Sunday, February 22, 2015

Language School Life



Close up view of the river
We have just finished up our second week of language school and I have a brief moment to take a breath and catch up with a blog post.  Language learning plus homeschooling plus an infant plus normal life has kept us very busy. 

Surprising, right?

Our language school is in the area of Iringa, which is in the highlands of Tanzania.  The area is a very different environment from our few weeks in Dar es Salaam.  Dar is a coastal city and was very sunny, hot and humid.  In Iringa we are right on a river.  The area is lush, green, rains almost every day (it is rainy season after all) and has very temperate, almost cool temperatures.  
Our house


We live and attend class at a camp site facility called River Valley.  There are several different style housing options from one room tents to small houses.  We are in a small house that has two rooms and an attached bathroom.  While it is still a little cramped, we are thankful for the extra space after spending our three weeks in Dar in one small room.
An old Landrover- Caleb's favorite part of the playground



The greatest asset of our location is truly the outdoor space.  The location here is extremely beautiful.  There are wide lawns, a fun playground, large rocks to climb and numerous trails to hike.  The boys have had a blast exploring and playing with their friends from the other family attending school with us.
Camp from above

 
Each morning we start our day with breakfast in the dining hall.  Our meals are prepared for us and have been quite tasty.  After breakfast, David and I spend the entire morning in Swahili class while the boys play outside. 

Lunch is at 1:30 and after lunch the boys spend a couple of hours catching up on their homeschool work.  They have also started taking Swahili class themselves twice a week in the afternoon. 

In the afternoons, David and I try to get some studying done as well as other normal life things. Dinner is at 6:30 and our days ends back at the house around 8:00 or so.
A view from up high




Weekends, the meals are the same, but we do not have class.  So far, we have spent our weekends hiking, studying and resting.  Last Sunday, we attended an English speaking international church.  It was exciting to meet with the body of Christ and see God’s work here in Tanzania.   
Sharing a Coke with Esther


While this schedule seems tidy and doable, having an infant adds an additional level of difficulty.  Esther has not really settled into a clear routine yet.  She is able to nap in our house while we are in class, but her naps are often short.  I find myself leaving class fairly often to care for her.  On top of this, she spends at least a couple hours each night exercising her lungs by crying loudly.  Hopefully as she gets a little bit older (she just turned 4 months), this will smooth out a bit.  Until then, it’s a good thing she is cute.  

We hope you have enjoyed this sneak peek into language school life.  Stay tuned for more including posts on the wildlife (not the kids), language and culture and whatever other adventures come our way.  





The Beauty of God's Creation never ceases to inspire.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Oriented


Our three weeks of orientation are coming to an end here in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, so it must be a good thing we are feeling quite oriented. 

David and Caleb heading out to snorkel
We are physically oriented.  Our bodies have caught up from the 8 hour time difference and we are becoming a little more accustomed to the African heat...though we are looking forward to cooler temps in Iringa (the location of language school).

We are emotionally/socially oriented.  Our orientation group has come together well.  We went through the orientation with one other family (that has four boys all around our boys' ages) and three single ladies.  We look forward to continuing onward with this group as we will be together through the next three months of language school. 

The beauty of God's creation never ceases to amaze.
We are ministry oriented.  While some of it was a review of things we learned while living in Mozambique for a year, all of it will be useful to strengthen our service in Mbeya.   

Some of the topics we covered included health issues living in Africa, types of transportation, Tanzanian history and culture, multi-cultural teams and much, much more.  

One of the new (for us) topics covered was the specific need for Bible translation in Uganda and Tanzania and the work being done by the Uganda-Tanzania branch to fulfill this need.  We are excited to get to Mbeya (after our three month stop at language school) to be a part of supporting this work!

Nathan practiced swimming so he can snorkel in the future.
We are spiritually oriented.  God has used this orientation season to turn our hearts toward Him.  He has graciously answered prayers (friends for the boys!) and has spurred once again a new excitement about being used by Him for His Kingdom's work.  

There have been many challenges during this season (all five of us living in one room!), but He has strengthened us and faithfully walked through the challenges with us.  We are never alone! 
While we spent our weekdays becoming oriented through classes, tours of the city and other various things, we were able to relax a bit on the weekends.  The pictures above are from one Saturday when we were able to travel by boat to a local island and spent the day there. 

One cute beach bum
  Nathan practiced his swimming while Esther practiced being a beach bum.  David and Caleb were able to do some snorkeling and saw HUGE starfish and sea urchins amongst other things.  God continues to amaze us through His creation. 

And now that we are feeling a bit more oriented, perfect time to move on to the next big transition... Swahili language school. 

The adventure begins tomorrow with an eight hour bus ride inland toward the highlands.  We will be there for three months and I will do my best to update you once we are oriented to being there.
 Thankful for rest in the midst of a busy time and excited for the adventure to come!





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