Well, it is official. We have been American-Africans for one whole week. In this week we have learned a lot. If you ask for chips – you get fries. Driving rules are all subjective – unless you are a mzungu (white person) then you must obey all of the laws. Even if you are following all of the rules, you will be pulled over, just because you are a mzungu, and they will double check that you are buckled, have your insurance, drivers license, and your fire extinguisher. Yes, you read that right. You have to have a fire extinguisher in your vehicle at all times.
Money is an interesting ordeal here. 10,000 shillings is the largest bill they have, then 5,000, then 2,000, then 1,000 and finally 500. Sounds cool until you think about the fact that 10,000 shillings is equal to $5. And given that inflation is so high now …. you have to carry around a lot of money. For example our grocery bill was 97,400.00 shillings (approx. $45.00 USD) so we had to have 10 bills just to pay for groceries.
Speaking of groceries we went through looking at the prices of things and here were a few crazy things:
Mike and Ikes – 10,000 shillings – $5 for one box
“Authentic American Candy” (a small box of assorted recees candies) – 85,900 shillings – soooo approx $40
Forerro Rochelle candy – 99,000 shillings – Almost $50
Okay all the funny things aside – we are in love with our new home. This week we spent time settling in, getting to know the area, meeting new people, and getting over our jet lag.
Rome, Italy helped a lot with our jet lag but sleeping in African heat with no power – isn’t conducive for a good nights sleep. No complaints here though 🙂 we will get used to it. But yes, the power is out 12 or so hours a day and you never know if it will be night or day or both.
Sunday morning we went to worship at the Arusha Kanisa la Kristo. We really enjoyed it. Thursday night bible study (yes, Thursday) we spent at Kisongo Kanisa la Kristo – which we were able to walk to. Tomorrow morning we will be joining Daniel Gaines at Usa river, where he will be preaching. Btw – Usa is pronounced ooo-suh.
God has great things planned for our new home and we cannot wait to be a part of it. This week starts the Tanzania Leadership Conference. Speakers will come from all over Africa and it will be hosted at the Andrew Connelly School of Preaching (which is next door to our home). And did I mention… Justin is preaching? I can’t even type it without giggling. Oh God, you are too funny. 😀
I cannot wait to share our journey with all of you – but please bare with us. The no-power-thing will be an issue. No power = no internet. And seriously, when you don’t have power during the day dishes, showers, clothes all get done first – and then if we don’t fall asleep first – Blogs. But there will be at least one every week or every other week. No worries.
There is one thing I want to emphasize about our first week here and it can be summed up in one word: hospitality. This week has really made me rethink how we treat guests in our homes, in our Church, and in our community. Daniel Gaines (one of the other missionaries here) has spent his entire week taking us to the grocery store, to the national park, to the snake park, to dinner, and to Church. Given that the Leadership Conference is next week, Daniel has a lot going on and shuttling us around was without a doubt a lot to pile on with his schedule. However, he did it without complaint and lots of laughs.
Everywhere we go we are met with, “karibu”, which means welcome. Just walking next door to the school can take 30-45 mins because we will be stopped by so many people wanting to say hello, welcome us, and ask how we are doing. At Church both Sunday and Thursday night the congregation sang praise to God as they walked out of the Church and shook hands. Every single soul shook every other souls hands. When was the last time we did that?
Their hospitality has reminded me of the story of Abigail in 1 Samuel 25. When Abigail’s husband, Nabal, refused his hospitality to David and his men Abigail could have easily said, “well he’s my husband so…” or even ignored the request altogether because it was not made directly to her, but to her husband. Instead, Abigail went out of her way to feed David and his army against her husbands wishes because it would please God. Because David belonged to God.
Personally, I need to remember who I belong to and who others belong to. I need to work on pleasing Him by showing hospitality to His people.
Until next time – here are a few pictures from our week: