Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Second Hand Lions

Lance Whyle is from San Antonio, Texas and has been working with Living Water International in Tanzania for about 6 years. Ed met Lance's daughter and son-in-law, missionaries in Katesh, at language school. They told Ed he really needed to hook up with Lance on his next visit to Tanzania. That was nearly 3 years ago. Lance, a State Farm Insurance agent, comes to Tanzania 3-4 times a year for about 6 weeks at a time. Since 2007, each time he has come, Ed has joined him traveling all over Tanzania working on water projects. They have formed a fast friendship, with a common passion for bringing water to Tanzania.
Their personalities are dramatically different in that Lance is a talker and people person, and well...........you know Ed....just the opposite.
Tanzanians refer to them as "Mzee Lance" and "Mzee Edward", which is a respectful way of saying "old man".
They have been labeled "Second Hand Lions".
They don't always stick to a schedule.
They don't always expect their job to be easy.
They don't always expect comfortable accommodations.
They don't always expect cooperation from everyone.
They don't always follow the rules.

On the other hand............
They are always thankful for a home-cooked meal, clean clothes, and good bed after they have been traveling.
They are always thankful for strength and ability to accomplish their work.
They are always excited to go to work.........regardless of where it is.
They are always humbled that God called them....warts and all...these "Second Hand Lions".
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Built Ford Tough

Yes, that is a Ford F-250........in Tanzania. Actually the Tanzanian military purchased 14 of these trucks, which were built and customized in Brazil. They only took 12 of the fleet and our friend, Lance Whyle, found this one on a car lot. He had it "outfitted" to accommodate hauling pipes, pumps, tools, and all the stuff associated with the water work. The sad thing is there are no Ford parts in Tanzania. Occasionally, we have been able to secure parts from Kenya or South Africa, but for the most part, Lance has to bring parts when he comes to Tanzania. This includes parts needed for routine maintenance. I keep wondering what the Tanzanian military is doing for parts????????
With Lance's coming and going, he leaves the truck with us, so we can continue the water work in his absence.

If you look closely, you can see that the truck is further customized with a "Don't Mess With Texas" bumper sticker.
Tanzanians are fascinated with this monster truck and often have made the comment...."Oh yes, I hear that Texans like 'big cars'." (If they only knew....)

The bottom line is that this truck is "built FORD tough".
It has traveled roads which were nothing more than a path into remote villages, bringing life giving water to hundreds of people.
And it has carried nearly 2,000 Bibles, bringing the Word of God to those same people.
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Sunday, September 20, 2009

An All Nighter

I wrote about these kids in May in "Come as Children". These are the 4 Sprinkel children and their friend Amelia. Their family has been such a blessing to us since we came to Dodoma. There is not a lot to do for kids in Dodoma. They have climbed every mountain and hiked countless trails. They are dedicated in their ministry in the village of Ntuyka where they play sports and participate in a weekly Bible study in a local school.
I had been promising we would have a sleep over and all night movies some night. The Webb's (the people in whose home we live) have an amazing DVD collection so the Sprinkel's were anxious to watch a few. With Ed traveling the past 2 week, we set the date and told their parents to plan a night out.
We made popcorn, then each made our own individual pizzas, baked cookies.............and ate cookie dough while the cookies were baking.
I went to bed around 2:00 a.m. and when I got up at 6:30 they were still going strong. Their mom cooked breakfast for us at their house and they were fast asleep before we finished our 2nd cup of coffee.
It was great having these kids around.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Little Boys and Their Toys

As we have been out in the villages, kids come from all around to see what is going on as we are working at a well site. Some are just out playing with their toys and "drop by". There are no Gameboys, MP3 players, action figures, or even the old fashioned six-shooters.

The toys we have seen are hand-crafted, using items which we would have discarded in the trash.
This little boy's car was made from an old bottle with water bottle lids as wheels.

A ring from the top of a damaged plastic water bucket and stick is great fun. There is fierce competiton when several get together for a race.

This little guy had a sling shot and actually could shoot a pebble with some accuracy. He couldn't have been more than 3 years old.

It's easy to role play as a driver with a stick and lid from a plastic container. We have even seen something round attached to the top of the sticks that resembles a steering wheel.

Imagination is a wonderful thing.

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Sunday, September 13, 2009


This is dagaa. And this is not just any dagaa. This is from Lake Tanganyika, in Kigoma, where only the best dagaa can be found.
If you can't tell from the picture, it is small, dried fish, which could be compared to sardines.
This particular bag of dagaa was given to us as a gift from our friend, Willie, whose mother sent it by train from Kigoma.
Although this special variety is not available in our area, lesser quality dagaa can be found in the the market, in large baskets, where the aroma is easily detected. It is served with tomatoes and onions.....or chopped in ugali (Play-Doh-like substance made from corn flour).
We buy dagaa and mix it with ugali and it makes a healthy dog food, in the absence of Purina Dog Chow.
Although Ed has tried it and says it's not bad, I have been able to avoid it.
The day will come.......................................
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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Looking Back--Joe and Amanda

Our for first OMEGA volunteers........we just weren't sure how this would work for 6 weeks.

Close friends, Joe and Amanda, came from Michigan. Joe taught English at a secondary school and junior college and wanted to work in a school. The school in Babati was excited to have him, but we prepared him for the possibility the school probably wouldn't make "preparations" for him. He was somewhat frustrated when he was given a classroom and little instruction on what to teach. After much research, Joe discovered the one piece of American literature which appeared on national examinations was "Death of a Salesman". He jumped right in and the students loved him. Joe created his own experience and spent a lot of time in the town talking to people and making friends.
Over a year later, Joe has found himself immersed in ministry to African refugees in Michigan, helping them with English, working through mounds of governmental paperwork and just loving them in a strange new land.

Amanda worked in Arusha for a few weeks with a class for special needs children. When she arrived, she shared she was going to change her career path from primary school education and planned to enroll in nursing school when she returned to the states. Watching Amanda with children, it was obvious she was passionate about working with little ones. She was able to join us in Babati for the last 2 weeks of her stay and worked with the children at the primary school there. Her love was so apparent as she spent time with boarding students confined to the dormitories because of illness.
Today, Amanda is in Colorado.........not in nursing school...........but teaching and loving children.

After a tearful good-bye at the airport, Ed said, "Well, there will be other volunteers...........but never another Joe and Amanda".

And then there was Tisha.................read on.

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Looking Back--Then There Was Tisha

And then there was Tisha........Tisha came to Tanzania wanting to be involved in sports activities at a school and to get a taste for what life as missionary might be like. She was with us for 6 weeks in Babati, working at the primary school. Tisha fit in beautifully at Aldersgate School and went to work immediately with an exercise program for the kids. During the evenings, she would walk down and have worship time with the kids and spent time talking to the girls about hygiene............and treated them to painted toenails.
The culmination of her time at the school was an all day inter-mural competition between schools. The night before the competition, it rained for 12 straight hours. We had not had rain for 6 months............and the games went on...........in the mud.

Prior to Tisha's arrival, I learned that Tisha had a career as an esthetician, with a specialty in make-up application. I had visions of a "girly-girl" who would freak if she broke a nail. Well, I was wrong. Her gifts in this area were a blessing to many women as she demonstrated the art of make-up application. One afternoon was spent at a local "salon" treating the women to make-overs..

So many were enchanted by Tisha's beautiful smile and captured by her sweet spirit. Everyone loved her. Mr. Isaka even tried to negotiate a bride price so that Tisha could marry his grandson.

Yes.......then there was Tisha.

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