October 28, 2010

We made it back to Dar es Salaam! We arrived safely on October 2nd and have been settling in after over four months in the States. Our time in Columbus was wonderful and rich in so many ways. And we are grateful to once again be in Tanzania.

SO much happens in four week’s time, but here are just a few interesting happenings over the recent days and weeks:

  • We had a laughable (and not unordinary) welcome back to Tanzania, when our taxi broke down on the way home from the airport!
  • Our second day back we enjoyed a sweet welcome home dinner with some great friends.
  • Elliott learned how to ride his bicycle with no training wheels. Woohoo!

  • Aidan turned double digits and the celebration went on for days.

  • Aidan and Elliott finally resumed school after nearly five months of summer break only to be on a 1.5 week mid-term break, after just four days of school.
  • Plans and preparations are moving right along with VBI, Maji Salama and Wamama Kahawa.

  • We have had our toilet, car, shower, various plumbing, and a number of other things repaired since our return.

  • It has been fantastic reconnecting with old friends and making new ones.
  • A few of these old friends love telling me (Lyndi) how fat I got while away, dramatically holding their arms out wide. One, in particular, said it over and over and couldn’t stop staring at me and cracking up. My sense of humor and security remains intact. :]
  • Morning traffic = sometimes just getting out of the driveway takes 20 minutes! (Which leaves time for snapping photos)

  • Doug has gotten back to his early morning running routine and saw a random naked man exercising vigorously on the beach last week.
  • We added a Jack Russell Terrier to our pack, his name is “Buddy”.

  • We also added a German Shepherd to our pack, her name is “Jua” (‘the sun’ in Kiswahili).

  • We are now starting doggie boarding… just kidding, but it sure feels like it sometimes!

Finally, the nation of Tanzania will hold elections this Sunday, October 31st. Please pray for justice and peace to reign.

The ‘concluding prayer of the church’ in the Divine Hours this morning perfectly articulates our prayer for Tanzania during these elections:

“Lord God Almighty, you have made all the peoples of the earth for your glory, to serve you in freedom and in peace: Give to the people of our country a zeal for justice and the strength of forbearance, that we may use our liberty in accordance with your gracious will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

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April 11, 2010

It has been a long time since we have written here. So much has happened over the past several months that it has been easier not to write anything.

A blog entry is certainly not the appropriate context to communicate the details of what has made life challenging over the past seven months. But, as a family, we have come to the ultimate conclusion that God has called us to Tanzania. And He continues to make it clear that He has a plan for us to remain in Tanzania. God has opened many doors for us to continue to serve here in Dar es Salaam and we are genuinely excited for all that He has planned.

For our Columbus family, friends and supporters – we will be in Columbus this summer and have several gatherings planned where you can come and hear stories and see pictures from our experiences in Tanzania. We will help you understand what we have accomplished and experienced here, what God has taught us, and what our vision is for the future. Contact us for dates, times and locations. Thank you Erika Crawford and our AMAZING sending team for already having these plans in the works!

After this entry our blog will begin looking forward to what God has for our family as we serve and fellowship in our local church, Dar Vineyard, as we bring clean water to people who lack access to it, and as we create economic opportunities for women through coffee roasting.

We thank so many of you for walking this journey with us.

Mungu awabariki! (God bless you all!)

Fall Update 2009

November 3, 2009

We hope all of our Central Vineyard family and friends enjoyed the fall update on Sunday. 

We want everyone who supports us or follows our efforts on this blog to see this update.

We are so thankful for each one of you.

siku ya maji salama (clean water day)

September 26, 2009

Sign

focus is good.  our team’s water project has narrowed in on a community in dar es salaam that suffers from water borne illnesses, especially during rainy season when rain water overflows everything including the public septic tanks. the community is kigogo and today we spent our saturday afternoon there. but we (our team) were not alone – which emphasizes one of the many significant aspects of the day — the involvement of our church members. 

nearly sixty children arrived on the scene, ready to partake in every activity we had to offer – from balloon-tossing to the tunes of michael jackson to slurping down maji salama and lots of dancing and laughter. they had a great time!

