As Gilda Radner said, “It’s always something.” No sooner have I gotten one medical situation under control when malaria attacks me yet again. This time I recognized it in its very early stages yesterday and Dr. Chris rushed over with a new medication adjusted for my weight, so this is the lightest case I have had in the last year or so. Had malaria four times in 2016 and the last time was six months ago, so it’s not too bad. In the last nine years, Karen hasn’t had a single bout, and John, who has been here ten years, has never had malaria. Seems I’m the only one those female mosquitos really love—and who can blame them. At least I can get a blog out.
Along with our drought has come a heat wave. For the last twelve years, it has never gotten much above 85 degrees (29 C) or ever gotten much below 68 degrees (20 C), but for the last few days we have been having temperatures reaching 110 (43 C) and 95 (35 C) in the shade of our verandah. At night, it only cools off to 80 degrees (26 C) which is not cool. Remember, we have no air conditioning and only fans to help inside the house. We have had all our windows open and even a couple of outside doors (the steel security doors were locked) to help get some breeze through the house. This is affecting everybody. Just because the Tanzanians have been living here for hundreds of years that doesn’t mean that they are not affected by the heat. It’s hot for everybody. When we lived in Boston, we didn’t have air conditioning because you only really needed it for about two weeks in August, and we spent most of those two weeks in air-conditioned malls and movie theaters. Well, there aren’t any air-conditioned malls or movie theaters here. Somehow, it’s a little easier to take knowing that everybody is in the same boat. It’s not like we have the only non-air conditioned house in the neighborhood, and we are the only ones suffering while all our neighbors are living in comfort. When the condition is universal, you don’t feel as much like a victim, especially when you know others are not only hot but hungry as well.
However, all our open windows and doors have had a very negative effect on us since last Saturday. Not only is Valentine’s Day a big thing here, this year it is also National AIDS Day, and most of the churches are putting on big crusades to turn people away from carnal sin. We are surrounded by churches here with four in a three-block radius, and three of those are having multiple-day crusades. For some reason, churches here believe that the only effective preaching and services come with amps and sound systems cranked up to rock concert levels. The Baptist Church is pouring forth shouting and yelling (shouting and yelling are very popular styles of preaching here) and attempting to drown out the Seventh Day Adventists who are shouting and yelling (electrically amplified) just as loud from the other side of us. For us, with all our open windows, this means that it is hard to even speak to each other inside the house. Happily, the crusades don’t start till four in the afternoon and end about eight at night, so it’s not an all-day, all-night thing (there have been some). These started last Saturday and were still going strong yesterday, so we don’t know when they will end. Some of our workers said that these churches must think that God lives far away and couldn’t hear them if they didn’t shout and yell with amplifiers. They think the shouters are a little crazy. Out of politeness, we couldn’t agree with them openly, but there may be a little truth there. Our Muslim friends don’t understand, either. They have a very loud call to prayer, so everyone will know it’s time, but then they go inside and are very quiet in their praying and preaching. Well, as my grandmother, Mama Roebuck, used to say, “No storm lasts forever,” so this will end before long. In the meantime, we do a lot of gesturing and shoulder shrugging. We also hope that there are those who are reached by the evangelism and are genuinely turned to Christ during these crusades.
Another bright spot is that a package arrived yesterday with stuff for each of the three of us, and there is another package being mailed next Saturday. We have a package coming from Boston and another has been mailed from South Carolina, so we have a lot to anticipate. I can remember as a boy ordering things from the Sears, Roebuck catalog and waiting excitedly for the treasures to arrive. Somehow, the instant gratification from same-day or next-day delivery has killed the excitement and anticipation of waiting for good stuff you know is coming. I’m here to tell you that almost every good thing in life is something for which you have to wait and anticipate, like weddings, births, graduations, and visits from far-flung family members. We are all awaiting the Second Coming, and it is not coming by FedEx or an Amazon.com drone delivery. Learning to wait with patience and anticipation is a good thing. And you can take that to the bank.