Last night Pastor John Mwasakilali arrived at our house. He is there to get over the jet lag after traveling 36 hours over three continents from Tanzania. He is also there to transition from his accustomed African way of life to ours. Back home in Tukuyu, John and his wife and children have some farmland, cows, banana trees and live a very rural life. Here, John will be studying for his master’s degree at our Lutheran seminary in Gettysburg. We think of Gettysburg as rural but compared to where John comes from, Gettysburg is downright cosmopolitan with tarmac roads, running water, electricity and the presence of stores for commodities. John said as much at breakfast this morning. “When I tell Westerners about rural village life in Tanzania, they have no idea what that really means.” He is right about that. He can teach us about it while he is here.
But in the meanwhile, we need to help him settle into life in the West with all of its trappings and necessities….like rolls of quarters for washing machines, and microwave safe dishes for the dorm room, a cell phone so he can be contacted and a run through the supermarket to see what looks edible to him. The list is long and complex. As it always is in our world. And we better get started.