I have been away for 31 months.
A year turned into two turned into …forever?
When I look back to when I started this blog, as I was preparing to come to Tanzania, or when I see my “timehop” posts from a few years back I can’t believe the time has passed.
I’ve heard it said that you can spend a week in a foreign country and write a book, spend a month and you can write a solid blog, spend more than a year and you can hardly write a sentence. Sometimes this is how I feel.
I was chatting with a long-termer who lives in Tanzania and has a blog I enjoy reading. She said it took her years to even get started. That gives me a bit more hope that maybe the best is yet to come.
Day in, day out, Tanzania has become home. I wake up every morning I make some eggs and my coffee in the french press. I cook my dogs porridge. I say goodbye to my husband. I get dressed and ready for the day in our tiny single room house. I lock up with the padlock we place on the outside of our door and walk the 5 minutes to Neema, greeting my neighbors sitting outside on the way.
I arrive at Neema and greet everyone individually in their age appropriate Swahili greetings. I peak into each of the rooms to seem babies laughing, crying, sleeping, or playing. It’s almost always loud. I open my mouth to speak and 90% of the time Swahili comes out. Sometimes I try to speak English and Swahili still comes out. The challenges of learning language I suppose. The hardest is when things don’t really translate from Swahili to English and I cannot for the life of me think of substitutes. Who would have thought I could get to this point without any schooling? I am thankful.
Sometime in the afternoon, depending on the work of the day, I head back home. All the kids are home from school usually and I am greeted by upwards of 20 “Shikamoo Aunty!”. (Shikamoo is the greeting of respect for those older than you). I’ve found I have many nieces and nephews now, as Dickson’s family is huge (he’s one of 11), and even all the neighbor children call me Aunty. My favorite so far is the youngest child of my neighbors to the front. She is perhaps 16 months old and has started to mimic the older children shooting “Aut-y Aut-y” every time I pass.
I unlock my house and sit on my bed with the door open. The entryway is covered by a curtain, as per the norm here in Tanzania. A closed door means no one is home or someone is sleeping. Or perhaps if it is raining or very chilly that day. I do some work on the computer and then start thinking about what to make for dinner. When your bedroom, kitchen, sitting room, ect is all in one room your space for meal prep is very limited.
Dickson comes home around 4 and gets ready for school. He started English courses to improve his writing and tenses, and so Monday – Friday he is in class from 6-8:30 pm. It is still funny how much “Swa-glish” (Swahili/English) was speak. I know when I go look in his eyes I’ve never known love like this. How two people can so perfectly complement each other, despite having come from two drastically different places.
We dream about the future. We dream and plan for the building of our home. We talk about after that’s finished. We want to start a school. He’s passionate about giving all children opportunities, our hearts missions are intertwined.
Every day I feel my roots grow deeper and deeper here. This is home. This is my family now, and it is growing! But that does not mean I do not miss all of you back stateside. Pray with us that someday we will be able to visit the States together. My prayer is that within 2 years, we will make the trip as a family. As soon as our house is finished (only about $1500 away!) we will begin saving for plane tickets. Pray for favor in fiances and, for when the time comes, favor for Dickson’s visa.