Saturday, August 16, 2014

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” — Yogi Berra

While there may be a fork in the road, you will notice in the picture at the right that there are no forks in any hands.  Traditionally, Tanzanians eat with their hands and not with utensils primarily because poverty prohibits spending money on things like utensils when food is so much more important.  The kids in the picture are orphans from our preschool that we feed two cups of porridge every morning and beans and rice before they go home.  For most of them, it is the only food they will get that day.  Well, that being said, things have been a little interesting around here of late.  Shaban had a son by a previous marriage but when the child is twelve, he gets to decide whether to live with his father or not.  Hashim has decided to live with Shaban and has been here over a month now.  Shaban is very happy but had to spend an entire day in Musoma yesterday getting all the documents so that Hashim can go to school here in Bunda.  Also, Bishop Monto has left his position as Dean of the College in Kigoma (which is hundreds of miles from here) to take a new position as Dean of the FBC (which is like a community college) in his hometown of Tireme which is just an hour or so from here, so we are all very happy.  He took over officially yesterday.  Since we now have enough money to add four new students to the Bunda Teachers College, Bishop Monto has volunteered to interview and visit the prospective scholarship recipients to make sure that they are indeed both needy and Christian.  Some years back, two of the teachers at the college included their own children in our scholarship group, and we have not had that happen again.  It’s hard to be angry when you realize how poor everyone is here, but these scholarships are designated for the very poor so as to give them and their families a future.  When Karen did her last teaching seminar for the churches with preschools, a school run for profit by some people in Musoma showed up uninvited.  We allowed them to stay, but did not give them any of the materials and tools Karen had prepared for the church schools.  They went away mad and turned us in to the District Education Inspectors claiming that we were running a secondary boarding school (ridiculous) and that we had no registration for our preschool.  Well, it just so happens that Bishop Monto is one of the five officials in charge of all the preschools in Tanzania and knows that preschools do not have to be registered and has a letter from that government group acknowledging the preschool here.  He will meet with the local people on Monday who were just trying to get us to pay them for their silence.  They will not be happy.  It is very good to have Shaban back after his two weeks off.  John showed him two videos on reforestation in Tanzania and on making and selling dried bananas overseas.  He was really excited about both projects and is even willing to go to Uganda (where the dried banana company is working) to find out how to do it here.  Karen is having a mesh-covered nursery built for her sweet potato project (there are grasshoppers here that will eat every one we plant if we don’t protect them).  I can see the men laying out the treated wood from the window in my office.  We should soon be able to help others begin sweet potato farms as a cash crop while increasing the nutrition of all those who eat them.  Our new house worker, Rachel, has turned out to be a real jewel, works hard, and can cook very well.  We waited over a year for Lusi to return, but in the end she went across Lake Victoria to live in her home village.  Rachel laughs and sings as she works even more than Lusi did, so we are very happy.  And that’s all the news from Lake Woebegone for today.  Ya’ll are always welcome and we’ll leave the porch light on for you (it’s on solar, so it’ll be on).
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