Disclaimer/Additional Apology: This post is written by Matt.
We have had some problems with our email hosting, but have it sorted out now. Unfortunately, we most likely have not received any emails sent to our “tzorphan.com” address’ in the last week. If you sent us a question or comment, please resend. It turns out that some things are really more difficult for Americans in Tanzania than it is for native Tanzanians! Additionally, Microsoft doesn’t recognize the Tanzania country code for a phone number!
Also, Kelly and I are working hard on learning Swahili. It seems that you go through a phase where both languages become difficult. If our spelling or grammar are incorrect in previous, current or future posts, please be patient.
Finally, we struggle with reconciling the knowledge that many people have been called to work in foreign countries under much more difficult circumstances than us, with our own experiences of difficulties. The analogy of the “double edged sword” remains true in our case. The elements that we are accustomed to, even though we retain a semblance of them, only seem to highlight the differences in this new country. For instance we are living on a much tighter budget than when we were both employed in the states. Yet we are living on a much higher budget then the local people we work with. It is so hard to come to a two-fold realization that we have made a significant sacrifice, but we have become increasingly blessed. I’m not sure that I am at that point, let alone hope to be making any sense to those of you who are reading this, but I would like to be there. The reality is that we may not make it to that point for many years. The reality is that white skin equals money to Africans. I don’t blame them in any way for this. Throughout Africa the people have exploited by others with lighter skin. Kelly and I have a deep desire to relate to local people that we are here to help, but the truth is that there is a difference. We can walk into the nicest hotel in the city without question, but it is highly unlikely that a black-skinned family could do the same. Yet if a white family lived in the “African part of town” they would likely be robbed blind, while a black family has mere curtains for a door and nothing to worry about. I’m not trying to make a political statement, or point any fingers. I genuinely believe that all of you are a blessing for us to live safely here as we work and learn about helping the many people (primarily tiny people) be blessed as well as we have.
I may be at the point where this could be classified as “rambling”, but I suppose I’m just trying to be honest about where we are at. Please don’t misunderstand; we are very grateful both for the calling from God, as well as all of your support, but it is very tiring to try to understand and adapt (let alone rise above and assist) in the radically different culture. By the way is there a more extreme word I can use then radical?
I promise that we have more pictures of us at Neema House and that we will post them. The time it took us to prepare seemed so long. The time that we have been here seems to fly by as we stare with open mouths. I am confident that we will stabilize here and wrap our minds around the things that go on. I’m not sure how many times we have said, “My brain hurts!” The main things is that we can hold in our hands the lives that Michael and Dorris have saved in this ministry, and be encouraged that we are helping. I’m sure that is what kept those, who suffered more than us, going in the past.