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Thank you for continuing to check our blog. We hope to keep it going with news from Tanzania, and our efforts here to help them. Tally wrote a grant, and now we are trying to select photos for a new powerpoint presentation. We will be going to two churches this Autumn to give talks, the people in Wyoming continue to amaze us with their generosity – they are looking at getting bikes for priests now. The first $50,000 of their grant has been received in Tanzania, they will apply for a continuation of the grant next year for another $50,000 and again the following year for the remaining $50,000.

Fritz Healy and his family, Emmanuel Episcopal Church here in Southern Pines, are sponsoring a student and we look forward to telling him the latest news and showing photos.

Watch the blog for information on the projects we will be working on for next year!! bye for now, Jessie

Some neighborhood scenes:

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A week ago we were on our way back home. Am glad that trip is behind us…34 hours of flying, transferring, waiting. First two days were physically challenging, wild sleep patterns, muscle aches, probably dehydrated.

Gone through 7 weeks of mail, caught up with family and friends, Tally has written a grant for $3,000. Hope that it goes through. Processing what we have learned, what we can do next to further the projects we are involved in.

Have started painting some of the scenes and people we saw, so would say – am back home. For now. Jessie

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This is a photo of Pendo, the tortoise.  As we were leaving the “church” we heard so many people saying:  “pendo, pendo”  and chuckling.  One of the men that brought us said this will be something they say for years – a tortoise named Pendo (love).

Given that tortoises live to be two hundred years old,  I can hear it now, some old person 100 years from now will be saying:  “See that tortoise?  A long, long time ago, two Muzungus were here, and were given that tortoise as a gift, but they couldn’t take him from our country, so they named him for the love that went behind the offering of the gift, “Pendo,” meaning love.”

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Today will be a day requiring both Tally and me to write about. It was a crammed full day of hospitality. This word refers to the RELATIONSHIP between guest and host. And relationship is the operant word here. We Americans are some of the most hospitable people I know, we are kind, welcoming, giving, and caring. But, today, Tally and I are reeling from a day of outreach towards us that will take a long time to digest and process.

We went with two of Tally’s former students, whom she will talk about as soon as she had caught her breath. (I am writing now because am afraid it will escape my mind if I wait). We went to the Diocese of the Rift Valley, leaving Msalato at 7:00 a.m. and returning at 9:00 this evening. The drive was on paved roadway for a good part of the journey. Our driver, Musa, was happy. Anyway, it was two and one half hours to the first stop, Manyoni, (this was too big a day, I cannot write about it now as I don’t know where to begin other than to give a chronological account, and that would not convey anything about the experience). Let me just say that the outpouring and effort that went into the expression of welcome was almost overwhelming for both of us. I still do not understand totally why – okay, no tourists ever come to this area, so Muzungus (whites) are a bit unusual. I think, though, it probably was mostly due to the two men that brought us there. Both are loved and respected by their villages, diocese, and so we rode in on their wonderful coat-tails. We were greeting by singing people, fed food at three different stops, prayed over, (and I had to say prayers more today than I have ever had to do out loud in front of people in my life). We were given gifts. Clothes, which the women gave us by putting them on over the clothes we were wearing right there in the church with no roof. Over our heads came the tops, and then we were wrapped like parcels with the skirts to match. We were given spoons, songs, and at the end, startlingly, a man brought us a baby tortoise! We did not understand this gift at all, and knew we could not accept it as we couldn’t travel out of Tanzania and into the US with a Tortoise. So we explained we could not keep this gift, but I asked if we could name it. They said yes, so I said “pendo” which is love in Kiswahili. Later, we asked the significance of tortoises, and learned that they are very special animals, highly revered, and wise omens of good things. So much thought and care went into this day from our hosts. They did not have much advance notice either, just a few days. Women of the villages cooked wonderful meals, choirs sang and men, especially the village elders made Tally and me feel like royal personages and a bit uncomfortable because we don’t fit that description in the least.

I want to think long about how they made me feel, what is it that so touched my heart. I think some of it is the unguarded, unselfconscious expression of welcome. Perhaps there is the hope that we, as Americans can help them in a tangible way, but I don’t think that prevailed with all the people who held our hands, looked into our eyes, gave us food, smiled and sang songs of welcome. I don’t know what I think right now except to say that I felt touched by God today.

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*click the photo to see a slideshow of the trip to Mlowa Village

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The bishop’s farm – what an operation!  Vineyard, orchards, livestock, casava, this is where he will retire.  It was family land and he has been building the “shamba” farm for nine years, but has just moved in recently.  It is all energy-green.  Solar panels, methane gas from manure, collection system for rain water.  He will use it as a conference center and teaching farm as well.  A remarkable guy.  We had a lovely dinner with him and his wife and good conversation about things in the diocese.  Today we are going to an ordination (cast of thousands).

(click on photo to see slideshow)

Calling all qualified English Teachers!! As you know, Tally and I are attempting to teach English grammar and have found out just how utterly clueless we are about the structure and rules of our own language.  It is a total mystery. We attempt to teach young women every morning a class at 8:00. Yesterday, because it was one of the gal’s birthday, we brought in a cake and had a party. The earrings from Morgan Miller were a huge hit. In the afternoon, we had an English conversation class, this is a bit easier since we certainly can speak! However, I was so tired, I spiraled down in to idiocy when a man told me his name was “Peter”. Most of the names are tribal – but Peter! All I could think of was: “Peter, peter pumpkin eater, had a wife and couldn’t keep her, he put her in a pumpkin shell and there he kept her very well”. Of course we then had to explain what a pumpkin was, which is good since it is a conversation class. But, I could not leave bad enough alone and proceeded on to “eensie, weensie, spider” and ended demonstrated “I’m a little tea pot”. Now I have not done that since kindergarten. Tally took pity on me and asked a sensible question: “Does Tanzania have an army?”

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