Thursday, September 24, 2009

Days turning into a week! September 18th through the 24th

Moses, Charlotte, Grace, Ruth, David at Msalato Theological Seminary

Excuse the melting of days together into one entry but the last seven days have gone by quickly.  We arrived at St. John's only to find our small apartment not ready.  A gracious host has been allowing us to stay in his home. We are comfortable but very anxious to move into our apartment.  A little bit about the campus.  It has campus housing for students, a main area with administration, store, church, library, and three or four classroom buildings.  Campus housing for faculty ( people from western countries and people from Tanzania and Africa)) is provided within the campus.  There is a security gate but little fencing around the campus so every large home has a very high fence and a locked gate.  There are three main roads which are dirt and at the moment very dusty. The majority of staff are not here because the university will not start until the 19th of October. This is actually good for us because we have much to purchase for the apartment and repair before we can move in.
This past Monday we went to visit Moses and Ruth at Msalato Seminary and see their new baby.  The baby clothes I brought were a good fit for Grace their little girl.  It was really great to see them again.  They are two gracious and loving people.  Afterwards we walked around their seminary and met up with our neighbor from St. John's who had taken us with her while she saw a good friend who also worked at the seminary.  It was a wonderful visit.  Later in the week on  Thursday we visited the seminary to observe their English classes.   We had lunch with Sandy Mccann in her home and she drove us back to Dodoma on her way to a meeting in town.
For most of this past week though our soon to be neighbor, an Australian in the Geology Department, who is living next to our apartment,  has been wonderful.  She has taken me shopping, explained the prices and best buys and shuttled me across town and back.  The streets here are small, filled with dirt and sand, hot and crowded with all sorts of unexpected items.  It can be quite a challange to navigate them but she does it with ease and a good horn.
The shopping here can also be difficult.  Nothing is under one roof or even a roof.  Most of the little stores are really just make shift sheds with a door and tin roof.  Nothing is lined up neatly or with any reason.  Streets or stores are always in repair with dirt, bricks or hand carts in the way of your car .  In some of the shops there is not room inside so one must stand outside and ask for items to be passed to you.  Once in a blue moon we will find a shop with air conditioning or fans.  That is a blessing indeed!! In all my years of shopping this is the only place I have been that I do not like the experience. Immediately once home I wash my feet, hands and face to cool off and take the dirt and sand off.  Coming to Dodoma has proved to be a hard move but one I know God has prepared us for and he will guide us through to the end.

Faculty housing at St. John's University

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

On the Road to Dodoma

September 17th

Finally we were traveling on the road toward Dodoma.  Once heading west out of Dar es Salaam there were fewer cars but still the same crazy drivers. We had the unusual competion for the road by  bicycles, people walking with large bundles on their heads, childrens in uniforms walking home from school, buses and trucks.
Once past Morogoro the traffic became less and the landscape changed from wet to very dry.  The mountains we had seen became small hills and sand replaced the dirt, plants and palms. Now just a brief word about the road to Dodoma.  The roads in Tanzania tend to be a bit unkept making speed driving very difficult. You can be going very well and suddenly a small village appears ahead which means a large speed bump straight ahead.  Now I don't mean the usual US or western bumps these are HUGE.  Which translates to your car slowing down to a total of 0 to 1 mile per hour.  Then near the village outskirts there is another bump equally as HUGE.  Needless to say all this speeding up and slowing down creates more time in your car...but thanks to our trusty driver we arrived safely late in the afternoon.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

September 16th, 2009...More of Dar es Salaam


Day two in Dar es Salaam was another day of in the car and out.
Yesse, our wonderful guide and driver for that day from St. John's
took us to several strip malls and downtown to see the city.

The area had palm trees, round abouts, some trees and plenty of people and traffic. Buildings in this city look to be in constant need of paint or repair.

The streets here are narrow with small shops and hand carts.
Traffic speed and safety is very bad with near misses with bikes, people or cars.

This day Yesse took us to a resturant at the ocean called Coco Beach. It was very rustic complete with broken cinderblocks laying around out front to plastic chairs and tables.
The food was fine but very expensive for the three of us. Later we returned to our hotel and rested up for the next day's trip to Dodoma.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Hello from Dodoma


Finally we have temporary internet service and are beginning to adjust to our new lives here in Dodoma, Tanzania.  The weather is hot but dry.  The streets of Dodoma are crowded with people, bikes, carts,
some cars, small van buses, motorbikes and did I mention people?  The past six days have gone by fast meeting faculty, neighbors and fellow Christians, getting to know the city, and just adjusting to a new way of life. I have decided to condense our activities from September 14th to just a few impressions and post  pictures that hopefully will tell the story.                                                   
September 14 and 15th  We arrived in Dar es Salaam late around 10:00 pm.  The airport was not crowded but was hot.  Customs was not a problem and we met our driver who took us to our accomodations about 10 to 13  miles away.  This drive was my first impression of night life in Africa.  Crowds of people
walking around, fires burning off the road filling the air with smoke, music blarring into our car windows (no air conditioning) and crazy drivers to our left and right of the road.
Once at our hotel tiredness took over and we fell asleep until about 3:00am when a very noisy rooster woke us up.  Once  back asleep we awoke to the praise of Allah for prayers around 5:30 am.
No rest for the traveler that day!!

Yesse ( Human Resources Director for St. John's University)
and I at the hotel.