17 December 2013

Melting in Morogoro!

I’m sitting on the sofa in our house writing this month’s update – the inside temperature is 32 degrees C (even with ceiling fans on!) - the outside temperature is several degrees higher.   Last winter in the UK, Steve frequently urged me to, “Enjoy the cold weather – you’ll be longing for it in Tanzania,” and he was right!  Welcome to Morogoro!

Last month our blog ended with the words, “…move into our house and finally unpack those suitcases!”  Well, we are pleased to report that we’ve been in our house for a week or so and the suitcases are, with one exception, unpacked.  It took us several days to get ourselves sorted out but we are starting to feel as if this is home, for the time being at least.  I’ve even managed to put up our Christmas tree (thanks to a friend at Corsham Baptist!), although it’s hard to feel “Christmassy” in this heat! 

Let me give you a flavour of where we live.  Our house is situated on the outskirts of Morogoro.  From the main road, a long driveway leads to a small cul-de-sac with 6 houses.  We have a large gate which we keep padlocked, bars on every window, and a night guard on the gate at the main road – all necessary security precautions.  Hmm - do we feel more secure or more vulnerable...?  It’s a 3 bedroomed house – ideal as we’ll be working from home initially and can each have an office (experience shows that we work differently and need our own space!).  We also have room for visitors to stay!  Thankfully the house came furnished so we don’t have to find our own furniture for the time being.

New species?  A double decker
millipede trundles across our porch
We are slowly getting into the routine of living here.  We’ve already had three power cuts (one of 10 hours) and an influx of cockroaches (holes quickly blocked up with wire wool!).  The water from the taps is pretty murky so it needs to be boiled first, cooled, and then put through the water filter before we can use it for drinking and cooking.  The first thing we do every day is to open all the windows to let in as much of a breeze as possible – and with it the aromas and noises from the small farm next door – somewhat reminiscent of growing up in a small rural town!
We’ve already discovered that various household items can’t be found in Morogoro for love nor money – coat hangers (hence the unpacked suitcase), dusters and plugs for example – a lesson that the basics we take for granted in the UK are not considered so vital here.  We will have to wait until we next go to Dar es Salaam to buy these things.  

Morogoro market - not for the
This week Cath Swanson took us to the local market, which can be a daunting experience for the uninitiated.  It’s best to go early to avoid the crowds and the harassment of boys wanting to carry your groceries, for a fee.  There are many stalls selling fruit, veg, spices, nuts, pots and pans, furniture etc – we saw three stalls selling just plastic bags!  Having purchased our supplies we don’t just unload them into the refrigerator – fresh produce needs to be soaked in a weak bleach solution for half an hour to kill the bugs and bacteria, and then washed in filtered water.  Woe betide the stomachs of those who don’t follow this practice!

In common with the majority of ex-pats, and many Tanzanians, here, we have a house helper.  Her name is Asha and she comes in three mornings a week to clean, bleach vegetables, prepare water and do laundry.  She speaks a very little English so I am practising my Kiswahili listening and speaking skills!  It feels strange to have someone work for us but actually it is expected here and of course it provides someone with employment.

The team from Corsham Baptist entertaining the
crowd on Family Night
Earlier this month we attended AIM’s Eastern Region conference, held at Kijabe, 90 minutes from Nairobi.  What a beautiful setting it is, and so cool in its high altitude location!  For a new girl on the block, it was overwhelming to be amongst 500 missionaries from Kenya and Tanzania, but good to hear of all the work going on in different parts of East Africa.  Our pastor from Corsham Baptist, Eddie Larkman, was the conference speaker.  We were doubly blessed under his ministry – it was wonderful to hear him preach again and we, and everyone we spoke to, thought that he spoke with exceptional authority and power.  It was good to spend time with him and Kathy, his wife, and to have a team of 14 from our church who were running the children’s/youth ministry.  For some of the team it was their first foray into Africa and a real eye-opener.  Sensory overload!  One of the first sights they saw was on the journey from the airport to AIM’s guesthouse – the victim of a road traffic accident lying where he fell, uncovered for all to see - all rather shocking. 

Ruth has a close encounter of a "furred" kind!
The team worked its socks off during the conference - it was great to see them buzzing off it all.  We also gave them a small taste of Nairobi by taking them to visit a giraffe park and animal orphanage – getting up close and personal with the giraffes was a real highlight! 

Now Christmas is looming.  We are taking the opportunity to go away for a few days.  It will certainly be a different kind of Christmas for us – in the heat of Zanzibar!

We wish you all the blessings of the season and thank you for your love and prayers, and the gifts and cards that you have sent.

Prayer Points:

- Praise God for a good transition so far into life in Morogoro and pray that we will continue to settle well.
- Pray that we will be able to adjust to the heat and humidity.
- Pray for ongoing language learning and opportunities to use it.

Diary Dates:

23rd-27th Dec          Christmas break
3rd-10th Jan             Possible homestay with Tanzanian family
11th Jan                   Fly to Nairobi
13th Jan                   Ruth – hospital tests and check-up, Nairobi Hospital
14th Jan-4th Feb     Africa Based Orientation, Machakos, Kenya
6th Feb                    Return to Morogoro

Random photo of the month:

A petrol station in Dar nails its colours firmly to the pump:
"Jesus - name above all names." Can't see this
happening in the UK!