Monday, September 29, 2008

Life is a balancing act

Visual Migraines

I get migraines, but not the painful kind. I get visual migraines.

That last time I had one was at the beginning of August when I was up at camp with the high school ministry.

I have always found it a bit difficult to describe to people. It's kind of like going to Vegas and seeing the lights as the buildings disappear.

I found this blogger who created a visual. It is exactly what happens. Check it out!

Visual Migraine video

Dinasaurs Dancefloor



In 1994, while walking around a cement factory in southern Bolivia, Klaus Schütt discovered a limestone wall with a shear size of 25'000 square meters literally covered by dinosaur tracks. A few years later, in 1998, a scientific team lead by Swiss paleontologist Christian Meyer investigated the wall, and proved it was "the largest site of dinosaur tracks found so far".

The immense Bolivian site is the rock face of an outcropping on a slant of 73 degrees, 80 meters high and 1.2 km long. There are more than 5,000 tracks of 294 different dinosaurs made during the second half of the Cretaceous period.

According to dinosaurus.org, the tracklevel dates from the Late Cretaceous and forms part of the El Molino Formation, the estimated age is about 68 million years. More than 250 trackways have been registered and six different types of dinosaurs have been present. The most spectacular trackways are those of quadrupedal titanosaurs, herbivore animals with a size between 15 and 25m.

Perhaps, the most special track is a 347 meters footpath, the longest dinosaur trackway ever known, made by a baby Tyrannosaurus rex nicknamed “Johnny Wallker” by researchers.

During the Cretaceous, Cal Orko was part of an immense shallow lake. In the Tertiary, when the Andes Mountains were formed, the movement of the tectonic plates pushed the former lake bed vertically. Not far from this site, eight others have been found in recent years and are currently being studied.

According to Christian Meyer, the discovery is an enormous contribution to humanity and to science, revealing data heretofore unknown and "documenting the high diversity of dinosaurs better than any other site in the world".

To contribute to preserving the site, a Cretaceious Park is open since March 2006. In this park, replicas of different dinosaur species welcome visitors to a museum with audiovisual exhibits, transporting their minds to prehistoric time.

For the original link that includes more photos, click HERE.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Is there a Doctor in the house?

Okay, I really need to get a life, but there is so much cool stuff out there on the internet.

The image I have posted here tells you how many DOCTORS there are per individual in that country. If you live in a first-world country, count your blessings.

Click on the image to see it larger.

Size is all relative

Nikon has this cool interactive site lists various items and how they relate to each other according to size.

http://www.nikon.com/about/feelnikon/universcale/index.htm

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Some helpful hits to everyday problems.

I found this site on the internet tonight and thought I would pass it along. Here are some samplings from it:

How to open clamshells:

Those oversized, rigid 'clamshell' packages may help to secure items for shipping and cut down on shoplifting, but they can be a nightmare for consumers. There's even a term for the frustration they inspire: wrap rage. In 2004, over 6,000 Americans went to the emergency room with injuries resulting from opening difficult packaging! Here's a rundown on how to preserve your hands and sanity when confronting a blister pack that has no apparent means of entry.

Can Opener Method

  1. Get a manual rotary can opener.
  2. Open the clamshell as if it were a can. The sharp wheels of the can opener will cut the plastic, without cutting your hands. It won't go around the corners, so cut open just one side. This will give you plenty of room to...
  3. Insert a knife between the two layers of plastic and cut all the way around. Since the blade is inside the package and pointing towards the center, it's much safer than trying to stab through the plastic and wedge the tip in between. With a decent knife, the remainder of the plastic should be easy to cut.


Or, how about:

How to open a wine bottle without a cork screw-

  1. Hit the bottom of the bottle firmly and evenly against a reasonably flat, vertical surface (such as the wall, or even a tree). To protect the surface, wrap the bottom of the bottle in a towel, or place a phone book on the surface in the spot where the bottle will be hitting it. You can lean the phone book on the floor, against the wall, so that no one has to hold it for you, but you'll need to be sitting down while you hit the bottle against the wall. The pressure of the wine against the cork will gradually nudge it out. Once it's sticking out partially, you can pull it out with your hands, or pliers, or continue hitting the bottle rhythmically until the entire cork comes out (but be careful about wine spilling out, since you're holding the bottle sideways).

    • See the video below for a demonstration of this method.
    • Alternatively, you can hold the bottle upside-down between your knees and strike the bottom of the bottle with your shoe. The cork should gradually come out. Once it is out far enough to grasp, remove as described above.


