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Tanzania Blog

Tuesday, May 23

Shelby Cook

Hey!!!!!!!

Today we had our first program day in Gabimori! We had some hang time with a little rough start, so we broke out the soccer ball and started a game. After an hour of trying to keep up with their quick feet, we started construction. We mixed concrete and laid brick of the new church. Eric, Megan, and Price built a stove - super fast! Then the wanafunzi (students) cooked ugali and several fish on the new stove! They were impressed with how well it worked.  

After a pb&j lunch, we went back for some more construction. We are slowly learning how to be good fundis (masons). Then we did the first day of our youth program. We had many kids, so when we got to the discussion groups we let them play soccer while we talked to the youth and adults. They had a lot of stories to share; many of them were sad tragic stories. We grew closer together and talked about the struggles of trusting God through hard times. 

After the long bumpy ride back, we had dinner, our team meeting, and devotion time. Megan shared about how God has been at work in her life. Let's just say, she has been through some rough waters. She shared a verse at the end of her devo, Isaiah 43:2. CRAZY THING, Shelby, who has been home sick all day, painted that very same verse earlier today. (And she had no idea.)

Go God.

Katie -kuku- Rhodes  

Surprise!

Yeah, I was sick today, but I got SO much accomplished today! I started my morning by getting locked in the bathroom. It was quite complicated, and I thought Glenn was about to knock down the door when I asked him to slide a screw driver through the window. I got out, it was cool. Next, from sheer exhaustion, I took a nap. Then I read, then I took a nap; then I played games, then I painted a picture. Fun day!

The internet here is a little shotty most of the time, so blogs and pictures a challenge I am trying to figure out. I guess that's what I get for going to a third world country.

I'm super proud of the work my team did today, and I can't wait to get back out there tomorrow. Life is great when you're in Africa. Or in America, or anywhere. Life is good and God has now boundaries. Go God!

Through Christ,

2017 Tanzania Team

 

JOHN: When did the sky get to be so big?

Monday, May 22

Shelby Cook

Today was fairly out of the ordinary as far as days here go.  John and I started the day refreshed after the first hot showers we had in weeks, however they came at the price of minor electrocutions which we assume was caused by the hot water system.  After breakfast we headed out to Gabimori to attend a funeral for one of the community members who passed away a few days ago.  On the way we stopped on the shore of Lake Victoria to take some photos and afterwards we somehow made it to Gabimori over the rough roads without the van getting stuck which was tough but I never once doubted that Nicholas, our driver, would prevail in the situation. 

Attending the funeral was a new experience for us, we could empathize with the community to the extent that many of us have lost loved ones in the past, but most of us did not know the man who had passed away so it was difficult to be emotionally invested.  After the service we were welcomed with tea, rice, and mendazi, which was very gracious, before we headed back to Shirati.  

The evening features us getting prepared once more to get to work after a few days off.  Tomorrow's agenda includes construction on a church in Gabimori, working on stove teaching, and starting our children's program with day 1 in Gabimori.  

Should our technology prevail, stay tuned to hear about that tomorrow.

Eric

Saturday-Sunday, May 20-21

Shelby Cook

Sunday=Fun Day!

Today is Sunday, but we missed out on posting yesterday due to our travels. Saturday, we left at 9 a.m. for Shiroti. The road was bumpy, I mean, REALLY bumpy. I might consider wearing a helmet next time! This time we are roughing it in the L.A.A. Hotel; when we arrived, there was no electricity, and no running water, but, they had the most important thing - a nice bed to fall asleep on. Saturday was our day off, some spent their time playing cards, others read or napped. 

We had been working so hard and pouring our hearts out till they were dry in Tarime, we needed a day to recuperate, tie our shoes (strap on our chacos), and dust off the dirt from our clothes. Sunday, we were back into action.

Your faithful blogger,

Shelby

SUNDAY

Today was such a great day! We ate a lovely breakfast of mendazi, our favorite fried sweet rolls, and then everybody got ready for church. Most of us went to the church at Ingrichini while Davis, Glenn, and Madison went to the church at Gabimori. Those of us that went to Ingrichini had an adventure getting there. We started by driving back down the road we drove in on yesterday for about an hour. On the way we missed a turn somewhere and our driver had to stop and ask several people how to get to the church. We ended up taking a sharp turn over a ditch and onto what was essentially a walking trail through farming fields, which we drove on for about another twenty or so minutes before the van couldn't go any farther and we walked the rest of the way to the church. It was a beautiful area and we got a few glimpses of those breathtakingly wide-open savanna views, so it was well worth the bumpy adventure to get there. 

The church was pretty small and there were maybe only about twenty people there, but they were all so incredibly welcoming. On the back wall there was a chalkboard area where they had written a welcoming message for us, which was just the sweetest thing to see when we walked in. The pastor of the church, Jacoba, was so kind to us and he seemed genuinely thrilled to have us visiting. And the service itself was great! The worship song they started with was Hakuna Mungu, which is one of the songs that we do for our children's program, so it was cool to be able to sing along. Shelby preached today and she delivered an awesome and much-needed message about God's love and the roles He plays in our lives. After a while everyone asked us to sing some worship songs, so we all went up to the front and sang a few of the other songs that we do for our children's program. We must have done a good job, because just when we thought that the service was over, we were asked to get up and sing some more songs. I guess we were feeling confident after our first performance because we decided to branch out and try to sing some of the songs that we sing when we have our team devo and worship time at night. As we were standing up at the front and quickly whispering back and forth to figure out what song to do, I distinctly remember someone saying "Let's do 'In Christ Alone!'" and someone else saying "Are we sure we know all the words to that one?" and then all of us saying "Yeah we for sure know that one!". Well, John started us off strong in a nice mid-range key, but things quickly started to fall apart when we a) forgot the words and everyone started mumbling and b) got to the part of the song that gets really high and realized that we should have started in a way lower key. It was so funny because there was a moment where everyone was mumbling the words and then all of us just stopped singing except for three brave souls who tried to squeak their way through the high part. Thankfully I was standing in the back because I started crying because I was laughing so hard. Just thinking about it now I cannot stop laughing. 

