Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Shannon and Collin's trip to Tanzania-a future in Mwanza

We spent a bit of our time in Mwanza doing a couple of things in preparation for the ministy's future in Mwanza. One afternoon we looked at several homes that were for rent. We looked at them to get an idea of what kind of housing is out there for our family when we arrive. The plan at this point is that our family will live in a rental until our living quarters are built on the ministry compound. I discovered that it will be a much diferent lifestyle than we are currently in. We will have running water but we will need to boil it to be able to drink it. As of now, the electricity in Mwanza is only on from 6PM to 6AM. The reason for this is because thier electricity is generated by hydropower. With the awful drought in East Africa right now, electricity is a precious commodity. This also means that most of our cooking will be done over an open fire. Nearly all homes in Mwanza have an outdoor kitchen even if they have an indoor one for this exact reason. When Christine was there two years ago they had electricity 24 hours per day so this is a situation that could change-for the better or the worse. Refrigeration is, of course, also an issue. No doubt our home will be much smaller than we are used to but overall I thought there were some nice homes available. Unfortunately, we discovered that the rent increased DRAMATICALLY when they found out it was white Americans looking. I know that we will find one that will work when we get there.

We also took a day to go look at land that might work for the ministry compound. As I stated earlier, the land we originally had in mind was too near a military base. The government did not approve of foreigners being that close to the base, understandably. We drove on a winding bumpy road for several miles. We then parked and were led through a small village. As we left the village and crested a hill we knew this was it.
We stood on the hill looking out over a 30+ acre valley nestled amongst hills on all sides. Scattered here and there on the property were mango trees. Mango trees are beautiful as they are this big perfectly round crown of leaves on top of a straight trunk. Several of us on the team truly felt that this was the place that God had chosen as soon as we saw it. Although we had driven several miles to get to it, the city of Mwanza actually lies just on the other side of the hills on one end. We will be within walking distance of the city for those working with us or needing what the ministry has to offer. The ministy's long-term vision is for an orphanage, a small clinic, a radio station, a school and a church and anything else that God leads. There are no squatters living on the land currently although part of it was being farmed. In Tanzania the government owns the land. In order to buy it, we need to be working with a native Tanzanian who will legally own it. We need to pay off anyone currently using the land and then pay the government to survey it. With no one living on it that makes it much easier as we only need to work with those farming on it. Pastor Richard is right now working on getting this to happen for the ministry.(And yippee! Our first attempt at posting a picture worked! Stay tuned as we may try to go add some in earlier posts over the next few days.)

Overall the team was pleased with what we had found in regards to the future there. Wayne and Rev Debra believe that Tanzania will be the African home base of the ministry as they travel to the other Eastern Africa countries of Burundi, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and more. It is likely that Christine and I will do a lot of traveling with the ministry when they come over as well. We are looking forward to seeing and meeting more of the wonderful land and people of East Africa.

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