Monthly Archives: May 2016

TZ 2016 – Coda – 5/18/2016


 We landed at JFK Airport at 8:30 EDT this morning after 22 hours of travel.  We are surprisingly un-affected by jet-lag at the moment, thanks in part, we think, to being able to upgrade to business class for the first leg of the trip home.  At this point, our duffles are unpacked and put away.  Over two weeks’ worth of junk mail has been sorted through and the third load of laundry is currently in the washer.


Shortly I will be heading to the grocery store, then taking a shower and kicking back for the rest of the day.   There are still a few trip related-tasks to do:  completing the expense report (for tax purposes) and doing a final de-brief between the two of us as the prelude to next year’s trip.  These will wait for the next few days.  And there is lot’s to share with our friends at St. Paul’s.


And I am happy to report that after two years in a row of mis-placing some critical-to-me tech (a Kindle in the seat pocket of the plane from Kigoma to Dar two years ago, and  my iPhone at our Kigoma hotel last year), I made it home with ALL my bits and pieces this year.


Looking forward to seeing all of our St. Paul’s friends this Sunday….and missing all of our DWT friends….until next year!

TZ 2016 -To Dar and on to Home… 5/17/2016

Morning view of Lake Tanganyika, with bird on a wire.

Monday, yesterday, was basically spent getting to Dar Es Salaam.  Emmanuel picked us up from the Coast View at 9:30 and dropped us off at the Kigoma Airport.  There was a wait until the Precision Air folks arrived and we’re ready to check us in for our 11:50 am departure.  As always, we had luggage overage charges, but our charges on the way out amounted to 1/5th our charges on the way in.  Tablets with covers and chargers and household goods, as limited as they were, aren’t light!  Out of curiosity, I weighed our bags this morning.  Mine is a tad over the limit for a bag for Emeriates.  Bill’s weighs 13 pounds less than mine.  Of course, mine includes the dirty laundry, which means that half of his clothes are in my bag. 

We arrived at Dar on time and checked into our hotel, the Tanzanite Executive Suites, a little before 4:00 pm.  We saw yesterday’s version of the Emeriate’s flight that we will be on today arrive as we were leaving the airport.  Theoretically, we could have flown out yesterday, but not based on the original schedule we had for our Kigoma/Dar flight, plus it’s never a good idea to try and make in-country connections here less than a day apart.  Arriving on Sunday afternoon and flying out on Monday morning is as tight as you want to make it, especially as schedules have a habit of changing.


We had a late lunch snack and a relaxing evening catching up on grade “B” movies on TV, before going back down the the hotel restaurant for a late evening dinner.  The Tanzanite Executive Suites is in the Islamic Quarter, practically right next to the mosque and is run by strict Islamic rules (no alcohol allowed on the premises; no pork served in the restaurant), but it is clean, has a decent on site restaurant, has excellent wi-fi and has a reasonable in cost.  Needless to say, we were woken up at 5:00 am by the call to prayer.



Back in Dar, the view outside one of our windows.  The City continues to grow.

I actually haven’t been sleeping too well the last few nights.  I think that it was partially the light in the rooms.  Our room in Kasulu was very dark,  but a bright light right outside our door shone through the transom all night in Kigoma and in our current hotel each room has a mosquito zapper which glows bright purple neon all night.  Pretty sure there aren’t ever any mosquitos, I’ve never heard a “zap”.


I am hoping that this sleep deprivation will lead to a least a few hours of solid sleep on the flight home.  We will be comfortable on our flight to Dubai, but it looks like a quite full flight from Dubai to New York and I don’t really sleep when I have to sit up the whole way.  Please pray for some sort of miracle so that Bill and I can get somewhat flat for part of the 13 hour leg!


This time in Tanzania has been a time apart for me.  Quite frankly, a bit of a time of denial and forgetfulness.  I haven’t really mentioned it here, but we got word that my Mom had died as we were driving to the airport to come here.  It was not unexpected, and I had my Mom’s blessing to continue my plans to come here, even though we knew that her death was imminent and had visited her the previous Tuesday for what we realized would probably be our final visit.  (She had even asked me a couple of weeks before if I wanted to be notified if she passed while we were here….of course we did!)  The celebration of her life will be sometime in July when her ashes will join my Dad’s in Buzzard’s Bay, a favorite sailing spot.  I sincerely thank my siblings for taking care of everything that needed to be taken care of immediately while I was gone.


But the fact is that I was here, and although we did not hide the fact that my Mom had died, it wasn’t something that we broadcast far and wide, and it has been easy to ignore it while I have been here.  As we get closer to coming home, it is harder to ignore.  Mourning is starting to set in.  There will be a hole in our family each time we visit the Cape and at family holidays.  We have been planning for the “new normal” for a few years now, but actually executing it is not going to be easy.  I pray especially for my brother and sister, who have been and continue to do most of the “heavy lifting” in this new normal.  And I am sad for the conversations I won’t be able to have with my Mom…


We will be checking out of our hotel soon and heading for the airport.  I don’t know if I will be updating the blog again for this trip.  If  I don’t – our trip has been a blessing and I look forward to returning to Kasulu, our friends and our “Tanzanian Timeshare” next year.


Mungu ni mwema wakati wote!  God is good, all the time! 


TZ 2016 – Friday Church Visits/Goodbye Kasulu/Sunday Worship – May 15, 2016

I hadn’t realized that I haven’t blogged since Thursday.