Our singing performance must not have been to scarring for the Ingrichini church members, however, because they fed us an incredible lunch of chapati and chai tea. Then we bumped our way back up the road to our hotel here in Shirati, where we've had a restful afternoon and evening. 

We're all excited to see what God has in store for us this week, and we are so thankful for all of your prayers and support!

La la salama!

Megan

:'D

Megan did a great job describing our wild wild adventures, but I have to take them a step further. So we're rattling along the road, the whole van is shaking, our bodies are shaking, our teeth chattering from the bumps when all of a sudden Nicholas (our driver) slams on the breaks and we're all looking around, looking out the windows to see if we almost hit something, but then he turns around in the middle of the road and we're all like whoops, too far, right? Well , we are lost in Africa, so Sarah makes him pull over for directions, and they take us to this tiny opening in the tall grasses. We somehow make it past the deep ditch, and suddenly we're driving in a field. If I put my hand out the window, I would pull in an ear of corn...

Props to Megan for describing our confidence in our singing. I don't think any of us realized we didn't truly know the words to the songs, or what they SHOULD sound like. I'm proud that we semi kept it together in the midst of our failure.

The minute we got home to Shiroti, everyone scattered for naps, cards, and free time. We had chips mayai for dinner, then we moved into team meetings and devo time. In our devo worship, we sang two of the hymns we attempted this morning (AND WE NAILED THEM!), but of course a lot of us broke down in laughter in memory of this morning. 

Keep praying as we enter a new community. Hopefully we are well rested, physically and spiritually, because we've got work to do.

No pictures tonight, just a lot of smiles!

In Christ,

2017 Tanzania Team

 

Would you like a falaffle with that?

Friday, May 19

Shelby Cook

Never Going to Give You Up!

Boy, I have got to tell you, this has been an emotional day. right now we're huddled into a small kitchen cooking dinner for a handful of people that have made our stay in Tarime the most special. We're jamming out to Rick Astley - this kitchen is bumpin! I have to tell you about the rest of today though before I can tell you more about dinner (sorry, I'm excited and it's my favorite meal of the day, plus it's brinner, a Wesley favorite!)

I feel like I talk about food a lot, but we had mandazi this morning, it's practically an African doughnut with a sprinkle of heaven in the batter. Today was the last day of teaching English to the street kids, so we had to say goodbye at the end. The kids prepared a special show for us - singing and dancing - to say their goodbyes to our team. The song said "Stand up and smile, and wave goodbye, sister/brother ___________(Insert team member's name here). I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty sure a tear or two tried escaping; these children have taken a place in my heart that I didn't even know existed.

We came back for lunch (guess what it was... PB&J!!!) We had a meeting at 2 o'clock the the Tarime United Methodist Church Youth Staff. They wanted advice on how to encourage the youth to be more active in the church. This church service they have is very traditional (to the members of the church, it is traditional and very holy) and we found ways to breath life into this church that would interest the youth. The staff accepted this advice very well and can't wait to get the programs moving in the church.

Saying goodbye is never easy. God has removed all the barriers and showed us how to love our brothers and sisters in Christ. When we were saying our goodbyes, I didn't just shake hands, I hugged each and every one of the, and they hugged me back. I have felt so much love in Tarime- Mama Bhoki squeezed me tight and twirled me in a hug. This is the type of relationship that doesn't come fro the absence of God. 

Our team gave gifts to each of the church leaders, and now we are preparing brinnner for our translators, Rhobin, Elizabeth, and Sarah, Mama Chuare, and Cynthia. We appreciate all the hard work they have put into getting us where we need to be, keeping our bellies full, and communicating with the swarming masses of children that follow us around. We are all really good at eating, and that doesn't require any fancy words!

I love you, keep reading to find out more!

With the fastest Wi-fi in all of Africa, (and the love from God),

Shelby Cook

 

Our House.... In the Middle of the Street...

Ok, ok, it's still me, and we are still rockin' this house with some great tunes. I know you hear from me a lot, but I have so much to share. We depart from Tarime tomorrow at 9 a.m. Honestly, I am sad. I don't know what's going to happen to the street kids, I don't know what's going to happen to this church, I don't know what's going to happen to this community, but I don't have to know - God is in control. I can worry all I want, but God is the only person that knows what is going to happen. I will continue to keep them in my prayers and thoughts, I will share their stories, and I will spread their love. THAT is what God has asked us to do through missions. 

I am incredibly proud of the AWF crew that has traveled, conquered, and loved this community. Keep praying for us. We are living in close quarters with little tie apart. Pray that we can continue to pour into these relationships in healthy ways, pray that we will not grow tired of doing God's work, pray that we can hear God through the midst of the storm. 

God, we love you,

2017 Tanzania Team

 

Our morning conversations sure do start the morning; our topics including the history of NASA, the benefits of Nuclear Energy, and American Politics. What a way ti enjoy a cup of tea early in the morning.

Eric did research on Nuclear Reactors and why they are safe. He is ready to share.

Thursday, May 18

Shelby Cook

I'm Super Pumped!