Our Kids

the other tent was full of people interested in learning more about how the water filter works. nixon did a great job, as always, taking time to talk to people and demonstrating how the filter makes it is possible and more affordable to have maji salama without boiling water everyday.

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people know us in kigogo and that is a good feeling; when we packed up our tents and water balloons today they knew we would be back. we are building relationships through clean water, economic development and time spent together in the sun on a steamy saturday afternoon in dar.

Aloise and Daudi with kids

Girl Scouts Treat Tanzania

September 5, 2009

 

many boys

This entry is long overdue. Erika (a former student of mine at Thomas Worthington) and her generous Girl Scout troop made a few days in July very sweet for the boys living in the DYOC (Dar es Salaam Youth Olympic Center) hostel.

As previous readers may know, DYOC exists to develop youth through football (soccer for our fellow Americans), it also helps find funding for over 30 children’s education, and 22 children of the 120 that are a part of DYOC live in the hostel.  The hostel provides shelter and direction for these 22 youth who are either orphans or their parents are not able to provide for them.

 I don’t think any of these boys had ever experienced the small pleasure of a Thin Mint.  Thank you all so much for your generosity.  

Through the process of sending these cookies you were also educated on the cost of mailing a parcel internationally.  Those were some very expensive cookies! But they were an unexpected treat for the boys.  Thank you so much.

 I have included some pictures from the day I brought the cookies to the hostel. I hope these help to give you a small glimpse of what life is like for these young men.

 Thank you again Erika! 

 

doing laundry after school
doing laundry after school

 

the hostel jiko (kitchen)
the hostel jiko (kitchen)

 

view from the back porch of the hostel
view from the back porch of the hostel
ready for football practice

ready for football practice

 

the leader of the hostel, Douglas Buckley, and the youngest boy at the hostle

hostel director, me, and the youngest boy at the hostel

 

 

 

 

 

The Week Ahead

August 22, 2009

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For those of you who have been periodically checking in on our blog over the past year, you can probably appreciate why what we are looking forward to this week also represents a milestone for us. This week our team will be hosting Trade Justice Mission in Tanzania. TJM utilizes jewelry making as a method of economic development for women in developing countries who lack assets and have no steady source of income. The concept is simple: TJM provides the materials, trains the women, pays the women individually for their labor, then markets the jewelry in the U.S., and finally sends the profits back to the women as a co-op. The co-op is then empowered to use that capital to invest in long-term income generating activities.

TJM connects with women in developing countries by partnering with organizations already working in country. In the case of Tanzania, we are that organization, which returns us, my noble repeat readers of our blog, to the point of this week being a milestone.

First, big picture—looking back on entering Tanzania, we came here with a desire to serve those who are struggling and to share the love of Jesus with them. This week will be another tangible example of God providing our team with an opportunity to do that. That is very exciting. When you pack up your life and family with hope and faith that things like this will happen, it is very cool to experience the fruition of these hopes.

Now, small picture, focusing in on just the past few months—so many of our team members have spent many hours driving and meeting with potential women for these co-ops. For each woman participating this week, we spent time in her home, getting to know not only if she qualifies for this opportunity, but also getting to know her story. We have broken bread together, drank tea together, and prayed together. And now that the time has come to start, it is so encouraging that our efforts have paid off.

But beyond our personal milestones, we are very excited for what God has in store for this week and for these women. None of them are simply struggling financially: some of them have a physical disability, children with mental disabilities, are HIV-positive, or are trying to keep families together that have been torn apart by death and disease. We ask those of you who desire to see change in the lives of these women to please pray for the success of the jewelry co-ops. Also pray for the hope of God, the hope that we see Jesus extending to anyone who needs it, to enter the lives of these women in a significant way.

One Story

August 13, 2009

The Sunday morning sun failed to hide, rather it severely contrasted the languid and sickly appearance of a man who appeared outside our church a month ago.  He told us that he was thirsty, so we invited him in for a glass of water. He sat and listened to the music as we prepared for the service.

