Home again, home again, jiggety jig

9 07 2012

We are back in South Africa, on our farm, and my head is still spinning.  What we thought would be six months in Tanzania, possibly more, turned out to be six weeks.  What we expected to happen did not turn out that way at all. 

The farm offers a place to find rest, stillness, and possibly some licking of wounds.  We are uncertain of many things but completely certain of God’s sovereignty and leading into the future.

After an extended journey from SA to Tanz (African airlines are not the most reliable!) it was a great relief to be with Deon again.  We were together!  He had made the best of very rudimentary accommodation in Mwanza and we camped indoors sans curtains, stove, and stillness, sponsored by the lunatic monkeys – we made the best of the week in Mwanza.  Deon was overseeing analysis of samples, and I took a little time to sleep. 

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God answered some specific prayers early on in this week: Deon’s mom’s liver biopsy showed no cancer.  We also found some of the money we thought was lost: Deon and I split and hide the few valuables we have, and I had put some of the cash away safely.  The thief in Singida  (see last post)  got away with about $1300, not much more. 

We had a few lovely sunset suppers at Tunza lodge, where we had stayed on first arriving in Mwanza. The evenings here are just awesome!

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It was hard to say goodbye to some friends that we had made in just a few weeks, especially to Hannelie, who runs the lodge.  I had been looking forward to teaching the two young guys at the lodge, and will really miss their friendly chirps.    (Like 14 year old Z, who told me he was ‘taking a day off’… and we only ever saw him climbing trees, playing on the beach, swimming in the lake, playing on the computer… life is quite idyllic for these guys!)

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We hit the road for Big Road Trip #2, doing the not-so-scenic route back from Mwanza to Dar es Salaam.  We found out this is the route the truckers use regularly, and would not advise this route for regular tourists.  It was challenging at times.

With a few potholes to counter, and the totally insane way that drivers of buses and trucks overtake on the roads, prayer life improves radically, instantaneously.

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Again, I sat with camera in hand, snapping as we went by.  Windows were closed, so I apologise for delightful reflections seen in many pictures. 

We travelled through vast lands of tree-giants: the dinosaur of the tree world always fascinates me.  Baobabs abound in several parts of Tanzania, forcing attention to themselves.

The roads were filled with various vehicles, loads and many pedestrians.

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Our prayers paid off.  We experienced a blow-out, but thankfully there was not too much traffic about and we could sort it out without too much difficulty.  Even our Rasta driver said “Thank you Jesus”as he pulled the car to the side of the road safely.

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One of the fascinating things about Africa is the contrasts.  A huge satellite dish besides a rustic house in the middle of nowhere, bull-drawn carts compete with trucks… There is always something to keep one thinking.

 

From majestic mountains, massive rocks splayed across landscapes to small, delightfully coloured creatures to captivate the senses, there is seldom a dull moment in Tanzania.

Unfortunately we did find that many local people are becoming hostile to outside influences:  looking for opportunities to rob Mzungus have become common, and we always had to check that fuel pumps had been zeroed before a conniving attendant got us to ‘sponsor’ ten or so litres already metered on the gauge.

The UN has also recognised increasing difficulty for foreigners working in Tanzania.  It is heartbreaking for us to see this as there are few other countries which can compare with the incredible beauty and range of natural diversity in Tanzania (wild open plains, gorgeous beach resorts, rivers, adventure trips like climbing Kili).  Tanzania is also blessed with bountiful natural mineral resources and there should not ever be an empty belly in the country.  Unfortunately corruption is rife and many use their positions to take advantage of mzungus and not pass any benefit along to the inhabitants of the land. 

Africa would truly be a remarkable, safe, awesome place were theft dealt with severely, politicians honest (hmmph) and the populace understanding of the benefit of welcoming visitors warm-heartedly to really experience one’s country. 

We will have memories of gorgeous feasts for the eyes, like this

To remember the place. 

For now we are back on ‘our’ farm, enjoying some real quiet.  We are still awaiting further medical tests for Deon’s mom, and we are not yet certain how we will earn an income going forward.  I truly am finding that there is great grace in living day by day, living in God’s guidance for the next 24 hours. 

God remains good, we remain blessed to be His own and nature remains a wonderful balm.

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