Today was such an eventful day! Breakfast was new-fried eggs, toast, and fresh watermelon, cucumber, and mango! It was sooo good! Everyone went back for seconds (and thirds). This morning we split the team into it’s usual groups, 5 for teaching English to the street children and 5 for teaching stove making. Both went really well for having such early starts. During our debriefing time after dinner, the English team told stories of how lively and enthusiastic the kids were about learning, and how the team really fed off it and had a great time too.

The stove teaching could not have gone better. One of the women who helps run Our Father’s House, the street kid ministry, has been to every one of our stove lessons, and this morning she taught the other women that came. And that is exactly what we wanted. Stove teaching is only sustainable if the community wants to adopt the technology offered, and it really seems like these stoves will be a positive impact here. Which I think is so neat!

After our usual lunch of PB + J’s with fruit, all 10 of us went to what was supposed to be the demonstration farm for Our Father’s House. At the demo farm, the youth learn practical ways to farm and eventually sustain themselves once they are older. However, we didn’t go to this farm. Instead we went to the regular farm for Our Father’s House. Which like any small farm in the States, produces the fruits and vegetables that feed the street kids. So instead of learning and watching practical ways to farm, we just farmed the dirt. With a hoe. In our Chacos. You could say that we were not prepared for that communication mix up. But everyone on both sides took it well, and we still learned a lot of information regarding future projects of Our Father’s House.

The evening was spent writing thank you notes and buying gifts for our “leave-taking ceremony” as well as dinner tomorrow. The ceremony will be a time when both parties exchanges formal goodbyes, presents, hugs, and probably a few tears too. So we wrote letters and created small gifts for the staff, our translators, and drivers, just to let them know how much they mean to us. For Mama Chuare, the kind lady that cooks 2 meals a day for us as well as washing all our clothes, we are going to cook her an American style dinner tomorrow night, that is actually going to be made of breakfast food. We want to show love, hospitality, and grace to the people that have shared that with us from the start.

As we wrap up our time here in Tarime, it is obvious that the team is sad that we are leaving a place where we have made so many memories and friendships. But at the same time, I know they are excited about the week ahead of us, and what is in store in Gabimori. Thistrip has been so fun, uplifting, and extremely rewarding, and I can’t wait to see what comes of the next week.

   Love,

 Madison Church

Tikiti maji! (Watermelon)

So I must tell you - NEVER EVER EVER EVER tell a child that you are afraid of bugs. At the demo farm, the kids picked up a grasshopper and chased me around the fields with it. After I finally got them under control, we had a language lesson; they taught me the Swahili words for the seeds they were planting, and I shared the English form.  I am incredibly proud of these kids. They have seen some harsh things in their life, but God is moving through them.

I super apologize for the late post, we get heavy rain storms every night that inhibit blogging. Keep praying, especially as we learn to say goodbye to the friends that we have made here in Tarime.

2017 Tanzania Team

 

Mom, what is the cure for heartache? I'm going to miss Africa a lot when I leave

Wednesday, May 17

Shelby Cook

HABARI NZURI MARAFIKI!!!!!!!!    (For all you 'Merican's, that means "good news friends")

Today was a little bit different than the rest of the days. We took our first break of the whole trip in the morning (kinda). First and foremost before I forget about the most important meal of the day, we had Chipati for breakfast, my personal favorite. Chipati is very similar to tortillas, but one trillion times better (hint hint Mom). The group that teaches English to the kids of Our Father's House stayed home in the morning and prepared English lessons for this afternoon, Thursday morning, and Friday morning. The stove group met with Parmao, the Community Developer for the United Methodist Church in Tarime, this morning to discuss the future plans and budget of Our Father's House. 

SHOCKER, we had PB&J for lunch today (again). We split up into our normal groups after lunch to teach English and stove making. 

The English team (the better team, duh), set off for Tarime UMC. We arrived to a mob of children from the community avoiding the rains down in Africa, and screaming a the top of their lungs because Mzungus (Americans) had arrived! Even though we were only teaching English to kids of Our Father's House (OFH), we let the kids from the community hangout inside so they could get out of the rain. The OFH kids had lots of energy and were ready to learn! We tested their skills with lots of games and we all had loads of fun! The games allowed them to test and retain all of the new vocabulary that we have been teaching as well as introduced today. Today we introduced different objects that they might encounter around town such as the piki pikis (motorcycles) and the sokonis (markets). They picked up these new words extremely fast! We are so proud of all the hard work they have put in over the past 5 days!!

The stove group had a productive day, building a stove out of stones with Mwita. They did this in preparation for us traveling to Gabimori because bricks are expensive and stone is more readily available there. They also continued to introduce the brick stove to women in the Tarime community. "The ladies could literally touch fire, they picked up burning coals and placed their hands in the flames longer than we could" said John. John then went on to say that the women even laughed at them for their lack of fire bending ability. Tomorrow they look forward to watching one of their students teach other women in the community how they can build their own stoves! This is so the stove teaching can be sustainable when we leave.   

Both teams returned to the MVP of the trip (Mama Chuare) preparing rice and beans for dinner, along with delicious fresh fruit. Shoutout to Cynthia for bringing us Coke so we can drink something other than water! Dinner was perfect, as always, and we ended the night with worship and devotion. We are currently hanging out getting real competitive with card games, but at the end of the day we all love each other.  

Tangawizi signing off,

Price 

 

I've been thinking...

Okay, I know the joke, "I can see the smoke all the way from here, Shelby", but really. Davis brought up the other day that it is absolutely amazing that Coca Cola can make it all the way out here in Tarime, Africa, a third world country that doesn't have stable electricity, food, or clean water. 

