Greetings and blessings to you from Irente Children’s Home. We are enjoying summer here, while the Philadelphia area has so far been spared too cold a winter. We heard that there was a bit of snow on Saturday. We had some amazing flurries here too, but they were butterflies, not snow. The air for the past few days has been filled with clouds of small white butterflies. They are all moving southwards, as if some big migration is going on. Close examination shows that they are white with pale tan lines on the top of their wings. Very beautiful!
These past two weeks have been a bit tough for us. Besides dealing with Tom’s knee problem, we have also suffered from a dead Airtel stick, the modem that connects us to the internet. Until we drove into Lushoto on Saturday, we did not know who had won the Super Bowl. We had not heard any news from any of our family or friends. We were stranded here on the mountain. It has been a big challenge to our spirits. Our daily life continued as before. We enjoyed playing with the children, English classes continued, our routine was the same. Without the connection to home, it was very difficult. We are so fortunate to have each other and our friends here, but we were lonely for our family and friends at home.
Since our last blog entry, two more boys have gone home. Ramadan “Rama” went home with his baba (father) and auntie. He had been here since he was a baby, but his family is now ready to care for him on their own. We had met his father before on one of his visits to see Rama. Rama is around 18 months old.
The other boy was Baraka, who left last Friday morning. He was adopted by a very nice couple from the area. Baraka is somewhere between two and three years old. He was an orphan and had been here his whole life. He is a very handsome and smart boy. He loves to sing “If you’re happy and you know it”. Last week when Tom was at home and Baraka saw me arrive without him, he said, “Babu analala?” Is Babu sleeping? We miss them both, but especially Baraka. Please keep these children and their families in your prayers.
We also received a new baby, a newborn girl named Rukia. Her mother died in childbirth. Please pray for her as well.
The big news of the week is that I drove down to town last Saturday! The big word in that sentence is “down”. We are talking 20 to 30 minutes of dirt road with 50 to 60% grade in some areas. I must say I did okay. So did Tom. He seemed pretty calm for the most part. Of course, there were a couple of times when he put his head out the passenger window to tell me how close I was to the edge. The funny thing was that when Tom drives, many people walking give him the signal for a lift. When they saw that I was driving...no one wanted a ride. We parked at Tumaini Hostel as usual and when it was time to go home, Tom got us out of the parking lot and through the crowd of the main street. At the Diocese office, we switched places. Again, no one wanted a ride, which was fine with me. The return trip means that the car is on the outside lane. There are no guard rails here and the drop in some places could be ten stories high. We arrived home safe, sound, and still married. By the way, I was the hero of the girls at the home. Not many women drive here.
We hope to have the internet problem resolved this week. If the stick cannot be fixed, we will need to drive to Tanga to buy a new one. We are posting this from SEKUCo University. Mama Munga has kindly allowed us to use their internet connection whenever we need it. This morning we met Frank Martin of SEKUCo in Lushoto. He rode here with us and got us set up. Then someone brought us tea, samosas (fried meat-filled pastries) and maandani (think Dunkin Donuts munchies) for a snack. What hospitality!
God bless. Please keep us in your prayers as you are in ours.
Tom and Susan