Saturday, March 01, 2014

The Best Reward After Living in Tanzania After Two Years Part 2

As we knew it would, time flew by on our vacation in the US and now we're back home in Tanzania again and everything from a week ago onward seems like a dream. But a dream it was not and here are some pictures and a few stories from the second half of our trip to prove it. (Details from the first half of our trip are here.)


Welcome home, son of the south.

The best part of being MS, of course, was catching up with family. We had a lot of good quality time with Chris's mom, who we'd not seen in over two years, and his sister and brother-in-law made the long trek down from Chicago, which was so amazing even if they were only there for a few short days. We managed to have a bunch of family gatherings and even celebrate Tricia's 60th birthday.

The family with a huge horse and some random dude.

Feeling nifty at sixty. (I know, that doesn't really rhyme.)

The Reid clan gave the casino the what-for. (Not really. I think Chris and I lost about $10 and called it a night. And I saw Clint nursing $20 on the roulette table while some fellow player blew $100 in one bet. HELLO, big spenders!)

We had the pleasure of doing several "church talks" during our visit to the states. This was a great opportunity to speak with people during and after Church Masses to tell them about life in other countries, to inform them about the work of MKLM and ask them to join in our journey through prayer, donations, receiving our newsletter, or visiting us in the field. If you've not already, think about joining us in our work in any of these ways.

Chris after a church talk. We really enjoyed meeting people and sharing our stories. Side note-that sweater has been in the family for at least 20 years, no lie!

Speaking of sharing our stories, did we tell you we made the front page of the Vicksburg Post? Must've been a slow news day.


South Carolina

I think if we made one mistake on this trip, it was not scheduling enough time in South Carolina, our adopted home state. I kind of knew this going into it, but it was kind of unavoidable. I mean, we have no blood family in SC and we had limited time to spend in each place. So unfortunately, our friends and adopted family in SC kinda got the short shrift this go-round. Sorry guys! Maybe next time we'll just stay in SC and make everyone come to us.

We had a bunch of gatherings with friend friends, coworker friends, church friends, feline friends, baby friends, etc. etc., until we were run out of town by the snow. Seriously folks, it followed us everywhere and prevented us from adding an extra day to our visit there. But! each gathering was wonderful and made me feel so special and loved. We are so lucky to have these people in our lives and I am constantly humbled (and sometimes a bit baffled) by the extent of their support and friendship.

Sean and Cheryl trying to entertain some of the horde of kids during the Sunday lunch.

Chris and I are so grateful to the Myers for hosting and for those who came from near and far to hang out.

Bonfire, s'mores and wine-just like old times.

STSM crew still doing amazing work in the Midlands!

Let's not forget our former babies!

We like to think they remembered us, although I think they'd cuddle with just about anyone.


We escaped the snow by going north into the mountains, which doesn't quite make sense, but it worked. Along the way to Virginia for an overnight with my uncle and aunt we did what Chris and I pretty much never do, we took a spur-of-the-moment stopover for sight-seeing! Maybe Africa has taught us to be spontaneous. We've taken a million and one road trips in our time, and we always say, "oh, sometime we should stop there to see blah blah blah." But we never do. Except this time. We took the chance to explore the majestic Dixie Caverns in Salem VA. It was actually pretty neat and our tour guide was hilarious, one-in-a-million. I wish we had a picture of him, but instead...

We have the majestic turkey wing.

The visit with Aunt Cathie and Uncle Timmy was awesome. They were so great to invite their neighbors over to hear our stories and peruse the African handicrafts we were selling.

Small gathering of Waldies.

We were so fortunate to be able to spend 4 whole days hanging out at my brother's family's house. In the past 2 years, they have added a new member to the family and the other two are getting so grown. Like truly, they're almost grown adults by now. Chris and I really treasured this time together catching up, eating lots of good food and rocking out on the Wii. What made it even cooler is that my dad and step-mom flew in from California for a few days to hang out as well (Imagine, giving up that warmer weather for the polar vortex on the East Coast! Oh wait, we did that too.) and we had a big larger family gathering on one of those days.

It was fun to see that Maddie was still into doing things like this-tattooing Unkie's head.

When did this one get so big!

This one heads to college next year. She's as cool as ever but also I'm happy to see she hasn't yet outgrown her aunt and Unkie.

This new one, well, what can I say. She's sweet and smart and funny. Love her.

What's the name of this game, which they play on Ellen? Whatever it is, yeah, everyone in the family was playing that. It was funny except that I was sick and trying to sleep on the floor but everyone was yelling and laughing so loudly that they woke me up. How rude of them to have so much fun.

The mothers celebrate their birthdays.

Playing the Wii was so much fun that they even got me and my brother to play when we usually sit those things out.**

Our final visit was to Sister Thomasmari, my former campus minister from NYU. She is the first one to mention MKLM to me, so I blame her for all this. It was super great that my friends from NYU, Anthony and Paul, could also come down to join us.

New Jersey

We spent our in-between times in New Jersey with my mom and step-dad, which was great as always. That's the place in the states that's most like home for us right now and it's a great place to relax, enjoy good food/bevs and be taken care of. Plus, they lent us their car, paid for a lot of our gas and let us steal things from their house. I mean, what more could we ask for?

Mom all dolled up for something or other, probably the opening of the artist co-op's new location.

Bo likes to pretend he doesn't care, but we know otherwise.

Again and again, we can't say how much we enjoyed our trip and what it means to us to have so many amazing people in our lives. I equate it to a video game, where you have to do something or other to gain more power and continue the game. That's how our visit home was for us- with each group of friends we saw, each amazing meal, each laugh and hug, we were gaining more and more "power" to take back with us to TZ to continue the work that we're doing here. Asanteni sana wote. Thank you all.

*To be accurate, it was outside of Philly, but you get the idea.

**Bonus video of the Wii awesomeness:

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