Our village in Tanzania

Our village in Tanzania

Last summer Tally and I spent eight weeks in Tanzania, six weeks working in a small village 10 kilometers from the Capitol City of Dodoma.  Dodoma is NOT a tourist destination!  It is where the parliament meets, but otherwise, there is little to recommend it as far as geography, interesting sights and so forth.

The people, however, are wonderful and the city is filled with people going about their business, we were happy to be among them.  In a way, it was special being in a place that is not where tourists go because we were able to really get the feel of day-to-day life.

Tally taught Pastoral Care and Theology at the Msalato Theological College.  Her students were adults studying to become priests, or were already practicing priests.  I taught art to children at the Bishop Stanway Primary School.  They had not ever had any art lessons, many had not seen paints, so we had a wonderful time drawing and painting – even some of the teachers joined their students and had a go.

Our trip changed ourlives dramatically!  It has so altered our perceptions on life for the better.  Living in the United States is privileged, easy and almost gives one a feeling of entitlement which simply is not the case for the majority of people in the world.  Both of us had traveled to different African countries as tourists, but in that case we are observers only.  This time we were “in the story”, seeing sights and meeting people one doesn’t come in touch with as a tourist (that is true most every where one travels as a tourist, we stay in hotels, camps, B&B’s, not people’s private homes and back rooms.)  But here we were in private homes, huts, out-of-the-way villages.  We saw the struggle of living without electricity, water, crops.  The inconvenience of having to walk 5 miles for a bucket of water, people loosing a child through Malaria (every three seconds).  We think we are inconvenienced if our flight is late, or we have to wait in the doctor’s office (I am guilty of these things, but now, I have a feeling of gratitude that I can GO to a doctor’s office, be able to fly somewhere).

Everywhere we went we were welcomed, greeted Karibu, welcome, come in, join us.  Family is the most important thing, one’s village.  It is a much more communal life style than here.  People really depend on each other, much like early Americans did.

Most of you who will be checking this blog know about our trip last year, so I won’t go into much more except to say we are looking forward to returning next month with new projects to work on.

Click here to watch a slideshow from our 2008 trip.

Tally with some neighbors.