HomeMissionTanzania 2011PostsWhat a weird week.

What a weird week.

It’s been another busy week in Murgwanza. We have had discussions about circumcision, original sin and are there peasants in Australia? To name a few.

Rob and I have continued with computer teaching of both the nursing students and the bible college students. This has involved some late nights, amusing mouse manoeuvres and incredibly slow clicking. It has also been a huge lesson in patience!!! However some of the nursing students continue to excel and know their way around a computer far better than me…..which Rob thinks is not that hard!!!

I’ve been tutoring English every afternoon to Lameck and had one occasion with my new female student. I think however given that she had NO English and my Swahili is considerably limited, it was not very successful and she has not returned. She did come on Tuesday to explain she could not study as her mother was in hospital. Luckily Lameck was here at the time to translate for me. She then returned later asking for 15,000Tsh to get her mother out of hospital. I thought this was a lot of money for a case of malaria and decided to go with her to the hospital. As it was getting late, the guard had closed the gate and she only got in because I was with her (mzungu factor). There was no record of her mother at the ‘reception’ and the clerk tried to tell her maybe her mother was in a different hospital. She convinced him she had in fact visited her mother that afternoon and she was a patient, so the clerk suggested she go and look. We went to where her mother was supposed to be but there was no sight of her and the bed was all freshly made. The other patients (she reported) said she had gone home. So with the bill up in the air and no file to check, we had to assume she had gone (or was in fact never there at all). As we left she changed the story that it was in fact 10,000Tsh for the hospital and 5,000Tsh to buy fruit for mama. I told her to return the next day when Imani was at work to help me sort it out (due to the language issues). She arrived the next morning early (before 8am) and told me her mum was at home, that someone else had paid, but she wanted money for soda and matunda (fruit). There is this strange idea here that when someone is sick you feed them up on soda or Chemicola (cordial) as the sugar will give them strength. This advice is strongly pushed by the local medical and nursing staff. I told her I would not give money for soda or cordial but would give her some fruit to make juice and gave her a pineapple and a bag of passionfruit. She left happy and I have not seen her again!!!! I may never know the real story.

Meanewhile on one of Lameck’s other days he brought his mate Baraka (who I spoke about in the last blog). Baraka asked me in his best English, could I please teach him English as well. I told him I would try and the three of us then spent half an hour or so practicing English speaking by talking about Australia and how big it is and the strange animals that live there. Your latest postcards came in very handy Pam for visual effects. After study we went to the field to play football - well they played and I got caught up talking to Auduyie. However I was in earshot of Lameck and Baraka and another boy and kept yelling at them to 'speak english'. They found it quite amusing and it was quite funny some of the sentences that were coming out (not that I laughted of course!!). One classic was when Baraka tackled Lameck for the ball and Lameck responded 'Why are you disturbing me?'

Sas & NifaEarlier in the week we had a visit from a couple of boys in Secondary school who asked to speak to Rob without me. This is very unusual as I do most of the talking with these guys. It turns out they wanted to ask Rob if he would pay for the two of them to get circumcised!! These two guys are each 18 years old and told Rob of how they are taught at school that there is an increased risk of HIV if you are uncircumcised and there was soon to be a visual inspection at school. They said they weren’t too worried about the HIV factor but of more concern was the shame of being uncircumcised. Only the poor in Tanzania are supposedly uncircumcised and they were concerned about their future education potentially at boarding schools and the shame at being seen in the shower and not circumcised. They were asking for 20,000Tsh each to have the procedure done at the hospital in the next holidays. Rob diplomatically told them he needed a week or so to think it over and asked their permission to discuss it with me. We sought advice from Rose and discovered this is a common request among the boys and they have denied such requests in the past. 40,000Tsh feeds a lot of people and we try and just use our money for food and education and this is seen really as not a necessity.

