Friday, November 28, 2008

Africa #9

Pictures from Nyaragusu Camp. Sunday, October 26

They surrounded our car and welcomed us with singing and clapping

I was so overwhelmed I had to stay in the car for a while. I did not want to intrude on Msoshi and Rebeka's time. Msoshi came and got me from the car.

Look at this sea of people. There were 2700 at this church service. They held it outside because their church was not large enough to hold everyone.

Song leader.

Msoshi and Rebeka addressing the congregation.


and offerings.
This is a bowl of flour. Some have nothing else to give.

Msoshi holding a grandson during the church service.

This gentleman was in a group they call the Infirm.



This lady wanted to be sure I got a picture of this little orphan girl. After several tries, this was the best I got. She kept putting her hand up in front of her face.

Just me and a few new friends.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Another Birthday!!!

Andrew Kelton is 12 today. I cannot believe this boy has grown so quickly.

How does a gramma tell all that is so great about him? My blog is not long enough. Andrew has the very best sense of humor. A bit dry, but gramma likes dry. He is SMART SMART SMART. He is kind, thoughtful and gentle. Whenever I see him, (which is not enough) he has something creative or crafty to show me or something very interesting to tell me.

He also knows that gramma LOVES HIM THE MOST.

So Andrew, #4212 Happy Birthday.

What am I most

Thankful for:

My God and my Savior

The country I live in.

My freedoms, never to be taken for granted.

My husband (he rocks)

My family, all 32 members.

My health.

My home.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


COOPER DANIEL (5216). Today this amazing boy turns 5 years old!!! Yes he is amazing and if you do not believe me, just go see what his mommy has to say about him.
Cooper, Gramma loves you the most!! Happy Birthday to you. We will have a date in Disneyland in just a couple of years. Whoo hoo!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Africa #8

October 25, 2008

This morning Barb and I met the rest of the team at the Guest house they stayed at. We arrived at Mtabila at about 9:00 a.m. These refugees are from Burundi, which is a small country just north of Tanzania and along the north east border of Congo.

After they served us breakfast, we have been in church all morning. I just have to say, Africans could teach Americans much about worship.
I preached today. The same sermon I used in Dar es Salaam. I do enjoy public speaking, but I am not a preacher.

After church they served us lunch. Potatoes with tomatoe, chicken, mhogo and coke.

We gave them a small monetary gift. Certainly not enough, but I do not know what would be enough under these conditions. Pastor showed us their books, we have been sending money to the camps whenever we have a speaking engagement and people give to us. They were accountable to us for every shilling they have ever received from us.

I met a young man, (I wish I would have taken his picture) here. Both of his parents are dead. When he was five years old his parents fled Burundi to Congo and then Congo to Tanzania. Because he is Burundian, he was placed in the Burundi camp. They are now being "volentarily repatriated." He has no one in Burundi and knows nothing of the country. He isn't even real sure what part of Burundi he is from. Yet he must go back.
I also met a widow whose husband and two of her children were killed. I do not know how many of her children survived, but we saw 2 grandchildren and one great grandchild. Making two generations born in the camp.

I met an orphan. Both of her parents were killed. She arrived at Mtabila with her brother as samll children. They are young adults now and share a hut.
Faces of Mtabila:

I do not know why I did not take pictures of Adults at this camp. Maybe because I was still reeling from my day at Nyaragusu. Maybe because I can still see hope and light in the Childrens eyes.

We drove about 1 1/2 hours down the road to Kasulu to stay at a Catholic guest house. We will return to Nyaragusu on Sunday.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Africa #7

Friday, October 24th.
I had a mini meltdown tonight. I was completely overwhelmed by everything. We arrive at the camp at about 1 pm. As the family and people began to arrive, it was so emotional for everyone.

Msoshi's daughter A Nephew
A son

All of the people in the background of these pictures are relatives.

Two of their younger grandchildren. Stan and I were asked to adopt the little boy, but the Congolese government would not release him to us. Reason? We may not treat him well and they had no assurance we would not treat him as a slave. Pretty lame, huh? We were attempting the adoption when he was a year old.
To watch my dear friends cling to family they have not seen for ten years, meet grandchildren they have never met and grieve family who did not survive, was so hard. After about one hour with the family, we were once again fed.

Msoshi sharing his lunch with a grandson.

This custom of feeding guests while the children stand hungry is too much. Aside from the fact that they have no money to buy anything and what they do have, they spend to feed us. After we ate, we had a beautiful church service. The church was about 3/4 full. There were at least 5 different choirs who performed, congregation singing, and then Msoshi gave a beautiful message about Moses ant the time spent in the desert. After the service we spent some time in the courtyard visiting. As we got into the car to leave, everyone encircled us and began singing.

Mini melt down mentioned above, was because I was suddenly frightened to stay at the Guest house. I mean scared!!! Barb took me down the road to the Catholic Mission to stay. In retrospect, it was no better than the original guest house. Neither were Holiday Inn Express.

I was a little worried about lying on the bed, but Barb brought some clean sheets with her. She has made this trip before. I wrapped up in one so I could sleep.

The smells, oh the smells, Unwashed bodies everywhere. Barb says the Congolese have a distinctive smell because of their diet. They grind up a Casaba into a paste that they call Mhogo. I would probably compare it to Poi and I did not like Poi either. It si a good thing I like rice as that is generally served and I recognize it to eat. Coca Cola is served at every meal. I think they know we Americans like our pop.

I had my first experience with a squat toilet. Do not know if I hit the hole or not. Was to busy trying to miss my panties, skirt and foot!!! Whew, the smell. GAG GAG GAG.

We were able to take pictures today as long as we only photoed within the church compound. Mostly, I have pictures of children and the family reunion.

Peter Pan

My grandson Darian was in the High School production of Peter Pan these last two weeks. Think he may have had fun? Look at that smile and then go look at the one of Jonah yesterday. I think the mouth may be one of our trademarks!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Africa #6

Monday, October 20, 2008
This is the day we traveled to Kigoma. It was a very uneventful trip. Took about four hours to fly across Tanzania. We were on a smaller prop type jet. Probably held about 100 people.
Jim Stillman met us at the airport as well as Msoshi's brother and some other relatives. On our way to the Stillman home, Jim decided to take the "scenic" route which resulted in a punctured tire for us. While they were changing the tire, I took advantage of the time and snapped some pictures. They are some of the very few I got outside of the camps. Jim told me later I was lucky someone did not stop me as they hate to have their pictures taken without permission.
In this picture, these people seemed to be repairing bikes. I think it was a business.
This is a Hardware StoreIt was not uncommon to see bikes loaded this way. There seem to be more bikes than cars. If you look closely, you will see that these women are sitting at a sewing machine. This is a dressmakers shop.This little girl could not have been more than 12 or 13 years old. I hope it was a sibling she was carrying on her back.This little girl allowed me to take her picture. She stopped to watch the tire changing. She looks like she was on her way home from school. We will be Kigoma until Friday Morning. We are allowed three days in Naryagusu camp and one day in Mtbila camp. Will be in Naryagusu on Friday, Sunday and Monday. Mtbila on Saturday.

While we are waiting for the weekend, we will visit Kibirizi. I posted pictures of that church in post #3. As usual we met with utter poverty. There truly is so much need I do not know what can be done to make anything better.


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