Archive for August, 2008

Daktari Mzuri (The Good Doctor)

August 23, 2008

 

The interlaced legs of this table were hand carved from one solid piece of wood!

The interlaced legs of this table were hand carved from one solid piece of wood!

 

 

Friday, August 15th

 Today was another thoroughly new experience.

After the dog drama in Dar es Salaam, Aidan had to start the rabies vaccination course. Days 0,3,10,28  he had to have the injections. In Dar, the medical facility we have come to know rather well for only having been there 3 weeks was fairly familiar – magazines on the table, the smell of antiseptic, a water cooler, etc. Today was a bit different. First, we arranged for a driver from the centre to take us there. I packed a light lunch for Aidan and myself and we hopped into the safari jeep – me in the front and he in the back, eating his lunch and nervous about the shot that was coming. Our driver was friendly, making small talk with me in Kiswahili- the basics of exchanging names, number of children, where are you from, where do you live, what do you do, etc. It’s so hard when you know what you want to say but are perfectly incapable of saying it! He was liberal with his compliments on my Swahili speaking abilities, but I told him that perhaps next year, if we return, then we can talk about important things! The things that are often discussed right off the bat – politics and religion!

We arrived and from the outside it didn’t look much different from a house. I walked in and felt as if I were walking into an office from a movie scene – circa 1973? I asked at the front desk if the doctor that we had talked to previously was in and the two women sitting at the desk said no, but he would be back. Of course I knew that asking when would be a futile attempt at nailing down the specific time that we would see the doctor. So Aidan and I sat and watched our first and only minutes of the Olympics – women’s soccer (football). Aidan was very patient and we only had to wait an hour and twenty minutes (I was prepared to wait much longer.). Dr. Chamba looked at the wound and declared that it was “healing beautifully” then Aidan had his last rabies vaccination, which was given in a painfully slow fashion!, and we were on our way.  

[We’ve seen the doctor for a second time (Monday, August 18) and had a negative malaria test (THANK GOD!), and we talked to him on another occasion (Tuesday, August 19) asking him for suggestions on treating head lice. In the most sincere yet amusing way, he laughed at us and said, “We don’t do this lice shampoo in Africa, we shave the head and the lice goes! HAHAHAHAHA!”]

Yes, head lice. We all four have it! Tuesday evening we discovered our little enemies, and Doug drove to four duka la dawas (pharmacies) looking for “RID”, or something of the sort – but to no avail. We had one precious bottle of the remedy that we brought with us – JUST IN CASE! – and all of us used the one bottle (which is only supposed to treat one head). The next evening we tried a home remedy of mayonnaise slathered on the head with plastic wrap – the goal is to suffocate the little boogers.

However, we still have insects feasting on our scalps! Mine is probably the worst case, as my hair is a haven for such creatures. Enjoy the pictures of the “mayo heads” and please pray that they go away!

 

The boys enjoyed the mayonnaise treatment, but ...

The boys enjoyed the mayonnaise treatment, but ...

as for Mom and Dad, not so much!

Mom and Dad, not so much!

 

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Cradle of Love

August 23, 2008

Thursday, August 14th

About two years ago when I was Google-ing all things Tanzania, Melissa M and I came across a home for babies called Cradle of Love. I read the website through and through – we talked about visiting Arusha someday during our time in Tanzania and going this place. As we drove down the road to TCDC on the day of our arrival, we passed a sign that read “Cradle of Love Baby Home”. I was so surprised to see that this place we had read about two years ago is right up the road from our language school! Yesterday Doug and I finished class a little early so we decided to walk over and see when might be a good time to go to the home for a longer visit. The director was there and warmly welcomed us to come and spend time with the children anytime. They currently have 33 children ranging from 5 months to nearly four years.

Melissa and I are planning to go back on Sunday to visit – they welcome volunteers to come and love on these precious little ones.

