I’m writing you all today from the port city of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. In Swahili the words “Dar Es Salaam” mean* “hotter than any place you can imagine north of the fires of Tartarus.” It is really hot here. All the same, I’m excited to be here… because we’re going to have a baby soon! Christie and I went to her doctor in Mwanza last Friday, and both of my girls are healthy. Dr. Beatrice put her money** on Baylor Adelaide’s early arrival two weeks from that date. Anyway, as much as Christie would love to jifungua*** sooner than later, we’ll be happy whenever Baylor decides to grace our presence. And I’ll be happy when I can cut the hair and shave this beard****; Dar is not the place to wear a sweater on your face (just in case you’re looking for places to do that)…
So… we arrived in Dar on Tuesday to await the stork. We are blessed to have friends here who offered us a room in their house for free while we wait — which is nice, because it cost us over $350 in diesel***** just to get here. We spent part of yesterday at Aga Khan Hospital, getting a tour and attempting to pre-register Christie. The tour was fine, but they only pre-register pregnancies on Mondays and Fridays. So we have to go back tomorrow to register. The only drawback to the hospital is that there exist only two private rooms in the maternity ward, and they are given on a first-come, first-serve basis. So unless Christie gets one of those two rooms, I will be limited to 6-7 am, 11-12 am, and 4-6 pm visiting hours. I don’t like to pray selfish prayers, but in this case I have already begun, and am asking you guys to do the same.
We want to use our time of waiting in Dar wisely, since we are currently unable to continue building relationships and a house in Geita. So I’m spending a lot of time reading and studying. I’m currently reading:
- The Bible, God (in English AND Swahili)
- A Biography of the Continent Africa, John Reader
- The Fullness of Christ, John Howard Yoder
- East African Agriculture, Ngugi, Karau, and Nguyo
- Beyond Gold – a History of Geita, Ahmed Merere
- and a couple of Swahili-English (and vice versa) dictionaries
I’m also waiting on the arrival of two more agriculture development books I’m really excited about (shout out to Casey and Susie Lowrance who picked them up and put them in the mail — no doubt they’ll have UGA football pictures scribbled throughout). It’s been really nice having a lot of time to study. And my Swahili is now getting to progress outside the realms of construction language, which is both great and necessary.
We also thought it would be nice for us to have some “vacation” time while here. We’ve already been to eat one meal out — pizza. And I can’t imagine that we’ll wait too long before finding our way to a movie in a real theater. Then of course there’s swimming in the Indian Ocean. And we haven’t even mentioned the foods we can find in the supermarkets here — I had Honey Smacks cereal for breakfast today!
*this is not true
** this is only meant as a metaphor. there is no gambling of any sort related to the birth of our baby — except those of you who are making wagers on whether her first word is mama or soccer or diet dr. pepper
*** Swahili word literally meaning “to open oneself,” which is (get this) the POLITE way to say giving birth
**** 37 1/2 weeks of beard growth, to match the belly growth of the wife
***** at an average price of $4.50 / gallon
Other News in Short
- We have a puppy named Gus. Right now he’s staying with the Groens and Mcneals. Christie likes what she calls “old man names” for pets, and Katelyn Groen suggested Gus. I was really enamored at the time****** with Gus Malzahn, so I lent my support to the name, and it was done.
- There are two family (and neighbors) Bible studies that we will be starting in December, when we get back to Geita.
- I ran the cheapest half-marathon ever about a month ago — $2.25. But there was no t-shirt — oh, and the course was about 2 kilometers short. I did, however, finish third in the “white people” category.*******
- Our house is getting pretty close to finished. I think they are probably done with the paint inside the house by now — or at least close. Next is light fixtures, switches, and outlets. Then windows. It should be done by the time we get back…
****** not that I dislike the guy now. It’s just that Clark Kent is my hero these days — or Oliver Queen, not sure which.
******* this wasn’t really a category. I made it up. Though my finishing place is real. I couldn’t decide whether to call it the “white people” category or the “I apparently wasn’t genetically built to run these long distances in short times” category. I simply opted for the shorter — just like the race officials did when setting the course.
Our friends in Dar have to teach on Thanksgiving Day (it’s a British school — who knew the Brits weren’t thankful for anything?!), so it looks like we might be celebrating Thanksgiving on the following Saturday. That will just be strange. But Christie and I have so much to be thankful for these days! God is really blessing us! And because we’re likely to be really busy around the actual day of Thanksgiving (Baylor’s due on the 22nd), here are just a few of the things we are thankful for:
- Baby Baylor’s soon coming
- Free place to stay in Dar while waiting for Baylor
- Making new friends here in Dar
- Diet Dr. Pepper in Dar (Brett)
- An almost finished house in Geita
- Several recent sums of money donated to help with the cost of afore-mentioned house
- Thick Milkshakes and Slushies in Dar (Christie)
- A large group of people here with whom we can worship on Sundays IN ENGLISH
- God’s calling us to be in Tanzania, and his blessings on us to serve his purposes
- Cold showers in a hot city
- Trust in God (not ourselves) to empower us to raise a daughter we don’t want to rurn********
******** just a throwback word to my days in south Alabama where, by the way, I am currently missing the National Peanut Festival (even though a bunch of my friends are making the trip to be there with my family)
- Christie and Baylor’s health (and comfort)
- Safety and ease in delivery
- To have one of the private rooms in the maternity ward
- Wisdom in time usage while in Dar
- Swahili language acquisition
- Bible study
- History / culture of Africa and Geita
- Bible studies that will start in December
- Financial situation with delivery, hospital bills, and fuel costs
- Financial situation with a vehicle