Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Morogoro: Part 3

Some things haven’t changed since our last post, and some things have.

We are still eagerly plugging away at learning Swahili, and it is still tough! We still regularly enjoy walks to stretch our legs after sitting all day. We still enjoy the gorgeous views. We still dread riding in a packed daladala to go into town. And we still have a similar schedule to the one previously mentioned.

So what has changed?

Different Sense of Community-  When the German students left, the number of boarders dramatically decreased. We genuinely miss their energy and enthusiasm for life, as well as all the field trips we experienced while they were here. Yet, we are also enjoying this new era in a smaller, more intimate community. All the boarders now sit at the same large table during meals. We spend weekend evenings playing games and watching movies together. We will often sit and talk even after we have finished our meals or snacks. Two of our favorite boarders are little Yasmin (age 3) and Yara (age 2). They remind us of our nieces and nephew (miss you three!). Yasmin and Yara tend to seek us out at meals. Yasmin is especially fond of Eric who lets her play with his iTouch after he has finished eating. Last night she ran to him as soon as she saw him heading towards the dining hall. It was precious!

Visits to the Orphanage- Since the last post, we have also begun visiting the local orphanage every Saturday. Our first trip was on Linda’s birthday, and in one visit, we were hooked :-) Emily, one of our friends from the States, joins us every week. We love playing ball with, wrestling with, cuddling and reading to the kids.

Internet- We finally got tired of paying by the hour for the school’s slow internet. The final straw was when we couldn’t manage to download Skype to Linda’s computer. We kept getting kicked off at the end of the hour, and we would have to start all over again.
Therefore, we went to town and bought an Airtel USB internet stick. It uses a cell phone signal to connect us to internet. It has been vastly better consistency and speed-wise, at least on Linda’s computer. Eric’s computer still doesn’t like to connect to the internet here, and we aren’t sure why. Even on Linda’s computer, we still have moments when we are reminded we are in Africa (i.e. we want to throw the computer out the window). Yet, we are thankful that we can now use Skype to talk with family and friends (audio-only).

Kiswahili Worship Services- We’ve attended a few more worship services in Kiswahili. One was the graduation of the Form 4 students (seniors) at the Secondary School on campus. We didn’t stay for the graduation, since the worship service itself was already 2.5 hours long and numerous family members were waiting outside to get in. While we didn’t understand most of what was going on, we LOVED the music because each grade formed their own choir, the teachers formed a choir, and there was a visiting choir. In addition, it seems like every time we sing we are part of a choir, because the entire congregation breaks into harmony.

Last week, we were also invited to a Thanksgiving service at another local Lutheran Church. That was quite the cultural experience! I think I will save the details for a later post.

The Weather- We are now hitting the end of dry season, and this has been an especially dry time across Tanzania. What does this mean? We have seen a lot of people carting water by bicycle. Our own water access has also been sporadic. We still have access to clean drinking water thanks to the kitchen staff. However, some days we don’t have warm water for showers, and some days we aren’t able to use the showers at all (all that comes out of them is watery mud). On those days, the staff provides us with buckets of water, so we can at least take a bucket shower. Since some of Tanzania’s electricity comes from hydro-electric power, the lack of water has also affected our electricity. So far we’ve always had lights at night, but sometimes it’s not available during the day (i.e. we can’t use the fan we bought during the heat of the afternoon.) We are praying for good rains during the rainy season (starting the end of October), because we know how much the farmers need it and we like warm showers :-)

So that’s the news from here! We hope and pray you all are well, and always enjoy hearing from you.

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