Saturday, November 2, 2013

Greetings from Tanzania!

Hello! Or as I am now saying in Tanzania, "Habari Jioni" (Good Evening). So, the reason you haven’t heard from me before now is I’ve had no Internet. I’m staying with Eric and Liz Soard—really cool people, by the way—and for the first time in a long time, their usually reliable Internet service is out. Not just in their house, but for the whole town. Actually not just for their town, but for the whole country of Tanzania. In fact, one time all of East Africa had no Internet because somebody cut a cable in Cairo, Egypt! Such is life in a developing nation. Eric and Liz have had no running water for two months now. Again, it’s not just them but the whole town. Fortunately, the Soards have a well in their front yard. So we go out to the well, fill buckets with water, and bring them into the house. We take showers by heating water on the stove, pouring it into a bucket, taking the bucket into the bathroom, and then pouring the water over ourselves. (It’s actually not bad!) We keep pitchers of water by all the sinks to wash our hands. We keep large buckets of water in the bathrooms to flush the toilets. The trip over here was better than I thought. From Atlanta to Amsterdam I had an exit row seat, on the aisle--lots of legroom. From Amsterdam to Dar Es Salaam, I was stuck in the back of the plane, in the middle, where I had to wake people up to go the bathroom…but I survived. Once I got through customs and walked out of my airport, my hotel shuttle driver was standing right there with a sign that said, "CLAUDE KAYLER." The next day (Wednesday)was a bit more interesting. I got to the airport to catch my domestic flight from Dar to Mwanza. I went to check in and discovered that completely unbeknownst to me or my hosts the flight time had been changed to 4:25 pm. And I was scheduled to preach in Mwanza at 4 pm! I called Eric and said, "Is there any other way I can get to you faster?" And he said, "The only other way is to buy a ticket on another airline." So that's exactly what I did. Yes, it cost me money (although not near as much as a similar ticket in America), but after traveling for 24 hours and 8,000 miles, I was NOT going to miss this opportunity! So I went back to the airline I was booked on and asked for my bag back. Then I went to the desk of the airline that had a 2:10 flight and asked to buy a ticket. But they would only accept cash! And I did not have enough Tanzanian cash to pay for a plane ticket. Defeated, I turned around and started to walk away. But then the lady called after me: "You can use a credit card if you pay online." Excited, I got out my computer and tried to log on to the airport's wifi. But alas, I could not get on--you had to have a Tanzanian cell phone number. My American one has too many digits. Defeated, I got ready to call Eric and tell him I couldn't make it. But then somebody told me about an Internet cafe outside the airport! But I had a very hard time leaving the airport. They don't let you in AT ALL without a passport and an airline ticket. So you can't walk into the airport and just leave again. You either get on a flight and fly away, or you are coming off a flight through the departure gate. The security guards did not understand why I wanted to leave, and it took me awhile to explain. But they finally let me out, and I got to the Internet Cafe, and I used my credit card to buy a ticket on "Fastjet" airline, and I got to Mwanza, and I attended one of the best worship services I've ever been to (in a simple tin building), and I preached (with Eric translating), and then the people sang--and it was some of the best singing I've ever heard--and after the service the people greeted me with smiles and love, and then I met with the leaders to learn about their church--and they asked me questions about mine--and when I went to bed that night, I was very, very happy. On Thursday we drove the four and a half hours to Tarime, where Eric and Elizabeth live and work. Eric took me to the place where I'll be doing the teaching, then drove me out of Tarime to one of the churches he started. He also showed me the orphanage where he and Liz first worked as volunteers, where they fell in love with Tanzania, and felt a call to stay here as full-term missionaries. Then he showed me the High School that he and Liz started (!!!) Can you believe that? These people were 25 and 24 years old when they did this! On Friday, Eric took me to visit with the leaders of two churches, so that I could learn about the context where I'll be teaching. The leaders also enjoyed asking me questions about our ministry at Covenant! Today (Saturday) I took a walk around Tarime. I was the only white person for miles around, and quite an oddity. School children shouted English phrases at me: "Hello! How are you? I am fine, thank you!" After my walk and a wonderful pour-over bath, Eric took me to visit another church. Right now we're sitting at a restaurant in Tarime that has Internet through a different company than the Soards -- and that's why I'm able to post. But notice that no matter how hard I've tried, I absolutely cannot put paragraph breaks in this post!! More later...


  1. Claude - GREAT to hear from you. Your trip is so exciting and I look forward to hearing more!

  2. Greetings to you!! This is so exciting!! Stay safe!!