Expect the Unexpected…..

I believe I mentioned that Paul and I both caught colds after we arrived. Paul was able to rally pretty quickly from his, but I was not as lucky. It is never fun to be sick, but of course not having your own bed and surroundings can make it a little more difficult. I’m happy to report that I am on the upside, but sad that I have missed some events while Paul’s Mom and Dad were here.

We are still staying in the motel as work continues on the bathroom addition.

The start of the new bathroom…updates to come!

We both smiled as we came back to our room one day to find this loving pair of towels on our bed. I will miss that when we move into our house or I will have to figure out how to make them. 🙂

Swan Towels

I missed church while I was sick, so I missed the celebration to honor Paul’s Mom & Dad. I was able to watch the video of all the singing and dancing to honor those that have come so far and were leaving too soon.

I was able to make a visit to the Ursuline Sisters of St. Francis that run a primary School.  The power was off the evening we went to visit, so I do not have any good pictures or video of the children  greeting us, but it was amazing. We arrived about 6:45 African time (this means, we were suppose to be there at 6:45, but got there about 7:15). The school is a girls schools, but the orphanage allows boys. The whole school of about 80 or so children had prepared a program, with one days notice I might add. There was much singing and dancing, and a bouquet of flowers given to each of us. We had to make a little speech after the program. All the schools teach English, so communicating with the youth is not difficult. As we left the building, all the children wanted to shake our hands or just touch us. I have to admit that felt a little strange. I’m not used to being in the minority and I hate being the center of attention, but it feels like it is something I will have to get used to for our time here and for my next story..

The first time I was here, 12 years ago we had an extra day so our team joined Paul’s Mom and Dad’s team to visit an area called Bwiko. It is about 2 hours from where we are staying. Many years ago, Father Manseutus purchased this land to allow farming and sustainability for families. The land is near the Pangani river which provided a means to figure out some kind of irrigation for the fields. With the help of Paul’s Dad they were able to do this many years ago and since then many have moved to this area to become farmers. We were also visiting today to initiate a new fish pond. This will provide fresh Tiliapia for those in the community and to sell in the market. When we arrived we were greeted by a group of Maasai women. Maasai are known for their nomadic living, but in this changing world, they are becoming less that way and in fact there are a few Maassi families that have become farmers. They are also great singers and dancers. We had a big ceremony for the opening of the pond, a big meal and presents were given. I even danced! (sorry, video was not working). There was lots of smiles and laughter.

Bwiko Farmland – Papayas

The Maasai honor Babu Ernst

Paul and his Dad at Pangani River, Bwiko

Washing Day at Pangani River – Cloths drying in the trees!

Paul’s Mom & Dad were able to do a short safari in a park that is close by, Mkomazi National Park. We were suppose to join them, but I was still under the weather. Although not the Serengeti, the entrance was very close to the Motel and there were lots of giraffes! We may try to go before our time is up.

We said good-bye to Chuck and Pat today and so now we will have to learn to play two-handed Euchre! It was nice to have the company and share these first couple of weeks with them.

For all my Minneapolis/St Paul friends and family – Have fun with all the Super Bowl activities – or NOT!






10 Replies to “Expect the Unexpected…..”

    • Chris Carr

      Your adventure already sounds so exciting and I look forward to reading more of your travels! If anything terribly crazy happens in downtown Minneapolis during the Super Bowl, I’ll let you know. 🙂 Keep up the good fight, Laura!

  1. Lin Carlson

    Laura and Paul,
    Great to be able to follow your experiences in Tanzania. It reminds me of our group volunteer work a dozen years ago in the Same area. Many special experiences. Laura, sorry about your cold. I remember arriving at the Hotel with a cold and not knowing what to do with all my used tissues. A solvable problem.

  2. Bill Linder-Scholer

    Laura and Paul,
    So great to hear from you and of your adventures so far. This Gap year idea is a terrific opportunity, and you seem headed for extraordinary experiences. We’re looking forward to following along.

    Bill and LeAnn


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