 

UPDATE (8/22): We went to Cradle of Love on that Sunday, some of the volunteers brought babies over to the playground here later in the week and we’ve gone over any time we can since. The children are so precious! When we go between 3:30 and 4pm, the babies are getting bottles and it’s outside time. There is a large (8×5?) mat that roughly 12-16 babies and toddlers sit/lay/crawl on as the “Mamas” assist with the fussy ones and pick up dropped bottles and sippy cups. When we go, we hang out on the mat and hold, hug and play with the kids who all love to get personal lap time. Dinner is at 5pm and it is QUITE a production! There are 33 hungry mouths and lots of hands feeding and wiping the little ones. It was so wonderful to be able to help with mealtime! Melissa has taken some sweet pictures, I hope to post some in the next few days. The director and the women who care for these children are truly special women.

Life Outside the Classroom

August 23, 2008

 

Nane nane kids

These children are gathered at a yearly harvest festival in Tanzania called Nane Nane; which means eight eight for the 8th of August.

 

 

Wednesday, 13 August

Yesterday we followed our typical schedule and after classes wrapped up, we headed to the duka to buy mkate (bread) for Elliott (the bread that is served in the dining hall contains milk). There is a little shop front just outside the gates of the training centre. This particular duka (and many others that we’ve seen) is very similar to a gas station in the States where you walk up to the window and have a look and the person working the window fetches whatever it is for you. Think that, only African~style. We’ve been to this duka several times for things like soda, a bottle opener, laundry soap, bread. We got the bread and one Sprite for Aidan, Elliott and Noa to share then headed around, behind the duka, where there are several plastic outdoor chairs, a TV, a ‘bar’, and a pool table. The turtle that was sitting ON the bar, along with its droppings, was quickly removed while we sat our things down. We hadn’t noticed before when we were here that there was also a mamantilie (a woman who has a small room where she cooks food, makes tea and serves it to those who come in for a quick meal). It happened to be tea time, so she came out and asked if we would like chai and chapati. Even though we’d just had chai and chapati [that the children made at school for the parents on this day!], we said yes and while Doug and the kids played pool, I sat for 45 minutes and chatted with Josephine and her friend, Mama Alisah – all in Kiswahili! They were wonderful women and asked me several times to come back and talk to them. I loved every minute of it. I cannot wait to go back!

[UPDATE: August 22 Doug and I stopped by the duka today to say goodbye and visited with Mama Alisah for an hour, as we leave Arusha for Dar es Salaam in the morning. We gleaned from our conversation today (our Swahili has definitely improved!) that her husband died in a car accident two years ago, leaving her with seven children and a life of making food as a mamantilie to feed her own large family. As we talked, she shared with us the heaviness of her life. She knows Jesus and allowed us to pray for her before we left. Conversations like this put my own hard days in perspective.]

 

We got the kiddos into bed last night and brushed up on our “market language”, for today we were to have a practical exercise of language skill. We had early morning class, then shortly after tea, our class piled into the safari jeep and headed to the market. Our teacher gave us each 1000 shilings (about ninety cents) and told us to purchase fruits and veggies. As we (the wazungu [foreigner] parade) emerged from the car, Doug and I had planned to simply walk around first, take it all in, and then decide what to buy. It was busy, noisy, full of life and color – lots of vendors, most selling just a few items – tomatoes, beans, bananas, etc. We FILLLED a bag – with tomatoes, coconuts, green peppers, cucumbers, spinach, limes, ginger, garlic, a small watermelon, cilantro, coffee –all for 2000 TSH! We were quite proud and wished that the prices we found here we could find in Dar es Salaam!

When we returned to the school, our first stop was the kitchen, where we handed over our “goods”. And when we arrived for dinner this evening, we found they made a salad with the cilantro that we bought. Very fun!

While we were off on our market venture, the kids were on an adventure of their own. They went to Meserani Snake Park, where they interacted with snakes, saw crocodiles, birds, dogs and even rode camels! When we got them off the bus, they were all talking so fast about all they had seen. Aidan said he would love to write a blog entry about his adventure.