Honestly, I was pretty upset when I heard this; Coca Cola is a luxury item that has found its way into the poorest parts of the world. If we are already transporting an item for pleasure, why is it so hard to ensure that they have enough food to feed their families? It breaks my heart when kids ask me for food or water, when I see the holes in their clothes, or them running around barefoot because their shoes are broken. I can't tell you what to do about this or how to solve this problem, no one person can change the world. We live in a post-heroic society, one person cannot do it alone, but a team can, and every individual makes up that team.

If we can get the most iconic soft drinks all around the world, in the most impoverish places, then why can't we ensure basic needs? Think about it, pray on it, and let's find a way to take action!

Striving for Your love,

2017 Tanzania Team

 

We had a single game of Uno that last 2 hours. I just wanted to eat lunch, so I decided to win.

Tuesday, May 16

Shelby Cook

Mambo from the 'Zia!

Today was another great day in Tarime! We started out with a quick little breakfast of sweet potatoes (which are white here and quite tasty!) and fruit before we headed to our final day of youth program. Today's topic was choosing God, even in the midst of tough situations. The youth from Our Father's House really opened up and we were able to discuss some of the common issues we all face. For the last thirty minutes, we gave them some free time to choose any active they wanted and they chose coloring! This ended up being so much fun and we all enjoyed some time getting to know each other and draw some fun pictures. 

The house was quiet during lunch today and we enjoyed some much needed down time. Everyone took a little time to nap and rejuvenate before our afternoon!

This afternoon my team continued teaching English. I think today was one of the most fun lessons since we covered body parts, which allowed us to play lots of fun educational games! We sang "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" and played some Simon Says to practice.  For me, teaching English has been one of the most rewarding parts of the trip, because the kids have been so engaged with us and are so smart and quick to learn. It's hard to explain the feeling when you see a kid really grasp a concept and gain confidence in their learning. Every day they come ready to learn and have fun with us!

Our stove team was able to continue introducing the brick stoves as well as trying out some charcoal stoves and other new ideas to make the stoves work better. Hearing about the stove team talk about not only getting to introduce a technology that the community really appreciates, but also hearing about the relationships that they are forming has been so cool! They've been so flexible with adapting to the realities of Tanzania and the members of the community are always excited to work with them! Between the Swahili songs we have learned and getting to teach them English, it's a really cool experience to be able to start to converse with both the children and adults (mostly in some fun combination of English, Swahili , or gesturing). 

Tonight, our common room has been filled with lots of chatter and card games as well as planning as we head into our last 3 days working in Tarime. We are ready to finish strong, but are sad that over a week has flown by already. Getting to know the people in this community has been such a blessing!

Personally, it's been incredible to watch our team adjust and work together to make the absolute most of our time in Tarime and with our different groups of youth. Being on a different continent can be hard, but it's easier with a group that is so willing to give grace and serve their neighbor. Each night one of us shares a devotion, and it's been really neat to see that the themes of service and selfless love continue to be present in all of our discussions. 

We so appreciate all of you prayers and support! 

Peace and Love, 

Sydney

Good Evening! (Gud Ee-vehn-ing)

Teaching English can be so much fun! There is so much repetition, over pronouncing words; it honestly makes me question if it's a word at all sometimes. There's only so many ways you can change up the song "Head , shoulders, knees, and toes", but it's a little embarrassing when your singing the song to teach them the parts of the body and you get it wrong. Eh, they knew what I meant...

We're wrapping up here in Tarime. We have a few more days within this community before we move onto Gabbimori. I find it incredible that we have learned and accomplished so much in a short week. Sydney summed up everything going on here, so this chick is off to bed!

In Christ's Name,

2017 Tanzania Team

 

I saw a cat fall off a roof today.

Monday, May 15

Shelby Cook

It's MonDAy!

Today we played a soccer game with many of street kids that we've been teaching English to. Highlights of the game mostly involve us getting taken to school, but overall, I think everyone had fun and we were able to bond with the youth through the power of "the beautiful game". Although the score ended 3-0 to the Tanzanians, I think we played a pretty solid game, and just got gassed by the end. *Insert Falcons blowing 28-3 lead joke here*. The game encompassed our entire morning, and we were pretty pooped. We then discover that our water had some dirt in it from the monster rain storm we had the night before, so we had to learn how to take bucket showers quick fast. After recharging a little, we resumed regular scheduled programming at the church with the kids. Our message today conveyed that God is the most important thing in the world, and to seek him we have to battle through many distractions. We taught the kids "He's Got The Whole World", and sang more Swahili songs. We might be sore in the morning from playing two full halves, but we're still trucking along. 

God Bless,

David Lischer

How any times must I tell you?

So normally, I would say I DO NOT RUN, it is not ideal, but today, today was the day. We played soccer with the street kids, and boy, did I run around in circles. We didn't win - I blame the high altitude, it interfered with our breathing and endurance and skills, right, that was it.

Monday, today, was our easy(er) day; we played soccer in the morning and held our youth/children's program in the afternoon. We got the the church when Megan, Madison, and I noticed we had on the same skirt - turns out I do know fashion and can set trends!

I think the most exciting thing about today though was having french fries for dinner. You're probably thinking, "Really Shelby, you were excited about french fries???"  and I say YES! I have loved the food here, but it's comforting to have any type of food that can remind you of home.