Friday was an extremely busy day, starting with Communion in Chapel at 7:30, a quick breakfast of coffee and bread in our hostel rooms and then leaving at 9:00 to go with the Bishop to Ruhita to install a regional Dean.  Ruhita is “off the beaten track”.  In fact the Land Cruiser had to ford a small river to get there (good news is that it is now the dry season).  Electrification has not made it out to the village, so after chai of fried bananas and chicken, we entered the church where the sound of the generator provided background “music” to the entire service.  So many places we go now are electrified that I had all but forgotten that typical sound that accompanied so many of the church services we have been to here.


The Installation of a new Dean at Ruhita.

It was a joyous service with two choirs, of course, along with Bill and myself singing twice.  As with all services of installation, the installed couple (the pastor and his wife) were presented with many gifts incuding three lovely katangas (brought down the aisle in formation like an awning and wrapped around the couple) and length of fabric for pants, a 5 gallon bucket with lid and a goat.  (And let me tell you, I was delighted to see that the goat was presented to the installed couple).  Following the gifts, we listened to the parish report, which is always given when the Bishop visits, and then the Bishop was presented with a few gifts, which included a live rooster.  (And THIS is why I was delighted that the goat went to someone else.  I was not looking forward to driving back to the compound sharing the back of the Land Cruiser with a goat!). We went back to the pastor’s house for another meal (rice, potatoes and chicken with some fruit this time) and there was a big to-do as the installed Dean’s wife was carried into the house wearing a new dress of a pretty pink pattern with gold sparkles…a fabric that I had seen several other parish leaders wearing.


The Ruhita church will be opened during the Jubilee in June.  Bill had visited it before in 2008 when he was here with our daughter, Abbie, for one of the choir camps.  Abbie took some beautiful pictures of the building as it was then:  the walls standing open to the sky, grass and other plants growing in the floor space.  It is good to see the building complete with roof and floor.


We left Ruhita a little before 2:00 pm, and made a “small” detour further up the road towards Mwanza to another church that is under construction that they hope to be able to dedicate during the Jubilee.  This church was also “off the beaten track”.  In fact we had to go through a high stand of grass to get to where we would park.  After a 10 – 15 minute consultation, it was back on the road to the the compound.


Bill took a 20 minute “power nap” while a finalized finances with Cannon Wilson Mafumbi and then it was in to our borrowed car to pick up Emmanual Bwatta to go to a Bible Study at a new church new the center of Kasulu called “Bethany”.  Again two choirs sang, we sang and then Bill taught.  As he’d did last week, he taught on Ephesians 2:1 – 10.  There is always a time for questions after a Bible Study;  Bwatta fielded those.  We sang again, the “Youth” choir sang again and the Mother’s choir was getting ready to sing again but was having trouble getting their act together.  We were visibly tired, so Bwatta and the Paster called the service to an end. We enjoyed dinner in the Pastor’s house and made it back to the compound as the sun was setting.


Bishop Makaya and his wife Edita came over for a short while to have tea and a visit with us.  Edita was suffering from a bad headache and we were very tired, so they soon left and went to bed – our last night in Kasulu.

Our Kitchen in our “Tanzanian Timeshare”


Saturday morning, after a breakfast where we tried valiantly to use up a lot of the eggs that Cannon Wilson had brought us earlier in the week, Bill headed down to LTTC to go over the procedure that will need to be followed when the new cellular modem arrives.  I stayed in the compound to start packing us up and put our “Tanzanian Timeshare” to bed until the next guests arrive.  Our sheets were washed and hung on the back fence to dry by our housekeeper.  I sorted through the American food we had brought and we’re leaving for the next guests and the food that would not last and needed to be given away.  I packed my duffle and got Bill’s clothes folded so that he could pack them when her returned.  The sheets were dry (execept for the corners of the fitted sheet I had brought, which were still damp), folded and stored in the wardrobe shortly after Bill returned from LTTC.  We said good-bye to our housekeeper and made a final meal of egg-drop sautéed onion and tomatoe with shrimp ramon noodles.  Two more of those eggs used up and it was surprisingly good.  Did the dishes, turned off the gas, unplugged the mini-fridge, closed the Windows and the curtains (as much to prevent the sun fading them in uneven streaks as for privacy).  The Bible College Land Cruiser arrived and it was time to load up and lock the door.


The road out of Kasulu.

Last night and tonight were spent in Kigoma at the Coast View Hotel, that they now style as a resort (where’s the pool?  If it’s a resort shouldn’t there be a pool?).  Dinner was late – which turned out to be a blessing – and the menu limited as they had no beef and about 2/3rd of the menu is beef-based.


This morning started early before we could even get coffee at the hotel.  Pastor Calibu picked us up for a 7:30 service at St. Michael’s.  It was morning prayer.  There were three choirs, we sang twice and Bill preached with Pastor Calibu translating.  The service ran very long.  There was a fund-raiser for doing more work on their conference center and everyone who came up to make a contribution got a few minutes to say something.  The initial large contributors got to sit up front and said a LOT.  These folks are NOT Mic shy!  We got out after noon, and needless to say, were VERY Hungary.  Fortunately, they had the traditional church Sunday morning breakfast laid on for us and various elders of the church:  excellent chicken soup, japati, sliced cucumbers, cooked bananas, if we wanted them and chai.  Fulfilled in more ways than one, we are back at the Coast View, enjoying the afternoon breeze and the view of Lake Tanganyika.