Monthly Archives: April 2013

Sounds of Kasulu–Tuesday April 30th

It’s still dark out, 5:00 am and the Islamic call to prayer “floats” up the hill from the Mosque.  I say “floats” in quotes because sometimes it is quite off-key and can sound quite angry.  Other times it is quite tuneful and just a part of the Tanzanian environment.  The first morning we were here it was on the angry side and Shaw, who was already awake, took the Islamic call to prayer as a call for him to pray the Lord’s Prayer.  He shared that with us that t morning and ever since, we taken the the mosque’s calls to prayer as a reminder to pray ourselves.  Why should it only be the Muslims who pray five times a day when we are called to pray constantly?

It is still dark.  Perhaps it will be a sleepy rooster that will next sound, or perhaps it will be the local dog chorus.  While dogs are kept close tied and I never see them (no vets and rabies shots around here) there is no doubt that they are around as the chorus travels from the area on one side of the compound to the other.

The birdsong starts a little after 6:00 am.  (The sun comes up around 7:15 here, and it comes up suddenly…first a deep twilight and then, in a matter of minutes, it is light.)  A warble outside the window from the garden.  Chirps from the trees a little further away.  Still a different warble off to the left.  There are some birds that we have come to recognize by birdsong alone, we don’t know what they look like so we name them after their song.  There is the “Pan Flute Bird”.  It sounds just like a Pan Flute.  widowbirdWe enjoyed it’s song many times on past trips but it seems to have deserted the compound this year.  We did hear it off in the distance when we took our walk on Sunday and were at the top of the hill.  Bill says the the Pan Flute Bird has abandoned the Anglicans for the Roman Catholics!

Another bird with a distinctive call is the “Harrigan Bird”.  It’s song repeats the melody of the part of the chorus of “Harrigan, that’s me!” that goes “It’s a name that a shame”.  It repeats it over and over again, but never finishes the song which can drive us a bit crazy.

As far as I know, the bird on the left is NOT a “Harrigan bird” or a “Pan Flute bird” (nor is the picture one that we took) but we did see one like it on our Sunday drive.  The tail is fantastic.  Google identifies  it as a widowbird from South Africa, but we saw a bird not unlike it (without the orange on the wings) when we took our walk on Sunday.

Kasulu also has crows.  They are not all black like North American crows but have white “shoulders” like the birds in the Windex commercials.  They have loud raucous crow calls, with a Tanzanian twist.  They sound rather like our elderly short-haired Oriental cat, Woody, when he announces that he is in the room and it’s time for dinner.

As the people awake, so does the sound of children, music and conversation.  Occasionally there is the soundd of a truck, car or motorcycle engine and the honk of a horn to warn folks to get off to the side of the road.  But always the sound of industry, children yelling, people talking , a choir practicing, often the sound of a loud broadcast, and five times a day or course, the sounds from the mosque.  Roosters chime in throughout the day, as is their nature.  Windows are open at all times and there is no escaping the realization that you are surrounded with many people.

The bird song dies down at dusk to be replaced by the whirring of insects.  If we are lucky we will NOT hear the high pitched whine of a female malaria mosquito looking for dinner.  The human sounds continue until long after dark, and if it is a weekend night, it is not unusual to hear to loud music of a party going until 2:00 in the morning, accompanied by an occasional dog chorus.

Bill has just about finished up the major work at the Bible College.  Today we switched over to the new server,have  got TTLC (Tanzanian Telephone) to double the DSL speed, and connected the printer and copier to the network. The new pc in the staff lounge needs to be rebuilt in order to talk to the printers and Bill plans to recondition the old server so that it can serve as a backup.  We have been wonderfully blessed in how well the work is going.

I’m Becoming a Hobbit–Monday April 29th

Cathy again:

After the weekend “off”, Bill wanted to get an early start on the technology work he had lined up at the Bible College today, so he had Daudi pick him up right after we attended morning devotions with the Diocesan staff.  Shaw and I stayed behind to have breakfast with the Bishop. (First Breakfast).  We were then going to meet with the Bishop, but first the Bishop needed to go to the Cathedral to do a short study with the Cathedral Vestry, who were attending a seminar today.

We got to the Cathedral and I was going to go over to the Bible College (the Cathedral campus backs up to the Bible College campus) but was told no, we must join the Bishop and a few of the Cathedral staff for Chai.  Chai was real chai, already made with milk and sugar, chapatti and chicken soup.  (Second Breakfast.)  I then joined Shaw and the Bishop to give greetings to the vestry.  After giving greetings, I finally was able to go over to the Bible College (Shaw stayed with the Bishop; he was going to show the Bishop in more detail the  the on-line training he is offering to the Bible College).

I got to work on catching up on my blogs around 10:35 and helped out Bill with configuring some of the virtual work stations on the new server we are installing.  After a while, I indulged in some of the tea and cookies they had waiting for us in the Internet Room.  (Elevensies…or there about.)DSC00662

At 1:00 pm we went over to Emmanuel Bwatta’s house for a lovely lunch of rice, fried potato chips, beans, stewed beef and avocado  slices (still in the rind), accompanied by soda, juice, or water and bananas. (Lunch.  Dinner?)

More tea or coffee and cookies mid-afternoon at the Bible College, then back to the compound for showers at the Sammons (British Missionaries here for two years with some very clever solutions to living conditions in Kasulu.  Follow this link for a lesson in dealing with water or the lack thereof in the compound ).  Daudi picked us up for dinner at Pastor Manyaga’s house.  We have enjoyed his hospitality on every trip that we have made to Kasulu.

