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.

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

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

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

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

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

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I have windows, but no mesh or bars.

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

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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)

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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!

 

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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!)

 

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 …

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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.

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There was a carpet of them on our back veranda.

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

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More piled outside the front door.

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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!

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

orange_tree

 

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.

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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).

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The ants also appreciate this snack.

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

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Not a termite, but also a frequent visitor.

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The following morning …

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

Have you ever enjoyed an unusual snack?!

Celebrating the Old, Welcoming the New.

We had much to be thankful for last week here at our translation office.

We were celebrating one of the Simbiti translators, Pastor Julius Waynse, who has now completed the lengthy training to become a Translation Advisor (TA). He will still continue to work part-time as a translator for the Simbiti team, since it is a dream of his to see the publication of the New Testament in his mother tongue. But now he will also be helping and advising the translation teams for other languages. Waynse is the first Tanzanian to become a Translation Advisor here in the Mara Cluster!

The training was certainly lengthy: a certificate of study through a course in Kenya called iDelta; a Bachelor of Theology  with SATS (South Africa Theological Seminary); as well as a lot of in-house training, which will still continue as he transitions into this new role.

Praise God for Pastor Waynse’s passion and commitment in his faith and work.

There are also a number of other translators here who are currently in the middle of their training to become TAs – please pray for perseverance for them, and that God would bless them with wisdom and knowledge.

We celebrated this achievement with speeches, prayer and special cake during our morning chai break:

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Another translator and the Partnership officer praying for Waynse.

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The same day we also welcomed a new translator to the Kabwa team, John Kirati.

Praise God for Kirati joining our team, and please pray for him as he learns a huge amount over the coming weeks and months.

Please pray for all of our team, that we would help Kirati to feel welcomed and we would develop good relationships.

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Waynse, Kirati, and Lucy, Waynse’s wife.

P.S. If you were surprised by my use of “old” in the title, it is a complement to be called an “old person” (‘Mzee’) in Tanzania!

(Thanks to my colleagues who had their cameras at the ready).

A Latin American Feast

Beware, this post may make you rather hungry!!

The learning centre here, where my house-mate and another colleague teach some of the missionary kids, are currently studying South & Central America in their geography lessons.

What better way to learn about other countries than through their foods!

Last weekend we enjoyed a veritable feast of Latin American foods from various countries, prepared by all the different households involved.

 

I’m always thankful for the community here, but especially when we cook up such delicious occasions as this!

Next term the learning centre will be studying Asia … yum yum yum!

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The learning centre kids (plus 2 younger brothers) and their teachers.

(Thanks to Michael Nicholls for the last photo.)

 

The side-streets of Musoma.

Yesterday I joined a colleague on a short errand run around town. I enjoyed looking around and watching the comings and goings down some of the side-streets that we stopped in.

Some young men were enjoying the shade outside a little corner-shop:

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We visited a local carpenter’s workshop:

carpenter

My colleague had had a new frame for a mosquito-net made. I came here a few months ago when my house-mate had ordered some new corner shelves. You can give the carpenter a hand-drawn diagram of what you would like with some measurements, and then collect in a week or so – talk about great service!

 

A woman passed by carrying a sack of flour home:

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(Some of you might to notice the building-site behind her and the hand-made scaffolding – I’m glad I don’t need to climb up there!)

 

Motorbikes are a very common mode of transport here in Musoma, known as a pikipiki in Swahili. There a numerous motorbike taxis around too (bodaboda), a cheap way to get a lift somewhere – you often see women sitting side-saddle on the back with arm-loads of groceries. This is a skill I’d like to master some day, but not quite yet …!

pikipiki

 

A minute later a small group of goats passed down the street, unaccompanied by their owner as far as I could tell! It’s very common to see goats grazing beside the road.

goats

 

And lastly…:

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Most often soft-drinks are bought in glass bottles here and the kids love the bottle caps – the caps from this particular beverage are especially fun to collect because of the variety of names that you can find.

A celebration of Genesis in Kabwa

This week we were very pleased to attend the celebration of the book of Genesis being published in another of the languages here, this time in the Kabwa language.

The last time I attended a celebration like this, it was for the book of Genesis in the Ikizu language, 6 months ago. I really enjoyed being able to follow more of the Swahili this time around!

The celebration was held in a very large church in the village of Bukabwa:

Many people gathered in the church:

There was a lot of singing, including some dancing from the choir. A number of speeches were made by bishops and other local Christian leaders:

When the time came for the books to be presented, the Kabwa translators carried the box, dancing with it up the church, followed by others from our office. The bishop then prayed for the books.

One of the Kabwa translators read aloud in Kabwa from a section of Genesis:

Meja_reading_crop

After some food together, we were pleased to be able to sell some books, both Genesis and some other books already printed in Kabwa, as well as some Kabwa Calendars for 2016 recently printed.

 

 

Please be praying for the Kabwa community, that the book of Genesis would be used by God to speak deeply to the hearts of Kabwa speakers, and that it would bring them to know more closely their wonderful and powerful Creator God.

Then the rain came down.

In Musoma we’re enjoying one of our rainy seasons. Everything is so green!

Here, when it rains, it really rains!

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A couple of weeks ago, when my house-mate was away for the weekend, I was enjoying cooking in the kitchen on the Friday evening. It started raining pretty hard, but that’s fairly normal at the moment.

When I’d finished cooking I went into the sitting room, only to find what had previously been a small hole in the ceiling (caused by the resident bats) was now a much larger crack!

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There was water and bat poo, washed in from the loft, all over the floor!

Praise God, it could have been so much worse. The week before we’d moved all of the soft furniture elsewhere, for totally unrelated reasons.
When the ceiling cracked, it would have been right above our sofa; however, as it was, nothing at all was damaged! Praise God for his careful timing!

I was able to elicit helpful advice over the weekend, and on Monday morning a colleague came over with a local “fundi” (handyman), who had already been booked to be working at my colleague’s house that day.

They investigated the loft …

loft

washed out the gutters and replaced missing nails in the roof…

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trimmed the trees whose branches were in danger of damaging the roof further…

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and replaced the damaged ceiling board…

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ceiling2

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all in one day!

We’re now thinking of potential mural ideas for our blank canvas!

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All in all, a pretty adventurous weekend, but one that I actually quite enjoyed and which left me feeling very thankful: for helpful colleagues, for hard-working handymen, for my Swahili holding out all day, and for God’s perfect timing and provision.