Do you have people that work for you?

In our compound of seven HOPAC teachers we have six workers on our payroll. There are many reasons for this. First, we employ 4 guards for our gate (2 day guards, 2 night guards) that rotate so there is always one on duty. If we did not have a guard presence the odds of being robbed are dramatically increased. Second, everything takes longer to do in Africa. Cooking and cleaning take forever. We only have so much time and in order to devote more time to our work at school we hired a lady called Mama Mwazo to clean our place once a week (and she comes to our compound another two days to clean the other two houses). It is really to fun to get to know our workers and practice our Swahili with them (and we help them with their English). It is also nice know we can help them out economically by providing them with a stable job that pays over the average income for Tanzanians, and includes one month’s vacation and severance pay.

We want to emphasize that it is weird and somewhat uncomfortable to have people working for us. Yet, it is the cultural norm for any middle to upper class person (and being from America, despite our missionary status, that is who we are) living in Tanzania to employ people to work for them. If you did not, people would want to know why you were not providing jobs for people who needed them and why you didn’t trust the people to be welcomed in your home. Simply, it is a cultural difference between Africa and the West.

What do you miss about home?

We miss our church. The more we travel around the world, the more we realize that although there are many churches similar to Sanctuary Covenant Church in spirit and theology, there are very few that are able to offer the unique style of corporate worship that SCC does. Obviously, we are fine adjusting to our surroundings and know that SCC wouldn’t be as relevant here in Dar as they are in North Minneapolis, however you asked us what we miss, and the answer is just being with our home church, hearing Sherry Jones belt it, bouncing on a hip hop Sunday, or encouraging Efrem to preach it please.

Do the people speak with that clicking and popping sort of language?

Absolutely not. They speak Swahili. Swahili means the people of the coast and the language is influenced by people groups that settled in on the East African coast. So the language is Bantu in its base and influenced by the Portuguese, Arabs, and English.

Brandon, are you starving over there?

The quick answer to this question is absolutely not. The food is really good. There are a few western grocery markets in Dar es Salaam with most things you can get at stores in the States (for the same price for the most part, a few items like cheese are more expensive.) But the best part is that Tanzanian food is quite good. I have had countless chipotes (flat bread cooked in oil), chips mayaa (a french fry omlete), and pilalau (a rice and meat dish).

What are you living accommodations like?

We live in a spacious two level house that resides inside a compound with two other such houses lived in by other HOPAC teachers.

Here are the House Statistics:

Bedrooms: 3 (two master bedrooms and a smaller one)

Bathrooms: 4

The roof is flat and serves as our deck with views overlooking the Indian Ocean.

Also has a large living area, kitchen and dinning room.

Electricity: Yes

Hot water: Yes

Rent: $650/month

The house is too big for the two of us (especially coming from a one bedroom apartment), but it is a middle class home and we’ve come to be more comfortable in it.

How do you get around?

We walk or get a ride. We live across the street from the school so the walk isn’t too long. The school does have cars available to us if we need them. Otherwise we can always take the Dala Dala (aka the bus). The bus is always crowded and cramped and its an adventure, but it is a cheap and effective way to get around the city. Considering there are only 3 or 4 paved roads in and out of the city (for a city of roughly 3 million people), traffic in Dar is terrible. So trips into the center of the city need to be avoided (but really can’t be).

How can we be praying for you?

Please continue to pray that we would connect well with our students and fellow teachers and pray that God would give us the creativity, patience, and an inspiration to do our jobs well.

Please thank God for finally bringing Brandon’s paperwork through making him a legal teacher in Tanzania. This happened at the end of September.

Please pray for our Swahili. We both want to continue our learning of the language, and we pray that we can become efficient Swahili speakers. Thank you for your prayers.

Please pray for safety in traveling. It is a different mentality for driving here, sometimes it can be quite scary!

Please pray against homesickness during the Christmas season when we would love to be with our family. Pray that our break from school would be relaxing and that we would have a great time exploring different parts of Tanzania.