This evening we invited some new friends we met on Sunday to come to the centre and hang out with us and the Millers. This past Sunday, we attended the Arusha Vineyard and that is where we met David and Judi Owens. We had a great time sharing a meal together and connecting with like-minded people who have also recently transplanted their lives here.

Language School: Our Schedule, Monkeys, & the International Scope

August 14, 2008

Our language school has an amazing program for our children; they are woodcarving, jewelry making, singing songs in and learning Swahili.  It is such a blessing to know that our children are fully engaged and enjoying life here along with us as we study Swahili.  Our schedule is rigorous, but quite enjoyable: 

 

Wake up 6:15

Breakfast- 7:15-8:00

(Drop the kids off at ‘kindergarten’)

Class- 8:30-10:00

Tea Time (awesome!)- 10:00-10:30

Class-10:30-12:30

Lunch (with the kids)- 12:30-2:00

Class- 2:00-4:30

Tea Time- 4:30-5:00

(Free time – playing ball, walking to the duka [shop], visiting with other TCDC students)

Dinner- 6:30-8:00 

 

After that we put the kids to bed, do our homework, rest and start over again the next day! 

 

It is quite a schedule, but…

Tunajifunza Kiswahili!

(We are learning Swahili!)

 

 

Lyndi drinking in Swahili.

Lyndi drinking in Swahili.

There are many amazing aspects of the school we are attending – we could write a novel on this alone. A couple of things that we truly appreciate are the monkeys and the diverse international scope. 

First, the monkeys: anyone who knows our oldest son, Aidan, knows that for many years monkeys were his topic of interest.  The first day of school at MS-TCDC we were greeted at our cabin/dorm by an amazingly friendly and curious vervet monkey welcoming us on the roof of the cabin.  As it jumped from our temporary dwelling to the adjacent trees of a lush forest we looked up to see a whole family of monkeys greeting us.  Now, at the time, we were not sure how to take this greeting, especially Lyndi who still swears that there was some form of paw prints on our closet door. Since we all have gotten a bit more comfortable with the playful creatures, we have started to marvel at their presence and enjoy this form of cohabitation of man and animal that from our previous experience we can only equate to the squirrel/human relationship.  On the first day of classes the kids even got to play on playground equipment while there were real monkeys swinging on nothing other than – the monkey bars!

Another wonderful aspect of the school is that its primary purpose is to serve as a training centre for development and to that end, strengthen sustainable development, promote good governance, and increase international understanding.

For us, this means that while we take part in one small aspect of what the centre offers – Swahili training – we also get the opportunity to meet people from all over Africa and the world who are engaged in fascinating work.  The highlight for me was meeting a man who oversees NGO-related activity focused on abused and neglected children in Kampala, Uganda.  The plight of the children in Uganda is at the epicenter of how my attention turned toward Africa. We are meeting people who do development in Dar es Salaam, Duke students here on an intensive international studies program, World Wild Life Fund workers, we even met an amazing woman who was born in southern Sudan, lives in northern Sudan, and has probably lived through more than I can even imagine.  During this stage of our journey, one month in, we are sensing that God continues to prepare us each and every day. 

 

 

This is the mountain that overlooks our language school.

This is the mountain that overlooks our language school.

 

Last weekend we (all 11 of us- the Miller and Buckley clan {This is one of those, “We would never do this in the States” moments.}) got in the “gari” and traveled to downtown Arusha.  During this trip we encountered a Tanzanian cultural experience that I captured on video out the roof of the car.  This “band in a pickup” is part of a line of cars in a wedding celebration.  We saw three of these on this Saturday drive alone.  Enjoy! 

 

Scrap Old Posts for New Posts

August 12, 2008

 

 

Aidan has lived through many things over the past month.

Aidan has lived through many things over the past month.