We've learned a lot here in Tarime, Tanzania. We have learned to take the small victories, like french fries at dinner, the bonding you create with rafikis (friends) over soccer, or the first sip of water after a hot day. I have become very aware of how I live my life in America, with nearly unlimited resources at my disposal, a support system, and a safe sanctuary to call my own; not everyone has this. Today, I had kids begging me for water, I talked with children that sleep on the streets, with children that have faced a hard life before they even reach the age of 10. It definitely pulls strings in your heart to examine how fortunate we are in America. I know we joke about 'first world problems' but there are definitely bigger issues than your cell-hone charger not quite reaching your bed, or burning your mouth on a  hot pocket.

Examine, consider, and make a new plan. Missions can change a communities outlook on certain things, but missions can also expose new things to you. I highly encourage you to think about how you can serve somewhere, change someone else's life, let God change yours.

Prayerful planning, living, and worship,

2017 Tanzania Team

 

I am appalled that no one has mentioned this, BUT we live with baby goats; they try walking in the house all the time, and they are really cute. We love to cuddle with them (except when mama goat gets mad and tries chasing us...)

Sunday, May 14

Shelby Cook

This morning we split into 2 groups and attended 2 churches - Gamasara UMC and Tarime UMC! John Ragland did an excellent job delivering the sermon at Gamasara, and David Lischer did an excellent job preaching at Tarime. We really enjoyed the enthusiastic worship music. We got loose with lots of clapping, dancing, and praising.

After church we met with the church leaders of Tarime UMC and the staff of Our Father's House. They wanted feedback on how they were doing as hosts as well as feedback on the Our Father's House program. We highlighted the (million) things they are doing so well and let them know some issues that the kids had brought up in discussion groups. 

This afternoon we did a combo pack of day 3 and 4 of our youth program at the church. We had many skits and faith shares. The kids and youth really got into the "Na na nanana" part of Waves of Mercy today so we did it until we ran out of breath. 

After a dinner of rice and peas, we did our daily evaluation, preparation for tomorrow, and devotional time. The street kids requested if they could play soccer with us so we are going to bed early tonight to be ready for a big game of soccer tomorrow! 

Kama vipi badi (CHECK YOU LATER, MATE!)

-Katie Rhodes

Yo ADRIAN!

I'm not going to lie, it's a little daunting to try to follow the Katie Rhodes "swag", but my mom thinks I'm cool! (BTW, you should wish your mother a Happy Mother's Day, she might think your cool too...)

So adventures in Tarime continue; I accidentally created a game today with the kids today. I was super out of breath (I told you I don't run!) and couldn't think of the correct Swahili, so I told them 'lala salama!' and pretended to go to sleep. I guess this is super funny, so they all mimicked me; when I caught my breath, I ran and tickled them all (there is nothing ore precious than the sound of a child's laugh - maybe Beethovan's fifth symphony). They really liked it, so we kept doing it!

I love this team - they have not let a different culture or language step in their way from spreading God's love. We are prepping right now for our soccer (futball) match tomorrow. We're running drills at 5 a.m., we shall prevail! (actually, I will be fast asleep listening to the pitter patter of the rain hitting the window), but we look forward to some great fellowship with the street kids. 

Stay steadfast in pray, pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ - we will not be separated from God by race, culture, or opinions. We serve one God, and he is here!

Passion for Christ,

2017 Tanzania Team

 

Cold showers DO pay off! Look out world, I'm gaining high alertness, refined hair & skin, and working on weight loss.Boo-yah!!

Saturday, May 13

Shelby Cook

Oh Happy Day!

It's been another solid day in the books here in Tanzania.

We once again began our morning with a youth program at Tarime UMC, however today we had the challenge of fitting the first two days worth of program into one, this time for the church youth.  Our youth program coordinators did a great job of coming up with a new timeline for the program and it ran very smoothly.  We did our bread and butter Swahili songs and upped our English song game with Every Move I Make.  We did the classic skit and faith share portions of the program, and when discussion groups came around some of the youth opened up about personal experiences for the first time which was cool to see.  The craft once again went off without mass chaos and confusion and was honestly easier than I expected to pull off (whales and coloring pages, yeah!).  After we wrapped up the program, we headed back to the compound to eat lunch and rest for a while before heading out again for the afternoon.

Today's stove making session went really well.  We got it started quickly on the first try today which marked an improvement over the last new days, and we reviewed the construction of the stove before the women we were teaching arrived.  Before we started teaching, one of the women suggested putting a pot of water on the already burning stove to make tea, so we did.  We were able to get the tea boiling fairly quickly after feeding the stove more fuel than we had previously tried so it was cool to see the capabilities of the stove in action.  We first demonstrated and explained the placement of the bricks to construct the stove, and then the women we were teaching tried building it.  After a couple practice runs they had it down.  

To further test the cooking abilities of the stove, one woman suggested making some rice on it so they started on that.  When they put the water for the rice on the stove, it went from room temperature to boiling in three and a half minutes, which is very fast especially for a wood fueled stove and I was very impressed with the speed.  While we waited on the rice they sang for us and we danced with them so that was a great time.  The rice turned out great and it was super nice of them to have made us the afternoon meal.  

From what I heard, the English teaching went well again today, there were lots of games so it sounds like it was a fun time.

Also we got fabrics from the market which will eventually turn into assorted clothes so stay tuned for that.

That's it for now, there's a busy day tomorrow with some of our team preaching in two different churches so come back tomorrow to read about all that good stuff.  

Eric Sommer

Habari!

Wake up, check. Stumble in for breakfast prayer, check. Eat chipati, check. Fall asleep on the bus, check (bonus points for drool). Tanzanian life is great, Madison is a wonderful team leader and she keeps us busy sun up sun down; I'm a wee tired, but it's a good kind of tired. Sometimes, I think I get a little more pumped about the lessons and songs than the kids do, but hey, energy and enthusiasm is contagious, it would be a shame if they caught it. Don't let me fool you, they have a lot of energy and could outrun me any day of the week, year, month, whatever (I say this because I do not run, ever), but I am super passionate about the youth/street kids ministry we are taking part in.

