Friday, February 6, 2015

A Time to Celebrate

Hello, family and friends! 

I realize I haven’t updated in a while—I had been telling myself that I would post updates for a while now, but the weekends keep getting away from me! It’s hard for me to believe that it’s February already, which marks my two full months of being in the country, with only four left to go.

January has been a particularly pleasant month for a number of reasons, some of which include getting more used to life at Pamoja, slowing improving in my Swahili, and having opportunities to experience more of Tanzania. And for some strange, delightful reasons, a plethora of celebrations happened to occur all at once in this month, including my 23rd birthday, a Tanzanian wedding and sendoff, Australia day (in honor of our one Australian,) and the birthdays of two kids on base. Here are some pictures of the celebrations and the wedding we attended.

Diana put up a the Happy Birthday banner for me!
borrowed a mosquito net to keep those nasty things away
Pamoja celebrating Danny's first birthday
I caught a baby gecko! Seriously look how tiny it is
Ben Feser celebrating Australia day with a watermelon hat!
Selfie with the Pamoja crew- Natasha, Martina, Me, Justin, and Angela :D
Some of the Pamoja staff at Florah's wedding send-off
Wedding day!
Bride and Groom- I think Tanzanians don't smile so much in formal events to be more respectful 
All the single missionary ladies plus Natasha Feser :)
In between days, I have also had the chance to go to town and market more often now. Even though I’m barely conversational in Swahili, it’s good to immerse myself in the environment and become more familiar with the sounds of the language. This past Saturday I even went with Pamoja to an absolutely stunning waterhole! It had a rope swing where you could swing yourself into the water. IT WAS AWESOME. Unfortunately, I cut my foot on one of the rocks and got it mildly infected for half a day- oops. But thanks to Polysporin it’s all better now so don’t freak out mom and dad.

check out this bomb diggity waterhole
In the middle of nowhere
Lucy and I
That white blob is me swinging into the waterhole
In the midst of all this, I have been frequently reminded of the best reason to celebrate no matter what- because compared to the constant hope we have in Christ, life is merely the appetizer for the infinitely better kingdom to come. And when groups of people work together in anticipation for that hope, beautiful things happen. Greater purpose gives us greater reason to love, hope, and rejoice deeply.

Margaret Mead, an American cultural anthropologist once said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” Communities such as Pamoja are a testament to the impact such a small group of people can have when we work together for a greater purpose. With a company of less than 20, we are creating the first Swahili animations for children, filming 26 episodes of Swahili puppet shows, printing a series of 13 financial literacy comic books that will be distributed all throughout East Africa, animating 6.5 hours worth of the financial literacy curriculum, and screening our Swahili movies and musicals all over Tanzania!!! And the response I have seen has been overwhelmingly positive. Praise the Lord indeed ☺

progress! The color comics are coming together
Shiner became part of the experimental process in dyeing cloth for the puppets
Sarah and Raha :D
Lastly, prayer requests for this week/month include:

Efficiency and smooth workflow: We are all very busy juggling multiple projects, which is particularly difficult in a different country. Please pray for less unexpected problems, grace when importing materials/going through customs, and fresh bursts of creativity.

Strengthened community: With things getting busier, it’s also easy to forget the importance of community or become impatient for each other. Even though I think we’ve been doing a good job of looking out for each other and reminding ourselves of our purpose here, please continue to pray that we would be able to maintain a positive attitude towards each other.

More cultural/language growth: Thank you for all your prayers last time about my growing culturally! I am now able to understand a fair amount of children’s televisions shows, and have been venturing out more. However, I would still like to be much better at Swahili than I am right now (I have the talking level similar to that of a 2 year old), and I would like to go out into town more. This is difficult because of such long workdays, but I hope to have more chances to push myself out of my comfort zone on the weekends, and maybe even weeknights.

My first view of Kilimanjaro at a Nipe Jibu showing :)
Con tanto amore,

p.s. I got twists in my hair today with pink tips! so now I look like a rasta girl. But that will be a post for next time ;)

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