Monday, May 28, 2012

Back Home Again

Well, we made it back just fine. We had an early start from Singida and had no problems on the way back. We were stopped a few times by police road blocks, but this is just normal. All they are looking for is a way to supplement their meagre salary. It seems many people don't pay their licence or insurance, preferring to pay a little "tea money" to the traffic police is they are stopped.

It was a very good trip and Mbise is a very good traveling companion. Thank you all for your prayers.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday in Singida

What a wonderful day we had here in Singida. I woke up early this morning and after a light breakfast I was able to go for a walk around the town before Mbise was up and about.

We were waiting on Samuel coming to town from the village. He had people he wanted to take to services and he wanted them to come in the truck with us. About 9.00 am he called us to meet him and we headed off with some of his young relatives.

The church in Milada village, Singida, meets in the local school. They are able to use one of the school rooms there and it works out just about perfectly.

As is often the case, the brethren arrived late and then can in dribs and drabs. But we had a good service. There was a young man there who told us he wanted to be baptised, so baptism was the subject of my lesson. I was very pleased by the way all were taking part in the worship. Everyone was very engaged and the singing was very good for a small group.

After services we all headed down to the river for Edward's baptism.

Everyone was so pleased to see a new brother born again into the the body of Christ. Edward is a very good young man and I am sure he will be a great assets the the church.

After the baptism we all headed back to Samuel's mother's house where she feed us a very nice meal of rice, meat, beans a and green. No one was left hungry!

We then went to visit Samuel's relatives.

His aunt is a very sweet lady who just had the cutest baby. If you notice her house - this is a feature of the area. They cover the roof with soil and some how that keeps the rain out.

As I mentioned before, we are staying at the Catholic Guest House. It is a good price, the rooms are clean, but to be honest, how to get food is a mystery! Mbise and I went to the Kafateria to get dinner tonight and was told there was no food! Previously we have just had things heated up in a microwave, or had to wait a long time. But tonight was the best - no food! Mbise asked the girl, next time, how do we get food. He still does not know.

Anyway the girl told us to go the the Pasafi Cafe (Pasafi means - clean in here). There we were told ..."no food!". We were then directed to the "Appointment Cafe" I thought the name didn't sound promising, we certainly didn't have an appointment.

Anyway we got there and I just ordered chips, they asked me if I wanted chips and eggs, I went with that. We chose not to sit in the bar area, but rather on the sidewalk. To say it was very Parisian would be just plain ridiculous. The Coke chairs and the wobbly table destroyed any French comparisons.

So finally the food arrived.

It turned out to me more of a frittata than I expected, but is was VERY good. So at least we know we don't have to starve next time we come to Singida. Oh, by the way. Do you see the tooth picks in the photo, those were our eating instruments, no knives or forks!

I had better finish this post, you will be getting tired of reading and my thumbs are getting tried from typing on my iPhone. We are heading home to Arusha tomorrow so please pray for us.

-- Post From My iPhone

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A day in Singida

We had a great day here in Sigida. It was a quiet start to the day and then Mbise and I went for a walk around Lake Singida.

Mbise and I with Lake Singida behind us
Lake Singida
In the afternoon we met up with Samuel and went to his village to study with some of the brethren there. We we got there we found there were a number of non-members as well. We had a great study on the authority of the bible. There were really good questions that were asked afterwards. All in all a good study.

Samuel's family

Mama Samuel and her daughter

We are looking forward to worship with the brethren tomorrow. Please continue to pray for us.

Smiles at Singida

-- Post From My iPhone

Friday, May 25, 2012

Guest House - Singida

I am writing this on Friday night as I lie in bed with a mosquito net with more holes than good bits. I am staying at the Catholic Guest House in Singida, having come here today to assist the church.
My traveling companion for this is Mbise. He is really good company and I enjoy spending time with him. Singida is a 6 hour drive south west of Arusha, today we had a really good trip. They have been working on the road and each time we come it gets better.
Getting back to my current situation. On previous visits we have stayed at the Hill View Motel and been thoroughly underwhelmed by the service there. This time we thought we would try out the Catholic guest house.
When we arrived we were straight away shown the top of the range rooms - these, we were told cost Tzh 30,000. That was too much so I asked to see the other ones. "Sorry", I was told, the Tzh 15,000 were all full, but the nice ones were available! I then asked to see the other rooms, knowing they came cheaper. We were shown the single rooms and I said yes right away. So that is how I come to be writing this under a holy mozzie net. (oh, by the way, these rooms cost Tzh 10,000 - about $8!)
We went out to visit Samuel's family this afternoon (Samuel is the one who started the work here). We had a nice visit and we arranged to have a Bible Study tomorrow, Saturday, and worship together on Sunday.
Please pray for this work as it is avert new one. I will try and post some more during this visit.
-- Post From My iPhone

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Life is full of contrasts.