We have been beyond blessed to be able to partake in such a wonderful mission. Mwita, the director of Our Father's House keeps asking for advice for this ministry, but it's hard to give advice to something that is already incredibly successful!

We feel your prayers, we feel your love, and we thank you! America, Africa, Asia, Europe... Wherever you are, there is an opportunity for such a great mission, all you have to do is seek, save, and serve.

Growing up, there was a sign in the church parking lot that said "You are now entering the mission field". Missions don't have to be in a far-off country, missions is going out and making disciples; how are you doing on that? Seek it out, make sure they are saved, and serve them.

YOU ARE NOW ENTERING THE MISSION FIELD.

With a servant's heart, 

2017 Tanzania Team

 

Okay. So.

For the longest time I was struggling with my Spanish vocabulary, but now that I am learning Swahili, I am suddenly fluent in Spanish. Help? 

Oh, and Mom, can you send me some your famous chocolate chip cookies? I need some sugar.

Friday, May 12

Shelby Cook

Shikamoo! (Shee-kah-moe-oe)

Today was such a great day! We started the morning with our first children's program at the United Methodist Church in Tarime. There were probably about 40 kids there, some from Our Father's House (the program we visited yesterday) and some who just wandered in from the town. We did a few Swahili songs and also taught the song Jesus Loves Me in English with hand motions. Then we acted out two Bible stories: Doubting Thomas and Jonah and the Whale. Katie did a lovely faith share about doubt and then we broke into several smaller groups to go over a few discussion questions. We also did a craft that involved paper plates shaped like whales and little paper Jonahs that the kids got to color. Overall the program went really smoothly and the kids all really seemed to enjoy it! 

After the children's program was finished we all went to lunch at our new friend Mwita's house. Mwita and his whole family were incredibly kind and welcoming to us, and they cooked us an amazing meal! It was such an honor to be welcomed into Mwita's home and to be able to share a meal with him and his family.

For the afternoon we split into two groups: one group went back to the church to teach English to the kids from Our Father's House, and the other group (the one I was in) went to the community development center for our first official day of stove teaching.

For the stove teaching we had about eight women from the community come to learn and we talked with them all about the brick stove that we built yesterday. We started by explaining why we think that this particular stove design could be useful to them, especially the fact that it produces very little smoke. We demonstrated how the stove works, and while it took us a little while to get the fire started once we got it going we were able to bring a pot of water to a boil with very little fuel and almost no smoke. We really wanted input from the ladies who came to learn since they would be the ones using the stove, and they asked us a lot of really insightful questions. They all seemed to be open to the concept of the stove and I think that the next few days will be really important for continuing to demonstrate how well it works. We are planning to teach them how to build the stove tomorrow and then hopefully the next day we will be able to let them cook on it themselves, which is super exciting! 

It is really interesting to try to teach a concept like these stoves with a language barrier, but our translators have been so amazing! But one funny miscommunication happened today that we didn't realize until we got back to our compound tonight. We kept trying to explain that the brick stove keeps the heat in better than the one of the alternatives, three stones placed on the ground with a wood fire underneath. As we tried to explain this one of our translators was very insistent that no heat could escape with the three stone method, which we didn't think was right but we decided not to argue. When we got back tonight we were talking about it and Davis pointed out that in Swahili there is one word for both fire and heat, so our translator probably though that we were saying that with the three stone stove fire would be shooting out of the sides, which definitely doesn't happen! So tomorrow we are planning to try to figure out a way to communicate the difference between fire and heat, so hopefully we will be able to explain everything better.

I wasn't with the English teaching group, but they said that everything went really well! Apparently some of the kids already know a little bit of English and the rest are eager to learn. It sounds like everyone had  a lot of fun playing games and learning.

Well, that's about it! We're having an amazing time and we can't wait to keep doing this work tomorrow!

La la salama! (sleep well in Swahili)

Megan

Mambo!

I have heard this word (mambo) at least a thousand times today, but it's my favorite! (it's an informal Swahili greeting, and I actually know this one).  When we drive through town, I love opening up my window and waving at the children, maybe throw a little mambo in there; they don't always respond, some of the children are super shy, but others will flash a brilliant smile your way and return the mambo. BEST FEELING EVER. They say the smile is a universal hello, and I love how true it rings here in Tanzania, Africa.

Our team is growing in so many ways, namely through our late night devotions, intense uno games, and bonding through chaotic transitions in a new country. I love and appreciate each and every one of them; what a team! Keep praying, thinking about, and supporting us. God has some wild plans for us and we need to strength to carry out His Will. 

Much love and desire for Christ

(My desire is to know my Lord!)

2017 Tanzania Team

 

Okay. I have been thinking about this joke all day after our lovely evening rain:

Why does Snoop Dogg always use an umbrella?

FOR DRIZZLE.

 

Thursday, May 11

Shelby Cook

Hey everybody! We had a good day in Tanzania today.

On the bright side, I only woke up 45 minutes before alarm this morning. (This is better than the 2 hours yesterday). Needless to say we are beginning to conquer jet lag. After a delicious breakfast of Mandazi (sweet rolls) and assorted fruit we headed to the church in Tarime where they described to us a ministry that the church does called Our Fathers House.