There are a lot more articles at the main site: http://www.wikihow.com

Have fun by clicking on the "Random Article". You'll see things like:

How to start liking dragons
.
How to own a pet rock
or
How to Make Fruity Cheese Whip

If you try the last one, let me know. Personally, it sounds disgusting to me, but hey, knock yourself out.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I'm a published photographer!!!!

Here is the link to my published photo. It was used to support the article.

http://ipsnews.net/africa/nota.asp?idnews=44030

Published?!

This morning I woke up at, almost, a normal hour; 5:45. I hopped on the computer and had two messages waiting for me on my flickr account. Both of them wanting to use my photos.

One is just a thumbnail image to be used on their website, but the other wants to use one of my images in a calendar.

The excitement quickly gave way to uncertainly. I have no idea how to proceed so I contacted a person who would know how to direct me.

Craig Foster is a friend of mine from South Africa. He and his brother, Damon Foster, are amazing filmmakers and I had the privilege to work with them doing research on the Discovery Channel project, "Sharkman".

Craig has been published as a photographer as well and I value his input.

So, I will keep you up-to-date on this new development.

Oh, speaking of Calendars, I am putting together one that might be sold at SBC later this year. I will keep you informed on what is going on with that project as well.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ligonier Ministries Conference Live Stream

I have known about a conference that is being held at church tomorrow and Saturday for several months. It never mattered to me what the conference was about because I knew I was going to be the main camera operator. It is not relevant to me what he/she is speaking about. What is relevant to me is keeping the speaker in frame.

Today was a flurry of activity around the campus. People everywhere. Bradley and I pretty much stayed back in our offices, but I did go out into the worship center and was there for a short meeting over the taping of the conference.

I have heard of two of the speakers John MacArthur and R.C. Sproul but I don't think I had ever listened to any of their teaching. That was until this evening.

I wanted to do some research to find out a little bit of what I would be filming tomorrow and let me tell you, I'm excited. I listened to some of the teaching from their website.

In our meeting today, I was told it should be a simple shoot and not too much movement. That is both good and bad. Bad because it can be a bit tedious if there is not much movement taking place, but good for the very same reason. If there is a lot of movement, then I can't focus on what is being said. I should be able to take in a lot of the teaching tomorrow and Saturday.

The conference is sold out. However, you can sign up and watch live on the internet for $5.00. Not a bad price. If you are interested, click HERE to be taken to the Ligonier Ministries website to sign up.

Not only will you get a great teaching, but the main camera will be operated by me!! :-)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's all a matter of...

...perspective!

As you all know, I'm still dealing with the joys of jet-lag. Traveling half way around the world has a tendancey to throw the human body a little bit out of whack. On my return from Tanzanai, I took three different flights. The first was about 9 hours, the second about 8 hours and the third about 4 hours. I covered a little over 9, 500 miles.

Seems like quite a distance, doesn't it? Our Earth is so big and yet God is Sovereign over it all. Let's not forget, He created everything in the heavens as well.

Psa 8:1 O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth, Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!
Psa 8:2 From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength Because of Your adversaries, To make the enemy and the revengeful cease.
Psa 8:3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
Psa 8:4 What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?
Psa 8:5 Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty!
Psa 8:6 You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet,
Psa 8:7 All sheep and oxen, And also the beasts of the field,
Psa 8:8 The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.
Psa 8:9 O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth!


Late Night with Laminin

So, I'm still dealing with jet-lag. Not as a bad as it was on Sunday, but I was wiped out today.

I got up at 12:30am and hopped on my computer. Earlier in the night I was missing my friends back in Tanzania. I had a craving for oranges and Bora Chai tea and the many laughs the four of us shared.















Laveena, Anna, Me and Elisha



One of the nights as Laveena and Anna were making dinner, Elisha pulled out his Swahili Bible and started to test my knowledge of Swahili. He would open the Bible and have me guess what book or letter it was. It was tough. The words had no similarities to the English words, but I did ok.

I told Elisha I would show him my favorite passage and proceeded to hunt for Colossians 1:15-24 -

Col 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
Col 1:16 For by Him all things were created, {both} in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him.
Col 1:17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
Col 1:18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.
Col 1:19 For it was the {Father's} good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him,
Col 1:20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, {I say,} whether things on earth or things in heaven.
Col 1:21 And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, {engaged} in evil deeds,
Col 1:22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach--
Col 1:23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.
Col 1:24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions.
Col 1:25 Of {this church} I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the {preaching of} the word of God,

Back to tonight.

I'm on scanning some videos and I find this one and it brought me to tears. Louis Giglio talks about Laminin and the passage I just quoted.

How can you say there is no God??
How can I doubt His love for me when things are tough??
How can I complain when things don't go the way I think they should have gone??