Then there were the two discussions we have had with two different males about how it is all Eve’s fault that we are fallen from God as SHE was the one that took the forbidden fruit and that SHE gave it to Adam. We have tried to point out in our bibles (in a number of versions including the KJV) that Adam was present and that they are BOTH at fault. We have been told that in the Swahili translation it is clear that the woman is to blame!!! This one requires a little more research and further discussion.

On Wednesday morning we received the sad news that Nigel’s mother had died back in Adelaide. She has been unwell for some time and was hospitalised on Monday and they did not expect her to survive. Needless to say when the news came through it was still upsetting. The Klein’s are now on route to return to Sydney for the second time this year to attend the funeral of a parent. (Rose lost her mother at the beginning of the year). Obviously this has brought upheaval for the family and the girls particularly. It is Sarah’s birthday tomorrow and we had been planning a birthday party for next week, so yesterday we celebrated early. We enjoyed rainbow cake, lollies, some musical statues and sack races. The plan had been for a dress up party so the kids still dressed up; Jake as David (as in David and Goliath, in case of any confusion he is NOT wearing a dress – it is a tunic!), Mitchell as Ronaldo (the soccer player), Oliver was a Massai, Lucy a hula girl and Sarah was a beautiful ballerina. The locals were all very unsure how they should behave given that Nigel’s mother had died and usual Tanzanian customs seem not to apply. As a result they had many visitors coming by who were a little surprised to see a party in progress.

Sarah's Party

The house has been busy with many visitors this week one after the other. Today we had Godriva’s daughters here, Molena and Nifa, for a few hours. Oli and I had a lovely afternoon of craft and play dough and playing with balloons, cars and Lego with the girls. Earlier in the week Vithalis was here again with Samuel and Asante and Mitchell had a good time playing with them. George had been down to greet us again and today Godfrey and friend were here to scan and email documents. We get the odd other person coming and wanting to use the internet to send or receive emails. One afternoon Rob and I were desperately trying to get out for a walk when one after another just kept arriving. Finally they had all left and we realised no one had seen Oliver for a couple of hours!! Now Oli is often AWOL and is usually with Jonathon and eventually turns up but it was nearly 7pm and starting to get dark. Just as Rob was about to jump in the car and go for a check we got a text from Nigel that Oli had turned up there. It appears he had been playing in the tree next door to the Klein’s and James and Ephraim had wandered by and told him we were all out looking for him. So rather than go home to an empty house he went to the Klein’s instead.

So that’s our week. Friday tomorrow and we have the day off home schooling. I need to get cracking on my Nervous System talks as now Nigel has gone home, the timetable has been rejigged. Rob has a couple more computer classes to give and we have more practical sessions in the evening next week. Again with Nigel and Rose not here, the load on supervising these night sessions has increased. Rob is up there tonight alone I think with 24 students and 7 computers, last night it was me. We have no projector for movie night tomorrow with the Klein’s and Liz away (at a conference in Dar) so the boys will watch a movie on the computer and Andy and Jenny are coming for dinner so we can have a bit of sensible adult conversation. Andy did ask if he was allowed to join the boys and the movie but we have denied his request.

The rains are well and truly here so everything is green again and all the grasses (and weeds) are starting to grow. It’s a good thing too as James and Ephraim are desperate for work in the holidays (next week) to pay off debts and store up credit for future money. We just need them to work at opposite ends of the property otherwise they do a lot of talking and not much working and poor Imani gets very upset that they are lazy.

I thought we were busy before but that was nothing - lucky we have not been operating at this pace all year or we would really be exhausted. We are looking forward to three days R & R in Bujumbura at the end of October.

Better stop now as I think this is the biggest blog yet - I reached 3 pages on my word document. It gives an idea of the busyness and now I have just realised it’s the end of September tomorrow and another newsletter is due. That will have to go on tomorrows to do list!! To top it off today I cut the end off our last tube of vegemite....here's hoping we have post tomorrow.

 

Time Difference

For the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will be their Shepherd, and He will guide them to the springs of the waters of life; and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.~

Revelation 7:17
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