The first week of our trip to Tanzania we had pretty consistent internet access, so I was able to post my journal entries almost daily. The second week, however, we were away from electricity, internet, and most modern conveniences, so I was unable to update you all on the details of our trip. Now that I'm back in the States and sort of adjusted back to normal life, I am finally getting around to posting all of these entries. Here are my journal entries from our second week in Africa, where we were primarily traveling and going on safari. I hope you enjoy reading about our incredible adventure.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Yesterday started off normal and uneventful, but ended with a bang. We didn't have much scheduled yesterday, but we ended up dead tired by bedtime anyway. We had breakfast at Mama Pendo's hour, which was really good. Mama Pendo is the moth of the Pendo that we know well from Seattle, who is married to Kedmon. We first met Mama Pendo in Seattle a year ago, so it was good to see her again and meet her husband.Our next scheduled activity wasn't until late afternoon, so we came home and hung out for quite a while. It was really great to have some in-depth conversation with our great friends. We miss them so much and can't wait to have them back in Seattle in a few months.
After a few hours at home we headed back to the church for a concert by all the choirs from the church. Music is a huge part of the culture here, so this one church has 5 different choirs. Some of them just sing, while some play drums and other instruments. Some of them play and sing more modern music, while some only perform the traditional music of the Gogo people. The music was so amazing, something I will never forget. It was truly a worshipful experience to hear their music. I captured a lot of it on video, in hopes of never forgetting.
In the middle of the last group performing, something crazy took place. There is another girl named Nicole living with Brian and Nicole for a little while until she gets her VISA to re-enter Zimbabwe, where she has been living. She woke up feeling awful yesterday, so had been at home sleeping. She wanted to see the music so she came a little late to the concert, but got up to leave because she wasn't feeling well. When she got outside she started getting dizzy and then passed out. Within seconds the concert had stopped and the crowd had rushed out to see if she was okay. Eventually we took her to the hospital where she got an IV and was tested for Malaria. Fortunately she tested negative and was able to come home and not stay in the hospital overnight. By the time we all got home, we were exhausted and went right to bed. While the evening didn't quite end the way we planned, all-in-all it was a great day with great food, great music, and great friends.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Yesterday was probably that best day we've had here in Chamwino. We started out with breakfast at Pastor Numbella's house. He was the man who translated my sermon, and has been very kind to us on our trip, so it was great to see his home and meet some of his kids and his wife. They have 10 kids; 8 boys and 2 girls. I am continually amazed at the generosity of the people here, as many of them have very little money but provide a feast for their guests. I am truly humbled.
After breakfast we went to the primary school for a short time to see how the schools operate. The classroom we visited, Mwalimu (teacher) Nora's class, had about 75 students in one room, all sitting on a concrete floor, with one teacher. A little different from America. The students sang for us and asked us questions about ourselves and America.
We then went back to Brian and Nicole's house for lunch. On the way, Brian and Nasson stopped by the hospital to pay the bill for Nicole's time there, her IVs, and the medicine they gave her. Altogether that came out to 7,500 shillings, which is less than $7 in USD. Unreal how inexpensive it was, or how expensive our medical care is in the States.
At 4pm we were scheduled to hear one more music group at the church, a traditional Gogo group with full Gogo attire and traditional instruments like a Gogo guitar, a zeze (violin-ish), and a marimba. Before the concert, Mandy had a short music lesson with Nasson. He is very talented at music, but has no formal training and cannot read music. If he could, he would be able to teach his choir many more songs than he can now. The concert was AMAZING! Their song and dance was spectacular. Afterwards, Mandy and I sang a few songs for them, which they really appreciated. Then, we spontaneously began dancing with the musicians as they continued to play and sing and dance more informally. It was so fun to try to keep up with the dancers. They kept changing their styles so we would get to try dancing to each style they use. So fun.
Last night we had a really special dinner at Pastor Daniel's house, with all the elders from the church. They presented us with some gifts, shared some beautiful words of thankfulness for us visiting, and invited us to share words with them. It was a very special time, a night I will never forget. I will definitely miss the people here when we leave today. I will especially miss Nasson. He has been so kind to us and has a fun, infectious personality. He has taken time away from his other responsibilities to be with us all week, and its hasn't gone unnoticed. Thank you for everything, my friend. We are leaving for Arusha later today, the start of our safari. We will stay in Morogoro tonight, Arusha tomorrow night, and start our safari on Sunday.