Day 13 - A taste of Africa.
Saturday Oct 9 2010
Ah the sight of a bunch of western girls trying to cook over a fire for 30+ people. It all started with a simple idea of thanks.
The base we live on here is run by a handful of hard working Tanzanian men and mamas. We all help them with daily work duties to help lighten the load but as a team we just wanted to do a little something extra. So we had the idea of setting up a nice breakfast for all the women. We started preparing a few days ahead by making them each a card full of words and scriptures we had received for them and we even has them translated into Swahili. We used kongas and picked flowers to dress up the classroom and some even volunteered to take care of the children. We got up early Saturday morning and started right away with the jobs we had volunteered to do. I was put in charge of making homemade chi! My favorite! Its homemade everyday here, but I had never made it. It took a lot of taste testing, but God must have heard my prayers because it turned out to taste pretty good!
Once the room was set up, the food was all made and all the women arrived we got to serve them a nice breakfast of eggs, chapatis, fruit and chi! After a bit of fellowship (although we do not all speak the same language) we called out their names one by one and washed their feet, gave them a little massage and painted their toenails as others prayed over them. At first most of them were very shy and covered their faces in a bit of embarrassment as there where laughing. The morning went very well and they all walked out of there with clean feet and big smiles.
We found out later that it was really a bigger blessing then we thought it had been. In this culture the women know from birth till death it is their job to cook, clean and bear children and that's just the way it is. So simply saying thank you by taking on their job for a morning was already a big deal. When it came to washing their feet, that was an even bigger surprise because they have very dirty rough feet and even another African would not have wanted to wash them. So for us to not only be white, but we are also considered their guest, to clean, cook, rub their feet, and paint their toenails was a huge blessing. We found out that it was the first time they had had anyone do that for them.
Here they call us munzugos. Everywhere we go we hear them calling us. We know we are no better than any of them, as a matter of fact we are here to serve them, but it's hard for them to see us that way. So we are starting to change that.
Day 14 --- Drama, Drama, Drama
Sunday Oct 10
Time for Church again! We visit a lot of different churches here so this week I was at a different one. Again, being a guest we are expected to bring something to share. So we sang some songs, shared some testimonies, preached the whole sermon and we even did a drama! This church was much bigger from the last one I attended, and upon leaving EVERYONE shook EVERYONE'S hands while singing and clapping. It was such a joy!
Later in the evening while I was writing in my journal I happen to look off to the side and noticed something that in the case of me being me, it brought a huge smile to me face! Not so much to the girl to who came to see what I was taking a picture of... but I liked it. His name is fuzzy. He is a tarantula! For someone who always loved bugs growing up I can't think of a better place to be. I have seen the most amazing colors and sizes of all kinds of bugs since being here!
Day 17 --- Being there
Wednesday Oct 13
YAY another day at the clinic! It was day of weighing babies, giving shots, doing teachings and talking with the people to learn more about the community. In the midst of the hassle and tussle there was a woman laying alone in the labor room waiting to deliver her baby, but this was not a time of excitement and rejoicing. We found out that she was only 7-8 months along, but her baby had passed away in her womb five days before. She was in induced labor. She was not allowed to get up because of the treatment she was given and things were moving very slow. I asked my leader for permission and left the area I had been working in. I made a little stop at the shop outside and picked up a couple of bananas on my way to the labor room where I found the mom, still laying down and facing the wall with her back towards me. I wasn't sure how she would react but I wanted to be there for her, so I went and placed my hand on her and said "Habari mama?'" (how are you) She turned towards me and I could see her eyes filled with tears. I showed her the bananas and she was very thankful for them. I was very thankful that she took them as well. I folded my hands and asked her if I could pray for her as well, she also was grateful that I asked. I placed my hands on her belly and prayed for her. I was able to sit with her for a bit longer and show her how sorry I was. Although we didn't speak the same language I could tell you was at peace and was glad someone was with her. I soon had to go back to my other jobs but I kept checking on her throughout the morning and soon it was time to go home. I don't know why the baby didn't make it, I don't even know the mothers name, but I do know I was placed there to care, comfort and pray with her even if it was just for a bit.
I initially started this blog while working overseas to keep my supporters updated, then I did it a time as a required assignment during my midwifery school, but now I write but because I want to. So now I share my current journeys, in hopes that others can learn from them, or at the least have a good laugh.