Archive for October, 2009

William’s Village

On Halloween, we went to went with some friends who are teachers at the school and some of the 12th graders, to a village 15 minutes north of town. Our two friends the teachers, Brandon and Amanda, have been working with this village for a couple of years now. One of the staff from the school, a great man named William, is a pastor and has been working to plant a church in the village. They have been helping him. They recently had a well installed and built a church there last year. So we went with them for their weekly trip to hang out with the local kids and play games and read books. There were about 40 kids there but they can get anywhere from 40 to 150 week to week. Many of the children were showing off their reading skills, or wanted to be read to, while others were playing soccer or learning how to dance from the 12 graders. Austin was building Lego mansions with the kids. They really seemed to enjoy that. They are fun and funny. It’s a good motivator to work on our Swahili.

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We may try to keep going back frequently and do whatever we can to help. It’s a rural area with very little resources and a primarily Muslim population. So, the independent bravery of William and support of Brandon and Amanda is a quiet, honest and beautiful act of worship.

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The children of the village learning how to dance from one of the students at HOPAC.


After International Day we had to head home and move our things to the house next door. The house we were in was great and had some breathtaking views of the ocean but the price had been raised and we just could not justify staying there any longer. This worked out great because another teacher from HOPAC had been living in the house next door alone, waiting for a teacher who is supposed to come but may not even be coming anymore. This opened up the door for us all to live together. Although, we will miss a few things about our old house, we are super excited to get to know Kate, the chemistry teacher/swim coach/worship leader, even better. It is amazing how much stuff we have here but we were able to move it and get it all settled quite quickly. Now I think we might actually be able to feel settled in Dar es Salaam.

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Our new roomate Kate

International Day

Every year HOPAC has a day set aside to celebrate the students and all of the nationalities they represent. The day really is a huge festival and such a special day to be a part of.

This year HOPAC has students from 37 different countries. Pretty amazing considering there are only about 300 kids in the whole school.

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Amy's Fifth Grade Class on International Day

To begin everyone sits in the gym according to continent. The students come dressed in their traditional clothing. The gym was filled with students in beautiful Indian garments, Spanish dresses, fancy congas from al over Africa, Alaskan cuspics and so much more!  The students and families were all so proud to be the representatives of their nations. The first event is the Parade of Nations. This is when you and the other nationals with you parade around the gym while your national anthem is played. This gave me the chills! It was so powerful seeing so many nations represented proudly, much like World Youth Days does.

Afterwards is a time to cruise around the classrooms where parents have volunteered to set up booths for their countries and provide food from the country.  This was fascinating because we got to learn so much about the countries in such a short amount of time and try some food that we would not otherwise ever have. My favorites were the meat from Korea, the spinach pies from Lebanon and the homemade yogurt from Greece.


After the children and parents were filled with goodies, we headed back to the gym for performance time. We saw traditional Indian dancing, heard melodious Irish songs, watched an Australian drama, saw a Punch and Judy puppet show (apparently a classic in the UK), and saw some astonishing Korean drumming.  It even gave Austin the chills! So COOL! Austin and another teacher cooked up a song and dance for the good ole USA. I would not say it was astonishing in the same way as the Korean drums but it was a highlight for sure. They put together a dance to the Miley Cyrus song, Party in the USA, and wore some awesome costumes. They even had Miley Cyrus herself make a guest appearance. It was a crowd pleaser to say the least.


Austin Being flipped over during the performance.



Austin Rockin Out to Miley Cyrus

After it was all over, it really made me appreciate how truly diverse HOPAC is and so proud to be apart of it all.

Happy Anniversary in Zanzibar!

It has officially been one year since Austin and I said I do. I am seriously in shock that the time has passed by so quickly! Who knew that a year from our day of marriage that we would be in Tanzania?

For the weekend we decided to head to Zanzibar, an island off the coast of Tanzania. It is just a 20 min flight of 2 hour boat ride.  We took a plane to maximize our short weekend there but next time I think I will opt for the ferry option. The planes that you take there are the little puddle jumpers that seem as if they could be swept away by the wind at any moment while you are in the air. AHHHH! Nerve-racking to say the least.