There is not one part of my being that God has not touched, does not know about and does not love entirely. With that knowledge, I'm going to go back to bed, knowing that I am wrapped up in the loving arms of Jesus. It is the very thing that holds me together.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ahhhhh Jet Lag

Last night I tried as hard as I could to stay awake for as long as I could. I think I made it till around 7pm. Well, that was when I got up from my chair and finally went to bed. I have no idea how long I was asleep in the chair for.

I set my alarm, just in case I do sleep through till morning and my head hits the pillow.

Midnight, I'm ready to go.

Before I went to bed last night I uploaded most of the photos of the children from the Kondoa Integrity School (KIS) to my Flickr account. I am not going to post all of them here. There are well over 100 kids.

If you want to see the kids at KIS, click HERE. If you sponsor a child from KIS, just do a search for their name. When I am finished with all the editing of both Kondoa and Mairowa, the sponsors will receive a copy of their child's photo.

Here's a sample photo:

Yusuph Abdala 068146

Saturday, September 20, 2008

More photos

Mairowa 8405RT
Jamie with no tree coming out of his head. :-)
Mairowa 8310
Pastor Jamie with the older students in Mairowa.

Mairowa 8338
Greeting the participants in the CHE program. CHE is the Community Health Evangelism teaching.

Mairowa 8352
Steve a a buddy.

Mairowa 8357
Godsave.

Mairowa 8363
Fred and Laveena.

Mairowa 8366
This little boy reminded me of my nephew in so many ways. The facial features, the way he carried himself and especially how inquisitive he was.

Mairowa 8288
Shepherd boys heading to the spring. This was taken when we were stuck. (See the previous post)

Mairowa 8465
Pastor Daniel and his family.

Mairowa 8367
Another gang of kids.

Mairowa 8403
Fred and one of the children he sponsors.




In Detroit... (LOTS of Photos)

and lovin' the fast internet!!!

I am sitting here waiting for my flight to Phoenix and jumped on the internet real quick. In about 15-minutes I have uploaded a lot of photos to my flickr account. Amazing!! It would have taken me several days to get all these photos uploaded if I were still in Tanzania.

Mairowa 8247
This is one of the water sources for Mairowa prior to the well being dug. This is a natural hot spring. The Masai still use this for their animals.

Mairowa 8281
Here is the man responsible for running the generator at this spring. It fills up two storage tanks and he is unplugging the pipe.

Mairowa 8282


Mairowa 8284
The road out to the spring reminded me a lot of my childhood. We got out there ok, but on the way back we got stuck. Luckily there was another road through this dry creek bed.

Mairowa 8362
Fred

Mairowa 8374
Mike, the CEO of IMARA Ministry.

Mairowa 8414
I wrote about this moment in an earlier post. This is Pastor Joseph break down in tears and Pastor Jamie prays for the men.

Mairowa 8419
Jamie talking to Pastor Joseph after the meeting.

Mairowa 8389
Jamie at the well. I like how the boy is mirroring him.

Mairowa 8387
A boy getting water at the well.

Mairowa 8395
The well.

Mairowa 8424
Kids in the village of Mairowa.

Gotta run for my flight.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Chicken run...

I'm sitting in the "snack bar" at the Ilburo Safari Lodge waiting for the ride to the airport with team. I'm working on the sponsored children's photos while two women sit and chat. One is from the UK and the other from Ireland.

They ordered their meal and sat down. The gal from Ireland kept coughing so I gave her a lemon drop to help her throat while they waited.

She thanked me and her companion asked me if this wait time was normal for the food to come.

I said yes and returned to my work.

Her question reminded me of something that happened on the drive back from Mairowa yesterday.

Elisha and I stopped in Longido for a lunch of rice and beans. When we pulled up to the little restaurant we have become frequent diners at, we saw Isack and Moses, two IMARA ministry people we work with were waiting outside for a delivery from Arusha, about an hour away.

Elisha and I joined the two of them at a table outside and we began to chat.

While we chatted we started to see two men start chasing a rooster. One of the men had a white apron on so I knew that he was the cook for a restaraunt next door.

It was the funniest site. The two of them chased that rooster around for about 40-minutes before the enlisted the help of a young boy. He continued the chase for about another 20-minutes.

I made a comment to the chef that perhaps he should not chase the food with the apron on. We all laughed.

The four of us became involved in the conversation when suddenly the two men and a women appear from a nearby shed. The chef held the limp body of the rooster was swinging by the neck. The rooster had lost the battle.

Another, much larger, rooster began to squawk quit loudly. Almost as if to scream in victory that he was not the one in the pot.