Our Fathers House is a ministry that works with street kids. One of the things we will be doing in Tarime is a youth program for these kids. The ministry started almost immediately after the church was built in 2012 when the church leaders noticed that street kids would sleep in front of the church. These street kids have usually left their home because there home life wasn't very good. The main goal of Our Fathers House is to council the kids and the families that they came from to try to get the kids back into their homes and off the street. In this year alone Our Father's house has successfully gotten 9 children back into their homes. We got to meet some of the children and talk with them through a translator (we mostly talked about their favorite futball players). I was really inspired by how much these church leaders care about these kids. After all of this we headed back to our house for delicious PB&J sandwiches.

After lunch we split into two teams: 5 people worked on a program to teach some English to the street kids. The other five worked to practice building stoves and figure out which ones work the best. I was part of the stove team.

The main goal with the stoves today was to build a fully working brick stove and get some feedback from the women. We used mud to seal the bricks and we made a really good stove! The women seamed to like the design but we are going to keep trying to improve it to their needs.

Today we really started getting moving, which is really exciting! Tomorrow we officially start the children's program, stove teaching, and English skills, so we will be even more busy. Looking forward to the rest of the trip! 

John Ragland

Hello! 

Our team has been fast at work, and we are ready to get this show on the road! No, I really mean it; we were so excited for our skits tomorrow we acted out the three little pigs to the street kids when they asked for a story! As John said, we have so much to do tomorrow. We have an incredibly talented team, and I can't wait to see them grow.

With much love and prayers for our family back home,

2017 Tanzania Team

 

Did you know I've been pronouncing Tanzania wrong this whole time? You might be too!

Incorrect: Tan-zan-nee-uh

Correct: Tan-zahn-niuh

Who knew?!

Goooood Morning, Tanzania!

Shelby Cook

Habari za asubuhi (good morning) from Tanzania!

Hi, hello, mambo! We have made it into the country of Tanzania, and we are as busy as ever. We arrived around 8:00 p.m. in Tanzanian time, checking in with immigration prior. The minute we stepped into the compound (our new home), the rains came down in Tarime and they washed away the stress of our travels, we were home! 

We started Wednesday morning with breakfast and orientation; we learned a lot of Swahili, became acquainted with the culture, and laughed a lot. Sara Sabai, our local coordinator and translator has been so kind to us, pushing us to grow in our experiences here in Africa.

Man, am I tired though....

After some hardcore travels (48 hours total), we all have been exhausted and are trying to adjust to a new culture, new climate, and a new time zone. We've been preparing for our busy week ahead, making costumes, prepping crafts, and learning so much about the stove technology we plan to help implement here. 

When's dinner???

I'm not going to lie - I'm a little distracted. As I write in the kitchen, we have beautiful ladies preparing dinner for us, chipsi mayai! This is a meal that we attempted to make prior to our trip, but this will be the real thing! (pictures will follow!)

 

Keep us in your prayers, the real work starts soon! Friday, we start teaching stove innovation, English skills, and the children's/youth program. We have been beyond blessed and will try to pass on the blessing to others (Genesis 12:2, I will bless you so you will be a blessing.)

Stay tuned for our travels in Tanzania!

 

In prayerful service,

2017 Tanzania Team

 

So mom, I don't know how you read a bad book and move on with your life - I finished this book that was terrible, and I am distraught!

We're on a bus, We're on a plane, We're on a bus!

Shelby Cook

Today is the day! The sun is shining, our bags are packed, and we're finally on our way! We have been counting down the days from spring break to finals, to the exact minute of our departure. (By the way, mom, I'm going to Africa... won't be home for dinner.)

We left the Auburn Wesley Foundation at 1:45, a full 15 minutes ahead of schedule. Through great leadership and hard work, we are finally on our way to serve across the globe in Tanzania, Africa.  

received_10207029225848202.jpeg

Atlanta to Amsterdam:

Our flight from Atlanta to Amsterdam seemed to be going well, key word, seemed. The water filtration system was malfunctioning, delaying our 7:56 flight by 5 hours. #newplane,whodis

Amsterdam to Nairobi

Amsterdam is 7 hours earlier than central time, so we arrived in Amsterdam at 3:50 local time. We will board at 7:15 in route to Nairobi. We are currently waiting till then, stretching our legs, checking out final grades, and preparing our hearts and mind for another culture.

Nairobi to Tanzania (COMING)

I'll keep you updated on our travels, keep us in your prayers as we continue our travels! We are all safe, nothing has been lost, and we are growing together - God has been with us.

In Christs Name,

The 2017 Tanzania Team

 

Mom, I'm not overly concerned, but don't forget to feed the cats! 

Ready....Set...GO! (But in, like, a month)

Shelby Cook

Checklist? Check!

We are a little over a month away from our departure date! We appreciate all the love and support that has been pouring through for this ministry.

As our mission approaches, we have grown together as a team. Last week, we held a more intimate meeting at a our mission chair's home and experienced Tanzanian cuisine together. We drank (scalding) hot chai tea with chipsi mayai. We are super pumped to travel together and grow in Christ's name.

Fundraiser Updates:

Our teams have been hard at work with fundraisers, but we're not there yet! There's so many ways to continue your support!

Our current active fundraisers include: re-purposed wooden benches, work week projects, benefit nights, and stress kits. If you are interested in purchasing a bench, please contact the AWF office. Our next Benefit Night will be at Piology this Friday (04/07/17) from 6-9; we earn 25% of each customer's order, so please bring your friends and family to support us! Our last fundraiser before the school year runs out is Stress Kits - these are the final's survival kit that helps any student through with delicious (and nutritious) snacks to help students study. Support a student of your choice and send them a care package during the wars of finals!