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Sunset In Zanzibar

When we arrived we took a short taxi ride from the Zanizibar International Airport to the Mtoni Marine, our hotel. Even during this short drive you could instantly tell that we were in a different culture. The town has a different feel. The island is 99 percent Muslim and it is easy to tell that from the second you get off the plane. Men wear their traditional headpiece while women are completely covered. The majority of them covering everything except the eyes. This is something that I still have a hard time understanding and that is hard to even be in the presence of because of the freedoms that I have known my entire life.

The Mtoni Marine a small hotel that is on the coast. It is very peaceful and has great views of the sunset. We has dinner there on our first night by the pool which is an enormous pool that leads right up to the ocean.

The next morning, we were considering  a spice tour but because of the rain that was ruled out. So we went to Stone Town, the downtown district of the city if you will. When we arrived we were greeted by the fish market. This fish market was unlike any other I had seen! There were swordfish that had to be 250 lbs that they had just pulled in a were chopping up and auctioning off. Tons of different types of fish that were huge being bought on the spot. It was fascinating to me. It made me wonder why they don’t have awesome sushi restaurants in Zanzibar or in Dar es Salaam.

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Look at the size of the fish in that basket!

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Amy and a large stingray about to be chopped up and auctioned off.

After my fascination with the fish wore off we began to walk around. The streets narrow and pretty much only for walking, although you do see the occasional motorcycle or bicycle traffic. They are lined with markets and vendors that are selling all types of goods. From oils, to wooden chests, to Masai jewelry, to the famous Zanizibar spices, they have it all. They also have tons of antique shops and awesome decoration pieces that you would be paying an arm and a leg for in the States. Mostly I just enjoyed walking around, watching the people and experiencing the Zanzibar culture. People there are very friendly ad helpful but they can be a bit pushy when they want you to buy something. We bought a few things had some lunch and headed back to the hotel. Still pouring outside.

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One of the many doors of Zanzibar

The next day we went back to Stone Town where we were able to check out some other shops and historical sights but while we were walking we heard singing from a church. It sounded so beautiful so we decided to follow it. The singing lead us to St. Monica’s an Anglican church. Unfortunately we just missed the service but we were able to spend some time at church on a Sunday. I really enjoyed seeing a church among the overwhelming population of Muslims.  It was so uplifting!

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St. Monica's

After more time in Stone Town and a bit of time just relaxing by the ocean we hopped on the plane ride back.

It was great being able to celebrate 1 year in such a foreign culture. I am so blessed to have such an amazing husband and I am so thankful for all the year has brought.

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Assembly Time

At Hopac each class puts on an assembly one a term for all three terms. It is great to see all of the students want to get up front and present something about what they have been learning to their peers. Well this week my class has been preparing for our very first assembly as fifth graders. Many times the teacher will chose what to do for them, they read a script and sing a few songs and that is that however, I could not come up with anything super fun so I decided to let the kids run the show. So I did. They decided to do an assembly about How Great God Is, which is what we have been learning about in Bible class, and then tie it into all of the different things that we have been learning. They worked so hard, making posters, typing up scripts, making props and doing all of the work needed to make their assembly great. We had a group who created a skit about the human body, one about the history of flight, one that made a short play on the book we read Bridge to Terabitha and one that wrote a song and dance. It was really very creative and they had so much fun. I love that they really felt confident and that they were having fun. After the assembly we had a class party where we played games like amazon women, pass the orange and name that tune which was a great chance for them to bond and to just be kids. I am so proud of them for what they did and excited to see what they cook up for the next assembly.

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Singing a song at the assembly.

Pimp My Dalla Dalla

So it all began with Pimp My Ride, then in Germany I saw Pimp My Bicycle, before you know it there will be Pimp My Dalla Dalla. For those of you who think I am speaking another language right now, to pimp out something means to take something that is pretty beat up and to make it super sweet with an awesome paint job, unnecessary accessories and whatever else you can think of to make it say WOW!