 He told us his story.  Sad stories don’t get much sadder. He no longer wanted to live the life he was leading and we prayed that Jesus would bring change into his life. Our prayers were not halfhearted, but we felt halfhearted after he left for we knew he was returning to a place filled with darkness. He lived in an abandoned building in a part of the city where lives become embers and then burn out.

 Our halfhearted spirits were lifted when he returned the next Sunday.  Food, community, prayer, and the encouraging words of God are what we gave him. His presence the next Sunday encouraged us even more. But this sickly man now looked even thinner than before. We could not just send him off again and hope to see him next Sunday.

 Social services are difficult to track down here. We knew of an Anglican clinic, so we took our friend there. Entering that clinic on a Sunday afternoon was like walking into heaven. Even on a Sunday, so many doctors and nurses were present and many adults and children were receiving care. A doctor deserving of his title interviewed our friend; he was thoughtful and compassionate. Finally, he was tested and the results were not good.

 For some of us it was the first time to be present with someone who is finding out that he is HIV-positive.  There are not many words worth saying at this moment. The peace of God is the only hope.

 We decided to pay for our friend to have a week in the hospital and get stabilized with his diet and medication. We had no idea what his life would look like after that time, but we knew this was the least we could do.

 We visited, prayed, talked through fears, and laughed during that week.

 Fearing what was next, we all searched our contacts and found a program that helps those with drug addictions. Our friend was also an addict. So we thought this would be a great opportunity because the program takes in people struggling with addiction, gives them a place to sleep, food to eat, and trains them in carpentry.

 Our friend desired to try this place. We took him there. He met a friend the first day who was also HIV-positive. He could get medication from the clinic, get well at this rehabilitation home, and learn a skill.

 Unfortunately now was not the time for a full life change.  After one week in rehabilitation our friend made the decision to leave. We had to drive him away from the center and drop him off. Curious what he would decide to do next we watched him after getting out of the car. He walked and found his way to the front steps of another church. Discouraging? No.  When in need with nowhere to turn, I am glad people turn to the church.  It is a tangible reminder of God’s hand in the world, especially when the church embraces its opportunities to love people like him.

 I am encouraged by our young church for supporting and loving “one of the least of these”. My prayer is that the day of change for our friend is soon and that he has not returned to the darkness that desires to turn his ember into spent ash—silencing the winds that were stirring the embers of change in his life.

Closer

June 17, 2009

Our work continues to get even more exciting as it moves closer and closer toward empowering and blessing the lives of those who are suffering the most in Tanzania.  I have already mentioned the launch of Vineyard Maji Salama, our initiative to partner with communities and sell them a device that will provides safe water while saving them money and time, and here are two other exciting happenings.

tjm home visits

 

 

 

dorothy and I meeting with perspective women (and enjoying it I might add)

dorothy and I meeting with prospective women (and enjoying it I might add)

 

 

 

 

Trade Justice Mission is a Columbus, Ohio based NGO the focuses on justice and economic development for women through the creation of jewelry co-ops.  Our team is partnering with TJM to create two jewelry co-ops in Dar. I, Doug, am helping to gather one co-op of land-less, asset-less, financially struggling women who are mothers of boys in D.Y.O.C. or previous female members of the football center.  I chose these women because we already had a relationship with this community and there are so many children and families who are struggling and looking for hope in this football center.

(from right) our guide, dorothy, and tjm prospect standing in front of the family's home

(from right) our guide, dorothy, and a tjm collaborative prospect standing in front of the family's home

Recently Dorothy Lyatuu and I got to meet the prospective women and we even visited their homes to learn more about their stories. The journey to these women’s homes required a guide who knew the city well. On the way we were harassed by a police officer who did not like my driving (Dorothy talked and smiled our way out of that.), then we were surrounded by a crowd of men who desperately wanted us kununua (to buy) one of their live goats; finally, we had kulipa (to pay) someone to watch our car while we entered a neighborhood on foot because the neighborhood did not accommodate vehicles.

neighborhood where vehicles don't go

neighborhood where vehicles don't go

 

Through these home visits we got a short preview of the possible impact and justice that will be wrought in the lives of these women.  

