Wednesday, June 28, 2006

community development

when we left for our trip 3 weeks ago the other apartment in our duplex was not rented. it had already been vacant for a few months so i figured we'd come home to new neighbors and i prayed they'd be nice folks, since we share front and back stoops as well as a wall.

so when we pulled into the driveway last night and found a new car parkec next door a little pit formed in my stomach. i hope these people are nice and respectful. then, at 10:30ish this morning we get a knock on our door and it's our new neighbors, kendra and her sons caleb and judah, stopping by to say welcome back. they're friends of ours from our old apt who we told about the place! not only that but they had a home made breakfast for us because they figured (correctly) that we had no food!

i think this'll work out just fine.

back home

lake victoria at nassa outside mwanza

after approximately 30 hours of traveling, we made it back to columbia last night at about 8:30 PM. needless to say, we were exhausted. yesterday morning we were in amsterdam; the morning before that we were in nairobi. and we didn't get much sleep in between. we had a full day in nairobi on monday because our flight didn't leave until 10:00 PM. and then we flew overnight to amsterdam. we had a 5 hour lay over there so we left the airport and took the train into the center of town. we got on the wrong train though, so by the time we got into town we only had about 1 hour to walk around, but that's okay because we were so tired and our feet hurt already from our walking in nairobi. so we saw a few streets, got a cappuccino and a pastry (yum!) and then headed back to the airport. turned out our flight was delayed about an hour though. so we ended up getting into atlanta late and missing our connecting into columbia. and can i just state for the record that atlanta's airport sucks! but they did get us onto the next flight out, which was technically only an hour later. but it too was delayed so we left about 1 hour 45 minutes later than originally anticipated which isn't too bad. but when you've been traveling that long and you're so tired it seemed like a lifetime.

thanks to margaret who was waiting for us patiently at the airport to drive us home.

i'm feeling pretty rested today, but chris is still dragging. but we're slowly going through out pictures and will post them somehow on the respective blogs. we're thinking we'll post them all as an album in one location and then i would like to write up accounts and stories about some individual pictures at my site. so anyways, you all have that to look forward to. :)

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Saturday, 6/24

From Waldie's World in Africa:

Well, it is our second to last full day in Africa and probably the last time we'll be able to check email. So I thought I'd send another quick message.

So far our visit to Nairobi has been really good. Chris and I were a bit nervous about our stay in this city because of the stories we've heard of pick pocketting and the ill-fated moniker "Nairobbery." Now, we've only been here just over 24 hours, but we've had no problems at all so far. It's really just like any huge city, full of hustle and bustle. Nairobi is by far the biggest city we've been in and the most developed. All of the streets in the city center are paved. There are many many high-rises. Almost everyone dresses Western, with jeans and tank tops and such. And there are the most white people in this city than in any other one we've been in. Now once you get out of the center of town, I'm sure this all changes. But it's been interesting to compare this city with Dar es Salaam, which is still developing and has less Western influence.

After our email yesterday, Chris and I walked to the Kenya National Museum only to find that it was closed for renovations (much needed we were told). The nice man at the museum with whom we spoke told us they had a temporary exhibit at the Nairobi Gallery. So we walked over to that. The exhibit there was about traditional practices of well-being and ways of art and it was very interesting. However, about halfway through I started to feel ill (probably just from being overly tired and then walking around) so I sat outside while Chris speed-walked through the rest. Then we took a cab home and ate at our guest house and stayed in for the night. How boring. But the rest was much desired!

This morning I woke up refreshed for a breakfast of cereal with milk (it was delicious!! Glorious milk!) But Chris was a little sleepy head and missed breakfast. After taking a long time to actually get moving, we walked yet again through town. This time we headed to the railway museum. This documented the development of the railway system through East Africa by the English and Germans. It was a very interesting museum (Jim I think you would've liked it) because the railroad was so influential in spreading Western culture and development across this part of the continent. It was a tremendous feat due to weather, natural environments, and man-eating animals!

After the musuem we were starving, so we walked into the city center again and stumbled upon a fairly nice restaurant. We gave in to our Western temptations and got some familiar foods (pizza and spaghetti and ice cream!). Then we just wandered around the center of town looking into shops and trying (unsuccessfully) to make it in time to the Masai market. We decided, however, to go into a tour place and booked a safari for tomorrow. The Nairobi National Park is just on the outskirts of the city and has all the native animals (except elephants) roaming freely. The price was really reasonable and we'll have an individual driver to take us around for a few hours. We figured this would be a great way to spend our last full day in Africa.

