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Mail and bills are sorted and dealt with, yard cleaned and windows washed. Am ready for Winter – already have had fires in the fireplace. My sister in Connecticut only has her fireplace to keep warm as they are without electricity. My heart goes out to all who are suffering from the effects of “Sandy”.

These children were sitting through a long service in a church in the bush. They had not seen a Muzungu before, they are very isolated in this region. It makes me realise how important the Pastor is to a village. He, or she, is truly the only link to the “outside” world. People with no electricity have no access to radio, TV. It is difficult for them to see beyond the next crop on a exhausted land, the next meal. The Pastor gives comfort, he gives hope, he helps people find a way to educate their children. Marion, a friend and teacher at Msalato, recently wrote of taking blackboards to a remote village where the pastor is starting a school in the church because the “state school” is too far away for the children to attend. More and more we realize how important these men and women are to the growth of Tanzania, not to mention the well being of the people.

This coming year, Tally and I are going to focus on raising money for the Endlowment Fund – FOOTSTEPS IN FAITH, for Msalato Theological College. We are hoping people will pledge an amount for the next 5 years. Tally and I have made and paid our pledges, and are working with The Virginia Theological Seminary towards reaching the first goal of $1,000,000.00 this year. We are already over $250,000.00 but obviously have a long way to go. Please let Tally or me know if you feel able to make a pledge to help in this very important cause. Thanks, Jessie

The dictionary says that “home” is a place of residence or refuge, that it can be a geographical place. But, then it also states that “home” may NOT have a physical location, that it can relate to a mental or emotional state of refuge or comfort. I have felt both is so many places that it is no wonder it is difficult for me to say where, as a geographical spot, I am at home.
Sandy gave me a quote by Buechner, which in short says: “…go to that place where the needs in the world will ignite the passions in your heart, tap your natural gifts, etc…go to that place where your deep gladness and world’s deep hunger meet.”
People have been my “deep gladness”. My consulting work was all about people, Tanzania is all about people, that magical connection we share with others. But, homecoming really means a returning to a relationship with Self, as Jung would say, or James Hollis who writes “our home is our journey and the journey is our home.” or Hermann Hesse in DEMIAN: “One never reaches home, but where paths that have an affinity for each other intersect, the whole world looks like home for a time.”

So, I feel blessed that my path, my journey, has taken my out of my comfort zones and into a humble place of what it really means to be human, to look in wonder at the mystery of it all, and to really be fortunate to feel at home anywhere in the world. jessie

We made it ~ left Msalato at 10:00 Monday morning and rolled into Pinehurst this afternoon ~ 3 days later.  It may be a “Long Way to Tipperary” but it is equally a long way to Tanzania via Ethiopia, Rome and Dulles.  We rejoiced in looking out of the plane’s window as we left Dulles for Raleigh to see a tad of autumn color in the D. C. area.  We live in a different world.  There are so few trees where we go in Tanzania as they are cut down for firewood and cooking.  It is barren land but the rainy season begins in November ~ will it come?  God only knows.

We met an inspiring young couple in Addis Ababa on their way home to Amarillo, Texas with their just adopted 17 month old son.  They sat behind us on the huge new Boeing 787 (with no leg room) but a gazillion seats.  He had been in an orphanage ~ father unknown, mother, raped and her parents convinced her to give him up for adoption.  He looked healthy but they said he was malnourished.  They named him Christian.  They have given life to a child who had little hope of education or love.  We also saw two other couples going home without a baby but both couples planned to return in 3 weeks or so to continue their effort to change a life and their’s too I expect.  From two old Bibi’s (grandmothers), let me tell you it is a grueling trip even for the young but they are making the trip again and again until they succeed.  There are some amazing people out in this world.

There is laundry to do, haircuts to have, and a lot of thought and reflection about our time there. Right now, jet lag has caught up with me (7 hours difference in Dodoma) so it is now 5:30 a.m. Thursday there.  James and Claude are happy to have us home.  Claude told me tonight that he was worried that the plane would crash.  That did not cross my mind.   More will be coming as we come up for air and think about what is next for the travelling “sisters.”

Love to you all, Tally

We are packed and ready to go to the Shabiby bus line for our 7 hour ride to Dar es Salaam, then to Addis Ababa, Rome, Dulles, Raleigh and Pinehurt!  Wish we had some time in Rome but it’s a short lay over.

Yesterday we hit a new high and a totally new experience.  All of our trips to villages haven’t seen the likes of this.  We went way way out in the bush to Chikola Parish and I mean it was the bush.  It was a 12 hour day and get this:  3 of us baptized 240 people ~ 80 each.  That must be a record of some kind.  Certainly more than I have ever baptized in my 13 years as a deacon.  All ages ~ some screaming babies, some touching old old ladies, a blind man and one man whose family has been working on him to become a Christian for 17 years.  There was great celebration when he was baptized.  In fact I suspect there was great rejoicing in heaven yesterday.

There won’t be any more blogs until we get home sometime Wednesday.  Remember there is a 7 hour time difference.  Can’t wait to see Claude, Liz, all of our friends and especially our dogs.  Dogs are not  very welcomed here which hurts our hearts.

As always Jessie has been the perfect travelling companion ~ we have had some amazing adventures together.  Oh, the people we have met, the songs we have sung, the sights we have seen.  We feel we must come back if not next year, some day soon.  Now we have two homes.

It may take us awhile to recover from the long journey and certainly it will take maybe the rest of my life to process this part of my life.  The poverty still grinds at my soul. 

Until we get home this will be my last blog entry.  Jessie will add wonderful pictures of our 12 hour day yesterday.  Thanks to all who have read and stayed connected with us.  My laptop has been a nuisance which I hope has taught me patience and what I can do without.  

 

These are some photos of yesterday’s Baptism extravaganza!  Many of the children had not seen Wzungus before, and were really frightened.  This little girl took one look at Tally who was about to Baptize her and started howling through the entire thing.  One child was so scared of Bob, that Mkunda had to take over and Baptize him.  There are more wonderful photos, and Tally is blogging right now about the day.  Will post more photos when we get home.

Today begins the journey back, it will take us three days of travel and we will not be using our computers, so the next time you hear from us we will be home.  It has been a wonderful experience, just gets better each year as we come to know new people and see the ones we love from year’s past.  See you soon, with love, Jessie

NOTHING CAN HURT A HEART MORE THAN A SICK CHILD OR ANIMAL. They are so helpless.  We gave non-prescription eye drops to a mother tonight for her childs sore eyes.  She will take her to a doctor on Monday.  We gave her some money to go to town on Friday, but the doctor wasn’t there.

This dog came limping to our door (we leave scraps every night and various cats and dogs come by, but tonight this dog has something wrong with his right front paw.  He is afraid of humans, as are most of the dogs around here, so we put out milk or scraps, then back off to let him come up to feed.

He is typical of the dogs here, brown!  He is old as you can see by the gray around his face.  I will say that we don’t see as many thin or injured dogs as we used to, and many dogs are now attached to humans.  Such a joy to see them trotting along with a person.  Most, however, trot across the countryside appearing as though they are on a serious mission, not noticing, or acknowledging the humans as they go.

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