May 20 2008

Visit to Tanzania – entry 2

This is the second entry in a series of three. In March, Rachel Scherzer, who works in Child Services at the CFCA Kansas City office, traveled to Tanzania to visit her sponsored child, Bariki. She spent more than a week living and volunteering at the CFCA Dar es Salaam project.

I did home visits yesterday, visiting two families who are new to the sponsorship program. These kids live really, really far out. I’m a bad judge of distance, but I know it took us at least 45 minutes to get to the first kid’s house, most of it walking under the scorching African sun. I have some pretty wicked burn/tan lines. It got to the point that I was thanking God for every breeze and patch of shade.

The second girl’s house wasn’t as far but it was all downhill getting there, which means it was all uphill getting back. And, of course, during all of this I’m wearing flip-flops, which was a disaster! My feet were so filthy by the time we got to the first house that the mama insisted I wash my feet. Not only did she insist, she “helped” me, using water that I know she probably couldn’t spare. And then she thanked me profusely for visiting her home!

The kid’s house was so remote that I was probably the only white person the villagers had seen. All the kids rushed out of their houses to stare at the “mzungu” (white person). We also rode the daladala, which is basically their bus, but really it’s just a big van. It was like a clown car in there. Every cubic inch was filled with bodies. I had some woman practically sitting on me at one point. But after all that walking I was grateful to be in a car.

Today I went into town with one of the seminarians. I basically followed him around while he did errands, so I got to see a lot of the city. And we went to the national museum, which shows all the traditional homes that people still live in. They were literally mud huts. The coast is pretty westernized but the further inland you get, the more primitive the conditions. I bought some beautiful postcards and paintings, too, but you may never see them because I will have trouble parting with them.

More to come tomorrow…

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