This is a picture of the average Dalla Dalla, or bus here in Tanzania.

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They are pretty ghetto. Definitely not kept up with by a mechanic and usually have a very strong stench on the inside. They consist of a very beat up shell with just the metal sheeting, about 22 seats on the inside (no seatbelts of course), a painted sign on the outside telling where it goes to and from and how much it costs, a driver, and a money man who tries to get more business by calling out where they are going and filling the Dalla Dalla to capacity, (about 30 people when you include those that are standing.) Most of the time there is so music or at least talk radio going. The ride in general is very plain and not many of them put any effort into spicing up the ride.

However, yesterday Austin and I got to go in the most PIMPED out Dalla Dalla we have yet to see. As you enter the roof is covered in vinyl in a checker board pattern, a nice chocolate brown and tan color combo. On the inside there is a nice roll bar on the sides to protect the passengers from any harm. The driver and money man were busting some hit American Jams like Avril Levigne’s Complicated and the classic Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit. Hanging from the rearview mirror was a CD, Bob Marley, Legend to be exact which acted more like a disco ball in the hot sun. You could almost feel the party about to start in this thing! But wait there’s more…….. THREE FLAT SCREEN TV’s inside this small VW bus. Okay they weren’t working when we were on but we figured they save those for the real party at night.

 Unfortunately we do not have a picture of this because I did not have my camera! Lame! You will just have to imagine or come visit us and we can go on a hunt for the most Pimped out Dalla Dalla in all of Dar! Unfortunately we do not have a picture of this because I did not have my camera! Lame! You will just have to imagine or come visit us and we can go on a hunt for the most Pimped out Dalla Dalla in all of Dar!

I left my heart in Moshi Town

For our final night in the Arusha area we stayed in a a small town called Moshi. It is the town at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro that houses most of the tourism for Kili. This town is super cute! It is very small but not so small that there is nothing, just a few streets that run through it. Lined with beautiful Jackaranda’s, trees that have beautiful purple blossoms, a main street that reminds me of Williams, Arizona and its main drag with historic looking buildings and a quaint feel to it, really make it seem so welcoming. The weather while we were there was perfect. It really made me want to climb Kilimanjaro and to live there for a while. Hopefully we will get a chance to visit Moshi again.


Cradle of Love

Today we spent some time at an orphanage just outside of TCDC, the place where we were staying in Arusha. Truthfully, although I have volunteered here and there and worked in the poverty stricken areas of Tucson, up until today I had never been in a orphanage before. I did not really know what to expect but I was eager to learn more about what an orphanage looked like in Tanzania.

When we got there I was overwhelmed by the amount of babies there who were ages 6months to 1year. There were probably about 15 of them. Each of them lying on the ground with no one to hold them or pay attention to them. You want to hold them all at once and love them all but there is no possible way to besides it is physically and emotionally draining to take care of this many infants and tiny babies. Compared to most orphanages these children are very well taken care of and well loved but coming from such a loving family background it is so hard to see these kids with so little and such a different start to life. One baby, Dotto, was lying on the floor, crying with throw up all over himself, pretty common for a baby yes, however, he looked very sickly. He and his twin brother both looked very sick. They had that glossy look in their eyes that people have when they are close to death. He was not capable of doing anything on his own even though he should have been able to sit up and hold a bottle and do so much more. After working with the Blake Foundation recently and really knowing what stage of development these children really should be at it was devastating seeing how behind they were. It only convinced me more and more of how God created us to have two loving parents to raise us and nurture us in life. Anyways, I held him for a long time, as he threw up and wheezed so very hard on me it was hard not to want to hold him until he got better while at the same time wanting to run away from it all. They were all so cute many of them triplets and twin sets.