Lastly,

Work Weeks are so crucial to the Auburn Wesley Foundation Missions- locals sign up for students to carry out work within their homes and donate to our foundation for missions. This year, we decided to double the amount of projects we accept; we set the goal high and we are already more than halfway there! We have loved meeting new people within the Auburn/Opelika community and serving them with all of their needs. The AWF extends a huge thank you to everyone who has worked a work week project, supported a project, or referred our foundation to someone looking for help. Wesley Missions are great thanks to you!

Again, again, and again...

Keep praying, keep reaching out, and keep supporting us! 

Colossians 3:17 “ And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

In all that you do, do it in the name of the Lord. Stay tuned for our next update!

In Christ's Love and Spirit,

2017 Tanzania Team

One Team, One Dream

Megan Swanson

Together, We Can!

You've heard about us, but now you get to meet each and every one of us! Please flip through and pray over each member of our team as we prepare for a great adventure together.

Price Foshee: Junior; Business Management

Sydney Nicholas: Junior; Global Studies

Eric Somner: Sophomore; Mechanical Engineering

Katie Rhodes: Junior; Global Studies

John Ragland: Sophomore; Electrical Engineering

Madison Church: Sophomore; Global Studies

David Lischer: Sophomore; International Business  

Shelby Cook: Sophomore; Political Science

Megan Swanson: Junior; Natural Resource Management

Featured member: Megan Swanson
Fun Facts: "I once went scuba diving with sharks in Fiji. My middle name is both a French word and an airplane maneuver. Yellow M&Ms are my favorite."
Looking Forward to Most: "I can’t wait to meet and work with the incredible people in Tanzania!"


Fundraisers

After much thought a deliberation, our team constructed one million different ways to raise the needed funds for our missions in Africa, and these are the keepers. We are excited to announce our fundraisers, feel free to contact to get involved, to donate, or support us!

  • [RE] Purpose for a Purpose: Every year, so many natural resources are wasted. We decided to re-purpose pallets into benches. These benches may be purchased as unfinished ($50) or stained ($65).
  • Benefit Nights: Local restaurants have generously agreed to host benefit nights at their establishments for the 2017 Tanzania Missions Team. A member just takes a flyer stating that they are a part of our group, and a percentage of their order goes towards our mission. We had so much success at our last benefit night (Feb. 17) at Piology and look forward to many more in the near future (dates to come).
  • Head to Head: Two local Wesley 'celebrities' battle head to head in a coin drive, the loser has to perform an embarrassing act in front of everyone. Sammye reigned over Shelby Collins, forcing him to record a lip sync video to Hips Don't Lie! Stay tuned for our next celebrity battle of Head to Head at AWF.
  • Downtown Doughnuts: Who doesn't like doughnuts???
  • Work Week (MONTH): This semester, we have decided to extend our work week and take on more projects. Locals may hire Wesley students during work week to perform those dreaded tasks such as annual yard work, spring cleaning, or even just sweeping the patio clean (the patio where you could have your very own hand-crafted, re-purposed bench!).
  • Stress Kits: We are also actively expanding our stress kits this semester. Finals are a stressful time for everyone, but never to fear, our stress kits relieve a lot of pain! These cram bags include healthy snacks (and a few not so healthy for the really tough studying...) and may be paired with a whole cookie cake. Don't stress, impress!

It's One Team, One Dream

Take off is in 57 days (03/09/17). It hasn't hit me that I will be traveling to Africa yet. We are growing as a team, growing in Christ, and I can't wait to serve side-by-side these wonderful people! As our departure date creeps closer, you'll hear more from me, as for right now, keep loving us, keep supporting us, and keep praying over our preparations.

Until Next Time, 

The 2017 Tanzania Team

 

Oh. and WAR EAGLE!

Tanzania: the Final Frontier

Megan Swanson

Hello friends, family, and all other mission enthusiasts!

Welcome to the Tanzania 2017 Missions' Team Blog! We are so excited that you have chosen to subscribe to our wildest adventures. Please be on the lookout for new posts throughout this journey to keep up with the movement of God, He's going to be performing some pretty amazing works within the community, our team, and each individual heart. 

So WHO, WHAT, WHEN, and WHERE???

I hear you, my mom asked me the same questions! I shall be your guide through the shaky terrains of our missions! 

WHO: After much prayer, discernment, and interviews, we have compiled a team of 9 Wesley students who displayed a passion for international missions.

WHAT: What are we even doing? I can tell you with 100% confidence that I honestly don't know. Yes, I can share with you that we will be working side-by-side the community in Tanzania through developmental work, and paying special attention to the children, but the details are up in the air. You are probably thinking "Shelby, why would you tell me this? Why are you traveling half-way across the world and you really don't know what you're doing yet?" Well, have I got an answer for you: part of being missional is practicing a posture of listening. This means that we listen to the needs of the people opposed to telling them what we think they need. We have placed our faith in God to equip us to walk along side this community, and he certainly will prevail.

WHEN: May 7, 2017, we head towards the airport. We will travel 25+ hours towards Tanzania and spend 3 weeks serving with God's children. 

WHERE: You've heard of it before; you can probably spell it; but do you even know where Tanzania is? Tanzania is on the South Eastern coast of Africa, just a hop and a skip from Auburn, Alabama.

What can YOU do?

As our team prepares our hearts and bags for Africa, we ask for your love, prayers, and support. We are hard at work with bonding as a team, planning/preparing materials, and fundraising for our trip, 

Stay posted on our fundraisers and how you can get involved! We have so much left to prepare: passports, updating shot records, and many more meetings. We're so excited to carry out the Lord's work in Tanzania!

War Eagle and Till Next Time,

The 2017 Tanzania Team