First Impressions

We have to admit that our first few days in Tanzania were a little rough. Aside from jetlag, we were challenged by our arrival during the rainy season (thanks mom for the rain boots; christie and don for the rain jacket), a lack of running water (except what was falling from the sky), numerous power outages, bumpy roads that mangle your internal organs, and random creatures in our house. Admittedly, there were a few moments where, in silent spousal communication, we asked each other, “What have we done?” For me, this moment came when I realized that the internet speed is similar to what Americans experienced in 1995.

Soon, however, there was a turning point, starting with the water truck that arrived to fill our empty tanks. In the morning, the sun came out and…wow, our house looks way cuter in the sun than it does in the rain! We’ve learned that the locals are extremely friendly, so it is always a pleasure to interact with them. There are rumors of “polite thieves” who steal your purse then throw out your passport as they are running away.

Our House

On the map, our house looks like it is on a major street. That’s true, even though it is a pot-holed dirt road. There is a surprising amount of activity outside the walls of our property. Just one block from our house is a shopping plaza, a grocer, a flower shop and Msasani Bay. At first, our surroundings were unfamiliar and uncomfortable, but watching the activity from our balcony yesterday, I realized that despite first appearances, the landscape was quite beautiful. The movement of cars, bikes, and people seems choreographed.

Matt just outside the gate of our house

Every place we have visited is like a treasure. From the road, restaurants and shops are humble and discreet. You might not even know they are there unless someone points them out. When you enter, you are surprised with the rich character (and good food) inside. For example, the Slipway Club is in the photo above, just over Matt’s right shoulder. Once you get past the parking lot, it is paradise:

The Slipway Club

We still have a lot of adjustments to make before we can call this place home. For one, we are still waiting on our air cargo and household effects. Secondly, I am not quite resigned to the fact that I will have 365 bad hair days this year. Matt is coping in his own way by declaring war on the bugs that live (or lived) in the house. And, we have a lot of work to do on our Swahili and left-hand side driving skills. All things in time.

Psalm 7:1. Lord my God, in you I put my trust.