My goodness how time flies here! It has been over a week since I wrote a blog! I have been here for over three weeks now and a routine has finally begun to form. A question that I get a lot is “what do you do?” I am going to attempt to describe my daily life in Tarime.
Tarime is very close to the equator. Therefore, the sun always rises at 7:00 a.m. and sets at 7:00 p.m. On the weekdays, I wake up around 7:15/7:30 a.m. and lay in bed for a few minutes staring at the circular net hanging above my bed. At 7:30 a.m., Katherine arrives and begins her daily routine. Katherine is such a God-given blessing to us! She is employed by Grass Roots Ministries to be the matron of the mission house where I stay. She cooks breakfast, lunch, and dinner. She washes our laundry and cleans the dishes. She also takes care of the house when we are away. She is amazing! Rachel, the other missionary, and I get ready for the day and then eat whatever Katherine has made for breakfast. This can be anything from pancakes to French toast to chapati (flour, eggs, and sugar fried together). We then call Chambili, our friend and piki piki driver. A piki piki is a motorcycle taxi. All over town you will find men on motorcycles waiting for you to tell them where you need to go. We always call Chambili because he is super trustworthy. He gathers his friends and comes to pick us up. On the weekdays, we work at Angel Secondary School (equivalent to high schools in the States). As females, we are expected to wear long skirts everyday. Motorcycle riding and long skirts normally do not go well together, but in Tarime you learn to make it work! Rachel and I climb on the back of the piki piki, sitting sideways and hold on. Gas is so expensive and the roads are basically dirt ditches that driving a car is unrealistic. Hence, there is huge need for piki pikis.
Angel Secondary and Angel House are in a village right outside Tarime. It usually takes about 15 minutes on a piki piki to get to from the mission house to Gamasara (the villiage where Angel Secondary and Angel House are located). We usually arrive at school anytime between 9:00 and 10:00. One thing I am still having a hard time learning and adjusting to is that time in Tanzania is relative. When someone says I’ll be there at 9:00 that usually means I will be there about 9:25 or maybe even 10:00. Rachel seems to be adjusting well, but my years of being on time for everything seems to be slowing the process of adjustment for me. I often find myself in the mornings looking at my watch and thinking "we need to hurry or we will be late." All in all, though, no one seems to even think twice about us showing up at 9:30 a.m. when school was suppose to start at 8:00 a.m.
At school, Rachel and I share an office where we spend lots of time organizing things. Rachel is in helping with communication while I am helping with finances. Much of our day is trying to work on these aspects of Angel Secondary. We take a break around 11:00 a.m. to have “breakfast” with the Headmaster, Second Headmaster, Academic Master, Secretary, and whoever else shows up. Breakfast at school is traditional African foods, including chapati, mdazi, or porridge and tea. Lunch is served around 1:00 p.m. and is beans and rice or ugali, dagah, and cabbage. I like beans and rice days but ugali (sort of like cornmeal playdough) and dagah (tiny fried sardines) are not at the top of my favorites list.
After school finishes around 3:30 or 4:00, we walk next door to Angel House. Once we enter the gates, we have at least five little faces running up to us to be held, tossed, hugged, and kissed. Once our greetings are complete, the bombarding of boo-boos begins! Everyone has learned that a nurse has come so in normal kid-fashion everyone wants a Band-Aid. In the dispensary, I usually have about ten kids pointing to somewhere on their body and saying “bandage, bandage.” Noci, one of the primary school girls, has two places in her nostrils that are raw from her constant dripping nose. Everyday she points and says, “bandage” over her nose holes. I simply laugh and say “hapana” (meaning “no”) and then put Neosporin on her broken skin. I must give her credit, however, she is relentless; she wants those Band-Aids to cover her nose. I usually hand out medicine and doctor someone’s infected scratch. Just small odds and ends but something that makes the kids feel special and cared for!
Once the sun begins its descent, Rachel and I call Chambili and return home to eat whatever amazing dinner Katherine has cooked. Over dinner Rachel and I have begun reading The Upper Room devotional together and a wonderful devotional entitled Holy Spirit by R.A. Torrey.
As you can see, it is easy to get into a normal routine, even in Africa. Lately, I have been discovering that it is what you do in that routine that makes all the difference. Whether you are at home or in Africa, God can easily be placed on the back burner when life begins to happen. Time passes quickly and before you know it two days have gone by and you have not read your Bible or sat down to talk with Him. When we are suppose to love God more than anything else, how can we let this happen? I must choose everyday to acknowledge my Mighty Creator and praise Him for the day He has given me. I must scream for my Redeemer because He is so worthy of all my praises! I must choose here in Tarime and I must choose when I am home to seek out my God daily and long for His presence. God wants us to be proactive for Him. We are His hands and His feet, so shouldn’t we be moving!?
Special prayer request: I am starting a girls Bible study at our house on Friday. Ten of the older girls from Angel House will be coming over to have dinner, study, and spend the night. Please pray that God forms friendships where His word can be freely shared.