy, even if he did try to steal from us.  Our pleas may have deterred several people, but not all of them.

So I started a different method.  I grabbed the arm of a guy just as he was about to punch this guy again.  It was TERRIBLE.  I have never seen a street situations like this, let alone be in the middle of it.  Just writing this (months later now) it brings up the adrenaline of it all.  The guy got out of there after receiving several bad blows, but there was at least one person still running after him.  Many people then came up to us and explained that he was a thief and that they were just taking care of the situation and they apologized to us for having to deal with a thief.  There are a lot more details, but I will spare you of them.

TOO MUCH EXCITEMENT!  A bit later after the adrenaline started wearing off, I realized that I was hurting, but in my arms and legs.  I am not much of a street fighter!

The rest of the meetings were uneventful, and we made some good contacts while we were there.  We were a lot more careful the rest of the trip.  We would use the taxis a lot more to avoid long walks after purchases or getting money (even though it costs a lot more, the safety issue was pretty big in our minds.)

We planned a stop to meet with the East Tanzania Conference leadership on our way back.  This turned out to be a blessing in many ways.  We had a very profitable visit with them, and plan to work more and more with each other.  AND the rest of our friends that were traveling with us on the same bus, continued on to their destinations.  Their bus broke down IN the game park for hours.  Finally they were all told, get off and find rides.  Their trip took about FIVE MORE HOURS than it should have.  So, it was a blessing that we stopped where we did, spent the day with the people there, and got a different bus the following day (which had some complications, too - but that is again another story!)
Conference leader from ETC and other new friends in Morogoro

Chickens and trash in Morogoro outside our hotel

Making young friends in Morogoro

The typical way to move things around in town is with these carts

The view from out back of our hotel in Morogoro (The PENTAGON Hotel!)
 Since that time our evangelism students graduated after spending two weeks out in two villages doing door-to-door work and also doing a health expo at each location.  The health expos went very well in both locations.  We were able to assist at the one location that was closer to Kibidula, but the other was too far, and without our own vehicle, it didn't work out for us to help there.
May 2013 Evangelism Students Graduation Picture with the tallest man in Tanzania as one student.

Health expo with the students out in the bush of Iditima

We also made a special trip to Mbeya to visit with the Southern Highlands Conference leadership.  That visit also went VERY well, and we are very happy to be working with them. 

Doug has been working on installing solar systems at the primary school (the panels are up and there is electricity there now.)  He has been upgrading the office's system also, along with teaching a special session for a week at the agriculture school (health presentations,) fixing plumbing issues around campus, helping to haul hay and various other things.

I have been spending my time in various things, including editing and redoing a health document in Swahili (which by God's grace we did get typed up and printed JUST IN TIME to give a copy to each of the students only three days before they left.)   That was a serious labor of love.  Joshua had to be my right hand man for much of the editing since his Swahili is better than mine.  I have been spending a lot of time with Joshua doing home-schooling, and started typing up the health syllabus that we had translated.  I have been working on the Kibidula website getting pictures and information updated, also updating our info with the OCI website.  The website stuff seems to take a long time (maybe longer because internet can be so challenging.)  In addition to that, we have been dealing with monkeys, snakes and... Oh, yeah.  THIEVES AGAIN.

This time closer to home.   They were actually next door and also across the street.

At our neighbor to the west of us, there has been repeated theft.  They were getting more and more frequent.  Windows have been broken (but there are bars) and things pulled out the windows, then someone tried to get into the doors, then they actually did get in!  They chipped at the wood on the door until they chipped away the part that held the latch and got into her house.  She had a lot of things in there and a few things had been moved around, but something had scared the thief off or he has some metal issues because he left the electronics this time and only took bananas (that we could tell!)  Doug and I had been walking around the house a couple of times each day to try to prevent further attacks.  Well, a couple of weeks ago, as Doug and I went for our walk, we saw a boy on the road that doesn't belong here at Kibidula.  We walked towards her house, but decided to keep going instead of patrolling around.   The boy walked VERY slowly behind us and eventually we were out of his sight.  We turned around and headed back after 15 minutes of walking, and the boy was not on the road.  Doug got picked up by someone going down campus to do something he needed to do, so I was left ALONE, and still needed to check her house.  Well, I VERY QUIETLY approached the house and heard a SOUND!  I walked around to the back and then behind the wood shed, and there were someone's shoes and a few other things.  I didn't want to "nab" a day worker, so I tried to call the occupants of the house, and I was informed that there were no workers to be there this day.  So I called Doug and said I think I need help, about this time someone starts to crawl out of the window on the back side of the wood shed.  I try to keep him in with one hand and return my cellphone (I should have just dropped it but didn't want it to get broken.)

The young man came out and I was trying to restrain him but he got away from me after a bit of wrestling.  He ran off into the woods a few minutes before Doug got back up-campus with Jason.  But the thief was gone.  He had come asking for work previously so he had given us a name and where he was from.  Doug recognized him when we started our walk.  AND I HAD HIS SHOES and the things he was planning to steal (some socks, a hat, a towel and a garden sprayer.)

So Jason took the shoes, and the info and messages were sent to the village.  The boy didn't come home that day.  He knows he has been identified.  Doug actually saw him TWICE in Mafinga (about 20 km away) at the market, but the guy saw Doug also and ran both times.  Some kids said they saw him last Sunday eating avocados on the runway.  So it sounds like he is back in the area.
So, we had more excitement - AGAIN.

AND there was a group of children stealing from the hanger (a hanger door didn't get fastened all the way across and they were able to pull it out a bit and squeeze through.)  They stole several small solar panels and some other things, including an inverter of ours.  They took it apart and we haven't tested it to see if it will work again yet.  They destroyed some very pricy things (over $1000 worth.)
I am thankful that they were caught and that we can be praying for their salvation.  I am very sad at their choices and the damage that they did.  I hope they will have a change of hearts.
Rainbow into a mountain village on the monthly trip to Mago.

NOW we are off to Zambia in a few days for the OCI retreat along with most of the staff here at Kibidula.  We are taking a train ride.  We have been told that theft and delay are big issue on the train, so again we need much prayer and wisdom.  Please also pray for safety of everything left behind at Kibidula while most of us are gone.  There will be several people here, but it is a big campus.

We have a big health meeting in July that we will attend, then we have 4 weeks of teaching for the new session of evangelism students, we have the rest of the syllabus that needs to be typed and edited, and THEN A TRIP TO THE USA!  We are coming home for a 4 week visit in September/October.  We hope to visit as many people and churches as we can.  If you are interested, please let us know as soon as possible so we can try to work out our route.  The main reason for our trip is to visit with Doug's family.  His dad has been in poor health for a long time.  He is in and out of the hospital A LOT.  So we will come back for a visit this year, instead of waiting for furlough in 2015.

As I started looking through the pictures I have taken since the last post, I realize I have skipped A LOT.  I think I will make another post in the next few days (hopefully) with a BUNCH MORE PICTURES to give you another taste for the Tanzania "view."

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