There were only two people in the restaraunt where the chef came from. I have no idea how much longer they had to wait for their meal but you can bet it was as fresh as fresh could be.

Now, next time you have to wait for a meal, just remember, people in other countries wait a lot longer!

Jamie in Africa #3
















Jamie and Fred talking with Godsave and Laveena in the garden.

Mairowa completed

Reflecting on Tuesday:

Morning started out with Laveena, Anna, Elisha and I having breakfast in the morning.

I have never found a tea that I like. No hot or cold tea was something I went out of my way to drink. No more!!!

At every meal Laveena and Anna make a wonderful black tea that is out of this world. I’m not sure why I like this so much, but I do. Perhaps it is because when they make the tea, they add a special spice to it. I’m not sure what it is, but boy, it add a special something.

Tea and left over pancakes from the previous evening’s meal and fresh fruit. It was a very simple meal, but enough. I think the friendship made up the majority of the meal.

Yesterday, Wednesday, was a time for more bonding between Laveena, Anna, Elisha and myself. The morning started out with Laveena, Anna, Elisha and I having breakfast.

I have never found a tea that I like. No hot or cold tea was something I went out of my way to drink. No more!!!

At every meal Laveena and Anna make a wonderful black tea that is out of this world. I’m not sure why I like this so much, but I do. Perhaps it is because when they make the tea, they add a special spice to it. I’m not sure what it is, but boy, it add a special something to it.

Tea and left over pancakes from the previous evening’s meal and fresh fruit. It was a very simple meal, but enough. I think the friendship made up the majority of the meal.

At the end of every day, Laveena and Anna water and tend to the projects garden. I joined them to grab some shots.

They are trying to water a one-acre plot of land from one facet and three hoses connected to household sprinklers. One of the sprinklers refused to move over the area it was supposed to. Something was already broken in it and it sprayed the water up in the air in on spot as it made a clicking noise.

I had grabbed all the shots I needed and went over and picked up the sprinkler and proceeded to water the rest of the cabbage.

By the time I was finished the entire front of my skirt was soaked, as were my shoes and socks. The latter was not only soaked, but also caked in mud.

When we made our way up to the vehicle to go back home, Laveena and Anne insisted that I remove my shoes and allow them to wash them for me.

They must have taken 1/2 hour to clean my shoes. They removed the laced, took a scrub brush and made them sparkle.

The next concern was the fact that those were the only pair of shoes I had with me. So, over the embers that remained from cooking the evening meal, Anna faithfully held my shoes up to dry.

This was yet another demonstration of a servant’s heart. And yes, my shoes were completely dry by morning.




It’s Thursday already and Jamie arrived this morning. I find it a bit odd that I was so excited to see him here in Africa. I was waiting for him to arrive with Mike, Godsave and Fred and when I saw their vehicle approach I was out there to capture his first reaction to Mairowa.

Perhaps I was so excited that he was here because Africa is so near and dear to my heart that I want him to have the same passion. Or perhaps it is just because I know the people here in Mairowa and Kondoa will learn just how special the pastor of SBC is.

Jamie’s visit was short. It seemed like the time passed too quickly. He was able to meet the two classes at the school, talk with Laveena as they walked through the garden she and Anna and grown, was sung to by the students in the CHE (Community Health Evangelism) class, walked up to the holding tank for the well water and most importantly pray with about 12 local pastors from various denominations.

Meeting with the pastors I think had the most impact. It was at the end when Jamie was about to pray for them that pastor Joseph spoke his heart. After he finished, Jamie started to pray and Joseph broke down in tears. He wept during the entire prayer.

You must understand the significance this holds. It is almost unheard of for an African man to show emotion like that, ESPECIALLY a Maasai man. Emotion is not something they show.

Jamie’s visit encouraged these men in a very powerful way.

We went to pastor Daniel’s house for a brief visit and then…Jamie was gone. It was a short visit, but powerful. I enjoyed being able to spend a bit of time with him when he didn’t have all the stress of SBC pressing down upon him.

Earlier in the morning, before Jamie arrived, Elisha, Laveena, Anna, Onesemo and I went out to a natural spring that was one of the few year-around water sources for Mairowa. It is about an eight-mile journey out there.

When we arrived the last cow from a herd who had been getting water was just finishing up. I was not able to capture that on film, but was able to spend some more time with my friends.

We laughed and joked. Laveena was really worried about Simba (lions) coming around while we were there. I took some photos of all my friends in various positions and we just enjoyed each others company.

In the late afternoon, Elisha, Dr. Mvunta and I went back out to the spring. This time we wanted to go on a mini safari and hoped to see some of the wild animals as they came to get a life giving drink.

