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It was lovely to open my emails this morning and have many long emails. Now I have a task to reply to them.

We have just made a quick trip to town with the main reason being to go to the bank. We have piles of Tanzanian shillings to deposit for various people and projects we have been sent money for. The largest size note in Tz is 10,000 so as you can imagine with 2.2 million in my bag it is quite a pile. Crazy really - we get our money transferred via Western Union to the post office by Rob’s dad. We collect piles of cash then have to go to the bank and deposit it to the various accounts. This was my second attempt at the bank this week and I failed a second time. The queue was ridiculous and in the 30 minutes I waited while Rob and the boys did a bit of shopping I think 2 people were served and at least 5 or 6 joined the queue AHEAD of me.  I will try again tomorrow. I am afraid I have still not got the patience of a Tanzanian who thinks nothing of waiting for 2 hours or more to be seen. I guess if you have walked for an hour or more to get there you are going to wait and do what you came to do!!!

So now at home I have escaped to snack rock to write all my emails. The boys did follow me (as is often the case) but they have got bored and retreated home for a movie. I am afraid I have very little tolerance for the boys at the moment - they hang around where ever I am and it is getting on my nerves. It is a clear sign to me that my mental health is failing when I have zero tolerance. It has certainly been a test on our family and marriage being in such close quarters 24/7. I know Rob has found it tough (as he has mostly worked from home) to have the boys always around and I obviously have struggled. I think now not being able to escape to the nursing school for a couple of hours is testing my patience. Some of the parting words from our good friend who spent a year as a family in Kenya were ‘I sure hope you like each other because this next year it is just the family!!’ Rob and I were recalling this conversation last night and we decided we do indeed like each other  ……….but it will be nice to have some space on our return!!

So now I am enjoying the peace and the AMAZING view from where I sit. I can see Rwanda and Burundi and of course Tanzania in the valley below. I hear the odd motorcycle and rooster crow. Usually a herd of cows or goats meander by but I can’t see any at present. Also there is a path below where I am sitting that is the main route from the villages below to Ngara. As a write, a couple of girls are on their way up laden with baskets on their heads. If they spot me they will stop and just stare for a while till I wave then they will giggle and continue on their way. I can see people digging in their shambas and hear the odd call across the valley.  I am surprised that even after a year, I see new birds I have not seen before. Murgwanza is a bird lovers paradise from the large hawks and eagles to tiny little wrens and finches (of sort).

We are so thankful for all that God has provided for us this year - for our good health, for so many good friends, for the support from home and for the abundance of food we enjoy. It will certainly be interesting retrning home; to a very different environment and pace of life.

We had word from our travel agent yesterday about our flights from Mwanza to Dar then Dar to Zanzibar. She has told us they have a baggage limit of 15kg!!! We were previously quoted 23kg and are trying to check this with her and the airline. I fear the 15kg bit is probably for the half our flight from Dar to Zanzibar. Please pray about this that it can be resolved quickly or we may be arriving home with just our computers, cameras and the clothes we are wearing and of course our exotic African artefacts!!!

I have translated two Ways to Live into Swahili using Google translater and Imani and I made 6 posters for my kids talk on the 28th. I may attempt to explain the posters in Swahili but the rest of the talk I think I will do in English and get Job to translate. Even if I did manage to write it all in Swahili, I fear my pronunciation would be wrong and the kids would not understand. I have learnt that this service on the 28th which I was told was ‘Children’s Day’ is actually to celebrate/remember the murder of all the male children under the age of 2 that was ordered by Herod in an attempt to kill Jesus after he was born. Apparently this is a big deal on the Anglican calendar but I cannot say it is something I have ever really heard of. Maybe because the 28th Dec is my birthday so I am usually otherwise occupied!! We have been warned that from Christmas Eve there is basically a church service every day for a week. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, the 26th which is not Boxing Day but something else I forget then the 28th is Children’s Day, there are services on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Lucky this year, Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on a Sunday or there would be the usual Sunday Services as well.

On the 29th we will go to Murukorazo to the choir practice and hand over Rob’s guitar. Just quietly I think Rob is mourning the loss in advance and it will sure be quiet at our house after the 29th with no guitar playing going on.

The boys have had the slip’n’slide out the last couple of days with Gilbert (Absalom’s son) and Johnathon. It has been a huge source of amusement and entertainment and guilt free water usage as we have an afternoon storm every day that more than refills what they have used.

One of the Form 1 boys that I had been tutoring in English is bringing me my freshly slaughtered goat leg on Christmas morning so all I need to do now is cook it!!! How hard can it be - surely it is just like a leg of lamb. I just hope he understood my request for meat only and no head and inside bits!!!

Well I am getting a numb bum and my patch of shade is rapidly diminishing so I will return to the house and post this blog now and continue with my emails.

Merry Christmas to all from Murgwanza.


Time Difference

Come. And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.~

Revelation 22:17
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