Arusha Unfolds Saturday March 13, 2010

This morning for the first time since I arrived, I saw Arusha. When I arrived here it was night and today was the first offered excursion. I didn’t know what to expect because the grounds and facilities here at the school have been so different than any other area I have been in Africa. As we pulled out of the campus gate onto the road I realized immediately it was nothing like the campus, because the first thing I saw was a man carrying a load of stalks of some sort on his head. Then there were the children minding the cows on the side of the roads and women walking with all sorts of things on their heads. As we drove by field after field there were workers bent over in the heat of the day working diligently.

The drive to the town of Arusha was about a half hour from school. No where along the way did I see any huts. Most all of the structures I saw were block or wood and a power line ran along the highway. It was clear that this area is more advanced than Busia. When we arrived in town and departed the bus, we were bombarded with local people hassling us to buy their goods. This has been the case everywhere I’ve been and I must admit it is not a pleasant experience. You don’t want to be rude, but there will be 4 or 5 at one time surround you.

The bus dropped us off at the book shop as most of us needed books for school. As I was going in a young man introduced himself as Robert. He had some things he wanted me to look at in hopes I would buy something. I told him that I was there to shop for the book I needed for class. He was very polite and told me he would wait for me to finish. For any of you who know me well, you know I have a deep passion for books. To be in a book shop in a different country was amazing, so I thought this guy has no idea how long I will be in this shop. He will be gone when I am finished.

I am sure you have already guessed that when I came out, he hadn’t left. He asked once again for me to look at his paintings, and once again I told him I was not interested. I told him that I was only here to see Arusha and not to shop for anything other than the book I’d just purchased. So, he changed his tactics and decided that I needed someone to protect me.

By this point this young man had been very nice, polite and considerate, and I truly laughed at his persistence. So, I told him that he could walk with me if he would teach me about his culture. He said, “You mean you don’t want to visit any shops for purchases?” I said no, I want to see how people here live and be able to understand more of Africa. I told him what I am doing in Uganda and why the information would be valuable to me. At this point everything changed this young man became a delight and joy to be with.

Now here I am again telling you that this amazing sense of peace and no fear is so a God thing.  Robert took me to the people of Arusha. He protected every step I took from clearing trash or anything I might trip over out the way, to showing me how to wear my sling bag so no one could steal it. He taught me how to tell the difference in a person in need and a person with greed.

He taught me how to look at situations like which Mothers with children need the most help. He helped me understand why there are Mothers on the streets with children. He shared that just like all over the world, a young woman makes a mistake with her boyfriend and finds herself expecting a child. He said when the boyfriend finds out about the child, he leaves the girl. When the baby comes, there are those who come in the beginning, neighbors or someone who knows her circumstance and they help her a few days, then she is left on her on. The days she has help she has regained some strength and she has been given food, but then the food runs out and she finds herself starving. She is not able to produce milk the baby needs and she does the only thing she can do to get some money, which ultimately leads to another child being born. Every street we walked down had homeless Mothers with their babies. Oh, what a helpless feeling it was for me.

In the 3 hours he walked with me and shared about life here, I learned more about the culture, etc than I have since I first began to learn about Africa. I will never forget Robert and I ask that you pray and ask God to bless him and his family for his kindness to me. He and his wife have 2 little boys who are just getting over Malaria, so please pray for them to recover completely.

When I got back on the bus I knew I had just experienced a divine appointment. When we returned back to the campus and began our dinner, I listened as all of these people who were on the same streets I was on never saw the hurting. They talked of the shops and the goods they purchased and my heart broke.

Love to all.

Robert, my guide for Arusha

Arusha National Park & Laundry Sunday March 14,, 2010

I’ve been here 11 days and I’ve just discovered what I miss the most of the material things of home is my washer and dryer. I’ve adjusted well to remembering to bring water from the cafeteria in a container each day that I can brush my teeth with. 11 days and I haven’t turned the tap on yet, so I haven’t had to throw any toothbrushes away! I’ve adjusted to eating potato’s and beans twice a day and have been introduced to some ways of cooking potato’s as well as different kinds of beans so the adjustment hasn’t been too hard. I have adjusted to sleeping in the heat with no air conditioning and because of that I have learned to appreciate the sounds of nature at night. So, thus far I can say there have been good things come from the adjustments. Yet, I just washed 11 days of clothes by hand and tried to find some way to keep them in my tiny bathroom to dry! Now I know that eventually I will have good things come from this too, but just at this moment I just can’t think of any! HaHa

Tonight is the ending of a wonderful weekend. Today 8 of us from different Kiswahili courses took a trip to Arusha National Park which is 20 minutes from the school, and is home to Mount Meru. What an incredible adventure! We spent 6 hours driving through the mountain type roads in the park, it was amazing.  In several different parts of the park you could see Mount Kilimanjaro in all its majesty. So regal above everything else covered in snow.

When my children were growing up we loved to go ride through the mountains on the dirt roads. Especially just above Helen, Georgia where there is a dirt road that is 22 miles. That is exactly what this was like today, beautiful. We saw all kinds of African animals and birds.

Now it’s time to refocus on class for in the morning. As I’ve been writing, I remembered a blessing to the washing clothes by hand that the women of Busia, Uganda do not have. I didn’t have to go get the water from a pump and carry it on my head to bring it back to wash my clothes. I didn’t have to go down to the river where all the animals are and wash my clothes in the same water the animals were in. Most definitely I am not going to complain, I am most blessed.

Mount Meru – Arusha National Park

In the far off distance a snow covered Kilimanjaro – Called the Roof of Africa

Love to all,

Joy Breedlove

Missionary – East Africa