It is so hard to believe that we have officially moved to Tanzania! The last few weeks have been a total blur. On Monday morning our little family boarded a United Airlines plane and began the 22 hours of flying it took to get here. The children loved flying until the last few hours when they became pretty weary of it (as did I)!
We flew to Amsterdam, then on to Dar Salaam, Tanzania. We stayed the night in Dar Salaam on Tuesday night and then Wednesday we flew from Dar to Mbeya after lunch. We arrived safely, which felt like a miracle considering the fact that a woman on our flight tried to open the main hatch of the plane while we were 20,000 feet above the earth! She thought it was the bathroom door she claims! There has to be a great sermon illustration in that! Not every door is just as good as another!!! After kissing the ground when we landed we were greeted by Menard Swila, the mission administrator and James Blackwell, the mission mechanic. They were so kind to come to pick us and our luggage up at the airport and drive us to the mission.
The weather here is amazing right now. It is around 82 degrees during the day and 60 at night. It’s far different than the bitter cold of Oklahoma and Kansas that we experienced just before leaving!
Since arriving in Chimala, we have done so much in a short amount of time. We definitely hit the ground running! I spoke at chapel on Thursday morning (after waking up at 2 am due to jet lag!). Our family then went home and began unpacking all our belongings and organizing our house. After we unpacked we went on a walking tour of the mission with the children. They were so impressed with the beauty of this place. They kept calling it a “paradise”! While on the walk, I found a patch of eggplants growing in one of the gardens. We had seen this garden be planted back in September when we were here. I noticed that many of the eggplants were mature and some were even rotting on the plants because no one harvested them!
There are no students on the mission right now to eat them (they were planted by the secondary school), so I asked the Headmaster if we could harvest them and distribute them around the mission so that they were not wasted. He gladly agreed. We harvest 84 very large and very tasty egglants. They averaged over one pound each!
We have been experimenting in our kitchen with dehydrating some of them as a method of preserving them. So far we have been able to make several batches that are quite delicious. Tomorrow we plan to try rehydrating them and see how they taste.
The rabbits that we purchased back in September are growing quite well. They are now at breeding size and we bred our first rabbit on Thursday. We should have our first litter of rabbits around January 13th!
Today it rained hard all morning. The rains have begun and it should rain nearly every day for months. We are working hard to get crops in the ground to take advantage of these great rains. After the rain quit this afternoon we were able to build a nursery area for starting seedlings. It has a black mesh net cover to protect the seedlings. We then went and tilled nine of the garden beds and built them into nice raised beds. We plan on starting planting them tomorrow.
Tonight we were able to have John Mgumba, his wife, and his two-year-old daughter to our house for dinner. It was such a lovely time. John is the farm manager here and he is such an enjoyable person to spend time with. He is working very hard on the farm to make it a success!
I thought that the Chimala Mission was beautiful in September during their dry season, but it is even more beautiful now that everything is green. We have only been here a little over 2 days and we have seen many encouraging things. The people here are so nice, and we have even helped harvest the biggest eggplants I have ever seen. We have also helped get garden beds ready for planting.
On the home front, we are doing well. Aurora and Pike have been excited to help and explore their new territory. They are both eager to learn Swahili, and they are learning it faster than Gage and I. I had planned to spend a few days unpacking and settling in, but as it turns out, you only need about half a day to arrange items from 2 suitcases, a carryon, and a personal item each.
We have made some friends and have had people over to our house. I look forward to getting to know them better.
We are excited about the opportunity to work and serve here with the Chimala Mission. Please keep us in your prayers. I also look forward to seeing you again.