We're, obviously, at the internet cafe now in the same place we visited yesterday. We plan to eat dinner here and walk around a bit and then head home for the evening.

Tomorrow we'll go to church in the am and then the safari. And Monday we'll look at the school that Chris is interested in and then meet up with his teacher, Fabian, again and have dinner before we get on our 10:00 pm train.

It's been a fabulous trip and we're remiss to leave. But we do look forward to being in our own space and not living out of suitcases. This'll probably be the last time we write while here but it will definitely not be the last time you hear about this trip as we'll post more and more photos and stories when we return. Thanks everyone for your posts and comments. We have gotten them and appreciate everyone's support of our trip and prayers while we're gone.

Love, Waldie and Chris

Friday, June 23, 2006

Friday, 6/23/06

From Waldie's World in Africa:

Hello All,

Well, sorry again for the lack of communcation for so long. We made it to Nairobi this morning. We took an overnight bus yesterday afternoon from Mwanza, Tanzania and arrived in Nairobi around 6:00 AM this morning. The ride was fine, though a bit cramped and we got very little sleep. We are staying in a guest house called Mayfield Guest House. It is run by the Africa In Mission (AIM) missionaries and it's a great place. Our room is really nice and the people there are all very knowlegeable about Africa and Nairobi. So while we waited in the lobby this AM (for 5 hours!) for our room to clear out we talked to a really nice older couple who've spent a lot of time around all of Africa, especially Nairobi and got a lot of pointers about where to go and what to do here.

So we've not done much since we've gotten here. We took (HOT!) showers and rested a minute and then headed out to grab a bit to eat, check email and go to a museum.

Our time in Mwanza (well, the village of Nassa actually) was very nice. We were treated extremely well and were given the best of everything. We made some nice friends there and were sad to go. But as we move closer to the end of our trip (4 days I can't believe it) we're more and more excited to get our picts developed and share with all.

All for now. :)
Waldie and Chris

Monday, June 19, 2006

Monday, 6/19/06

From Waldie in Africa:

Hey All,

Sorry for the lack of email contact for a while. We've been away from computers. Chris and I are doing fine but this will be a short message because we don't have much computer time and Chris still wants to check and we're trying to book our hotels for Nairobi. We are currently in Mwanza, toward the central north of the country on Lake Victoria. We arrived here after taking a train from Dodoma on Wednesday/Thursday. We arrived here very late on Thursday and our friend, Fabian, picked us up and took us to a hotel. The next morning we woke up, ran a few errands and then were taken to his in-laws house about an hour drive into the country. We've been staying there ever since. The Mashikus are very nice and they have been very hospitable to us. We have made a trip into town today to do some errands aand things. Tomorrow (Tuesday) we will help around the school in which the Mashikus work. I think I'll be helping an American mission group teach cake decorating (random?). And I think Chris will be doing some construction or something.

Thursday night we will take a bus to Nairobi and arrive early in the morning. We will stay there until we leave the continent on Monday night. I'm hoping we'll have more email contact when we get to Nairobi. But until then know that we are having fun, are still in good health and are VERY well taken care of. More stories to come.

Waldie and Chris

Monday, June 12, 2006


From Waldie's World in Africa:

Sorry for such a short and abruptly-ended email last time. I thought I could get more info into it but in the end it was pretty worthless.

Anyways, I'll try to briefly catch you all up on what we've basically been doing for the past couple of days. I think we last wrote about going to Bagamoyo and seeing the bus stop at the evening. That evening (Friday) we went to a cultural center for African dancing. I think it was supposed to be traditional dance but it really seemed more like something to entertain the wazungu (white people). but we enjoyed it a lot, whether it was traditional or not, though we were very tired (and Chris fell asleep for a minute during it). He also got some audio tape of the singing. We'll share when we return.

Saturday we spent resting around Dar. I slept in! And we caught up on errands and such. Perhaps that's when I last emailed? I can't remember what else we did this day. Oh! we saw the fish market in Dar. It was an interesting site (and smelly).

