“Home is where the heart is,” or “home is where you are understood.” This means that Jessie and I now have two homes, for a huge part of our hearts remains far away in Dodomo.

The flights were so long that we have lost count of the hours. We left Dodoma on a MAFs (Missionary Air Fellowship) flight – a service started some years ago to get aid into some of the bush area on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. There was a charter going to DAR and for a bit more money we were able to avoid the 7 hour bus ride back to Dar es Salaam. The goodbyes were heartfelt, teary and hard. Sandy wrote last night that Sechee, our little house girl that baked bread and chapatis along with rice and beans, not to mention sweeping and mopping our cement floors daily and hand washing our clothes, all for less than $3.00 a day looked very sad yesterday. Sandy asked Pendo, her sister, what was wrong and she said that Sechee was very sad because Jessie and Tally had left. Alex, my student that Jessie and I are sponsoring came at the last minute to tell us goodbye. You will see pictures of our hugs and teary farewells. Madame Lidya, acting headmistress at the Bishop Stanway Priimary School came to our house and cried like a baby when she told Jessie goodbye. Jessie has become a mother and a guide to her.

We got home last night after 37 (we think) hours of traveling (counting layovers.) You get sort of brain dead as you go through one security and passport check after another.
Claude, Liz, my daughter Anne, and three precious dogs met us at RDU – Tally2 (now named Tally Pendo – Pendo meaning love in Kiswahili), Liza and of course James. I need not have feared that he would have forgotten me – he managed to free himself from his collar and hop in the back of the van while we loaded up our luggage. I didn’t mind one bit being licked in the face and nose repeatedly. What a welcome, and Jessie got the same treatment.

Kate Mato, one of the teachers from New Zealand and who lived across the path from us said that Jessie and I have a “beautiful friendship.” What a lovely way to put it and to describe it. There are times when you just say: “Thank you God.”

We have a lot of work to do to carry on the work we have begun. My number one project is to get a grant written due on October 1st. Jessie and I will work on it together.

So we are back on native soil, stunned by the lush greeness that we spied from our aircraft windows as we approached Raleigh. We had grown familiar with dusty footpaths. We aren’t the same – how could we be? Thank you for praying us home safely. We have some deep processing to do but with the work that lies ahead we may not have much time for reflective time. We are already talking about going back next year. And we have not been home 12 hours! I don’t know what jet lag will do to me – I was up at 4 a.m.

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