Four Reasons to be Thankful in Tanzania

We barely even knew it was Thanksgiving this past Thursday.  Everyone had to work and go to school, so we opted to celebrate today, a Saturday.  And while family was far away, we found at least one reason to be thankful—a loving church family of brothers and sisters with whom to share our holiday.

The fun part was being able to have them all over to our house.  I can’t say I wasn’t intimidated by the prospect of entertaining 33, but I had tons of help with the food, drinks and cleaning, so we mostly got to enjoy ourselves.  Matt definitely earned husband of the year though.

This pic might be appropriate for one of those caption-writing contests. Here's mine: "Matt Attempts to Retrieve His Husband of the Year Award."

So, here are four reasons we are thankful for our time in Tanzania, counting in Swahili.

Moja.  We love the ability to live a simple life, free of shopping malls, and largely void of products you don’t need (except where one has access to the internet).  Food is nearby; work is nearby.  Distractions are limited.  There is little pressure to dress fashionably, or to dress your kid fashionably (and it wouldn’t matter what you dress your kid in anyway because the locals  ALWAYS think your baby is a boy).

Carolyn...definitely a boy.

Mbili.  Who wouldn’t be thankful to see the Indian Ocean everyday?  Just the sight of water has the ability to calm you when you’re having an “Africa day.”

Tatu.  Food.  No seriously, food.  Ziploc bags.  Broken thermometers.  These are all things that have been salvaged from my trash can by my house boy, Erasto.  Sure, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure, but I can’t help but be humbled by some of the things that Erasto considers valuable.   We pay him a very good wage, and though he definitely does not manage his money well, one tragedy after another seems to befall him.  For many of the locals, tragedy is just a way of life.  It’s almost expected.

Nne.  And lastly, we are thankful to be a part of a gospel-preaching church and to have met some of the most interesting people there.  When we sing and join our voices with other believers from all over the world, we can’t help but be joyful.  The same principle applies to ping pong.

First Annual (and probably last) Thanksgiving Day-ish Ping Pong Tournament. Pictured here is the winner.