A baby’s cry tells of yearning…to be fed, changed, picked up, and understood. A teen’s rebellion tells of yearning…to be seen, accepted, appreciated, and understood. Depression at any age yearns for something…to be at peace, to be included, recognized, and understood. Growing old bears witness to yearning…for forgiveness, patience, better health, understanding.
In one of the creation accounts of the Jewish scriptures God is well-pleased (“and it was good”) with just about everything that God creates and does. But God says, “It is not good that man should be alone.” God creates friends, partners, families…all kind of other humans to build and share relationships, finally sending Jesus to be clear: relationship with God and all of God’s creation is very good.
Below is another intimate email from Tom, our friend, fellow adventurer and pharmacist now serving in Tanzania. Read the details and feel the yearning, yearning to be understood, to share, to connect with some of us “back home” and especially his son, Bob. Reducing fear, inviting new experiences, giving concrete reports about daily life, speaking from the heart of father to son.
Since I (Tom Feldbauser) have been here awhile I can offer you some positive info. Risk of Malaria is pretty low presently (20% reduction reported over last 2 years). I have only heard of 1 case at KLH and that person came from a good distance away. I may not have heard of other cases but I know there have been darn few treatment meds dispensed. I brought 2 full bottles of Deet and almost all of it left because I have only worn Deet twice and that was very soon after I arrived. Since then I realized that I am almost completely covered most days. My entire time here I have only seen 5 Mosquitos and I killed the only 1 ever saw in my home. I have some spiders near my 10 foot ceiling but no ants. Other than the spiders, I usually see less than 3 insects (small flies or other insects) in my home in a day, not counting 1 grasshopper that is almost always present somewhere on a wall.
The Main highway (only have one), from other cities to and through here, is very smooth. Off roads are bumpy but not bad even when riding in older vehicles with sensible drivers. Arusha’s off roads are much worse than Karatu’s in my opinion. I have heard that Dar Salaam has pick pockets and occasionally violent situations, but I have never had any one try to take anything from me, I have not had anything stolen and have never seen any confrontations or even people arguing since I have been here. On very rare occasions I have seen a brief shoving match between boys but it stopped soon and then they both laughed about it. People are respectful here in Karatu – worse I have ever gotten is an occasional odd stare, but I just smile and keep on going. I am the only person living in my 4 bedroom “home”. My bed is comfy and there are 4 more beds with a total of 5 blankets available (3 heavy and 2 lighter). It has 2 American style bathrooms. The water is not guaranteed pure (so I boil it when I want pure water), but it is definitely clean (no color or odor) and very soft. I now have a full tank of propane so I will not run out of cooking gas again. No hot water and only somewhat warm shower water which is very quickly available. I have only lost power twice. My power charging adaptor works fine and my IPad and phone charge at a reasonable rate (iPad charges at least 10% per hour). Only trouble I have had with charging has been trying to charge rechargeable AA batteries. Of course No internet, radio or TV in my home, but I have been in 2 internet available sites and there are more. My internet\Wi-Fi site charges $1.25 per hour use time. That site is only a 12 minute walk (one way). It is a little past the middle of town. In town there are at least 3 stores that sell cell phone and supplies. 2 others that sell computer stuff, but I have not entered them. There are quite a few locations selling time cards for Vodaphone and\or another local phone service provider.
My freezer works well (always 5 or more degrees below freezing even during power failure), but frig does not cool at all. A good variety of fresh vegetables and fruits (tons of each) are available in town. I have been in the “farmers market” (which does have an overhead cover) at least 8 times and have never seen any insects (no flies, no ants, etc.) or animals inside or near it (yes I wonder how they “protect” it) and no odd odors. I have been in about 10 small grocery stores, at least 7 are near the “farmers market”, and I have passed probably 7 more. They all are in enclosed buildings and sell a decent range of packaged foods and canned goods (vegetables, etc.) with “made date and expiration date” on almost every packages. Several different regularly packaged Coffees and teas are available. You can buy packaged breads (white and brown wheat) and rolls, flour, brown sugar and even white sugar labeled “for icing”, spices, cookies, candy bars (Mars and other brands), some hard chocolate, packaged milk (whole or low-fat) that does not need refrigerated until opened, fruit juices, different kinds of sodas usually in glass but some Coke products also available in plastic bottles, and other foods or drinks (even a small variety of bottled wines and alcohols). I like the Coke Zero and the Cadbury “chocolate powder” which I use for hot chocolate. You can buy packaged frozen meats or fish at a few grocery stores or very freshly butcher meat from at least 4 butcher shops. There’s are a few stores that sell clothes or blankets (in addition to the street vendors) and other stores that sell cosmetics. There are hair styling shops. 1 or 2 Kitchenware stores. Definitely 1 (maybe 2) gas stations, couple of car repair stations, 2 motorcycle sales and service shops, 1 or 2 furniture builders (beds and couches), at least 1 hardware supplier, etc. Not bad for a small town with hundreds of people walking the main street every day. Most stores are open every day (likely open at 8 AM and close by 9 PM). Of course there are cafés and restaurants too. People find ways to make money here in ways similar to the rest of the world except they don’t have any major industries in this area except some large farms.
I could go on about all the different brown people you would see – with different types of faces that remind me of the faces of Native American Indians and some more common white Americans, South Americans, from India and elsewhere. Some very short and some very tall people. Of course some very young children and some very elderly. Many are between 10 and 45 years old. There are Maasi and many other tribal people here. There are many Lutherans (many of which grew up in their local tribes) and some Muslims.
The time difference here would make the local sunrise occur at about your midnight and in the past you have often been up during your nights, So I bet you could adapt OK.
I would love your company for a while, especially on Safari! We would share a unique life experience. I doubt we would have any disappointments (other than you having no Mary time while here and no internet while on Safari), and there would be no reason for any disagreements.
I believe I have enough Deet for both of us and definitely have mosquito netting. I could even have your clothes washed after Safari by someone recommended by John or possibly at the KLH.
If you wish you could sleep on the good pillow that I brought. Definitely do bring a good bath towel for yourself. I only have 2 towels, 1 thin older bath towel and 1 one new dish cloth.
Please let me know your decision very, very soon.
I hope reading this was not too boring. It is dark and I should go home to cook some (frozen) chicken wieners, eat them on good plain white bread, and probably slice some potatoes and fry them in sunflower oil. Surprisingly the chicken wieners taste very much like the traditional wieners I ate when I was young. I’ll drink tea, Coke Zero or mango juice with it. Tell Mary, Mom and Grandpa that I am fine and I love you all. I will try to message you again tomorrow night.