Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tanzania Trip-May 2009-Part 3

Friday May 22nd
Today Pastor Richard, Wayne, Shannon and myself made one more trip across the channel on the ferry and back. We traveled out to Kamanga village to take some pictures and video of children in the area. The purpose was to help with fundraising as end Time Glory begins to move into the process of raising the money that is needed to begin construction of Phase 1. In Tanzania, especially in the poorer areas and small villages there are a great many who do not want their photos taken. They believe we are taking the photos with an intention to sell them and make money off of them. Having Pastor Richard with us was a great help as he was able to explain to the villagers what our intentions were. We also walked out to visit the village chairman who has been a great help in gaining the villagers support of our project. While there, a woman, maybe his wife, brought out a large feed sack full of vegetables she had harvested from the ministry property. There was maize, sweet potatoes and some kind of nut grown underground. We brought the harvest back to Mwanza where Gertrude prepared the different items for us to try. That evening, at Pastor Richard and Gertrude's home, in addition to the meal, we had maize. The maize is prepared either by boiling it or by grilling it. Boiling softens it some but leaves it quite chewy and it tastes nothing like sweet corn here. Grilling it leaves the kernels quite crunchy and I didn't prefer it but was able to eat it. The sweet potatoes were yummy and like nothing I've ever had here. They looked like a regular white potato looks here and are prepared by boiling. We ate them with butter but they tasted like we had also sprinkled sugar on them. The nuts, that Pastor Richard could not come up with an English word for and none of us recognized, were also prepared by boiling. Then we peeled the shell off and popped them in our mouths. They tasted a bit like a regular potato to me and it seems like they eat them like popcorn over there. Gertrude is a great cook and meals in her home are always a treat.

Saturday May 23rd
Today was the day of the big presentation given by the Engineering Ministries International team members to End Time Glory Ministries representatives. We all arrived upstairs in the hotel just before 10. In attendance were Wayne and Debra, Pastor Richard and Gertrude and Shannon and myself. Though we had electricity all morning at about 9 it went out. We had to wait for the hotel management to go get fuel to start up the generator since the team uses projectors and other electrically powered helps for the presentation. Just as we were all getting a bit impatient and ready to try to do the presentation with all of us crowded around a computer screen, the generator started and the power came on. The presentation was amazing. Each team member stood up and shared their portion of the plan. The surveyors, after spending three grueling days on the property in the heat, rain and sun had surveyed the entire 22 acres. The water engineers had tested several currently used wells in the area, done drainage testing on the property to see how fast wastewater drains away and made reccomendations based on their findings. The architects and designers had made to scale drawings of the plans for the property and each individual building as well as a site overview. Members of the team had gone into the community and priced construction materials in order to give the ministry an idea of the costs to build. Several on the End Time Glory team had tears in our eyes as we watched our dream come to life on paper. There is no way that we can thank EMI enough for accepting the project. It is estimated that the cost to hire professionals, rather than have volunteering professionals as we did, would be in the $80-100,000 range.

We spent some time this afternoon packing our suitcase and getting ready for the return home. This evening, while checking our email, on the now working hotel internet, we discovered that the 22 year old son of our neighbors back home was killed in a motorcycle accident yesterday. Dustin had babysat for us for a couple of years in his teens. I grieve for his parents, Jodi and Denise, and his only sibling, Jacinda as they go through this time. Jacinda graduated high school the same day Dustin died. He left behind a nearly 1 year old son.

Sunday May 24th
Today is church day! We were brought to Pastor Richard's church at around 10AM and arrived as praise and worship was starting. We were warmly welcomed at the door and ushered to the front row of chairs. Praise and worship in Tanzania is truly exhilerating. There are no inhibitions. There is dancing and singing and raising of hands. Clapping, yelling and children all around. Although we could not understand much of the lyrics we knew that this church loves God. Rev. Debra gave the sermon and later Wayne, Debra, Shannon and I prayed over those who came forward. I prayed using a young woman of the congregation as my interpreter for several young men preparing for school exams as well as for a young child fighting malaria and kidney problems. I know that I was blessed by the prayer time far more than they and I wept during my time praying over the child. After a three hour service we were ushered back to the hotel for the afternoon and then to Pastor Richard and Gertrude's for supper and fellowship with friends and family of Pastor Richard and Gertrude.

Monday May 25th-Tuesday May 26th
Today was the beginning of the day that never ends. It began with a cab ride to the Mwanza airport several miles from town. Saying good bye to all there at the airport was difficult. These people have become more than friends to us. They are an extended family and it breaks our heart to say farewell. We weren't just leaving the people but we were also leaving the culture we have grown to love. As the plane left the runway from Mwanza I pressed my face against the window and sobbed, so sorry to leave and already anxious to get back. An hour later we arrived at Kilimanjaro airport where we waited around for 8? hours for our flight out. At around 10pm our flight left 'Jaro to go to Dar Es Salaam and continue on to Amsterdam. A few hours in Amsterdam to shop and wander and stretch our legs and then yet another 10 hour flight but this time arriving in Minneapolis. We were through customs within a few minutes but spent quite awhile waiting on our luggage. Bill and Nancy Allen picked us up in their huge van. We stopped for lunch at a McDonalds then arrived back home around 6pm.

Everyone was pretty happy to see us. The kids were all back home from their different locations and after getting everyone settled for the night, we too, collapsed into our bed. Our Select Comfort mattress felt pretty good after nearly 46 hours in transit.

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