We sat out there, in the quiet of the evening and waited for them to show. None did.

We did see some zebra in the far distance, some dic-dic’s, a tribe of black-faced monkeys and two maasai men take a shower.

Yes, you heard me. They did not care that I was there. They stripped down, washed and off they went.

Once again, I truly enjoyed the quietness of the three of us sitting there. No words having to be exchanged. Just enjoying the same experience together.

When the light began to fade, we headed back to town.

Anna cooked pancakes for us, we enjoyed the company of Laveena’s pastor and his wife and they worshiped after dinner. Elisha pulled out his trusty guitar and they, once again, began to worship the Lord in Swahili.

I had to leave the room for a bit as I started to tear up. I was going to miss my friends. I was going to miss the simplicity of life here.

When I say simplicity of life, I am not talking about the daily struggle to survive. It is just that, a struggle. The simplicity of life I am speaking about is the love shared between friends.

They asked me to close the evening in prayer and I could not contain the tears. Afterwards, Laveena, Anna and I began to cry. This was the last evening I would share with them before returning to America.

My heart is truly here in Tanzania with dear, dear friends. This is truly been a time I will treasure in my heart.

I do have photos to go with this entry, but the internet has slowed way down. I will do a big upload when I am back in Scottsdale.

Jamie in Africa: Take 2

Wow!! The internet is quick tonight here in Arusha, Tanzania. I have been able upload another photo where you can actually tell that Jamie is actually walking in Africa.

Mairowa 8405

Pastor Jamie in Africa!!!

--We interrupt the storyline of this blog for a very important image--

Mairowa 8356

Bat's in my belfry!!

A reflection Monday out in Mairowa. Written Tuesday morning:

Yesterday was one of the most amazing days I have ever had here in Africa. So many memories will stay with me forever.

It actually started earlier in the day when Elisha and I were in town to interview Jacob. You have seen a photo of him on my blog. He is the blind, older man who we are building a house for. In all the times I have seen Jacob, he has been wearing a ratty, old, rust colored baseball cap that really only kept the sun from his eyes, but not his head, as there were so many holes in the cap part of it it was a miracle that it even stayed on his head.

After finishing the interview I wanted to take a photo of him and his son, Joseph, in front of the unfinished house. That hat was casting too much of a shadow on his face and I asked if he would be willing to remove it for me. He was happy to oblige. He removed it and reached his arm out for Elisha to hold it for him.

In addition to holding Jacob’s hat, Elisha held the flash for me as I snapped away until I captured an image I was happy with. When I did, He and I approached Jacob. As we did, Elisha removed the white baseball cap he had been wearing and placed it on Jacobs head.

I was almost brought to tears at this generous deed. Elisha held back the tattered remains of a cap Jacob has worn for years as Joseph led his father back to their dilapidated accommodations, a new white cap glittering in the afternoon sun.

After the team had already left to return to Arusha, Elisha, Laveena, Anna, Onesemo, Zakayo and myself waited for people to come to the “picta” show. I had a strong feeling that no one would show up. I was wrong. The people, whom the Lord wanted here, came. Although they totaled ten in all, that was enough to bring a smile to my face.

Lengai came again to see me. His older brother walked him the 15-miles from their home to visit. He has grabbed such a special place in my heart! I brought him into the office and gave him and his brother a ginger snap and some chips (French fries) from the box lunch. We could not communicate without a translator so we mainly sat there in silence. I gently rubbed the back of his neck, which tickled him as he squirmed with a smile on his face. I know he had never had his neck rubbed before. Another first.

I walked out to watch, as Elisha made sure the generator was working when Lengai and his brother walked out. We said our farewells and they started the walk back home.

It was about 15-minutes later when they returned with their mother. She is also a very special woman and I hold her dear to my heart: She was all smiles. We greeted each other and she asked about Don and Susan, Lengai’s sponsors and my boss.

They said they wanted to stay for the slideshow. I knew that even though everyone was pleased that Lengai is now able to see after having eye surgery a couple of years ago, he is still legally blind and would not be able to see the pictures if they were projected on a wall 15-feet away from him.

I brought them into the office and set up my computer so he could sit 12-inches away. The three of them took a seat and the show began.

Lengai would reach out his hand and “pet” the computer screen. He could recognize some of the faces because he called out names. Now, I’m not sure if they were the correct names of the faces staring back at him, but his mother and brother never corrected him.

I would pause the show when his face graced the screen. He would once again reach up and “pet” the screen. I will treasure those images in my heart forever.

I had two showings of the slideshow that night. Later three children came for the event. That was all that showed up.

