No surgery for me today as Dr. Chris is still in Dar Es Salaam. With the recent elections, even simple things like getting his medical license renewed become difficult and tedious. He’s got it and will be coming home tomorrow, so probably this weekend, he will get to cut on me. I think it will be the sixteenth surgery for skin cancers since my first one in December of 1976. I’ve had two here in Tanzania, one on my hand and one above my ear—both benign. No reason to expect these to be anything other than benign, but it is better not to take chances. I am still loving my new mosquito net, and Shaban’s wife is delighted that I love it. She may be able to build a business from this skill, and I hope she does. Not only will she make money, but she will be saving lives, too.
Our new president of Tanzania, Rais Magafuli, “rais” just means “president,” is starting out really well, and we are very hopeful that he continues what he is starting. They have a saying here that the last few presidents have been “Coca-Cola” presidents which means like opening a bottle of Coke, first there is a “pop” and fizz, but then it goes flat. This guy really seems different. He canceled a big parade that would have cost two million dollars U.S. and told them to build a road instead. He is the first president since Julius Nyerere to drive from Dar Es Salaam to Dodoma (where the parliament meets) instead of flying or taking a helicopter. When our last president drove anywhere, he would have a motorcade of forty to fifty cars, but this president will not allow more than four. He makes surprise visits to ministries and takes the names of people who are not at work. He has fired several ministers and is investigating the corruption at customs at the moment. He also wants all primary and secondary education to be free. Students will still have to pay for their uniforms, but the fees will be gone. When he took office, there was only enough money in the treasury to run the country for three months, but he has already found enough hidden and stashed money to fund the country for the next year. He is a Christian and is asking churches all over the country to pray not for him but for the country. Like I say, we really hope and pray he is not a “Coca-Cola” president but what this country has needed for some time.
Today, Bishops Monto, Festo, and Kitunda are traveling to Mwanza for the High Court session tomorrow where we will get our final, written ruling and find out whether or not the Kenyan pastors will be there to apologize. We don’t think they will show up, but you never know. When Bishop Festo came for annual conference, while I was battling malaria, he brought us a gift of a rooster and thirty eggs from his chickens. We gave Juliana the rooster but ate the eggs which were fantastic (organic, free range, you know, like all our animals here).
We are meeting with Juliana this morning to get a formal commitment from her for us to send Charlini to the Daystar boarding school here in Bunda. We have the money to pay for everything, but Juliana is very superstitious and her neighbors have been telling her that because Charlini is an orphan she will be beaten, and, if she gets sick, no one will take care of her. This would be true in some schools, but not the one we’ve picked for her. We had another little girl, the daughter of a neighbor go to that school for three years and that little girl is now an honor student in a good secondary school. We have high hopes. Once Juliana gets used to Charlini being away from home for months at a time and she sees how much easier Juliana’s life is, we think she will be agreeable to allow her adoption. All she has to do is sign a paper with the person in charge of her neighborhood (called a “belozi”) and that will be that. No fees, no government agencies involved—just a simple act that will be binding and legal since we are not taking Charlini out of the country but keeping her right here. We will keep you posted.