Friday, July 31, 2009

Lubbock Team- Reality

Today the team from Lubbock joined the team members of Safina Street Network as they made a weekly visit to the local dump. Many of the street children either sleep or stay at the dump during the day looking for food or for something to sell. During these visits, a devotion is led by a team member for both the children and any adults who wish to participate. Today, during the devotion time, they explained how the team came from America and was working to build a roof on the center. They welcomed us as warmly as all Tanzanians and were thrilled to find the girls had brought candy.

The reality of life as a child of the streets was seen first-hand.
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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Lubbock Team-Matthew 25:35

In Matthew 25:35, Jesus says "for I was hungry and you fed me....." During our visits into a village 30 kilometers out of Dodoma, this is exactly what this OMEGA team did. Pastor Frank escorted us as we made the trip to Mpunguzi and visited several homes in there. The team came bearing gifts for each home and then determined that "trinkets" were secondary to the need for food. We had already stopped at each home and after a trip to the "village center", returned to each home with a "debe" of corn and a kilo of sugar. Our hosts were overwhelmed when we returned with food.

This man is disabled and his wife had left for the morning to find firewood. Being "disabled" for a man in Tanzania holds a negative stigma because he is unable to provide for his family. Imagine when his wife returned and he was able to tell her they had food for the next several days.

Milika was a widowed woman who was overjoyed with her visit with the team. She connected with Stephanie and called her "my daughter". During our visit, she shared that she travels 2 kilometers and fetches water herself. On this day she was also caring for a grandchild (tied to her back). Having the corn and sugar delivered to her gives new meaning to a term common to us Americans............."do you deliver?"
Helping to serve meals to the homeless boys has been fun. They love having their picture made while they are eating. We are still trying to figure that one out.
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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lubbock Team--Servant's Hearts

We have anticipated the arrival of an OMEGA team from our home church (Aldersgate) in Lubbock, since the first of the year. Lori, a dear friend, lead the team of 5 and arrived July 26. After the long drive from Dar Es Salaam to Dodoma, the team was ready to get to work constructing a roof for a facility which is the program headquarters for the Safina Street Children's Ministry in Dodoma.

Ed and one of the director's of the program had already transported materials when the team arrived, but there was still more "transporting" to be done to get the boards to the second story where construction of the trusses would be done.

At noon, the team took a break and served lunch to approximately 60 boys.

After work finished, the team wanted to get a look at some of the "hot shopping spots" in Dodoma.

This was just the first day............stay tuned for more updates!!!!

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Wedding Anniversary--18 years

Since moving to Tanzania, I've wanted to see the coast which is on the Indian Ocean. Ed, not being a "beachy" kind of guy hasn't been too interested. Through a string of events, the beach is where we ended up to celebrate a belated 18th anniversary.

We had stayed at a fairly nice hotel in Dar with an OMEGA Vision Team and spent the night on the 13th floor in 87 degree weather, with no A/C, or open window. As we prepared to return to Dodoma the following day, we realized we were having problems with the springs on the truck, necessitating another overnight stay.
The staff from the hotel was trying desperately to make up for the previous sleepless night and offered a drastically reduced price at one of the sister lodges on the beach.
The beach was beautiful and we had a very relaxing time.

As we were reflecting on the past 18 years, he asked me if I had known that we would end up in Africa, would I have still married him.
I asked him how he would have felt if I told him I planned for us to be in Africa in 18 years.
We both just laughed.
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If you were a "fly on the wall"......or better yet a "mosquito", recently you would have overheard some of the following as we traveled around. Keep in mind some of the villages have limited overnight accommodations and eating establishments.

Are the rooms self-contained? (meaning are there bathrooms in each room)
There is no electricity tonight.
There is no water tonight.
There is no HOT water tonight.
There is hot water....just no cold.
I would call that shower a "dribble".
There is no restaurant in the village.
Where can I find a lady who can cook for me tonight?
Your meal will take a while, she has gone to find a chicken.
There is no separate shower in the's all one big room.
The water hasn't drained yet...... from the room where the shower is not separate
Is there secure parking?..........meaning "Is there a guard, who will probably be sleeping through the night, but who is actually paid to guard the cars?
There is a problem with TANESCO (national electricity company)....we have electricity, but no A/C....... in 87 degree weather, 87% humidity............and the windows don't open.
Your menu choices are: chicken and ugali, chicken and rice, chicken and chips, beef and ugali, beef and rice, or beef and chips. OK, I'll have the beef and rice. Sorry, there is no beef tonight.

And my favorite.....
I don't care if the room is only 15,000 tsh ($11.49) per night......
I will sleep in the truck before I sleep in that place.

Here's Yer Sign #3 & #4

I have been seeing this little restaurant adjacent to the place where we purchase fuel in Arusha. the WIMPY RESTAURANT

This was in a village about 50 miles into the bush............Maybe it should say

I see signs I just love everywhere and more often than not can't get Ed to slow down or turn around to get a picture. My favorite "missed' sign was on a place outside of Singida on a "grocery store" that said................ GROSSERY STORE.

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Now You See It.....Now You Don't

I will make a correction....
Now you don't see it.
This is the view from the look-out at Ngorongoro Crater rim in a dense fog as we were traveling to the conservation area

Now you do....
Later in the day...same look-out...same view

Now you REALLY see it.
In the same early morning fog.....what should cross the road but this young male lion. That is the hood of our truck at the bottom of the picture. This was not in the conservation area, but on the crater rim road.

