Friday, October 23, 2009

HALE of a Trip-TIA

TIA means "THIS IS AFRICA" and is usually spoken as a final expression when things just don't go as you expected them to. It's not usually a big surprise when there is a "shida" (problem)...just TIA.

As we made our way to Dodoma there were TIA's at many turns:
* drove 6 hours over dirt roads to get to Dodoma
* the steering went out on the Landrover
* there was dirt in my camera and it ceased to work
* the power was out at the house when we arrived after driving 6 hours on rough, dirt roads
* Sunday, we had to tow a car load of Tanzanians in a broken down car to church and then back to Dodoma (about 15 kilometers each way)
* We were invited for a fish dinner at friends on Sunday. I assumed it was was lunch. We had lunch at the Tanzanian church and rushed down the mountain (towing a car with Tanzanians) to eat fish with the Sprinkels, after receiving a call asking where we were.
* Monday had to hire a car and driver to take Jerry and Charles to see water projects
* Tuesday had to hire another car and driver to take Jerry and Charles to Dar es Salaam to catch their plane.

I think Jerry and Charles have pictures from those days..........I don't........I have a "shida" with my camera.............

Today........the Landrover is fixed and we can now steer with confidence. I am packing to go back to the States on Monday and my clothes look horrible from many days of hanging on a clothesline with blowing red dirt and a merciless sun............TIA.

HALE of a Trip--Future Partners

Once we reached Dodoma, we were anxious to show Jerry and Charles 2 projects with which Omega will be partnering in the future.
Omega has already sent a team to work at Safina Street Network so the directors readily welcomed Jerry and Charles to give them a tour of the facility.

We had an opportunity to share with the street kids during their daily devotional and helped serve the daily meal provided by Safina. The kids at Safina are always excited to receive visitors.

On Sunday, we worshipped at Beroya Church in Nghon'ghona. Once this church is complete, it will also serve as a nursery school for the community.

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HALE of a Trip--Great White Hunters

On safari, these two avid hunters shared hunting tales, and were still re-living those shared stories as we arrived in Dodoma.
When a mouse ran through the house, you can imagine the thrill as they set out to capture this African "trophy".
I did not take a picture of the "kill", but the mice population in Tanzania is now reduced by one.

Basking in the excitement of this fete, these 2 "great white hunters" turned to more mundane tasks.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

HALE of a Trip--Safari

Before heading to Tarangire National Park for safari, stopping to greet the Yohanna family was a priority. This family has graciously provided land on which Omega teams set up camp while they are working in the community.
This is Jerry with brothers, Israel and Justin.

Every good safari vehicle has a removable roof for optimal animal viewing. After some pushing, shoving, and a smashed finger, Ed, Jerry, and Charles managed to get the top off.

Although Charles is an avid hunter, nothing prepared him for the sights he beheld in the wilds of Tanzania.

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HALE of a Trip-Drought-Stricken Community

The Maasai community of Mswakini has been a victim of drought conditions for years, but this year seems to be particularly bad. There were countless cattle carcases as we traveled the roads to reach this parched community. Water is a huge problem here and the various remedies sought have not been successful to date.

Arriving at the school, the children came running and enjoyed having their photo taken and seeing the view captured. The building in the background is the original school and is still being used as classrooms for pre-school.

Several Omega teams over the past 3 years have completely built these 2 classrooms at the school at Mswakini. There are over 400 students with only 6 teachers and 6 classrooms.

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HALE of a Trip-Significant Impact

As our trip proceeded, we visited 2 projects where Omega has made significant impacts on the lives of Tanzanians.

Step by Step Learning Center is a school for special needs children. Omega donors and teams have contributed significantly to the construction and establishment of this school. Margaret Kenyi and Milcha Mrema were thrilled to welcome Jerry and Charles and show the progress of the school construction.

The community of Sambasha now boasts a beautiful new church and 4 classrooms used for an adult literacy program, nursery school, and Compassion program. Omega teams which have had opportunities to work in the community are touched by the hospitality shown by these Maasai, living on the slopes of Mt. Meru.
Pastor Saitoti, a man of vision, shares his joy as he shows Jerry the new church.

