Monday, April 28, 2014

“I pointed out to you the stars and all you saw was the tip of my finger.” — Tanzania Proverb

We have lived in this country and culture for nine years now, and the proverb above has proven itself to be true over and over.  We sometimes become frustrated because we can see what the future could be, but the people cannot see it.  The world view here is that only today exists, so all decisions should be based on that.  Of course, there are many who can see the future, who can see that sacrifices made today will pay off later, but these have to fight against their own society.  Some of the things that we have had to deal with just with our own workers are that if you go to a dentist—you will die.  If a child is taken to an orphanage—it will be killed.  If a woman has twins—they must be killed or she can never produce another child.  A little of anything today is better than much more tomorrow.  This kind of thinking makes it very difficult to bring change.  When Karen was organizing a public library here, one of the education officials in the government told her the people of Bunda were too stupid to have a library.  The land around us is beautiful and exotic (see picture at the right).  The people are wonderful, loving, trusting, faithful, and devoted to the church for the most part.  They know that education is vitally important and will do almost anything to get their children the best education possible.  That being said, it is still hard to explain how spending $20 for a hammer that will last a lifetime is better than spending $5.00 for a hammer you have to replace every two weeks.  We have installed over 400 biosand filters since we have been here which means over 12,000 people have clean safe drinking water, but that number 400 ought to be 4,000.  Still, we do what we can with what we have for those who will receive it.  We can do no more.  Knowing what the future might hold if you make the wrong decisions is a problem that every parent has faced.  I know mine knew where my path was leading but I wouldn’t listen.  It’s amazing how much smarter they became as I grew older and learned from my many mistakes that they knew I would make.  I suppose God feels the same way about us.  He has given us all that we need, but we choose too often to ignore the blessings we have been given.  You’d think that we would learned by now, wouldn’t you?  It’s why we need the Bible, need to go to church, need the fellowship of other Christians, and need to pray with more listening involved.  Nenda kwa amani—Go in peace, my friends.
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