One Week in Tanzania


We arrived here in Arusha, Tanzania one week ago. Cant believe its been a week already, but also can’t believe how much has happened. I thought I would take a moment this early morning and share a tad with you, our friends following our journey. Here are a few soundbites, vignettes, highlights and lowlights…

The trip over was unbelievably smooth. Two flights, eight hours each, and all 21 bags made it. Thank you, KLM!

We stayed at the Kundayo Serviced Apartment Lodge in town and it worked perfectly for our family. We really liked the owner, Mazo when we met him last July and are so glad to have him as a friend.

The story of how we got our home is a neat one that I can’t tell in full here, but the bottom line is…God selected our home and handed it to us because of one email I sent last December. It is a brand new house no one has ever lived in and the owner is an elder, a man of honor, a wise business leader, and well respected in Tanzania. I am not sure who is happier with this fit…him or us! Tricia is complaining that it’s too large, but the kids are discovering that it makes for some mean hide and seek. It is situated about 10 minutes off the Tarmac road surrounded by corn fields, a local school, a small village, and an engineering company. I like the mix of residential, educational and commercial in our vicinity. We are in Njiro if you want to google it.

We began furnishing our home Saturday and haven’t stopped since. It is an adventure and challenge like few things I have ever done. I am well aware that I am running on adrenaline. My favorite part of the process has been the PEOPLE it has forced us to get to know. They say that you want to be sure to NEED locals and rely on them. Well, that has come naturally for us as we would have been absolutely dead in the water without them. The new local friends and neighbors we are meeting have had to show us how to get electricity, how to operate all these locks, where to find furniture, who to make a deal, which way to get out of our neighborhood when it rains (our roads are BAD)…and last night I even needed to go borrow a pot to cook in.

Just to brag on God’s goodness and show you how He has linked us with people, here is my handy running list of “Arusha Connections” with local friends we have made already:

  • Isaac & Laura who own our home
  • Protas, our go-to guy for all repairs and issues on our home and compound who lives 4 plots down and happens to have a 9 year old, 4 year old and 6 month old…sound familiar?
  • William, Our Maasai day guard
  • Paulo, Our Maasai night guard
  • Daniel Sr., a government official we met last July
  • Daniel Jr., Davis’s first friend
  • Sydney, Davis’s second friend
  • Mama Agnes who works in our home and with our kids (she is precious!)
  • Mazo (Owner and manager of Kundayo Lodge)
  • Steven, a man of great influence who ran for parliament last year (was a professor at Regent in VA Beach)
  • Agnes- Steven’s Wife who is in Virginia having a baby right now
  • Esupat who helped us find much of our furniture
  • Moses, the Pastor of Arusha Mennonite Church
  • Joseph, the Bishop of the Arusha region
  • Koka, the Fundi who will build us some beds today (happens to wear an Apple Watch so I really like him!)
  • Narry, the Brother of our shipping agent in Maryland who received our goods here in Arusha and refused to let us pay him. He and his wife own the well known Planet Lodge here in Arusha.

I could continue, but I will stop there. I think you get the point. Is this cool or what?

Our first objective is to settle in and make a home. As we do that we will make friends with local people, incidentally our second objective. Each day we work on our Swahili, and boy do we need it here! Speaking of Swahili, when we got home from some errands yesterday the kids greeted us with joy to show us that they had learned to count to 10 in Swahili (thanks to Mama Agnes). They are going to be fantastic language teachers.

Well, today we head back to town for a bunch of things— most importantly, mosquito nets. Our kids look like they have chicken pox. Thankful there isn’t Malaria here in this area.

Pray especially for Tricia and Davis. For Tricia, the adjustment will take time and she longs to have a home set up for us. For Davis, he is dealing with fear at night. We see God here. We feel Him near. And we hear him encouraging our hearts even in the hard moments.