Endless temporary limbo. Plus victories in the family!

13 06 2012

It has been such a jumble of emotions over the last while.  And I have not easily been able to make sense of all my thoughts.  At these times I tend to go quiet, so I do not blog as often as I would like to.  But I am here now!

This is being written from the incredibly optimistic and super-exciting waiting lounge of Nyerere Airport in dar es Salaam.  Yip, when teens are totally bored with parties, malls and all the fun stuff in the world, THIS would be the place to hang out.  (Yeah, right.  This is not one of my funnest airports.  Having to pass through 3 security checks, removing belts, shoes and separating laptop from other luggage each time is just not fun.  And that was just to pass directly from domestic arrivals to International departures, STRAIGHT from one plane to another… We are now beyond trying to find the ‘one thing that does not make sense’ that was our coping strategy when we arrived in Uganda.  There is just too much to count!)

Andrew n Sandra



The great celebrations in the last 2 weeks are for my brothers.  Littlest bro (who is now the tallest of all!) just completed his Masters degree in Tourism development.  He lived in the  freezing climes of Sweden away from family for two years (we are all African lizard-like-sun-lovers, so this was a rough call!) and it took a lot of hard work to achieve, although Middle-bro calls his achievement a degree in  holidays.

This is the first of us siblings to get his Masters degree, and just because he is my brother I am so proud of him. 

Now to get a job, pay off study loans, do all the really yuck stuff of a big person’s life… But he has a great attitude and I know he will succeed.



Within a few days of Littlest Bro’s award ceremony, 553543_10151016745323179_1969499435_nMiddle bro took on a life-long dream and committed himself to a massive challenge.  The Comrades Marathon is one of the premier sports events in South Africa: a run of 89km, which must be completed in 12 hours.  It takes months of dedicated commitment, eating right, correct running programmes and good headspace to achieve this.  Mid-Bro got it all right and DID IT!

I have been so grateful for Whatsapp.  I was glued to the progress he made through the day (we could not access any visuals on TV nor computer: bandwidth is just not good enough for it here!) and was willing Mid-bro and his team on throughout the day.  Two of the four team members did not get medals: it is THAT tough of a challenge. 

What made the success just that much better was that they were running  to raise money for Happy Happy Happy Feet, a ministry his family is maintaining. (Happy Feet)  I thought it was so fitting that the team was using feet to buy shoes for feet that have never worn shoes, that those feet may possibly run such a marathon one day…

248053_10151016574688179_510374650_aIt was strangely ironic that an essential part of the Comrades support team for Mid-Bro would be needing huge support and cheering within just days.

Mamma, with the small banner, had huge back surgery last week.  This is the second attempt to sort out issues in Mamma’s spine, and we are cheering her on, willing her through her own marathon of healing.  So far it is going slowly: low blood pressure makes it rough for her to try get up and the pain of this procedure is awful.  Another difficulty is that Mamma is allergic to a number of pain medicines, so she has to endure the pain a lot of the time. 

The reason I am in the airport right now is that I am on my way to SA to visit and help for a while, to see Mamma up on her feet and cheering for others again.

So, I have ben through several emotions with my family being far away in the last two weeks.  Our own immediate situation has been rather challenging.

Lake Victoria’s waters have been a bit stormy and the beach at the lodge was covered in lake debris.  Deon was away for a few days: listening to the stormy waters while lying in bed alone will not rank among my favourite memories.  I feel rather like some of the debris: surrounded by stony experiences, exposed to challenging elements  and encircled by shells of humanity who are worn away by life’s squalls. 

We are not yet certain how things will work out in our Mwanza situation.  We found a house that needed considerable work to fix it up: the workers were not done by the time we needed them to be, and we could not move in before I left for SA (I continue to live out of suitcases, going on 3 months now, as there is no place to unpack).The workmanship is very shoddy and trying to encourage a culture of quality seems dreadfully foreign.  Paint splatters were left all over the floor; woodwork was simply varnished against the wall, leaving varnish stains on the newly-painted walls… I could go on but even the thought of poor work depresses me.  We have struggled to get the necessary finances from the right channels to do this work, so buying furniture has not been possible. 

Deon is incredibly despondent and is struggling with how to continue.  I am not sure as to what place I will go to when I get back from SA. 

I also realised with a shock yesterday just how perilous the spiritual environment of Mwanza is.  It is a hotbed of animistic beliefs, with sacrifices of humans, much belief in the work witchdoctors and ancestor worship taking place. Islam is followed by at least 40% of the population.  There are large numbers of Hindus working in the city. Among the many Mzungus in town, many seek wholeness through self actualisation or following new age beliefs.  The sense of darkness became almost tangible.  I know that God has us there for a time and that He seeks to use us.  But we feel like small pieces of sticks in the large lake space on a stormy night.

Except for:


This precious creature has crept into our hearts in a short space of time.  She has been passed around from leaving expats before, and her usual “mum” was away from the lodge for some time.  We are not even sure of her name, but heard one of the Massaai askaris calling her ‘Nana’, so  that is her present title.

We ensured that Nana received food,we kept her protected from other willful dogs and in return she has adored us!  My heart swelled when another guest at the lodge described how Nana waited at the gate for me and reacted when she heard me arrive.  Ah!  It is amazing how a living thing builds affection so easily!

Deon hates to admit it but he has taken to protecting Nana, and even brought her into the room to sleep, because the dogs outside were hassling her!  Now she follows me everywhere, lies at our feet and stares lovingly up at us… my heart is lost! There is a strong possibility of us taking her as ours when I return to Mwanza. Such little treasures give us real joy.




One response

15 06 2012

It sounds like things are very challenging for you right now. Isn’t it funny how an animal can brighten our hearts at the darkest of times though? I remember coming home last summer after my dad had died and our little dachshund jumped into my arms the minute I walked in the door. I cried and cried, but felt loved at the same time.

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