The Same but Different.

Living back in the UK, I do many of the same things as I did in Tanzania, but it’s also very different.

I sleep in a bed, but with multiple blankets rather than a mosquito net.

bedtz beduk

 

 

 

 

 

I get my water from a tap, but I don’t have to filter it before drinking it.

watertz2 watertz1 wateruk

 

 

 

 

 

 

I eat beans, but most often from a tin, and I don’t have to sort and clean them.

beanstz2 beansuk

 

 

 

 

I eat fruit, but apples and pears, rather than guava and passion fruit.

fruittz2 fruituk

 

 

 

 

I enjoy flowers when I walk through town, but crocuses, snowdrops and daffodils, rather than bougainvillea.

flowerstz flowersuk1 flowersuk2

 

 

 

 

I use money, but take a lot fewer notes out of the cash-point.

moneytz moneyuk

 

 

 

 

I have windows, but no mesh or bars.

windowtz windowuk2

 

 

 

 

 

 

I still walk to get around town, but I have had to get used to very different footwear.

feettz feetuk

 

 

 

 

Even if everything else is different, at least I still worship and serve the same God, no matter where I am!


25 In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth,

    and the heavens are the work of your hands.
26 They will perish, but you remain;
    they will all wear out like a garment.
Like clothing you will change them
    and they will be discarded.
27 But you remain the same,
    and your years will never end.
(Psalm 102)

Back in UK, FAQs

Here are some common questions that I’ve been asked since returning to the UK, which I included in my January newsletter.

So, where are you now?
As of the beginning of January, I am based in Gloucester. I am studying at Redcliffe College, finishing off a Masters (which I started before going to Tanzania). The course is about linguistics, and it is taught by Wycliffe staff.

img_20170120_131710302

This is the beautiful view, from one of my classrooms, of Gloucester cathedral.

How long will you be in the UK?
I plan to be based in the UK for about a year, until I have finished the thesis stage of the Masters.

Do you still need financial support?
Yes, I am still a member of Wycliffe, but my assignment has changed for this year from working in Tanzania to completing a study programme relevant to my work.

Will you still be sending out newsletters this year?
Yes! I would like to keep you involved with my work and study, and I need your prayers and support just as much now as when I was in Tanzania.

Will you be continuing work in Tanzania later on?
Yes, I hope and plan to return to Musoma after finishing my studies, to continue with much the same work as before.

What’s the best thing about being back in England?
Not having ants in my food, clothes, shower, hair, bed, …! And of course, seeing friends and family again!

An Unusual Piece of Luggage.

I shall be returning to the UK for study leave at the end of this week, and I shall be taking a domestic flight within Tanzania.

A particular flight company permits an unusual piece of luggage when one is flying from Mwanza (which is on the shore of Lake Victoria):

bucket_of_fishfastjet-copy

Yes, you have read correctly. A bucket of fish is a permitted piece of luggage from Mwanza to Dar es Salaam.

Apparently, the local fish from Lake Victoria is so good that it is very common for people to want to take some with them.

Here is some photographic evidence from my last flight to Dar:

img_20160627_134337014

Sadly, I’m not sure my international flight would allow such an unusual piece of luggage. Otherwise, I might have dared to give some rather different Christmas presents this year …

What’s the strangest thing you have ever seen on an airport luggage belt? Or have you ever tried to fly with an unusual piece of luggage?

I’d also appreciate your prayers for safe flights home at the end of this week – thank you!

Food fit for a Monkey? Banana Chutney!

Sorry, there are no monkeys in this blog post. (Though there often are some playing on the roof of my office!)

I thought I would share with you one of my favourite recipes: banana chutney. It’s incredibly easy, delicious, and goes with anything!

bananas(small).jpg

  • Ingredients:
    4 cups mashed bananas (1 cup is 2 1/2 large Tanzanian bananas, or 5 mini Tanzanian bananas … I can’t remember how big bananas are in the UK!)
    1 cup chopped onion
    1 cup vinegar
    1 cup sugar

banana-chutney (small).jpg

  • Mix it all together.
  • Boil (and stir a little) for 3 minutes.
  • Let it cool, then add:
    2+ tsp curry powder
    2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • Enjoy!

It can be frozen, or keeps in the fridge for at least 10 days.

The Hat Game.

Sometimes in the Linguistics office we can be rather silly …

There are a number of roles that the linguists here fill, and some of my colleagues have very many “hats”.

Last week we commissioned a colleague (who is very arty and teaches some of the missionary kids here), to represent our many “hats” on the board in our office:

artist-at-work

The artist at work.

The only hats I wear are the “Orthography Hat” (note the crazy eyes – a genuine side effect of trying to puzzle out spelling system issues for too long) and the “Linguist Hat” (with the ivory tower representing the peaceful environment of theoretical linguistics).

