Charles is still out for the funeral of his younger brother (a minimum of four days), and now Neema is out for a funeral as well. Even though Neema was never married to the father of her boys and he lived in a different village, his death hit her very hard. She was in tears when she told us yesterday, so she immediately left for the funeral. Neema cooks for the orphans and usually when she is gone, Rachel fills in for her, but Rachel was gone yesterday, too, because her ten-yr-old son was getting his cast taken off at DDH (District Designated Hospital) here in Bunda. Thankfully, Edina was here and not only cooked for the orphans and came in and washed dishes and cleaned in Rachel’s absence. Somehow, we always manage to get done whatever is needed. Shaban was in Musoma all day yesterday, so only Edina and Francis were here instead of the usual compliment of Neema, Charles, Edina, Rachel, Francis, and Shaban. Happy to know that we can by with most of our crew missing.
On another note, Shaban found out yesterday that I can’t get my residence permit renewed with a labor permit. This is the result of a law that was passed last year, but no one knew about it. You only have to have it done once, but missionaries never had to have one before. They charge $500 USD and there is a raft of paperwork (with pictures) to fill out and that is what Shaban is working on now. It also requires an in person appearance at the Labour Board in Dar Es Salaam which Shaban has said he will do, riding the bus for fourteen hours there and fourteen hours back. My residence permit expires Friday of next week, so there is some urgency here. Oh, and to top it off, Shaban has a mild case of malaria but has gone to Musoma anyway to get the American money to pay the fee. This new requirement for a labor board permit seems to be to try to limit the abuse of missionary permits by non-missionaries which run in the thousands. Who knew? John’s residence permit expires next month, so we will have to do this all over right away. At least Karen can wait until next year—so a little breathing room there. Seems silly for me to have to have a labor permit when I can’t even walk yet, but governments never have to use logic or common sense when making laws—and that is not just here in Tanzania, is it?