Just yesterday I was pulling my hair out wondering what to do.  One of our security guards had washed the truck and used a stick to remove the “hard parts” leaving deep scratches all over the paint work and windscreen. I was pretty mad and spent several hours trying to polish the scratches out.

Then we went to services in the evening. A young man was there whom we had never met before. Allen Mkita and Wilson Maturo had been studying with him through the day. They had asked him to come to services with them – he was worried about coming in his old clothes. The brothers assured him that is did not matter, come anyway.

Even though Maturo was due to teach, they asked me to teach on entering the church and what it is to be a member of the Lord’s church.  I taught a lesson based on 3 scriptures, John 3:1-5, Mark 16:16 and Matthew 28:19-20.

At the end of the service it was announced that this young man, Shelinde Bahati, (bahati means lucky in Swahili), wanted to be baptised. Of course everyone was very happy and we all headed down to the river. Our Wednesday evening crowd is never very big, so fortunately everyone was able to fit into the truck.

We had a very nice baptism there and we spoke many words and prayed together. What a wonderful thing it is to witness a new birth.

Please pray for our newest brother, Bahati.

You know, the scratches on the truck really don’t seem such a big deal now

Monday, May 7, 2012

Porch Studies

While Mike and Clint were here we had numerous studies with individuals. These studies we conducted in people's houses; the preachers arranged for us to visit some people to study with them.

We also had impromptu studies to which Clint coined the phrase, "Porch Studies".

The first of these session was held at Sombertini, a section of Arusha town, to the west. The preacher there, Dominic Owaga organized us to come there. He also asked Allen Mkita to come also, that way we had two translators and we could have two studies going at one time.

When we got there we also met with Alex, a young man Dominic had been studying with for a whole. The studies all went very well, with Mike and Clint teaching very clearly. There were a number of questions following each study that showed the level of interest.

We all met up after the last study and were getting into the truck when an old man, sitting on the porch we were parked next to, asked Clint a question. This led to a lively study in which many questions in a variety of topics were asked. Clint did a wonderful job as our speaker and proved more than capable of answering questions without notice.

Once we had got into the truck and were getting ready to head of, our your friend who had been with us thought out the day told us he wanted to be baptised and could we baptise him right away. Of course we were very happy to help and we headed right down to a small stream and our brother Alex was added into the Lord's church.

Alex, after his baptism

After the baptism

Simon at his stall
Another of the "Porch studies" happened in the area around the Philips church building. Allen Mkita was our translator for the day and he had arranged for us to study with a young man, Simon, who sells vegetables at a street corner near the church building. Even though he had work to do and we had to interrupt the study several times, Simon remained focused and asked some very good questions.

We then headed off down the street and Allen met another man, gave him a tract and asked if he wanted to study. Yes, he did want to study, but he wanted for us to sit under a tree first. We followed him and settled down and proceeded to have another study. Before long two young men came along and joined us. The study went along very well with the two young men showing that they were good students of the Bible.

After a while the first man said he had to go, he got onto a 3 wheel motor-cycle truck, leaving the two young men. We found out these two men were called Mark John and Joseph. They continued to have questions and after a while Mark John said he had to be baptised. After more study Joseph said he wanted to also.

Joseph after his baptism

Mark John about to be baptised

After the baptism
We headed down to the river and Allen baptised our two new brother.

Both of these men live close to the Philips church building and continue to be interested in learning form God's word.

What a blessing we have, being able to conduct these "Porch Studies".

Saturday, May 5, 2012

On Safari Part 2

Time and space did not permit me to complete the telling of our safari in the last post, so here we go with the rest.

We stayed at the Kirurumu Tarangire lodge, if you would like to know more about them, click here

We all had a good night sleep, there were no nocturnal visitors, except Clint had an adventure killing two scorpions in his shower stall.  We all awoke refreshed and ready for another day of adventure. That day started with a wonderful breakfast at the camp. Again it was silver service and table napkins all around. A full African breakfast of sausages, eggs, bacon, juice - in fact it seemed anything we wanted was on the menu.

We finally finished and leisurely packed up our things into the truck and headed off for a little game drive in the park (the tented camp site was outside of the park about a 15 minute drive away).

We again saw a lot of different animals, even though we were not there for long. We saw ostriches, Cape buffalo, wart hogs, several different types of bucks and a lot of elephants.  We decided to make for the Tarangire Luxury Tented camp and have a look at that. What a beautiful spot it is in, and what luxury! It made our camp look quite rough, but all agreed, we liked ours more.  We stopped there for a soda and a natter (chat), just relaxing and taking it easy.  
It was then time to head off so we could leave the park before our 24 hour pass was up.  We stopped at the gate and enjoyed the lunch boxes we had been given in the morning. We were accompanied this time by lots of different birds - they were hoping to get a free feed. Quite a few were lucky.