As we waited to see if anyone else would appear, the children rejoiced because they could go play on the playground.

Zakayo and I had found something else to do together.

There is a colony of bats that have taken up residence in the office roof and every night when twilight comes they pour out of a small hole. There are not a lot of them, perhaps 150 but I wanted to see if I could capture their nightly departure in an image. I did some test shots and as always Zakayo was standing close by.
.
He pulled up a bucket, turned it upside-down and plopped down to take part in the vigil. About 15-minutes later, he rose and walked into the office only to emerge with a chair. He placed it down and motioned me to sit. Such a kind man.

For about the next 40-minutes the two of us sat, in silence, as we waited for the bats to make their exit. Occasionally exchanging a smile as the queaks and sqeels from the hole grew louder. Another memory I will treasure forever. The simplicity of it all really struck a cord with me.

I found out earlier in the day a bit of his testimony. He has only been a believer for a year. When I asked him how he came into a relationship with Christ he told me of having a sickness. It was only after Elisha spoke to him a bit more that the type of sickness came to light.

He was a drunkard and the Lord healed him of that. No 12-step program, no support group, the Lord simply took that desire away from him completely.

And last night, wow, what a time we had. Laveena, Anna, Elisha and I had the most wonderful time of fellowship together. We laughed, talked, tried to solve the problems of Tanzania and Africa and prayed together. All of this took place in Laveena and Anna’s one room residence.

I say residence because they live at the guesthouse where I am staying. They are lonely and very isolated out here in Mairowa. They are not Masai and are considered outsiders. Once again the two of them thanked me over and over for coming to stay with them.

There is no electricity. They do their evening cooking over charcoal and with a kerosene lantern, like those from the old west. So the evening’s conversation was in a dimly lit room, but was filled with the light of friendship. It has been a very long time since I have felt so loved and welcomed in a place. Free to discuss, to tease, to laugh and just be myself. This was another moment I will treasure in my heart forever.

I am finishing this entry as I sit in the passenger side seat of the LandCruiser I hired, typing on my computer that is being charged by a generator, as it hums not far from the vehicle. An occurrence that I could have only dreamed of when I was a child, something I longed for all my life.

If you remember the movie “The Color Purple”, there is a scene where the main character envisions her sister in Africa as she reads the stack of letters her husband hid from her over the years. That is what I feel like now. In awe and wonder of how the Lord has given me the desires of my heart.

Pastor Jamie and Fred come tomorrow. I am looking forward to Jamie seeing Africa and all that is going on here. I know he will catch the vision and things will really explode wide open.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Off again.

I know it seems been a bit overactive of these past 24-hours, but I needed to grab the internet time while I could.

Tomorrow I am heading back to Mairowa. I have hired a car and a translator and off we go. We will be staying out there for the remainder of our time here. I return Thursday night.

During this time Pastor Jamie from SBC will be out there for a day to see the program. Please keep him in your prayers as he travels with Fred.

I am scheduled to interview Jacob tomorrow and I have several other interviews I need to capture. This week is devoted to video. Please pray that I capture the footage I need.

We all leave on Friday in the evening. So, I am thinking I will be able to update my blog once more before returning to Scottsdale. Thanks for taking this journey with me.

I am currently uploading another 6 photos to my flickr account. I won't have time to post them here so take a peak. Click HERE to go there. (UPDATE: the connection failed multiple times last night so there are no new photos on my Flickr account. Sorry about that. I'm off to Mairowa in about 15-minutes and will return Thursday. I'll see you then. Thanks for the prayer coverage.)

Brown to Red...

That is the transformation of the color of my feet when I return to the Ilburo Safari Lodge.

I was speaking to Meagan, she is on staff with IMARA Ministry and from Perimeter church in Georgia. She drove out to Mairowa with us on Thursday and during the drive she and I chatted. She told me that earlier this summer she had gone back home for about 6-weeks and the first thing she did with a friend was to go get a pedicure. Her feet are never clean here.

That is so true. I am wearing sneakers all the time, yet even with that my feet attract dirt like crazy. It is only when you are in a culture like this where when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples that it shows how it should have given them an inkling of how he was lowering Himself to serve them (us). In our concrete world it loses a bit of the translation. For those who live in a place like Africa, India, the Australian outback, etc it holds more meaning. How much more of the Bible do we, as westerners in a developed country, lose when reading passages like that?

Now here is what I find interesting. When I return to Arusha, the capital of Tanzania and get settled in my comfortable room here at the Ilburo Safari Lodge, I kick off my shoes and tread around my room, my feet turn red. Well, the bottoms of my feet at least.

The floor is red and polished. I don't know what they use on it, but it is not paint.

