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sept 16 007

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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My hostess for the weekend - cooking

My hostess for the weekend - cooking

This past weekend transported me to such a different time and place I hardly know where to begin telling you about it. I felt as though I was walking through the pages of the Old Testament. The language of the Bible is of pastoral people, of cattle, sheep, of people with no possessions, except perhaps their chickens, cows or goats.

Here is a list of the things a woman there would have in her home: An animal skin to sleep on, a plastic bucket to gather water, a plastic pan to wash clothes and dishes, a cooking pot, something to store rice or corn maze in, a stump carved in such a way she can pound the corn into a flour, something to wear every day, and another Kanga to wear to Church on Sunday, or to a wedding, funeral or to town.   She would also have a tiny, 3 legged stool to sit on when she cooks at her fire. Most of the houses have no furniture at all, I never saw a mirror, there was no electricity and no plumbing. This was BCE living.

I was at a disadvantage because I couldn’t speak Kiswahili, so I could not understand what the women were talking about as they cooked by the fire, but it was mostly of their lives, the children, their men, their animals and the crops.

I wondered if I could live there, yes, but only as an American who would be running around trying to “organize” things, change the “backward” way they dealt with water, make things more efficient. Then I thought, would I have the energy?

The women here wake at 5:00 a.m. go to fetch water – which can be a three hour process. During the season they farm for nine hours a day, then cook for their families. This time of year, they don’t have any crops (drought), so they walk nine miles to buy tomatoes, that takes them three hours, one hour bargaining, three to walk back. Then they cook. Perhaps there would be no energy for innovation. But, I couldn’t help but think that the necessity of an easier life would provide some sort of instinctual push towards improving the ways things are done.

We have been without internet for two days, and electricity one, so have to catch up on other things. There will be more thoughts on this weekend in the future, I have so very much to digest.  Click here to see more pictures from the trip.

OH, and really big news!! The Wyoming diocese has obtained a grant for $50,000. for the work here in Tanzania. Asante Sana to Tom Davenport and the Church of St. Andrews in the Pines as well as St. John the Baptist in big Piney. The congregations in both of these churches combined is under 50 people!!

Busy day for Tally and me.  We had our usual traumatic English class, we did not know how to explain when to use “present continuous”, heck, we are back to learning how to conjugate the verb “to be” ourselves so we can teach it.  We went with our tails between our legs to the head of the English department hoping to be fired, and instead were given Murphy’s Red Book on Essential Grammar In Use.  Pray for us!!

On the way to this meeting with the Head of the English Department, a four and a half foot snake sidewinded (or is it sidewound) across our path, a person coming towards us said:  “Oh, we interrupted his meal, he was after that lizzard.”  We looked and saw the big green lizzard happily going on his way to live another day.  Interestingly, Tally didn’t mind the snake one bit, but a half centimeter spider is another story…

This afternoon, I went with some of the teachers from “my” school to visit other schools in the area to talk about how they conduct their schools, guess you would call it a “fact-finding” mission.  Very informative.  Tally and I worked with the children making quilts for the schools in the States that have partnered with the school here, the children are also working on paintings for me to bring back for an art show. Good night!  Jessie


Oh Happy Day! Got to see the children at Bishop Stanway primary School. As Tally and I walked up the path to the school, my favorite, Hilder, saw us, put out her arms and came running. see photos Tally took. We both visited Forms 4,5,&6 to tell them about the art and music. It was wonderful to see the teachers too. More on this later.

Tally and I taught our first classes in English here at the college, we tested and are now grading them. I think I will be learning alot, for example – remembering what the 8 parts of speech are, present simple, continuous present tense…Oy! Tally is off to her Pastoral Care course, more later.

My recent art show at St. Mary Magdalene’s Episcopal Church in Seven Lakes was featured in The Pilot.  The proceeds from the show will purchase school supplies for the children in Tanzania.

karimu art show in pilot

Watch a slide show of some of the paintings by Jessie Mackay from her stay in Tanzania last summer.  Some of the proceeds from the sale of these paintings goes to KARIMU, their not for profit organization to raise money for projects in Tanzania.

sanzabar woman

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