Some have been left by their husbands and ostracized by their family; another woman’s family is walking through the devastating toll of HIV; the suffering does not end when the  sick and suffering person dies; usually so many others in the family are left to struggle after the loss.

visiting another home

visiting another home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

wali na maharage (rice and beans)

 For the past few months our church has been collecting rice and beans as a congregation.  Two Sundays ago, after planning and praying, we divided into three groups and found families in the neighborhood of our church who we thought might feel blessed to receive a gift of one kilo. of rice and one of beans.

 

 

 

elliott learning to measure in kilograms

elliott learning to measure beans in kilograms

 

 

the result:

We got to pray for many; interestingly, some refused for religious reasons.  Many were happy to hear about our church being in the neighborhood.  Almost all seemed very grateful and some families even invited us to sit, discuss and tembelea (visit) with them.

 

two highlights:

  1. One group found a family that had not eaten in two days and their visit, prayers, and gift meant more to them than I can express.  
  2. One woman, a reader of the Koran, stated that she was glad to see that Christians were doing this.  She said she thought all that Christians do now is collect street kids to open orphanages, so they can make money.  

I pray that God continues to help our church affect perceptions such as this for the better.

The Everman Junior High G.E.M.S. are Shining Brightly in Tanzania, East Africa!

May 27, 2009

 

A Texas Size Box of Love

A Texas Size Box of Love

 

This “shout out” must start with thanks to my cousin, Assistant Principal at Everman Junior High, Mr. Mychl Buckley.

He has always been interested and supportive of our family’s plans to work with people in Tanzania.  As a quality educator he utilized the Buckley family presence in Africa as an opportunity to provide a global perspective to his students at Everman.

The result… 

Lasonia Russell and the G.E.M.S. students of Everman got to work! They collected numerous items to help better the lives of the boys of DYOC. 

Dar es Salaam Olympic Center is a small organization that gathers youth around the sport of football and helps them develop through the physical discipline of athletic training, education, and Bible study. Many of these boys are orphans and have little more than the clothes on their back.  DYOC provides shelter, meals and a sense of family to over 24 of these boys who have no other place to call home. 

That is why there were so many smiles when I brought the box of items to present to the boys of DYOC.  Clean socks, educational supplies, books to read, new soccer balls.  These items mean so much to these boys.  You can see it in their smiles.

Way to go Everman G.E.M.S.!

These pictures are for you all!

Thanks so much!

The Buckley Family in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

 

Package Arrives Safely: The helpful clearing officer at the Dar Central Post Office.

Package Arrives Safely: The helpful clearing officer at the Dar Central Post Office.

 

 

 

The boys of DYOC waiting to open your package.

The boys of DYOC waiting to open your package.

 

Coach Aluko preparing to present your gifts.

Coach Aluko preparing to present your gifts.

 

Thank you!

Thank you!

 

The hostel now has a small library thanks to Everman!

The hostel now has a small library thanks to Everman!

 

The boys trained with their new soccer balls and last Saturday won the Coca-Cola sponsored regional youth tournament!

The boys trained with their new soccer balls and last Saturday won the Coca-Cola sponsored regional youth tournament!

 

Ready to put these to use!

Ready to put these to use!

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No more playing in dress socks!

No more playing in dress socks!

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maji salama (safe water)

May 24, 2009

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we have planned, projected and prayed for many months. today was the official kick off of our clean water initiative in dar es salaam. many people were interested in the filters and expressed excitement about the ability to access affordable, safe water in dar es salaam.

it is clear that this initiative is meeting a very tangible, felt need in our community.

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veronica, kanisa la vineyard church member and trained volunteer, explains how clean water and good hygiene go hand in hand.

 

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our project coordinator and good friend, daniel, was in his element today – signing up over a dozen people to have water filters installed in their home.

 

much more to come! a huge thank you to ALL of you who have prayed along with us and are supporting our efforts here in so many ways. 

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