Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Tanzania trip-May 2009-Post 2

Pictures will be added later

Tuesday May 19th
Today was a bit more laid back. Since we had all been to the property yesterday and the vision of End Time Glory Ministries was shared, now the EMI team could get busy. A couple of the members went back out to the property with two of Pastor Richard's nephews, Alex and Dominic, to begin topographical surveying of the property. That ended up being a three day job by the time they finished. Other team members spent the next several days designing buildings on paper, pricing construction materials in the city, checking building codes, doing water testing and drilling on the property and near it. While the EMI team worked, Wayne, Debra Shannon and I did get a chance to go with Pastor Richard and his wife Gertrude into the city. I personally wanted to go to check out some American grocery stores in town to see what kinds of things are available and for what price. The things that can be bought there look like they run about three times the cost of what they can be bought for back in the US. It is obvious to me that our eating habits will change dramatically once we move but that there are some things we will still buy as comfort foods for the times we need to get over a hump when we are missing "home." Unfortunately, I didn't see any Velveeta cheese anywhere, LOL. We also visited a market where I was able to buy some authentic African fabric. I paid about $1US per yard for gorgeous thick African prints. We also shopped at a couple of the clothing stores Gertrude likes to buy her dresses at. I was a bit bothered by the fact that when I saw a dress that would have fit Star in one of the shops, I had Pastor Richard ask about the price for me. Things are not marked over there. Everything is bargained for. It was a dress I would pay , maybe $15 at Target in the US. The shop owner told Pastor Richard the equivilent of $45US. Pastor Richard explained to me that it was because I was a "mzungu" and that Gertrude could probably get it much cheaper. Although I knew this happens over there, it still frustrates me that we are thought to be rich because we are white. In reality, we are very rich compared to the vast majority of the world but that does not mean we are all stupid or foolish in our spending. I am still very frugal and careful in how I spend my money. I guess this is a simple fact of the African culture I will need to get used to but honestly, can you imagine, if you walked into a Target and they charged white people $20 for something they would charge an African American $40? It just couldn't and wouldn't happen. I didn't buy the dress. Sigh...

Wednesday May 20th
Not a lot happened for Shannon and I today. I know that Wayne and Debra have been meeting off and on pretty much every day with different members of the EMI team. We have seen some preliminary drawings of the layout of the different facilities on the land as well as the building lay outs. It is very exciting to see this coming together. I the hotel, sometimes we have electricity but not always, the water has been on and off due to construction on the new portion of the hotel going on next door and the internet hasn't been working.

Since it has been very difficult to get online here at the hotel all week, Shannon and I did get to the internet cafe this afternoon. We were dropped off at the place in the van with Pastor Richard as our guide. He then took us inside and introduced us to his nephew Gideon who was working there. We spent a half an hour on the internet and paid the equivilent of .80US for the privilege. It was similar to slow dial up here in the US so we couldn't do much more than check our emails and quickly send one off. After we finished, Shannon and I walked the aproximately half mile back to the hotel by ourselves. There was no shortage of taxi drivers stopping to offer us a ride. I once read a book titled, White Man Walking. It was written by a missionary who traveled through the African Bush by foot. The African people he ministered to were always amazed to see him arrive on foot since , in most situations, white men don't walk. Shannon and I enjoyed the walk but got a lot of stares on the way.

We joined the Zimmer's at Pastor Richard and Gertrude's for coffee this evening. It was nice to see their two boys Ben(15) and Sharon(11) as well as their new baby daughter Darlene. Darlene is 7 months old and is the daughter to Gertrude's sister. Gertrude's sister, a single mom, has decided to allow Pastor Richard and Gertrude to adopt Darlene. It is obvious to all that Darlene is very loved and will be in capable hands with Pastor Richard, Gertrude and the boys. Darlene had never before seen a mzungu and so we were unable to hold her. We sat near her and allowed her to reach out to us but did not force anything. She will have many opportunities in the future to get used to our strange looks. We also saw several others of Pastor Richard's family who stopped by to say hello and it was great to renew friendships.

Thursday May 21st
Pastor Richard, Wayne, Shannon, myself and Megan from the EMI team went back out to the property today. We wanted to walk the land again and see how wet the lowlands are and whether they can be built on or not. While we were there we saw the surveyors and Dominic and Alex, still hard at work on their topographical mapping. We also had the opportunity to further discuss the adjoining property to purchase and to meet a woman who lives on a portion of it. She is willing to sell her small bit which would fall right in the middle of the land with some stipulations which were all reasonable as far as I was able to understand.

As we walked back through the village on our way back to the ferry, the school children were just getting out of school. We were followed by quite a few and we heard some English They asked us to take their pictures, they asked if we liked Barak Obama and others, just stood off to the side saying, "Ona(Look), Mzungu(white person)." I tried to greet the children with a wave of my hand or a Jambo(Hello) but we were in a hurry to meet the ferry so didn't take a lot of time.

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