February 7, 2010
I came up with a strategy for going to sleep. I played Mahjong on my laptop until I couldn't keep my eyes open.
You know, yesterday I accomplished something. I made is all the way to Africa. All by myself.
I was waiting for something to go wrong, but it all went so well! It was a fantastic trip.
My room is infested with ants.
This morning we are going to a church here in Dar. It will be my first time attending an African church. It is SO humid here in Dar Es Salaam. It was raining earlier even though it was still sunny... and there was a rainbow :)
Five days until I turn 20. I'm still a teenager!
They say I'm getting a bad first impression of Tanzania, because so far everything we have done has been very nice. This is like a mini-vacation for them, so we have eaten at restaurants, visited a very wealthy friend in his nice house, and rode in his NICE car. Nicer than anything I'll drive in my whole life. I've been getting to know them though, so that's good.
This morning, we went to the church of Baba Askofu's best friend. First, we went into a small room and met all the church leaders, then sat as they spoke to one another in Swahili for a while. Leisha and Leah says that this happens a lot: sitting in on conversations where you have no idea what is being discussed.
The service was in an outside pavilion-like structure. There was probably more music than there was preaching, and there were probably more people at first in the "choir" than in the congregation.
They danced as they sang. Like that is how God moves in their spirit. And it made me so excited to be here.
(There's distant singing outside right now as the sun is setting. Like there was in Addis.)
During the sermon, their friend Kongoye translated for me. I like him a lot. He spent the rest of the day with us. The sermon was about God's "special grace" being for all people, and being a gift that cannot be earned. Babies walked around in frilly little dresses, their mothers dressed in bright colors.
After church, we were greeted by so many people. Every person here greets so graciously. I need to learn more Swahili.
I already feel like I've been here a long time. It's also only 7:00, and I really want to go to sleep, but I know that would prevent me from sleeping through the night.
After church, we rode in the fancy car to a friend's very nice house. He is a pastor, very wealthy, and will not financially support the ministries in Dodoma, yet he shows great hospitality. We watched American E! tv on his large plasma satellite tv. How crazy.. We were served some very good African food, then after this, we drove for a while to a plush outdoor restaurant, where we were expected to eat again. I played games with Leisha and Leah, and had fun laughing with them.
So far in my journaling, I think I've been very matter-of-fact. Just writing down what has happened, without having much time to reflect on it. Usually I'm a lot more insightful..
I guess, a lot of Americans who come to places like this experience culture shock, and to them the way of life here exists outside of reality. A lot of things stand out to them because it's just not something they've witnessed before. I guess maybe I'm more culturally aware.. Perhaps. Not to sound big headed, I just don't think like the average American. At least I try not to. I love the way life is done here. It should be more like this for me.
For some reason, I am still in this mode where I am anticipating getting on an airplane very soon. My mind keeps behaving like I'm on the very end of my time here, which is very opposite of reality. But I just rode 8 planes in 5 days, so I'm still a little brain-washed.
I keep wondering how I will be feeling in a week or two. Will I want time to pass faster or slower? What about my birthday.. should I just pretend to skip it?
Time for sleep.