Wednesday, October 15, 2014

“Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It's not something you learn in school. But if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything.” ― Muhammad Ali

One of the best friends I have here in Tanzania is a man I have worked with for over ten years.  He has worked for us since 2005 and still drives for us; is a general all-around handyman; liaises with the government for us with customs, packages, regulations, residence permits, etc.; translates for us when we get stuck, and sees to it that the car is maintained, registered, safe, and that we always have full propane tanks, and pays our social security, and electric bills arguing us out of almost $500 they were overcharging us.  When we need a vet—we call Shaban.  When the internet is down—we call Shaban.  When Karen needs to see the doctor in Musoma on a weekend—we call Shaban.  He has probably done more to help us and our mission than any other single person in Tanzania.  When I had my prostate cancer surgery, he slept on the floor in my hospital room every night I was there.  Did I mention he’s a Muslim?  I read some of the anti-all Muslim rants in the American news and just shake my head and sigh.  We have relatives and know of others who will not visit us because of the black people here and the Muslims.  Is that shallow or what?  Anyway, Shaban has an ex-wife with whom he had a son twelve years ago.  By Tanzanian law, the mother gets the child in a divorce until he is twelve years old.  Then, by law, he goes to his father to raise and educate.  Shaban now has his oldest son, Hashim, and his younger son, Hemedi, living with him.  Hashim’s mother did not care for him much and he arrived in a very sickly state.  Shaban rushed him to the hospital on Saturday and brought him home yesterday.  He had typhoid, malaria, dysentery, worms, and other parasites that the doctors said he had carried for years.  He is now parasite free and recovering at home.  We have been praying for him nonstop for several days now.  Shaban is very proud of his wife and two sons and the highest form of respect for family here is to build them a house.  The better and bigger the house, the more respect and love.  The picture at the right is of Shaban with the house he has started here in Bunda.  It will take several years to finish, but it will be a very nice home in which his sons will grow up.  There has been work since this picture as there is now a lintel going completely around the top with rebar and concrete holding the structure together so the coming storms from the rainy season won’t knock down the walls.  I guess we all need a lintel to hold us together when the storms of life beset us.  That lintel is available, and we just have to ask to have it.  It’s called having Christ in your heart and trusting God.  Hope you’ve got one because storms beset everyone everywhere and they don’t just stick to certain seasons.  God bless you all—we pray for you all every day.
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