Sunday, September 9, 2012

Morogoro: Part 1

We have arrived safely in Morogoro, Tanzania! Actually we arrived safely on Friday, but this is the first day we have had access to internetJ

Overall, our trip went very smoothly. Our flight to Dallas on Tuesday was delayed by two hours, but we were able to relax with Linda’s parents that night and run many errands on Wednesday before our evening flight.

Dallas to London-- Our flight from Dallas to London actually felt relatively short (only 8 hours). We sat next Blanca, a woman from Mexico who was heading for France for friend’s wedding. On the far side of our row was Michael, who with his wife and three children (sitting in front of us) was moving to Glascow, Scotland. He will be getting his PHD in history there, writing about how Scottish Presbyterianism influenced American Colonialism and the American Revolution. They were both wonderful companions during the flight and made the journey seem shorter. Eric and I both got 3-4 hours of sleep that night. In the “morning”, Michael shared with us that he had experienced some insomnia during the “night”, so while he had walked the length of the plane, he had prayed for us and our work in Tanzania. We continue to be amazed by the beautiful encouraging people God puts in our lives!

10 hrs in London— One of Linda’s friends from her Social Work program now works in London so he had given us detailed directions about how to get around in London (Thanks Daniel!) When we arrived in London, we paid to have our carry-on luggage stored and took the underground into Central London. Everything in London was far more expensive than we expected, so we decided to go the cheapest route. We bought sandwiches at a local store and had an outdoor picnic in Trafulgar Square where a big screen was set up to show the Para-Olympics (side note: the U.S. is totally missing out by not broadcasting the Para-Olympics. It’s truly a shame and we should all write NBC. While we had lunch, we watched a former U.S. soldier who had lost his eyes in Afghanistan which a gold medal in swimming. It was awesome!) We then spent the rest of the afternoon touring the National Gallery (free) and seeing the outside (the free part) of Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, the Royal Guards, Parliament, etc. Walking around helped us stay awake for most of the day, though we did take a brief nap in one of the parks. Finally, we headed back to the airport.

London to Dar Es Salaam— The next flight felt much longer even though it wasn’t that much longer (10 hrs). We were seated in a two-person row on a half-empty plane, so we did have a little more space to spread out. However, even though were both tired, Linda had a lot of trouble sleeping thanks to her back. She caught up on movies instead.

Dar Es Salaam to Morogoro— Thankfully all our luggage made it safely to Dar! J In Dar Es Salaam we were picked up by Abdallah, the same driver who drove us back in February. Instead of having to catch a bus to Morogoro, he drove us and all our luggage himself. We both slept some during the 3 hr trip, but Linda’s back was ready for a bed by the end.

Since arriving in Morogoro— We have now moved into our dormitory. All our meals are provided and have thus far been very tasty. On Friday, we caught a lecture with the other students on Tanzanian beliefs about the spirit world. We also unpacked and went to bed right after dinner. We were beyond exhausted!

On Saturday, we went into town to get some cash and buy a new SIM card for our phone (our one from February didn’t work). What we thought would be a 1 hr trip turned into a 4 hr trip since we were in a car full of people all getting supplies (a good example of “African time”). Saturday afternoon we rested, called our parents, and started getting to know our classmates. There is one family from Zambia and a girl from Korea who have been boarding here for weeks. The rest of the boarders, like us, arrived this weekend. There is only one other American girl and the rest (about 25 students) are from Germany. So the dormitories are full of languages we don’t understandJ. However, everyone’s English is also fairly good and we heard there are more American students living in town who take classes during the day.

On Sunday, we went to the English service at 7am and then went to the Swahili service at 8:30. We figured we should start becoming accustomed to the sound of Swahili. Plus the choir at the Swahili service was spectacular. We even knew a few songs from our Valpo days (Thank you Dr. Brugh!). This afternoon we again rested (jet lag is brutal) and went on a tour of the campus with the other students. We also were able to finally access internet cards. We have to buy them an hour at a time, and they only had 2 hours available tonight. Hopefully we’ll get more tomorrow because the internet here is incredibly slow.

So there’s your extended update! I will try to keep the rest of them shorter, but we’ve had a lot of time on our hands the last 2 days which gave us a chance to document our journey in detail. Tomorrow we begin classes so we’ll have less free time. Thanks for reading and for all of your prayers on our behalf!!

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