What a picture it was for me. I am walking in a fallen world but when I come to be refreshed and recharged the Blood of Christ is what does that for me. The relationship that was created as a result of His sacrifice for me.

Please do not take what I just wrote as a statement of the lives of the people we serve in Mairowa or Kondoa. It was not.

I was looking forward to having one day off to be recharged. To be able to sleep in a bit, to recover and refocus. It took looking at my feet to realize that it is not my location, but my focus that gives me all that I was longing for.

Back to my time out in Mairowa:

It was busy as usual. By the time of our departure yesterday I had managed to take about 260 of the 360 sponsored children's photos. Some of the remaining 100 are off at school right now so I will not be getting photos of them, but I am hoping that during the medical clinic next week the remaining children will come through.

It was so funny to watch the kids today after I snapped this years photo and gave them a copy of their photo from last year. One little boy ran as fast as he could to the playground to join a couple of others who were oogling their photos.

I felt sorry for the children who did not come through the clinic last year. I had no photo to give to them. Many of them walked away with heads a little lower. Next year!! They will have their photo next year.

I heard from one of the workers out there that a Mama had come up to him a little upset that her child did not receive their photo. When he asked her if they had come to the medical clinic last year, she said no. He then explained to her that the photos taken now were not given out but would be at a later date. She understood and went on her way. I wonder how many of the children thought that magically the images were transferred from my camera to the envelope last years photos were being disbursed from.

Taking photos of the children has me touching all of them, literally. I take them from the table where their name is found and guide them to where I need them to stand. In doing this, I think the kid gave me a gift in return. Yes, I am sick. It's not to bad, a bit of a sinus infection, but I will survive.

Here is a quite a site for all of you picture. Yes, I know it will not be a stretch for most of you seeing me do this, but you will chuckle I'm sure.

Friday, our driver returned to Arusha after he dropped us off at the guest house with all our belongings. I did not realize that he was not going to be there in the morning to drive me and all my things down to the school. It is probably a mile to the school from the guest house.

In the morning I wanted to arrive early at the school to get a jump start on taking the photos of the children as they arrived. The other three women who stayed out there and the rest of the staff were going visiting so I had no help with all my "stuff".

Here is the list: One professional tripod in BIG 3-foot tall round case, my carry-on roller bag, video camera bag, stills camera bag, purse, two pillows and water. We are talking about 120 lbs of stuff. Yes, I trekked to the school with all that. People were laughing at me as I walked by and many of the men asked me, with a chuckle, where I was going. (It was only when I was at the school that it came to me that I should have told them I was walking back to Arusha.)

Needless to say, I'm a bit sore today. I have to admit I was thinking that if I saw a lion he would have a lot of equipment to get through. :-)

And now for the part you have been waiting for... more photos.

Mairowa 1340
One of our sponsored children hangin' out at the guest house.

Mairowa 1346
The family who owns the guest house. I have the Baba (father) in a seperate photo.

Mt Meru 1677
Mt. Meru and the moon. This mountain is beautiful!

Mairowa 1547
Richard, our trusty driver.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Just Photos

Mairowa 1575
The kitchen in Mairowa.

Mairowa 1565
Feeding day.

Mairowa 1564
Zakayo, the guard for the project grounds. Very kind man, but I wouldn't want to meet him an a dark alley. He is a Masai warrior.
Mairowa 1559
Some of the kids on an old termite mound.

The following photo is of a mother with her child. SBC helped her get him to the hospital so he could be diagnosed and treated. However, by the time they got to the hospital there was nothing they could do for him. There is good news in this story though. The fluid is no longer increasing and it is just time for him to heal. He is walking now and doing quite well.

Mairowa 1553
Mairowa mom and child.

Mairowa 1550
Lengai.

Takin' a break...

We just returned to Arusha from Mairowa. I'm exhausted and the internet is very slow again tonight. It's taking hours for the photos to upload. I'm heading to bed while the others hopefully upload. For now, enjoy these two.

Mairowa 1577

Mairowa 1579

I'll write more tomorrow.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Back in Arusha

We made it back to Arusha in great time. I think the trip back was only 4-hours. We all cheered when we finally hit the pavement. That was about 3-hours into the trip.

I'm back in good ole' room number 1 at the Ilburo Safari Lodge. This is the only room I have ever stayed in here. I requested that I have this room again. It has become my home away from home when I am in Tanzania. Why change? It is the furthest one from the road, closest to the turkeys. Yes, I said turkeys. The former own of the lodge started his own little business. While there aren't as many as there used to be, they still make a bit of noise. I have come to be able to tune them out.