Charles was immediately welcomed into the so many others have been.
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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

HALE of a Trip-Personal Observation

As Omega project managers, we have been blessed to host some wonderful people. EVERYONE, without exception, has been a joy to watch as Tanzania touches their hearts. This was our first day with Charles Rateliff of Arkansas. Watching him with the children at Help for Maasai was all it took to know he was a man of God with a compassionate heart.

These little girls held his hands and made him fell welcome in their home. I know, without a doubt, it was his loving spirit that drew them.

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HALE of a Trip--Stops Along the Way

Still in our first day of project visits, we traveled to Wari Secondary School, also in Machame. This is a community-supported secondary school. Omega teams which have worked here contributed to the maintenance of the school by painting and landscaping.

Then we headed into USA River to meet the orphan girls living in the Help for Maasai home. We were entertained by their tribal singing and joyous laughter.

Many wanted to go on with us. Help for Maasai is doing some amazing work with the precious young ladies.

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HALE of a Trip-Back to the Beginning

Imagine the beauty and peacefulness of waking at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro. It was an unbelieveable sight as the sun rose on the world famous mountain, highest in all of Africa. We spent the night at a hostel in Moshi with plans to travel to Machame, a village in the foothills of "Kili".

OMEGA's first team visited Tanzania in October, 2005........exactly 4 years ago. A group from Aldersgate United Methodist Church, in Lubbock, Texas, was the first of many teams for OMEGA. Hosted by Jerry Hale, the group worked alongisde local members of the community to build the walls of a hostel used by the Nkweseko Church in Machame. They also painted dingy walls bright colors and through many other activities developed friendships with the people of this village. When they departed, the newly erected walls were bare brick. In the four years since the trip, the community has completed the hostel which will be open to the public in January, 2010.

Jerry and Ed standing in front of the completed hostel.

That first trip had significant impacts on the lives of those who came. The Lloyd's now live and work full-time in Tanzania, 5 of those team members have made repeated trips as team leaders or members, sharing the OMEGA vision. Three continue their support of OMEGA by serving on the Board of Directors.
Watch for before and after pictures in future blog posts.

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HALE of a Trip--The Journey Begins

For several months we have anxiously anticipated a visit from Jerry Hale (founder of Omega Mission) and Charles Rateliff of Arkansas. The purpose of this visit was for Jerry to visit some of Omega projects with which we have been associated since Omega's inception in 2005.
Ed and I drove separately so we could deliver a friend's car to him in Katesh. The route we took is a 9 hour drive to Arusha where we were to meet Jerry and Charles. There are two 2 1/2 hour stretches of paved road at the beginning and end of the trip.
I guess Ed wanted to make good use of the time on pavement and got a little overzealous. Yes, that's him on the right getting "written up" and making a contribution to the police force of the Dodoma Region.
They wouldn't take a Bible this time.

The road we traveled is under construction with plans for eventual paving and is heavily traveled by large trucks. When the road narrowed down, passing through Manyone, it was a little congested and sometimes a tight squeeze.

Some trucks were a little tall and this helpful young man held up the electrical lines for the trucks to pass under. Guess the electricity was off on this day.

We finally made it to roads not so frequently traveled by the larger vehicles, but even those roads presented a different set of obstacles.

Eventually, we arrived in Arusha and retrieved our visitors from the airport late that night.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Weather.......Or Not

One of the things I miss about Lubbock is the amazing skies and seasons. Sunrises....sunsets.....storms.....clear days...leaves turning...trees budding.....thunder storms......sweltering summer days....and icy cold winters. They are all just amazing.
In Tanzania we have "rainy" and "dry" seasons, but there are times of the year when the sun is at a certain angle, for an instant, I think : "that feels like fall".....or like a " spring afternoon".
We are returning to Texas for a visit in a few days and I am looking forward to the fragrance and sites of fall.

Lest I forget.............there are days like this..

This is a dust storm....not a snow storm.

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Friday, October 2, 2009

Fine Dining--At It's Best

When we are working in villages, there is often not many choices of places to grab a bite to eat. Personally, I would be happier if we just carried a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter, but Ed likes the diversity of the places we have tried. The menu however, rarely varies. Sometimes you have to find a "mama" to cook for you.

We like dining "on the patio"..........

But if there is no patio available......

And then there is "fast food".............

They cook it while you wait............and you can eat it on the go.

Gratefully, neither of us has been sick.........................I still prefer peanut butter.

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