May 2015 Our First Days In Tanzania

Monday, May 18 2015

After a couple of long plane rides, we arrived safely Thursday evening in Tanzania with most of our luggage. 2 of our 17 bags did not make it on the plane. We loaded up the vehicles and drove into Arusha. Along the way we saw a bad accident with 3 or 4 people laying along the road being attended to. We prayed for them and gave thanks for our safety in travel thus far. We arrived at our lodging accommodations and unloaded the vehicles. Just as we were about to do room assignments (think of a motel – single level and each room exits to the outside walkway) the power went off. So by flashlight we found our bags and made our way to our rooms and went to bed.

Friday morning we were treated to a fine breakfast of eggs, toast, bacon, (hotdog), fresh fruit and coffee. After devotions we loaded up the vehicles and headed out to the STEMM Children’s Village (SCV). Dave had a morning meeting with Marty from Opportunity Education. We learned the normal road in is not recommended due to water on the road (and thus the road is muddy). So we took the back way in and were able to see some of the rural homes along the way. Marty was already on site because his flight arrangements for later in the day required a short stop at the SCV. Dave, Lori and Sue visited with him while Warren gave the rest of the group a tour of the campus.

After Marty left we were blessed with a wonderful lunch prepared by Deborah, our cook. It was a wonderful meal and any thoughts of losing weight while here were quickly thrown out. It is not going to happen with this kind of cooking! After lunch the nuns from next door stopped by to visit. Warren had set that visit up for us. We were hoping to introduce them to Marty as well since they have begun an English medium primary school. We send our younger children to that school and they have been good neighbors with us. We talked about ways we could partner and work together.

During that visit the others were able to say hi to the children who had returned from school. Little Moses has been doing very well adjusting to the changes in his schedule. He makes his presence known on occasion and is admired by all who see him.

Room assignments were made and the group took time to unpack (at least those who had their luggage did) and settle into the rooms. The three boys we were expecting to be in house 4 have not arrived yet so 4 of us are staying there. “They may arrive tomorrow.” That is the repeated theme we have heard. We hope they do and we will shift to other arrangements when they come.

After a wonderful supper we closed the day with reflections on what we had experienced.

Saturday morning we woke up to a damp day. We joined the SCV children, staff and farm workers for morning devotions and songs. After breakfast we planned to go to the open air market but the rain changed out plans. Instead we unpacked the 9 bags we brought along for the STEMM Village. The gals worked on putting the clothes and supplies in the storage room. Kyle did some electric projects. After lunch the weather cleared enough to enable most of the group to go to the market. That was a new experience for the group as they soon became the center of attention. After supper we were able to celebrate a couple of birthdays – Mathias who is 9 years old, and Julie who isn’t telling her age!

Sunday morning we traveled to Arusha to worship at the Arusha Community Church which is in English. Following the service we were able to talk to a doctor there who was willing to give us a brief tour of Arusha Lutheran Medical Clinic (the hospital that our staff uses when necessary). Following that we had a wonderful lunch at LePatio. We visited Little Africa – a ministry that rescues Massai girls and brings them to Arusha to live and be educated. After that we visited Ilburro school where we support a number of students. We spent the night at Massai Safari Center in Arusha.

After a great breakfast, Warren, Dave and Lori Kovich headed to a meeting with the TZ Architect, Frank, to discuss building the guesthouse. Then we went to meet the headmaster at Ilburro School. The rest of the group went to the food market to buy supplies for Sabatini – a neighborhood school and church that tries to feed the children when they can. They had a wonderful visit with the children. They were also able to do a little shopping. We all met up for a lunch of pizza. Following that, Deborah, our cook, Sue, Laurence and Dave went to the Cradle of Love, a ministry that cares for new born babies through age 2. They have 3 boys who are 3-years-old that need a home. They have asked STEMM to take them and the board agreed to open house 4 in order to do so. The social worker has approved the move and we were able to bring Amani, Francis and Jerry home with us. The rest of the group picked up supplies for the SCV. We met up at the Cradle of Love and spent some time playing with the children before bringing the 3 boys home. Most of the group was able to stop and see the new educational office in Usa River.

It was wonderful to introduce the 3 new boys to their new brothers and sisters. They were a little quiet but felt warmly welcomed. We are praying their first night goes well at the SCV and look forward to spending the next 3 days here at the SCV.