Saturday, January 17, 2015

“There is nothing for getting something done like doing it.” — Frank Wiggins (my father, may he rest in peace)

Shaban is getting back today after being gone for a week to a wedding at his home village.  We thought he’d only be gone two days which was silly since it takes an entire day just to get there, but it wasn’t the first time nor will it be the last that we have misunderstood one another, even when we are speaking English.  I’ve heard that that sort of thing also occurs in countries where everyone speaks the same language.  Imagine that.  Karen will be having a meeting with the parents of the preschool children on Monday morning.  Most of the kids are orphans, but the the others who want their children in the school are rather well off, relatively speaking, so we charge those who can pay to help pay for those who can’t.  Again, that’s not a practice unique to Tanzania, especially since we only charge $7.00 a month for those who can pay and that includes two meals a day.  School begins in earnest on Wednesday of next week.  The following Wednesday and every Wednesday thereafter, the kids will also receive computer training from John.  John is just getting started on a big project that will include computer training for young students in villages without electricity, so this will be a good beginning to see what works and what doesn’t.  We have orders for four biosand filters that need to be produced, and we are still working on repairs around the house.  The rainy season (short rains) of the last two months produced some really big storms and we have roof damage on three buildings that we will have to address.  We really don’t have the money to fix everything properly, but we will make do with what we have which makes us like almost everybody reading this.  My oldest son, currently working on the West Coast will be moving back to New York in a month or so—rejoining his wife who will be happy to have him back under the same roof.  Karen’s orange sweet potato project is taking off, and she is also introducing black-eyed peas as well.  I never even knew she was an agronomist, but she can still surprise me after almost fifty years of marriage.  I’m getting ready for a big religious meeting of the two biggest Methodist churches in Tanzania here at our mission in another week or so.  Part of that two-day meeting will be planning a series of three-day pastor training sessions here in the upcoming months.  We have Swahili Bibles ordered and churches anxiously awaiting their arrival.  Our scholarship students at the Bunda Teachers College will be coming in the next week or so to get their tuition for the coming semester.  It is always a happy time to meet with them as they are so eager, excited, and grateful for the help we supply thanks to Cornerstone UMC in Jonesboro, Arkansas.  Over the years, over 60 students have graduated and are now Christian teachers working all over Tanzania.  This has been and continues to be one of our farthest reaching projects.  Also, sometime in the next few weeks, we will be meeting with the Irish couple who are missionaries for the Africa Inland Church and want to build and place biosand filters in over 80 communities.  For a couple of over-the-hill retirees (OAP’s for our British friends), we still do an awful lot.  Of course, we couldn’t be doing anything without help from our friends and supporters in churches in the United States and elsewhere.  We now can accept donations through PayPal that get to us in a matter of days, but there are no tax deductions if you use that method.  Tomorrow’s blog will explain how to use PayPal for contributions (after I learn from my son how it works).  God bless all of you and be kind to one another.  Hug someone you love today as hugging strangers can sometimes get you in trouble. 
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