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OMEGA Vision Trip

In addition to hosting OMEGA work teams, we also have the opportunity to host guests who wish to experience an OMEGA Vision Trip. This is "an opportunity for those who share a desire to serve in Africa and also want to personally experience our projects, the culture, and the beauty Tanzania has to offer".

The following 2 blogs tell a little about 2 very different "Vision Teams" we hosted in June and July. These trips provide an opportunity for people to truly experience the "real" Tanzania, as well as get a glimpse of the projects in which OMEGA teams have been involved since 2005.

As we traveled around, it was personally refreshing for us to view the projects and Tanzania through new eyes. Believe it nor not, we experience day to day "drudgery" just like we did in the States. Hosting these 2 groups restored the "vision" to which God has called us.

If you are interested in an OMEGA Vision Trip, you might want to check out this link:

Visioneering-West Texas Style

Just like the "dirt devils" in West Texas, these 3 men from Muleshoe, Texas blew into Tanzania to get a "vision" for how OMEGA was partnering with Living Water on water projects in Tanzania. Because of the remote areas, it was decided to enlist the services of Mission Avionics Fellowship(MAF), which caters to missionaries. MAF picked us up on the coast, in Dar Es Salaam, and flew 2 hours to Haidom, where we were transported to view the impact of water projects in the Hanang District.

It was a "whirlwind", viewing 5 wells and spending a few minutes with the people in each community. These men were a major attraction when they pulled out the "pipi" (candy) and started handing it out to everyone at the wells.

Although, they were a little shy at first, the residents loved having their picture taken. If they were hesitant.......the candy was a good enticement.

As with all OMEGA groups, they came with their "official" OMEGA t-shirts in hand and posed for a picture with these Maasai at a village of Mtu Wa Mbu (Mosquito River).

Seeing first hand the desperate need for water in Africa, truly gives one a new "vision". It was great being with these guys from West Texas and hearing someone else say "y'all".

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Visioneering-Colorado Style

Our first OMEGA Vision team could not have been better, as we hosted a family of 4 from Colorado. They arrived after having traveled 2 weeks in Europe and were ready to continue to catch OMEGA's Vision. There was no hesitation with their involvement. The entire family wanted to experience and see everything they could.

Sharing roasted corn with a Maasai family in the village of Mswakini, where OMEGA has partnered in building a government school for Maasai children.

Viewing first hand the difficulties in getting water in some communities

Eating real Tanzanian food and wanting more

Giving a helping hand wherever they went

We fell in love with this family. Seeing Tanzania and the OMEGA projects through their eyes was a "vision" experience for us too.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Just Like Home

After 5 days working on installing and repairing water pumps in the Singida area, we headed to Arusha. Along the way, we were invited to spend the night with friends in Katesh. Ed met the Wolfes in language school when he first came to Tanzania in 2006 and we continue to see them every now and then. We spent a relaxing Friday evening with the Wolfes and Hendersons........

Sitting outside and watching the kids
Hanging out and talking by the fire pit.
Roasting hotdogs on a fire felt just like home. Kids and grandkids, we love you and miss you "bunches and lots".
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Birds of a Feather

With sitings of larger game, we often overlook the birds. Here are a few pictures I snapped this past week.

I don't know the name for these beautiful creatures, but they were making a meal out of termites on this termite mound.

These are vulchers, in early morning, with a fresh kill nearby.
This beautiful bird has the most beautiful iridescent coloring. They are found all over Tanzania. This one joined us for breakfast one morning.
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Here's Yer Sign #2

MARKETING 101: Know your target market.........

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Waiting For Water

Part of the pump installation process is the pouring of a concrete pad in which the pump cylinder is set. Naturally, to mix concrete, you need water. However, if water was easily accessible, there would not be a need for a well and pump. So, this particular day,we waited several hours while some young boys retrieved a sufficient amount of water from the river and brought it to the site via oxen cart.
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Village Dispensary

Water projects are usually located near a school, church, or, in Yulansoni, adjacent to a dispensary. Yulansoni is about 55 miles from the nearest town (Singida). We traveled to Yulansoni last week to install a pump on a well financed by a ministry from California. While Ed labored at pouring a concrete pad on which the pump would be installed, I was invited to tour the dispensary.

Lois, my host, was delighted to show me examination rooms, the doctor's office, pharmacy, and lab where they are able to test for malaria. This is the room in which injections are administered.
One patient was admitted for treatment of malaria with a quinine drip. Lois was very proud that she was trained to insert an IV and insisted that I accompany her and take photos as she admitted the patient and inserted his IV.
With the well and new pump, the dispensary now has clean and accessible water......and a wonderful and caring nurse named Lois.
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Flying Safari

Mission Avionics Fellowship (MAF) is a worldwide ministry providing assistance to missionaries in countless ways. One of the fun things they do is provide access to remote national parks at very low fees for missionaries. Several weeks ago, we were invited to join a group of Australians on their "flying safari" to Ruaha National park. A group of 12 of us departed at 7:00 a.m. and made the 1 hour flight to this remote area, southwest of Dodoma.

This is Dodoma from the air. We live near the base of the rock formation.
Upon landing, we were met by an open safari car which transported us through the park.
Sometimes there are "bigger" worries than birds flying into the engine of a plane. These elephants were next to the runway as we were about to take off.
MAF provides a wide variety of services to missionaries in Tanzania. It varies from helping with "red tape" to get a work permit to flying mission groups into remote areas, and even helping missionaries get emergency medical attention. The offices in Dodoma are staffed by people from France, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, England, Australia, Tanzania, Germany, and list a few. We have personally been blessed in the friendships we have made with many of these people.
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