After we held them for awhile we went to the infant room where the babies stay from birth until 4 months. In this room there was a set a twins that were only 10 days old. All of the orphans here have no parents or relatives that can take care of them. This seems like a normal concept to us but there are many orphanages around Africa that house children that have wonderful loving parents who are just not able to provide for their children so they, take them to an orphanage to make sure they get their needs met. At Cradle of Love, this is not the case, most of the children here have mother’s who died in birth. C-Sections are not a regular practice in hospitals here, so if a mother is hemorrhaging they are not able to stop the bleeding in time and often times she will die. This is especially true of mothers of twins and triplets. That is why there are so many multiples in this orphanage. The newborns were just precious, so fragile, so unique with the fingerprints of God all over them. It was so hard not to want to take them all home on the spot.

At the end of our time there I was emotionally drained. I felt called to help them more but really in one hour of playing and holding them they did more for me than I could have ever done for them. Please keep the orphans of Cradle of Love in your prayers and for that matter all orphans around the world. How blessed are we who have parents in our lives!

Check out their website! Ss pictures of Dotto!

International Schools

This week we had the privilege of attending the International School Training for those who do Young Life in Africa. There are many international schools around. They house students from all over whose parents are in a country usually for business purposes. These schools are usually extremely rigorous academically, and very expensive.  Some of them are boarding schools while others run much like a normal school.  Many of the schools lack the resources to have many after school activities or even just a place for the kids to just to hang out so to have a club where kids can go to just be kids is needed greatly.

Zac and Hannah, have a few clubs going in Arusha, Alisa, AKA Fluffy has a club in Moshi, Dyan does Wyldlife at Hopac and very soon there will be a club at IST the international school in Dar es Salaam. There are only a few because the focus is more so to train Africans and use the people who are here however, the people that are here working are doing a great job and working super hard!

During the training we worked on our goals. It was great to really take time to see what is it that we want to accomplish and how can we make that into goals that we can achieve. We also were allowed lots of time to pray and fellowship which was such a blessing.

Overall, it was a good time of prioritizing and growing in the Lord.

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TCDC the language school where we stayed.

Safari Time!


Austin and I had the amazing opportunity to go on Safari here in Tanzania. Tanzania is the hub of Safari tours here in Africa. There are so many National parks to chose from, the Serengeti, Ngorogoro Crater, and so many more. We went to Tarangeri National Park., located just two hours from Arusha. We went with Takim’s, a safari tour company that tours all over Tanzania. Our driver Harry, picked us up at 6:30 am so that we could get an early start and maximize our time in the park. It was a nice relaxing drive through Masai Land. The Masai are the native people of the land here. They are beautifully dressed, wearing red or blue shuka’sor shawls and live life in very small villages. They are big in cattle herding and selling here in Tanzania. We drove into the park and instantly started seeing some amazing wildlife. Because East Africa is in a drought right now, and we were in Taragheri during the dry season we were able to see many more animals than most of the time. This is because the animals are desperate for water and Tarangeri has some reserves of water. During our safari we saw kudu, dikdik, warthogs, lions, elephants, wildebeests, zebras, marabou storks and so much more. The park is known for its numerous herds of elephants. There are over 2500 elephants all together. They are everywhere and quite impressive! We stopped for lunch at one of the few resorts inside the park called Sopa Lodge. The park is a vast Savannah and right in the midst of it people have built large resorts for tourists. It really is quite strange. They are extravagant especially considering how there is nothing else out there. Swimming pools, internet access, four course meals in a giant dining hall, completely surrounded by the savannah and beautiful wildlife. I am not sure I could stay there for a full week but it was a nice stop for lunch. Then we headed back out. We were really hoping to see more lions up close. We drove by a vast valley where there were so many herds of elephants. It was truly amazing. And then we finally were able to see some lions super close. There were a few just hanging out under a tree keeping cool and one up in a tree trying to get comfortable for an afternoon nap. It was incredible to be just a few feet from lions in the wild. The afternoon views were astonishing! There is a vast open space where there are herds and herds of elephants. So cool! After a long day of driving through the Savannah it was time to head out. On the way out I tried to soak it all in, this is a once in a life time experience and I wanted to make the most of it. After going on Safari, it is so easy to see how glorious God’s creation is!

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