Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The smell of diesel

I remember in one of my college business classes talking about brand names that become synonymous with broader categories (there's a proper term that I can't remember, must have missed that question on the final). You know, like instead of saying photocopy we say Xerox. Or we ask for a Kleanex instead of a tissue. Perhaps some Koolaid to drink, or maybe you'd like a Coke in the south (even if you mean a Dr. Pepper, or Mountain Dew, or RC Cola, to name my favorites). What do you use after a boo-boo? A band-aid. For you in the younger crowd... ever drink from a non-nalgene Nalgene? Or listen to an ipod that's not made by Apple?

In Tanzania, gas stations are known as 'Sheli's'. Very often, English words are Swhiliized by changing the spelling a bit and adding an 'i' to the end. Like baiskeli (bicycle), televesheni (television), or kluchi (clutch). So to hear a gas station called a 'sheli' seemed to make perfect sense. But for a year we've traveled throughout Tanzania, and not until today in Nairobi after seeing an actual Shell station did I realize that I've never seen a single Shell station in Tanzania. From Dar Es Salaam to Morogoro to Moshi to Iringa to Arusha, we've never seen a Shell. There's Gapco, Oilcom, Oryx, Tiot, even BP, but no Shells! And yet, gas stations are referred to as Sheli. Weird, huh?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Barber Shop

Where does President-elect Barak Obama get his ever so presidential haircut?

At the Obama Hair Cut Saloon of course!

Monday, December 22, 2008

And we bid adieu

Mike and Lisa are on their way home. We were sad to say goodbye, but soooo thankful for their visit. Thank you Church at Tatesbrook for lending these two to us. They were a joy to us and to Tanzania. We love you guys and hope you make it home safely!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Intracontinental Travels

I wish I could say this was a rare and exciting sighting, like a rhino or something. But no, this is just everyday life. It's times like these when we love our home in Tanzania. Some things just never get old!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

They're here

Check out the world travelers!
We've gladly welcomed Mike and Lisa to their new homes for a couple weeks, and we even rolled out the red carpet by having the electricity cut this morning! Mike and Lisa are sharing with our group of college student m's before they return to the States. Pray for open sharing and coolness!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Rally Time

To our surprise, Morogoro hosted a rally car race.

Curious indeed, we read the posters that were up months in advance, and come race day we were pleasantly surprised to be able to see cars racing through our local streets, up into the mountains, and back across speed bumps and all. What was interesting was to watch the cars on their time trials, and while they had clear roads at the beginning as they left town, the return trip housed roads peppered with cars and buses, which the drivers then dodged as they raced for the best time. Another fun moment came when a car rushed down the first stretch, hit and held the first turn at full speed, and then abruptly turned left into a gas station and came to a halt to, well, fill up with gas. Too funny. As far as we know, no spectators were crushed or trampled, but they only narrowly escaped a few times!

Monday, December 8, 2008

What's going on?

We've been busy these days. It's a good busy, but also a tiring busy. Last week, the students at Mzumbe had a week long break from academics. To our delight, one of our friends at school planned a youth retreat in which he invited 30+ high school students from the city and surrounding to go to a camp in the mountains and spend a week in prayer and Bible study. He invited me (M) to come up and teach a little, so naturally I went and played games, getting the students to act out Bible stories, which they did a great job with.

About a week ago, the international school in Morogoro hosted a Christmas pageant, which was a pleasure to watch. We were able to watch some kids as they acted out the parts of shepherds, angels, mary, joseph, and all, and we enjoyed some Christmas carols played by the local international crowd on everything from guitars to flutes to trumpets. It was nice to feel a part of the Christmas season even though everything around us is so different from what we're used to!

One day my car was pretty slow to start, so after consulting a friend and checking the battery voltage, I decided to go to town to buy a new car battery. After a process of charging and filling with water, etc, we install the new battery on the side of the road in town. But the car doesn't start. So a short discussion ensues, which I mostly ignore b/c it's in my second language and would take waaaay too much brainpower to keep up with. Then one of my friends, a local mechanic, begins to climb into the driver seat of my car, telling me he's going to "shtua" the car. I sort of shrug as another guy yells in swahili that "Michael is able to 'shtua' the car." At which point I began to frantically think, "what in the world is 'shtua'?!?" So my friend climbs out and hands me the keys and says "can you 'shtua' it?" Again, I rack my brain for this funny sounding word, but I say "Sure... but what is 'shtua'?" He sort of laughs a nervous laugh as if to say, "I have no idea how to explain 'schtua' to this crazy foreigner who obviously knows nothing about cars." I then climb in the car, still whirring my mind for a memory of such a word, but quickly realize that I have no more time for that. A crowd of about 10 Tanzanians has gathered at the front of my car with hands on the hood and they begin to push me backwards into oncoming traffic. Thankfully, I gave up on trying to figure out this new word through language thoughts and instead rationally realized that I'd better throw it in reverse, turn the key, and roll start this car right now!! Seconds later, I 'shtuaed' the car to the delight of my new group of friends.

Oh, and always remember to keep a respectable Dress Cod. Your fish should not offend others.