Sixteen of us and all our bags arrived last night in Dar es Salaam, more than 30 hours after we left home. Our local Tanzanian contact, Tabita Kilatu, met us at the airport with a bus to transport us to the Catholic Guesthouse. This is a campus run by the Catholic church that includes a dorm-style inn where we have stayed most years. We woke up this morning to beautifully manicured grounds and enjoyed breakfast in a common room with about 30 other travelers from various places.
Our first stop was an English language Lutheran worship service where we met up with Emily, the 17th member of our team. Emily has friends in Dar es Salaam and had arrived a few days earlier to spend time visiting. The service was full of familiar songs that showed the African influence with a more lilting and rhythmic tempo than we find in our home churches.
Brunch was a lavish buffet at an up-scale hotel so when we piled back into our bus for the 4 hour drive to Morogoro, more than one head started nodding. The two lane highway to Morogoro is the main (only?) east/west road in Tanzania and the traffic is very heavy. Oil tankers, freight trucks, dalla dallas (similar to VW busses and the main mode of public transportation), some private vehicles and slightly larger buses like ours fight for the fastest pace, passing slower vehicles with very little safety margin. It is a very white-knuckle ride.
At about 4:30 we pulled into the grounds of Lutheran Junior Seminary, our home for the next two weeks, and settled into our rooms. Dinner was served family style and was simple but well prepared. We ended our evening with a team meeting in the common room, learning about the do’s and don’ts in Tanzania and getting an idea of our schedule. We’ve decided to begin each morning with a short devotion over breakfast, when we are fresh and can think about the words and the verses. It is shortly after 9 now and most of us are tucked into our rooms, doing final unpacking before bed.