Sunday we went to church at St. Joseph's, a large cathedral-like church right by the water front. They have many masses in English and Swahili so we attended the English mass. It was fairly normal as far as Catholic masses go, nothing too different. Sunday at noon, our friends with whom we spent the first night in Dar came to pick us up to have lunch at their place and pick up the luggage we had stored at their home for the week. We walked in the pouring rain! to the bus stop, waited 45 minutes for the bus, took an hour bus ride and then walked another 25 minutes to get to their home. This was the commute. Can you imagine doing that every day to get home from work! Unbelievable. Oh, and the walk was through mud and rain water. One way was flooded so we had to walk through another whole pile of water apparently to avoid the other pile of water. It wasn't too bad, though I know we walked through some sewage. Poor Jackie, our friend, had a broken shoe by this point so we weren't feeling too sorry for ourselves.

At their house their generocity continued unabaited. They had much much much food for us, as well as sodas and wine. And they gave me (Waldie) 2 scarves and Chris a tshirt. It was very nice.

Today we woke up, checked out of our hotel and took a 7 hour bus ride to Dodoma, Tanzania's capital. We've just ridden through town one time but it seems extremely small for the capital though. We were picked up at the station by Dr. Dixon Chilangani, a friend of our friend (Chris's professor) in the United States. Dr. Chilangani is the dean of Msalato Bible College on the outskirts of town and offered to put us up for 2 nights until our train leaves for Mwanza.

This place is beautiful! It's a little compound for the college with houses for the faculty, as well as a chapel and some office buildings. The house they gave us has 3 bedrooms, a bathroom, big living room, kitchen, and another extra room. It has running water and electricity and a stove and fridge. It's unbelievable. Chris and I walked in and were like "yea, we could live here for a while!" but anyways, they also have been extremely generous. Dr Chilangani and his wife fed us dinner this evening, though they cooked meat and we couldn't out of respect say we didn't eat meat. So yes, folks, we had meat. We made it through the meal ok and feel alright but i have to be honest and say i think we'll stick with vegetarianism!

Anyways, we're here on the campus and I'm not sure how often we'll be able to check emial because we're using the Dr's office. But I wanted to give you the update. We are still doing really well, have had no sickness at all, have seen some BEAUTIFUL countryside, and some cute children on our journey thus far.

We'll keep you posted as we know more.

Love, Waldie and Chris

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Saturday update

Do I need to keep saying that it's Fuzzy just posting emails from Waldie from Africa?

Hey guys, this going to be a quick one because we have less than 3 minutes left on the computer. But I wanted to let you know what we've been up to. Yesterday (Friday) we went to a small fishing village called Bagamoyo, about an hour outside of Dar. It was a pretty easy ride but we took public transport which was an adventure, especially on the way home because we got dropped of at a different spot and couldn't find our ride home. When we finally found him he had a flat tire so we sat around with him until after dark in the bus station. Usually it's not safe for whites to be out after dark (because of muggings) but because we were with an African it was totally safe and really cool to see the station in the dark. Plus it had rained all day
yesterday so we got the experience of the African mud. It was crazy! and it's not even the rainy season.

OK, 1 minute left. Gotta send. More later :)
Waldie and Chris

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Greetings from Afrika Ya Mashariki!

Fuzzy, again, with another message from Waldie's World and Chris in Africa:

Hello from Dar es Salaam friends and family,

It is the end of day 2 of Chris and my visit in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. We are having such a wonderful trip so far, I cannot explain it all now. But I wanted to send a quick note out to you all to say hello, we are here, and to give you some highlights.

After spending 21 hours in transit on Monday/Tuesday, we arrived in Dar very tired but very happy to be still. We spent the night with the family of a friend of a friend in Dar who live in the "suburbs" of the city. Predi, Rosemary and their family were very welcoming to us, having dinner ready and giving up a bedroom for us to stay.

Yesterday, after waking and having a great home-cooked breakfast, Chris and I were given the tour of the neighborhood along with a local primary government school (with almost 2,000 children!) and a nursery school. Then we took a taxi into the city center and obtained a hotel. That and a few good meals at local restaurants and a much-needed nap, was about all we
could fit in for the day.

