Monday, March 29, 2010

Day 5 – Bags of Blessings

Today we started out by going to the Masai market – a kind of street bazaar – where your bargaining skills would make the difference between leaving with no money or just a little. The kids learned, from Juma, that one asks what the “standard” price is and then cuts it in half for a counter offer. This back and forth offer-to-buy and offer-to-sell continues as the buyer acts as if he or she is giving their last Schilling away. Essentially everything can be bought for 40% off, but the barter is a long necessary part of the purchasing process. Oh, and whatever you do, don’t ask what the price of something is if you don’t intend to buy; you’ll be forced to go through the entire process without the ability to leave the store. Armed with the rules of the game, the kids put on their poker faces and dove into the shops.

Returning to the UAACC laden with trinkets of ebony, we continued our planning with another meeting with Juma. We’ve learned so much in such a short time and will be meeting with the Tanzanian lawyer this Tuesday. Juma also learned that the land adjacent to our current property can be purchased which would give us an additional two acres. This truly is an exciting development because our vision is to have a true Tanzanian working family home.

While there are plenty of institution type charities, our plan is to emulate the Tanzanian domestic culture as much as possible while providing a nurturing environment to those without families of their own - this mean as much self-sustaining as possible. Additional land would allow for the raising of chickens, cows, fish ponds, and agriculture as well as a playground…we’re excited!

Now this part is for the grandmother’s…

A 15ft, 100lb Python wrapped around the necks of your grandchildren. Such a sweet and cuddly pet!

The highlight of our day was when we headed to join the children and proceed to hand deliver the “Bags of Blessings!” As soon as we were in sight, many of them started running toward us to give us our treasured hugs…while running toward us they began singing “Making Melodies in my heart”, (the song we had taught them). What a joy to hear their beautiful voices! Mwajambo (the director) had all of the children sit down so that we could hand each one of them their bag filled with goodies.

It was so impressive to watch as the children sat quietly waiting until the last bag was handed out. In the States, it would have gone a little differently! As they began opening their bags we tried to capture it all on film.

There is no way we can truly capture the Joy that each child possessed. One boy in particular had such a contagious Joy on his sweet face that it pierced right into our hearts and brought tears to our eyes.

We sat watching them and playing with them, and quickly realized that even though we gave them the bag as a gift, it was truly our hearts that had received the blessing today!

Praise God for eyes that can see!


  1. The pictures of the children are beautiful! I am so impressed with how much you are able to see and do... both from a tourist perspective and mission perspective. Additional land? That is exciting. Praying that you continue to stay safe and enjoy the children there in TZ.


  2. Hey everyone! I've been out of it for a few days, out camping with the pathfinders in the "wilderness" of Mt. Dora. Sounds like you all are in the real wilderness.

    Seeing the pics of you all with those kids makes me think of what Mother Teresa said: "The dying, the crippled, the mental, the unwanted, the unloved they are Jesus in disguise."

    I'm so happy you are all having such a rich experience. Perhaps next year our mission trip can be to Tanzania!

    You're in my thoughts every day.


  3. Everyday seems to bring a new and exciting adventure. Cute snake, not that pretty though,(Livy, you don't look like you're holding it, not afraid were you?) so don't bring it home, then I'll have to take care of it when you're away. The shopping sounds like it would be fun for dad but not me, I hate hagling. It seems the children are already attached to you all as you are to them. It's exciting that the property next to you is available. Hope you have a pleasant sleep. I love you

  4. Alli & Autumn want a sweet & cuddly pet! Can you hook them up??
    Beautiful children and your description of the moment when they were all running to you singing was enough to choke me up. I'm sure experiencing it must have been a true blessing that day!
    Love and prayers!

  5. did I miss the darling snake before? I am checking out the pics for the 10th time and stumbled on that snake pic that I overlooked! At least the snakes Paul handled as a kid were much smaller....Grampa Bob is hoping that you do not bring that thing home for us to babysit when you are gone! Lots of love to all of you...thank you for blessing us with your experiences. The pics are amazing & we're in love with Africa. You are making it real for us.