Monday, August 31, 2009

Mama Julie

It was hard to get used to the use of "Mama" in names! The custom in Tanzania is for a mother to take the name of her firstborn child, whether it is a boy or a girl. So in Tanzania, I would be Mama Julie and Julie would be Mama Lauren. Joan would be Mama Staci, and Staci would be Mama Brody! It seems to make it more sad when someone doesn't have a child. Cyndi's cook is Mama Betty, but our cook was Jane. Jane has no children of her own, but she and her husband Boaz are raising several children who needed a home. Boaz is always wanting to bring a new one home!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tanzanian Food

Just across the road from our house was a beautiful garden. The pictures just don't do justice of how nice it was to walk by it every day and see all the plants in the well-maintained garden! The garden was not here before Bill Stinson's arrival at Chimala, but now many vegetables are grown for use by the missionaries and the guests in the various houses on the mission. In the garden are okra, cabbage, tomatoes, eggplant, corn, and much more. River water is routed to the garden for irrigation.

Every day workers are in the garden taking care of it.

This is the son of one of the workers. He wanted his picture made, so he ran over to the fence!

The next photo shows the hand-dug irrigation ditches.

The man in the following photo works for the people who live next to the garden. The woman who lives in the house is in charge of the garden. Most of the workers around the mission are afraid of their dog, Stavrous, but he is actually very friendly.

Here are the banana trees. You will be able to see green bananas on them. The bananas are picked green because if left on the trees to ripen, the monkeys will steal them!

Next is a papaya tree.

The following is a view of our pantry with the banana stalk hanging from the ceiling. These very small bananas are less than six inches long but very sweet and good!

Next is our cook, Jane. The photo shows the first thing she did every morning, which was to tie back the kitchen curtains to let the light inside. She is a great cook. She has been cooking for Americans so long that she knows how to cook American food for them! She makes everything from scratch, even hamburger buns, biscuits, loaves of bread, and cinnamon rolls-----everything is wonderful! There was a long list of choices of food that she could cook for us, so each week we decided on the menus for the week. Jane bought a few food items across the street at the Chimala market, but most of the food was purchased by Cyndi on her weekly grocery shopping/medicine-buying-for-the-hospital trip to Mbeya, which is 50 miles from Chimala.

It was great to walk home at lunchtime every day to find a delicious, hot meal on the table waiting for us and to come home at 6:00 p.m. and find food in the oven for dinner! We wish we could have brought Jane home with us! We got spoiled quickly!

The next photo shows Jan looking over the long list of food from which to choose the week's menu.

The last week before we left we asked Jane to prepare a traditional Tanzanian meal for us. We had beans, rice, spinach, a type of tortilla, and a dish called ugale, which is made from ground white corn. The closest food we know to ugale would be grits. It really has very little taste. The Africans usually eat it with their hands and dip it into some kind of spicy dip. It is the main food that is eaten every day by the natives. Because corn is widely grown in Tanzania, ugale is a very inexpensive meal.
Ugale is in the plate at the bottom of the next picture. Notice the spinach in the second photo below; it was really good. It is not like our common spinach in the U.S. If anyone could let us know where we could purchase it here, we would love to buy some.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Walks in the Morning

Almost every morning Ron and I went for about a thirty-minute walk around the mission area. Because we needed to be at a devotional at 7:30 each morning, our walk had to be very early. We tried to begin our walk about 6:00 a.m. We usually started out in the dark, but many days we got to see the beginnings of the sunrise. We used flashlights, and we took a walking stick to scare away any snakes on the path! Here are some of our photos from our morning walks.
First is the back of our house.

A few mornings we could hear rustling in the leaves of the trees close to Bill and Cyndi's house. When we shined our lights into the trees, we could see little bush babies. They are nocturnal, so we never saw them in the daytime. Our flashlights scared them and made them run away, so our photos were not really good. The bush babies can really move quickly! In several of the pictures you can just see shiny eyes!

You will have to click on this next one to see the shiny eyes.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Bill and Cyndi's House

Bill and Cyndi's house is the house reserved for the Mission administrator. It is the newest of the houses, very nice and comfortable, and the rooms are very large. Home construction in Tanzania is still not what it is in the U.S., however! Because it is really expensive to ship furniture from the U.S., the Mission's houses are furnished with furniture that has been collected from various missionaries over the years.
The first picture is of the front of the house.

Next is the garage area for some of the Mission vehicles.

Bill and Cyndi made home-made pizza for us every Sunday night. It was really good!
Bill was the "crust maker".
Jan is on the left, then Bill, then Cyndi.

Debbie D., Eddie, and Jan.

Bill and Cyndi, Ron, Debbie, Eddie

On Tuesday nights we had a devo at Bill and Cyndi's house. The week these photos were made was one of the weeks that some nursing students from Harding University were at Chimala.
They really enjoyed working at the hospital.

The three men on the right hand side of the couch work with the Gospel Chariot, which is sponsored by World Bible School. They go out into the villages to preach. We will write more about that work later.

On the left is Chris Raynor, a missionary in Chimala from California. He and his wife, Tam, have been at Chimala about five years and are scheduled to return to the States in December. Chris works with the Bible College and the School of Preaching.

Bill and Chris

This is the road in front of Bill's house. The road is on Mission property, and it is part of the big circle that we walked (for exercise) every morning.

If you follow the road in the photo above, it curves to the right and goes toward our house. The part of the road after the curve and headed to our house is in the next photo.
There is a banana grove on the left, and on the right is our yard and a favorite place for monkeys to play after they have eaten their fill of bananas! Notice Jan's jacket----I don't think anyone in Texas was wearing a jacket in June or July!

Tanzania is famous for snakes----cobras, black mambas, and green mambas. The green mambas are ranked as the most dangerous snakes in the world because of their deadly venom and because they are also aggressive snakes. Mambas are usually up in the trees, and cobras are usually found on the ground. We always used flashlights when walking in the dark! Thankfully, we never saw a snake in the six weeks that we were in Tanzania!

Bill and Cyndi have 6 dogs, mostly for keeping snakes away from their house and yard. One evening just a few hours after we had walked home from the Tuesday evening devotional, the dogs started barking. They had killed a cobra on the path!

The next photo is of a puppy that belonged to one of Cyndi's dogs. That puppy went home to live with Cyndi's cook, Mama Betty.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Chimala Mission Church

There is a church building on the mission property. It is a self-supporting church with about 250 in attendance on Sunday. The children living in the Primary School dorms attend the church every Sunday, so attendance numbers fluctuate greatly according to whether or not school is in session. The church leaders are already trying to make decisions on how to accommodate the students who will attend the new Secondary School beginning in January, 2010.

The grass is mostly brown because it is winter time in Tanzania. Temperatures were from the 50's at night to the low 70's during the daytime.

The following photo was taken inside the building during a worship service.

The baptistry is in the front right corner of the church building. The girl on the left is getting ready to be baptised.

The church has a really neat custom of forming a line outside after every church service. Each person goes down the line shaking hands with every person in line and then takes his place at the end of the line. Songs are being sung during the whole time.

There were two women's conferences while we were there. One was for older women and one was for young women. Each conference lasted a week, and women came from villages all around. They stayed in the empty dorms (Students were on break.).
The following photos were made one morning as the women were waiting for the conference to begin.

Next are some videos that you might find interesting. The first is of the singing at the Mission Church.

The following video is of the singing at one of the women's conferences.

This last one is of the greeting time after a worship service. (Sorry some of the video is blurry!)