Today we awoke to the sounds of the muezzin from the mosque down the street calling the Muslims to prayer (at 5:00 AM). Some of us got out of bed around this time (CHRIS!) and some of us slept another 2 hours till a more reasonable hour. We breakfasted in the hotel and then set out to see some museums and shops around town. We had a really lovely day as the weather has been mild (though slightly rainy) and the people are just so nice.

Tomorrow we plan to take a bus to a small fishing town about an hour away. That should prove to be quite an adventure so we'll have more stories to come.

I hope all is well with you all in the states. We are taking lots of pictures and look forward to sharing our stories with you all when we return.

For now, kwa herini,
Waldie and Chris

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Habari from Africa!

Hey, Waldie'ssoon-to-be-in-law Fuzzy here -- Waldie is sending emails back from Africa and I'll be posting them here. Enjoy! Waldie starts... now:

Hey Folks!

As you can see from this [post], Chris and I made it to Tanzania! We are in Africa y'all! We still can't believe it. But the sights, sounds and smells around us can't deny it. This is Africa.

So the long and short of it is this. Our flights were fine. Long but uneventful. And long. Did I mention the flights were long? Oy! We were ready to be out of moving transport when we arrived last night. But our friend's friend, Predi, picked us up at the airport when we arrived and drove us to her sister's house. The house was about a 45 minute drive (through a maze)
into the "suburbs" of Dar. Her house was very nice though and they really gave us the royal treatment. They had cooked us dinner and bought us soft drinks and gave up one of their rooms for us. We ate and talked a little, had a "shower" (poured cold water over ourselves) and went to bed. The house had electricity (and a TV and computer) but no running water, though ironically it did have all the accoutrements for it (faucets and such). For a toilet we went in essentially a hole in the floor and poured water down it. You'll see picts.

This AM we awoke to the sounds of women singing, men selling their wares on the road, birds chirping and a rooster. We were pretty tired this AM but got up and had a really nice breakfast, though Chris was feeling a little ill (from the travel I think). Another sister, Jacki, took us around the burbs to see the school in which she taught and to show us the "neighbors." This was a really nice introduction to Tanzania and a nice welcome. The streets in the area are all unpaved and the houses ranged from hovels with barely a roof, to really nice brick enclosures with whole compounds. We were quite a site, apparently. The little kids were saying to us Mzungu (white person) and Shikamoo (a greeting of respect).

We are in the City center of Dar now in a hotel (the Safari Inn) which looks almost like a hole in the wall but is quite sufficient. There is a restaurant attached. We have a double bed and a private bathroom. And there are a bunch of westerners staying here too. The lobby also has a TV and computers, where Chris and I are typing this. We plan to rest the remainder of the day (it's almost 6:00 PM here) and eat at the hotel to rest up for tomorrow when we'll probably do some exploring.

Ok, I'll sign off now so Chris can check his email. We will write again in a few more days to give another update. We love you all and can't wait to get home to share our pictures and our stories in person with you all.

Kwa Herini,
Waldie and Chris

Sunday, June 04, 2006

see ya'll on the flip side


this is was the best we could do to clean out the fridge as much as possible before our trip. if anyone needs capers, jalapenos and 1 egg in the next three weeks, you know where to come.

although we're certain to find plenty of internet cafes during our trip, i am not sure if i will update the blog while gone. it'll depend on the price and how reliable the connection is. for sure, though, i will be sending a few group emails out and most of you who check this regulary are probably on my "africa" group list and will most likely get a message at some point during our trip. but if you're worried you won't get one and you want to get a message while we're gone, send me a note and i'll include you in my group email.

so for now, i'm off. we'll be back on-line for sure around the last week on june. oh, and when you see us next, rest assured that we'll now be african. at least that's what i'm told.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

getting down to the wire

well folks, it's getting close. 2 more days until we leave the states. by the way, if you haven't already, you should check out chris's post with our itinerary on it. it will give you more of an idea of what we think our trip will look like.

we're pretty much packed and all ready to go. spent the day doing laundry and packing up. tomorrow we'll do a few things around the house and make adjustments. but otherwise, we'll all set. i think we'll go see x-men to keep us busy for a little while. then, monday morning, at the bright and early time of 10 AM we'll set off for columbia airport with our chauffeur, margaret. (of course, we have a 4 hour lay over in atlanta before we take off out of the country. but it's all good).