The Adventures of Being Alone

By Savannah Swanner | Sep 07, 2012

Life in Tarime is speeding by and going to be over before I know it.  It is exactly six weeks before my mom and I will see each other in Arusha, Tanzania to start our safari.  Six weeks! Trying to wrap my head around leaving here, saying goodbye, coming home, and seeing my family again is almost an impossible task.  So I will delay the inevitable, for at least a few more weeks, and try not to think about leaving me sweet little ones behind.  Although, I will be so happy to see all of you once I come home!

As I posted in a previous blog, Catherine, our amazing “mother of the mission house,” was pregnant, but delivered yesterday.  She now has a brand new baby boy and is very relieved to no longer be pregnant.  The coming of this precious one is definitely a joy, but has also caused Rachel’s and my world to take a different turn.  Catherine washed our laundry, went to the market, cooked, and cleaned for us so we could focus solely on the work that needed to be done for GrassRoots.  Now, Rachel and I are on our own to survive (this is not completely the case, because we have so many friends willing to help at any moment when we call them!). Sunday night Rachel and I sat down to write a market list and menu for the whole week.  We planned out what we needed to buy and the general price of groceries.  There is a misperception here that all “mzungus” have lots of money, so you can charge them an “mzungu” price.  This price is usually double or triple the normal price.  To combat this, Rachel and I needed to know what the “African” price was so we could barter with the seller in case they wanted to give us the “mzungu” price.

Monday morning rolled around and we both were up early.  Rachel started cooking breakfast while I began preparing the clothes to wash.  Because Catherine had been gone for several days the week before, I had accumulated a lot of clothes as had Rachel.  We both also needed to wash our sheets.  Washing clothes here is not as simple as going to the Laundromat.  Washing clothes means scrubbing my hand, rinsing by hand, wringing out by hand, and then letting the sun work its magic.  I started washing laundry around 8:30 am and did not finish until 11:30 am.  Three hours of laundry!! Afterwards, however, I felt extremely accomplished and very clean.  During this time, Rachel went with two of the older girls from Angel House to town to buy groceries.  Once she came back she unpacked and began cooking again.

Finally, after eating lunch, Rachel and I prepared what we were going to cook for dinner then headed out to Angel House to teach our typing class.  We squeezed in some kid time before heading home to cook dinner.  All in all it was the busiest day we have had yet, but we both felt extremely productive and accomplished by the end of it.

As the days have passed, Rachel and I have gotten into an awesome grove.  We are becoming a cleaning-cooking-missionary machine!  Each day we finish our tasks a little quicker and more efficiently.  One skill that I am extremely grateful for is the ability to wash all the dishes with one pot of hot water.  During my childhood, when my family would go camping, my mom and Aunt Karen would make me wash the dishes after dinner.  I never understood why they were so stingy with the hot water.  I can remember thinking, “how am I ever suppose to wash dishes with such little water.”  Well they trained me well, because Rachel and I have been able to save gas and water by washing with only one pot of boiled water.  Thank you, Mom and Aunt Karen!

With such hectic days, God has blessed me with the discipline to get up earlier to spend time with Him.  Just like at home, there is always something to do or someone to talk to.  But my heart yearns for God, yearns for some time to pray, listen, and read.  To make this possible, I have had to get up early to spend time with Him and never have I been so blessed.  God urged me to start reading Proverbs last week and He has continually spoken words of wisdom into my heart each time I have opened this book.  It is not enough to simply acknowledge God a couple times a day.  He desires to be a part of our life and fifteen minutes throughout the whole day does not cut it.  As humans, our hearts yearn for something greater, yearn to be fully satisfied.  We try in so many ways to fill that yearning.  It may be working hard, making money, having friends, feeling loved by others, but none of these things ever fill the yearning completely.  Instead, they are like a Band-Aid covering up what needs to be healed.  Eventually, with enough washing and rubbing the Band-Aid will not work anymore.  I am learning how much I constantly try to use Band-Aids to stop the bleeding instead of just asking the Ultimate Healer to fix the hole in my heart.  But it takes time, our time.  We must decide to have faith.  We must decide to spend time with Him.  Oh, I am learning!