Well, for those of you who have read previous posts, you know that we had planned to make several posts updating folks on the previous month of our lives in Tanzania.  We even had titles prepared, and although we did make several of these posts, most of these events feel so dated in our lives and we have such limited time to write currently (we DO get assigned homework at language school and the Internet on our side of campus does not always work) that we have decided to post some pictures illustrating these events and begin fresh with where we are now, which is the beautiful land of Arusha.  We are away from the dusty, diesel fuel, hustle and bustle of Dar and are drinking in the lush, green landscape of Arusha.  Mt. Meru over looks the campus of our amazing language school (thank you Jeff C!).

 

We have all been through a lot, but Aidan is the warrior who survived the dog attack.

We have all been through a lot, but Aidan is the warrior who survived the dog attack.

 

 

Elliott got to join in the emergency room fun of our first week in Dar by getting a bead stuck in his nose.

Elliott got to join in the emergency room fun of our first week in Dar by getting a bead stuck in his nose.

 

 

 

The Flight

August 1, 2008

The flight to New York is summarized by the emotion of sadness. 

Well, that is for most of us; the excitement of flight took over for Elliott and he soon forgot his gloom.  Aidan cried in Lyndi’s lap most of the flight.  The excitement of beginning a new life was shrouded behind waves of sadness from separating from family and watching the effect this had on our children.

 The flight from New York to Dubai created more excitement since we were leaving the US, but this feeling was also mixed with the sense that there was no turning back now.   The kids were fascinated by the individual video screens and remote control/ game controller/ phone that Emirates, our Dubai based airline, provides at every seat for international flights.  Lyndi and I were hoping for the best on this arduous twelve-hour flight.  With Elliott’s excited shout, “We’re flying!”  We knew we were on our way and there was no turning back now. 

 Overall the flight went well.  It was difficult for Lyndi because I got sick.  I had a fever and felt nauseous for nearly the whole twelve hours.  This is quite a bummer because the best part about the Emirates flight is the food, and I was able to eat next to nothing.  This also meant Lyndi was on Elliott duty. 

 Once in Dubai we all felt grateful to be on land.  The kids noticed the cultural differences in the airport right away and were quick to comment on how there were many women here who feel that God wants them to cover their heads, which is how we have explained head coverings to them.  Once we found the gate for our next flight to Dar.  Lyndi secured an important last supper.  She found the McDonalds and got the boys their final nuggets and fries.  Lyndi got her last diet coke in a fast food cup with lots of ice and a straw.  Unfortunately the diet did not taste like coke; Lyndi said it tasted like cinnamon.

Excitement grew during that final five our led of the flight from Dubai to Dar.  Well, actually it took a while to grow because Elliott slept the whole flight along with Mom who had earned it.  I was feeling better so I was watching the Simpsons, eating any food I was given and comforting Aidan, who was now the one not feeling to well.  But anticipation grew as we got close and the five hours turned to forty-five minutes left in the flight.  Lyndi and I did have a few points where we looked briefly into each other’s eyes and were reminded of the nearly three years we have spent in the process to get to this moment. 

Now it was time to land.  

The Feeling of Tearing

August 1, 2008

 

Zach Tearing the Children

Zach Tearing the Children

 

It began after walking past the point 

where we could no longer see our family 

smiling and waving goodbye to us at the 

Port Columbus Airport...

both Aidan and Elliott had their first true  emotional responses to leaving family and friends  to move to Tanzania.  Lyndi and I have been  waiting for this for the past year.  We have  been asking probing questions, explaining to our children that we were going to be separating  from family, but none of that seemed to connect with them.  But when they walked past the  point that they could no longer see their family, the separation began; Aidan said, “This is sad!” and began crying.  Elliott’s response to this was to get a very sad look on his face although he seemed to not understand why. This scene began our children’s realization that they were saying goodbye to family and friends.  It required the very tangible moment of us walking past the point where we could no longer see  them for this to set it.  This was very hard for us.  Lyndi and I were on very few hours sleep; we were emotionally overwhelmed and we had to comfort our children in our own weakness as they  cried.