Monday, December 2, 2013

“Home is where the heart is, and our hearts are here.”― Charles, Karen, and John Wiggins

A brief history of where we live.  We live and serve in Bunda, Tanzania.  Bunda is just at the tip of Speke Gulf which is a part of Lake Victoria.  If you look at a picture of Lake Victoria it looks like a thumb is sticking off the bottom right of the lake--that's Speke Gulf.  We are at the tip of it about four kilometers from the water.  We are also at the western edge of the Serengeti National Park.  You can walk from our house over some hills and find yourself in the park itself, but you are not at the top of the food chain, so we don't endorse that kind of wandering.  You can find us on Google Earth and Google Maps.  On Google Maps, John has pinpointed the Methodist Church and our compound is just three meters from the church.  This whole area is part of the savannah that is the Serengeti plains.  In the 1950's, Bunda was thick with lions.  As more and more people moved in, more and more lions moved away.  This whole area was also entirely forested, but as people moved here, they chopped down all the trees for firewood and charcoal--which is still going on.   Looking at a map of the area from a satellite, you can easily see the outline of the Serengeti National Park because it still has all its trees.  The name of the town, Bunda, is a Sukuma tribal word that means "little lion" like the one in the photo at the right.  The area is about 45% Christian, 25% Muslim, and 30% NTR (native tribal religion).  We live in the middle of the Christian area surrounded by at least seven churches: Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist, Methodist, Baptist, Africa Inland Church (AIC), Pentecostal, and Anglican.  It seems like there are always choirs practicing, so we here Christian music in Swahili almost every day.  There are only a handful of private cars here belonging to missionaries and government officials.  There are quite a few taxis, but many more pikipiki (motorbike) taxis, and even bicycle taxis for the cheapest fares.  There are no restaurants but there are local food vendors.  There are no street lights, no street names, no numbers on the houses, and no fire department, ambulances, or other emergency services.  There are a couple of little dukas (shops) where you can buy canned goods and packaged foods, but nothing from the U.S.  We can (and do) get a South African variety of Heinz ketchup, for which we are very grateful.  There is only one paved road and it is being repaved, so right now it is dirt, too.  Come see us.  We'll keep the porch light on for you--if there is power.
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