It is Saturday late afternoon and the team is packing in preparation for our departure tomorrow morning for Dar es Salaam.
Friday afternoon we wrapped up our last bit of work—Doug and Chris and Ashley and Zach had three minor procedures that kept them busy while the rest of the team inventoried and packed supplies being left for the hospital and those being given to a remote dispensary, Mkulazi.
|Medical team with (L to R) Epsilon, Kishumu, Eliah and Christine (Nurse anesthetist)|
And Will and Lance were tapped for a final repair on the cautery machine. As evening fell, we said our farewells to the Mazimbu staff and to the Tanzanian part of our team, Kishumu, Eliah and Epsilon. Goodbyes are tough but, God willing, we will see each other again next year.
Kristen and Tisho and their baby Ethan dropped by Friday evening to visit. Kristen and Tisho are missionaries who have worked with the team in the past and now live full time in the Morogoro region. They are preparing a move to an area a bit far out from the town because Tisho has accepted a position as director of an orphanage. He is also working with an organization called GO (from go and make disciples) to bring a school to his home village of Melele. It was so good to catch up with them!
This morning we became tourists, getting up before dawn to drive to Mikumi National Park, about an hour and a half away. A little more than a year ago Tanzania elected a new president who won election based on his promise of sweeping change and stopping corruption. This means that there are many changes happening in the government. We were told earlier that one of those changes requires that the entrance fee to national parks be paid before going by loading the amount on a pre-paid debit card designed just for that use. The parks no longer take cash for the entrance fees. That little errand took Cindy and Kilatu 3 hours at the bank yesterday to arrange, but we arrived with debit card in hand. What we were NOT prepared for was a new rule that will not allow vehicles into the park unless they have a permit and have already paid the taxes for the fees. This cannot be done at the entrance to the park. That meant that our comfy mini-bus would have to be left in the parking lot and we would have to use the vehicles and drivers provided by the park. These only seat a maximum of 9 so our party of 12 required 2 vehicles. It was an additional expense that was not budgeted but we found that we really enjoyed driving around in the open-air vehicles. One of them was an old Toyota 4Runner that had had the top cut off (Will says this is a no-no since it is a uni-body frame but that won’t ever stop a Tanzanian who wants to solve a problem) and 3 tiered rows of seats installed so that each row could see above the heads of the row in front of them. The second vehicle was on old mini-truck that had a similar modification of tiered seats added to the bed of the truck.
Click the link below to enjoy a few of the pics taken of these wonderful animals!
Our driver is picking us up in a few minutes for dinner at the diocese with Bishop Mameo. We have not seen the Bishop yet as he has been in the US studying for his PHD. He has just arrived back in Tanzania so this evening will be our only time to pay our respects.
As we wrap up this year, we want to thank all of you—our friends, family, church families and other supporters—for your prayers and encouragement. We are so far away here from all that we call dear, but the people of this beautiful land have become a part of our hearts. Your support allows us to go and, most importantly, to return to your warm and loving welcome.