Monthly Archives: April 2016

TZ 2016 ….GO

I always stay up too late the night before I leave on a big trip.  It was the same last night.  There is always one more thing to find and pack, books to buy for my kindle while I still have good wi-fi service, a dish to wash, or even a blog post to write and post.  The alarm went off after achieving about 4 and half hours sleep.  I didn’t register it at first.  It was still dark out, and recently it has been quite light when it is time to get up.


The car arrived right on schedule, and after a final pat to each of the cats, who I am sure will take excellent care of the house while we’re gone (no they won’t, but Chris will) we got all four bags plus backpacks loaded into the car and headed south to JFK airport.  Bill had made some coffee with freshly roasted beans and found some disposable “go” cups, so we sat like royalty in the back of the car, sipping our morning Java.


Bill was offered a deal for an upgrade when he went online to check us in, so dropping off luggage and going through security was a breeze.  And we’ll get to sit upstairs with oodles of leg room in the Air Bus between NYC and Dubai.


We are now relaxing in a lounge, enjoying a little breakfast and catching up on the communications we didn’t have time for in the rush of the last few days.


I ask your prayers for our safe travel and also for myself and our family as we deal with some not-unexpected news that came as we drove to the airport.  In the mean time, God is good. Munga ni mwema wakati wote!

TZ 2016 ….Ready To…..

The traveler’s collary to Parkenson’s Law (Work expands to fill the time allocated for its completion) is that the contents of your luggage will expand to overfill either the volume of said luggage or your weight allowance… Or maybe both.  Last year we had so much technology to bring that we ended up buying a fourth LL Bean rolling duffle and extra paying to ship a fifth piece of luggage to Dar Es Salaam.  (Our fifth piece of luggage was, as always Bill’s large guitar “coffin” – everyone we visit overseas always expects him to bring it.).  It got really exciting when we added five flat screen monitors and a box of cat-5 cable when we got to Dar Es Salaam.  Through a minor miricle we were able to ship most of it to Kigoma at freight prices, but that is not an option for this year.


This year, between the weight of the tablets we are bringing and the domestic items I am bringing for the guest hostel, we thought  that we would again need to bring the fourth duffle.  We don’t…just.  The duffles have room to spare, but each weighs almost exactly 50 lbs.  The guitar case weighs less than that (around 37 lbs) despite bulging with most of Bill’s clothes, in addition to the guitar.  This is a neat trick that removes extra weight from the other bags and provides extra padding for the guitar.  It’s also a a bit of a gamble as TSA almost ALWAYS decides that they need to open and inspect the guitar case, and they are not usually very good about re-packing the clothes neatly enough for the case to be able to close with out gaps….at least the trip home should be a lot lighter:  we’ll be down at least 75 pounds in technology and domestic articles. We’ll also be down one bag:  the smallest duffle will travel home inside on of the other two duffles.


Work did indeed expand to fill the time allocated for it, but tasks have been handed off to the capable hands of co-workers for the next two weeks and the work laptop has been shut down.  Bills have been paid, itineraries sent out, data and cell plans purchased and we’ve had our traditional night before we leave dinner and check-in with our nephew/cat/house sitter.  Time to get some rest.  The car will be here to pick us up very early in the morning…..

TZ 2016 – Getting…

Parkinson’s Law states that “work expands to fill the time allowed for it’s completion.”  As we get ready to once again travel to “our other home” in Kasulu, Tanzania, I find that to be, as always, true.  There is always a certain amount of preperation involved when getting ready to travel far from home, but when that travel also involves a mission aspect, it is not just a case of reservations, travel paper work and the travel-related innoculations/medications that are needed, but also preparation for our time “on the ground”.  There never seems to be enough time to get all of the preperation done along with all of the other tasks that need to happen before leaving work for over two weeks and making sure the house is in decent condition for our house-cat-sitter/nephew (Thank you, Chris!)


Our ministry preperation this year was on two fronts.

On the technical side, Bill is bringing 20 cellular equipped tablets in cases that will allow for better communications between the diocese and the district directors in the more distant areas of the diocese.  Some form of communication like this has been a need expressed by the Bishop for a number of years. The original desire was for laptops with cellular modems.  In the intervening years, the tablet technology has improved so much, and Bill has been able to find vendors that can provide the tablets for reasonable costs that this was the way to go.  An additional benefit is that tablets use much less power and that battery life is much better than for a laptop. There is also to lack of moving parts that make these the best technology for an area with no electrical infrastructure and major dust issues six months of the year.  We were blessed to get funding for this project from a grant from the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, with additional funds from our church, St. Paul’s, Brookfield.


On the domestic side, “our” rooms in the DWT Guest Hostel that we have been

helping to fund as a personal project are finally ready!  We will be the first guests.  We will be decorating and furnishing these rooms, and as a step towards that, I have been making curtains for the windows from fabric that I brought back from previous trips, and am also bringing some bedding and a few plates and bowls to leave for future guests to enjoy.  


Call us “serial missionaries”.  Rather  than doing a single short-term mission, we return to the same community every year, where we have built long-term relationships.  Each year we are able to continue our mission from the year before, returning on our next trip with the technology and resources that is needed to further the work of the diocese and that is not easily available in Tanzania.  And each year we are able to renew our friendships and see what God has been up to in Kasulu.  God is Good!