My colleagues also wear: the “Consultant Hat”, the “EC Hat” (Entity Committee …not sure exactly what they do, but important things for the running of our organisation….); the “Dictionary Hat”; the “Coordinator Hat”; and of course the “Cat in the Hat” for when we are not working!

 

Linguistics-team-hats(small1)

Most of the linguistics team, together with the artist and our hats. (Our supervisor was not in that day and so is not pictured – perhaps that is why our silly hat discussion occurred!)

 

Seeing Beauty in the Chaos: Enjoying Imbrication.

(This is a linguistics post, but it has reminded me of the wonderful creativity of God. Skip to the end for this part!)

Lately, one of the problems I have been working on has been figuring out the reasons behind some very strange word endings.

In Kabwa (as in all Bantu languages – the big language family that Kabwa belongs to), pieces can be added onto words to add meaning (this is called “agglutination” – sounds like glue and acts like it too!).

This means that you can have a lot of fun, especially with verbs, adding together different endings to change the meaning slightly.

Sometimes the pieces stick together in a nice row, and it is obvious what pieces have been added.

However, sometimes the sounds in the different pieces like to play around and a totally different ending is created.
This is one of the difficulties I encounter when I’m checking the spelling of some Kabwa words.

One specific ending /-iri/ is used in some past tenses; /-iri/ really likes to play with its neighbours …

(For these examples I used the Kabwa verb /rih/ which means ‘pay’)

The pieces:

The outcome:

Swahili:

English:

a-rih-iri

arihiri

amelipa

He has paid

a-rih-ir-iri

arihiiri

amelipia

He has paid on behalf of someone else

a-rih-i-iri

arihirye

amelipisha

He has avenged (or made to pay)

a-rih-w-iri

arihirwe

amelipwa

He has been paid

a-rih-ir-i-iri

arihiirye

amelipishia

He has avenged on behalf of someone else

a-rih-ir-w-iri

arihiirwe

amelipiwa

He has been paid on behalf of someone else

a-rih-i-w-iri

arihiibhwe

amelipishwa

He has been avenged on behalf of someone else

 

But then it gets more confusing, because sometimes the same ending (or almost the same) can be created from different pieces being added together, without the /-iri/ piece …

The pieces:

The outcome:

Swahili:

English:

a-rih-ir-e

arihire

alipie

He should pay on behalf of someone else

a-rih-ir-i-e

arihirye

alipishie

He should avenge on behalf of someone else

a-rih-ir-w-e

arihirwe

alipiwe

He should be paid on behalf of someone else

a-rih-i-w-e

arihibhwe

alipishwe

He should be avenged on behalf of someone else

 

Those of you who have made it this far might be interested to know that the technical term for these pieces of words playing and overlapping is “imbrication“. This term can also be used to talk of actual overlapping in sedimentology, tiling, and surgery – fun!

 

At first, the mixture of all these different endings seemed like such a mess to me. But now that I can see the pattern, it really does seem sort of beautiful!

It has reminded me that often our lives can seem to be in a bit of a mess; we can’t make sense of everything; we can’t see the reason and the plan behind it all.

But the same God who created the universe, who created the wealth of intricately beautiful languages in the world, he created us. He wove us together and he has woven our lives together. We may not always be able to see the rhyme and reason, but he does, and sometimes that has to be enough.

Psalm 139 talks about this as well (verses 13-16) (NIV):

“For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

 

Unwelcome Guests.

A week ago I returned from our organisation’s annual conference in Dar es Salaam. It was a very refreshing week, with some good Bible teaching, many times of singing together, lots of fun with friends, and also our general meeting.

I arrived back in Musoma about 8pm at night. It was dark, and I was looking forward to my bed after a day of travelling.

But I found my house surrounded by a cloud of teeny, tiny, buzzing, Lake flies.

This is one of the hazards of living on the shores of Lake Victoria; sometimes clouds of tiny flies come off the lake, and they really enjoy congregating around our security lights and getting into the house through every possible nook and cranny.

This meant that even more cleaning than normal has been necessary this last week …

lake-flies-1

Fortunately lake flies live for only a day, so the next day most of them were dead (and therefore much easier to remove!). This is just a fraction of what I swept out of the house.

lake-flies-2

There was a carpet of them on our back veranda.

lake-flies-3

And yes, the dogs like to eat them … weird …

lake-flies-4

More piled outside the front door.

lake-flies-5

And heaps on the inside window ledges … bleugh!

But, I’m very thankful for our hoover (a.k.a. vacuum cleaner, for the non-Brits among you), especially for the handle extension which meant I could just about reach the ceiling boards (no photographic evidence, but lake flies make it very clear how covered your ceiling is in cobwebs!!).

Fruit, Glorious Fruit!

This month I’ve been enjoying and experimenting with some of the delicious fruits we have here in Musoma.

