Life is Hard
Yesterday, when Randy and I got a little crazy because of the lack of internet, we asked one of the lecturers here to use his cell phone to call our friend Pastor Kumbuka Mwasanguti at Ruanda Parish. Could Kumbuka come and pick us up for a little trip into town to buy a modem for the internet use. Kumbuka can do that because Kumbuka owns a car, unlike the vast majority of the population around here. “Right away,” our friend said. “We’ll meet you by the gate,” we answered.
An hour went by with Randy and me sitting in the sunshine before Kumbuka finally came around the corner. Kumbuka may have a car, but like everything else in Tanzania, doing what we take for granted takes enormous effort here. He had to get his tires checked first. And make sure there was enough gas in the car. And make his way through the miserable traffic jam on the only road in and out of Mbeya. One is mindful of all things around here.
On the ride to the city, Kumbuka was sharing some of the daily inconveniences of his life. “Sometimes the electricty goes off and we don’t know why,” he said. “Sometimes there is no water. Sometimes other things break down, don’t work, make us crazy. Sometimes, I give presentations to people about my two-year stay in the United States and I tell them that when the company shuts down the electricity for a day there, they give 3 months notice. Why can’t that happen here?”
We arrived at the store where we were to get the modem and they had plenty of modems but the system was down so the sim card could not be validated and we were out of luck. At another store the system was fine but they had no more modems left because of a big sale going on the past few days. No modems, no sim card, no internet.
We made the rounds, had a little lunch, tried again, gave up for the day. I am thinking that Tanzanian people must have an enormous capacity for patience and a great tolerance of imperfection. And maybe that is why they pray and worship so fervently all the time. They understand a little bit of what it’s like for God to deal with us. They must.