I have officially been in Tanzania now for about 6 weeks, and feel quite settled in. The newest member of Pamoja, Kirsten from BC, Canada, just arrived on Tuesday who will be working on construction around the campus. It’s exciting to see the Pamoja family grow a little bigger, and frankly I’m stoked to have another single young woman on base with me :)
|Raha has also been a fantastic constant companion, |
which makes dealing with the negative effects of culture shock far less painful :)
|my cubicle space in the office|
|Maswali- screenshot from the animation|
|mockup of comics|
|original prototype comics|
|finding ways to save ink through a bitmap filter (that's the little white dots)|
|cover design ideas|
Thank you again to all my supporters, due all the prayers and contributions I was able to arrive in Africa with awesome equipment for Pamoja! -As you can see in some of these images, I’ve using the Cintiq, a high quality digital drawing tablet, to create designs for the comics!
Now that I am settled into Pamoja with a steady work schedule, it is tempting to remain in my Pamoja/missionary bubble and ignore the local culture that I came here to serve. As I have noticed whenever I travel abroad for extended periods, my introverted tendencies tend to emerge once I begin to pass the honeymoon stage of culture shock. I can hide in my apartment and read books, skype friends, or watch American movies; or I can push myself to learn more of the language, travel around Arusha, and interact with local Tanzanians.
Even though I often talk about how enriching it was for me to engage with local Italians while I lived in Florence, I also forget how difficult it is for me to go beyond what is culturally comfortable. It’s not comfortable for me to speak in broken Swahili, nor will it be comfortable for me to venture out to a local Swahili-speaking church. It is really not comfortable to be labeled “mzungu” (foreigner or white person) everywhere I go.
But Jesus’ ministry would not have been so revolutionary had He chosen to “love” the world from comfortable places. Jesus’ love is like no other because He is willing to share our pain, our laughter, and our lives. His love is unconditional despite fully understanding and enduring the brokenness of humanity. Likewise, I now need to ask myself—am I willing to share life with Tanzanians instead of recreating my own American bubble? It is a humbling and uncomfortable question.
So! Prayer requests for the upcoming week include:
As mentioned above, I don’t want to remain in my cultural bubble. Please pray for courage to step into Tanzanian culture, faith that God will guide me, and grace/humility to deal with any differences/difficulties that I am sure to encounter.
Finding time for Jesus: Lastly, in the midst of everything it can be tempting to sleep until I absolutely must get up for work, or spend my evenings crashing in my apartment. Please pray that Christ will remain in the center of my life, and in everything I do here at Pamoja :)
And here are some more pictures that capture the past month here!
|the Pamoja team went on a safari to Arusha National park the day after Christmas!|
|standing on top of a mountain with Lucy and Angela (missionaries from Tanzania)|
|Natasha helping me draw for a book|
|I caught a sunbird the other day!|
|Sunset during our Nipe Jibu showing (a musical film from Pamoja)|
|the local church we showed the film at|