While I was in Kondoa last night I jotted down a bit of what was going on. Here is that entry:
_____________________________
Kondoa has been a whirlwind!! There just isn’t enough time in the day on this trip.

Today I took photos of most of the remaining children at the Kondoa Integrity School for a grand total of 129 children. All of the children had two photos taken of them. For those of you who know me, I am quite proficient at changing eyes on one photo for another or some such “repair” issues. But I would say that at least half of them had three photos. That’s a lot of photos!!!

I’m happy with them and look forward to editing them to be able to give the photos not only to the sponsors, but to have them brought back to Kondoa so the children can have a school photo. That is one of the small privileges we have in America.

Our stay in Kondoa has been a comfortable one. The bed is good, there are warm showers, not hot, but warm and although the menu has not varied at all, the food has been good. Once again, variety in our diet is another small privilege we have in America.

I’m sure at this moment your asking yourself, “I wonder what they have been eating?” Well, I’m glad you asked.

Breakfast is a scrambled egg and a chapatti. The lunch and dinner menu is the same even though we eat at different restaurants. It includes rice, a delicious sauce that does vary a bit, beans, chips (french fries), and a variety of veggies. Oh, and I can’t forget the chicken. It is usually over done and I always wonder a bit about the size of the chickens in America because I have never seen a chicken here that could produce breasts like we have in stores. Come to think of it, I have never actually seen a chicken breast served here. Hmmm, what do they do with them?? Perhaps that is the choice cut and the staff gets them.

Right now it’s about 8:45pm. In about 15 minutes a party out in the streets of Kondoa should be starting. At least it has every other night we have been here. This is the month of Ramadan and let me tell you, it is a party atmosphere when the sun goes down. They do make quite a racket.

Even with all that, I have not had a night where I have not slept like a rock. I hear the party right outside my window for about 5-minutes and then I am out like a light. I’m not sure if it is because I feel at home here or I’m just really tired from the day’s work. Either way, I’m very happy!!!

The party outside is starting to grow. Voices are becoming louder, laughter fills the air and a call to prayer is going on.

Oh, the call to prayer!! I could never be a Muslim. The first call to prayer is at 4am!! No real need for an alarm clock here. Yikes!

Yesterday when I was tagging along with the women in the group, we went to the market. There are so many things going on there. Vegetables, fruit, beans, shoes and almost anything else you could want are displayed in the stalls.

As we were walking along, I asked if I could take some photos of a couple of children. This is really a way of allowing the adults see the photos I take and hopefully gain their trust and allow me to snap their photo as well.

It worked. I was able to take a couple of photos of a woman selling Chinese cabbage. She was such a good sport.

The other gals kind of got ahead of me and when I caught up to them, a man was talking Agnes, one of the teachers from our school. I knew what was happening and I was not going to give in. Even though I had taken some cute photos in the market I was willing to delete them rather than give into his demands.

It started out by him telling Agnes that it is regulation that he gets our signatures. She knew this was not true and so did I. As the conversation progressed, I told him that I would delete the photos but I was not going to sign anything.

Okay, this is where you need to know how to “read between the lines”. He wanted a bribe from us for taking photos in the market. There is no regulation. He saw white skin and wanted to make a buck. No hostility here, just the way it is.

When he saw that I was putting my foot down, he caved. I had the professional camera and I was the one he was targeting. All is well. He went along his we and so did we. I kept my photos.

Tomorrow there are six of us driving back to Arusha. I can’t say I am looking forward to the drive.

Funny thing about Africa is once someone knows you are going somewhere, one question inevitably comes up, “Do you have room for one more?” We have had to turn down a couple of people because our vehicle is already full.

And if you do have a seat available, somewhere along the way the next question is, “I have family along the way; can we stop so I can greet them?” That is no small task. In Africa you don’t just stop for a “couple” of minutes.

So, tomorrow I will post this for you to read, as well as some photos I have taken. I must say I’m pretty pleased with a couple of them. They are definitely keepers. Let me know what you think?
_________________________________
As I said, I'm back in Arusha now and the internet is VERY slow. I have not been able to upload photos to my Flickr account so the photos I have here have a watermark on them. Please forgive me for doing this. Once I can upload to my Flickr, I will change the photos.

The following are all street photos.

Kondoa 0595RT

Kondoa 0600RT

Kondoa 0601RT

Kondoa 0863RT

Kondoa 0597RT

Kondoa 1185RT

Kondoa 0859

_MG_1184RT

Kondoa 1039SM

 Kondoa 1198RT
Dr. Joe with his sponsored child and her father.

Kondoa 1202RT
Elisha, Kondoa Integrity School Principle.