One thing I can not emphasize enough:  the hospitality of the people of this country.  Unless we ask specifically to only be served one meat dish (preferably beef) we will be served both chicken and beef.  Meat is not a normal part of the average Tanzanian’s diet and chicken is the most expensive, special meat, beef is less expensive.  It’s rather as if everyone is serving us a crown roast everyday.  And it would be very rude not to eat at least a little of most of what is offered.

On the work front, Bill finished all of the new server configuration (I helped with a little of the more mundane boring parts).  He also set up two new work stations to replace the original “pc1” and “pc2” we installed 6 years ago to handle tasks (like printing) that could not be done through the thin clients and arranged for power to be brought to a couple of spots for the new computer for the Staff Room/Teachers Lounge and the wireless routers that will assure that the computer network is available everywhere in the Bible College compound.

DSC00670Shaw Mudge, an old friend and missionary from SAMS who is traveling with us also has been making progress, meeting with the Bishop and starting to work with teachers at the Bible College who will be on-the-ground advisors for the on-line seminary training he is offering as an supplement to the Bible College curriculum. He is also spending time in the library exploring the resources here so that he knows what is available to the students, and to try to learn how Swahili tables, etc. are presented.  Here he is taking pictures of resources for future reference purposes.  He plans to adapt the curriculum he has already designed to better meet Tanzanian needs.

We came back from dinner to find that Winifred, our house lady had cleaned our very muddy shoes from our Sunday hike.  Thank you, Winifred!  And an early night to bed after a full day.

Three Churches and the Three Little Pigs–Saturday and Sunday April 27 – 28

Continuing with the catch-up posts  (by the way, this is Cathy.  Neither Bill or I can remember my login on this computer.):

We were scheduled to NOT work at the Kasulu Bible College Saturday.  Our schedule read “Relaxing and Visit Kusula Market”  which had been expanded to visit a few churches…and to visit our God Child, Frank, who at the age of 5 years is at boarding school with his older brother Jonathan.  The boarding school is not very far away but normal visiting with parents is limited.  Not realizing that Franky was away at school I had brought him some colored pencils, tracing paper and a coloring paper, which we gave to Frank during a short visit at the school.

After a wander through the market – hot and busy as it always is on a Saturday – we started our church tour. 

First we went to Murusi Parish, a church that we had visited for a confirmation service the last time we were here.  The area has been growing so a second parish, Marusi B has been started.  The parish is very new  DSCN0468and has a roof, but not much else.  If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you can see that the the walls are made of reed mats.  Inside the walls are lined with blue tarps, and the floor is dirt.  A good stiff wind would blow this church down quite quickly at home.  It is actually a good thing that the church is of a rather temporary nature as the government has said that the church has to move (there is a lot of “no one is here let me make my house here” kinds of building going on in this area, including the church).  The parish has a plot of land that it is looking to buy and will move the church there. 

As always, the pastor’s wife insisted on providing us with a meal.  She only had short notice but still managed to provide us with bread, fried chicken and sodas.

After lunch with the Bishop we spent the afternoon in our house resting (I think that I, at least, am still dealing a bit with jet lag, or at least the lack of sleep caused by jet lag) and preparing for Sunday.  Shaw worked on his sermon and Bill and I worked on two songs to share if requested.  One was “Sing for Joy” which Bill did with a Swahili chorus the first time he came and is kind of a standard for him to do. The other is much newer, “Forever Reign”.  There is a bridge in the song that goes

“My heart will sing no other name

Jesus, Jesus”

Which with the help of a translation program and after consulting with with Daudi we translated to:

Myo wangu utaimba

Yesu, Yesu

(Literally, “My heart will sing Jesus, Jesus.”  There are so many syllables in Swahili that you often have to simplify phrases for them to fit to music written for English lyrics.)

StAndrews1a   Sunday morning started (dim and) early with the 6:30 service at St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Kasulu.  Shaw preached, Bill and I sang “Forever Reign” with the congregation doing a good job on the chorus.  And of course, the Kasulu Cathedral Choir sang.  It was communion Sunday, but we were led into the vesting room for tea (breakfast) of chapatti, chicken, and what some young ladies who traveled with us once named “donuts of love”  (I can never remember the Swahili word for this food.)  

Daudi picked us up in the KBC 4 by 4 and we drove IMG_1326out to the Mvilamvya Church.  This church was started only last July by members of the Bible College and originally met under trees.  It now has a roof and the foundation for the raised alter area and alter rail has been poured.  As the you can see, the sides of the church are split logs, lined inside with reed mats.  The floor is, or course, dirt (poring a floor and installing something in the window openings are the last parts of church construction here.) Their plan is to replace the log walls with bricks after they have paid off their current debts.

The pastor’s wife and friends treated us to a generous lunch and we returned to our house to indulge in liturgical naps.  Cannon Helen stopped by to invite us in joining them on a walk of the last part of the stations of the cross that occur on the access road built to support the Kasulu Hospital Hydro Electric Plant.  The view from the top of the hill was lovely, although the weather was misty (we all walked with umbrellas) and our shoes got caked with mud.  Dinner was at Daudi and Olivia’s house.  The house seemed so quiet with all of the children off at school.  Last time we were there all the children were home on Christmas break.

As I was thinking about the day I realized that over the last two days we had spent time in churches built by the three little pigs:  Murusi B with it’s reed walls, Mvilamvya with it’s log walls and finally, St Andrew’s Cathedral, built of brick.