It was then time to head back to Arusha to rest up for the night before heading out in the morning on our next leg of our safari - Arusha National Park.
Arusha National Park is the closest park to Arusha town. It takes about an hour to get there from our house. Anne and I love going there, it is a small and intermit park. You can't see a huge amount of animals there, but being on Mount Meru, the environment changes a lot - it is really beautiful!

We left home after a good nights rest and headed up the mountain. We were really fortunate to see so many animals, birds and butterflies. There are not so many tourist there, so it feels at times like you are the only ones there.  

Zebra and Cape baffalo
The Park is includes Mount Meru which is an extinct volcano that they claim to have originally been taller than the here by Kilmanjaro before it erupted. There is a smaller crater Ngurdoto Crater that is a complete caldera. There was also the wonderful Momela Lakes that provides sanctuary to many different types of birds and a family of shy hippos.

We stopped overlooking the Momela lakes for a picnic lunch

The slopes of the Ngurdoto crater provide a home to lots of different types of monkeys and we were lucky enough to happen on a family of Blue capped monkeys right on the edge of the road. It was fascinating watching them interacting with each other. They were fully aware of our presence, but were not worried in the least.

In Arusha national park you have time to sit and think!

A blue capped monkey
The smallest of the bucks it the tiny Dikdik. There normally are seen in pairs and they are so delicate you would have thought that Disney would have thought of them.
My favourite, the shy Dikdik
Giraffes are the national animal of Tanzania and they are a wonderful feature of the Arusha National park. These animals are huge, but they are able to move so gracefully. These were a group of adults that we happened on returning to their young that they have left in a "nursery" while they went out of the park to feed. We saw they young ones before we went around the Momela lakes and on returning we saw these coming over the him (from the outside of the park) and watched them move to their young. The reunion was very touching.


Friday, May 4, 2012

On Safari Part 1

We had a wonderful time during the visit of Mike and Beth Criswell and Clint De France. One of the many fun things we did together is to take a few days off and go on safari to Tarangire National Park and the Arusha national park.

On our way out of town we stopped for breakfast at the wonderful Kimemo Coffee lodge (click here to see more). We had a great time as you can see from the photo. We all ate too much and generally got in a good mind set for going on safari.

Here in Tanzania, the word "safari" simply means a trip. So if you are going into town to shop, you are going on safari! However, heading out to a National Park here, the word takes on a whole different meaning - it means ADVENTURE!

Tanrangire is about a two hour drive from Arusha and after our leisurely breakfast we made it to the gate about 12 noon. This worked out fine as you buy a 24 hour entrance and it meant we had until 12 noon the next day to enjoy the park.  Almost as soon as we left the park entrance we started to see the wonderful wildlife that Tarangire is famous for.  The claim is that this park as the highest concentration of Elephants of anywhere. Well, we arrived during the rainy season when most of the animals are out getting fresh grass outside of the park, but ended up seeing 100s of elephants!!!!

These huge animals are really awesome. So many times that word gets bandied around and it has almost lost its meaning. That is until you  see something that really DOES inspire awe!  We got so close to these majestic animals, it was at times a little scary!

We all really enjoyed just sitting in the truck (you are not allowed out for obvious reasons, except at designated areas). It is fascinating to watch how these animals interact with one another. How they protect their young, how they are so gentile towards one another. We were so fortunate to see them all.

We traveled around a lot and got to see a wide variety of different animals including zebra, ostriches, a lot of different types of bucks. We even go to see a couple tired lions sleeping under a tree!

Anne had packed a picnic lunch as so we stopped at a wonderful spot overlooking the Tarangire river. From there we could see elphants in the distance as well as a group of giraffes. We were even pestered by a group of hopeful monkeys.  It was great fun!

After were were all pretty tired out we headed out of our camp for our Tented lodge experience.  This is such a good idea. they have made up private rooms, with full en-suite facilities, out of tents. You really get a wonderful safari experience!

We all enjoyed sitting around the fire before (and after) dinner and were treated like kings and queens. Infact, because it was the low season, we were the only ones at the camp. What luxury!
Dinner was magnificent, wonderfully presented and tasted GREAT! We were even treated to a magic show by the head waiter. 

After sitting around the fire and counting the stars we all went for a well earned sleep. We were all wondering if the local lions or elephants were going to wander around the camp at night.

I'll leave it there and add more in another post.

Clint had just got off the plane the night before and jet-lag was taking effect.
3 wonderful ladies and a Baobab

Everyone was having fun!