We have a couple of passion fruit vines in our yard, and the last two months we have had a wonderful harvest!

passion_vine

passion

There are some guava trees too in the yard, and this year I tried making guava jam for the first time – yum! Definitely something to repeat!

 

We don’t have any banana trees in our own garden, but they are available very cheaply from the market. We were given a gift of a very large ‘branch’ of bananas and, since I was keen to make something with them other than the usual banana cake, a friend gave me a recipe for banana chutney – delicious!

banana_chutney

Also, it looks like it’s nearly orange season again …!

orange_tree

 

When journeys don’t go to plan: lessons in Swahili, patience, and fun.

Last week I travelled to Dar es Salaam for a two-week workshop about academic writing. There is now an airline that flies to our little dirt airstrip in Musoma, so my colleague and I thought we might give it a go.

Not everything went according to plan, but I learnt a lot and had a (mostly) fun adventure in the process…

A month or so before the trip…
we successfully booked a return flight from Musoma to Dar to leave on a Sunday.

However, a couple of weeks later…
we saw on the airline website that Sunday flights no longer existed … We were pleased though, to see that on our booking, it looked like the airline planned to move our flights to the Saturday.

However, a week and a half before travelling…
our booking no longer showed any outgoing flight at all, but only our return flight for after the trip.

My colleague was able to get her ticket rebooked that same day over the ‘phone, but I was unsuccessful.

Almost every day for a week I called the airline, sent them emails, and visited the little office in town.

On Thursday, two days before leaving …
My colleague and I visited the little office for a couple of hours in the morning, and then returned again for four hours in the afternoon, and at 6pm … I got my ticket!! We were both booked on a flight to leave 4.30pm on Saturday (in less than 48 hours).

I was very thankful for my colleague who sat with me for most of the day, offering moral support and encouragement. I was rather impressed with myself that I even managed to get a little assertive in Swahili!

I was also thankful to the man in the office, who called the airline’s main office over 20 times that day, as well as sending many emails, and stayed at work much later than usual to print my ticket.

prec1

The office in town where we spent the day, and the helpful man still on the ‘phone.

 

On Saturday …
I received a call at noon from a colleague, saying that he had met the man from the office in town, who had told him that the flight was already delayed. Therefore the airline would arrange transport for us to go to Mwanza (a town a few hours away) to catch the flight from there. (Since our little airstrip is not lit, ‘planes cannot land there once it starts to get dark). The bus was due to leave the airport at 3pm.

At 2.30pm I heard the bus would leave at 4.45pm instead.

The bus left the airport at 5.10 pm – hoorah! We are on our way!

Dar_journey_SRO_1

On our way!

Dar_journey_SRO_8

It seemed rather apt that our transport (a “daladala”) had “Compromise” pasted across the windscreen!

However, we were delayed a little while by the side of the road whilst a problem with the wheel was fixed:

Dar_journey_SRO_2

Praise God it was fixed in less than an hour!

We arrived in Mwanza after a few hours, about 10pm. Before going to the airport, the airline representative apologised for the delay, and kindly provided us with a meal (we were a little perplexed, but thankful for sustenance!):

Dar_journey_SRO_3.jpg

Our “in-flight” meal.

We made it to the airport by 10.30pm and got our tickets!

Dar_journey_SRO_4

 

After only 10 minutes in the airport, we made it onto the (almost empty!) ‘plane, and took off from Mwanza just after 11pm. Hoorah!

Dar_journey_SRO_6.jpg

There were only 11 passengers on this flight … it felt rather bizarre!

We made it to Dar, 1.23am on Sunday morning – Praise God!

Dar_journey_SRO_7.jpg

Although this was 6 hours later than we had anticipated arriving that day, it was in fact 18 hours before our original plan of arrival (when we had planned to fly on Sunday instead)!

So, although not many things went to plan on this journey, I gained helpful practice in Swahili, enjoyed getting to know a colleague better, and experienced some amusing adventures together. It was also a good lesson in patience, trusting God for provision and safety, and being able to find fun in almost any situation.

However, I do hope our return journey next weekend is not quite so eventful!

A Tasty Treat …

Here in Musoma our spring rains have arrived – hoorah! This means that the weather is much cooler (25C!) and we frequently need to wear jumpers.

Spring rains also mean something else …

Flying termite season!!!

These little guys crawl out of the ground after it rains and like to fly around for a few hours before losing their wings.

termite02

Tanzanians like to fry them up for a tasty snack! (I’ve yet to be offered one though …)

The other evening I sat on our kitchen floor, having a lot of fun, taking pictures of all the bugs landing around me! (My house-mate’s cats like to come in and out of the windows … meaning a handy entry point for flying night-time visitors).

termite08

The ants also appreciate this snack.

termite01

Yes, some land even straight on the hob, ready for frying

bug1

Not a termite, but also a frequent visitor.

termite09.JPG

The following morning …

Maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to actually try one …

Have you ever enjoyed an unusual snack?!