In Tanzania, visitors are often welcomed with music. Since you are visiting my blog here's some welcoming music.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It's Time for the First-Ever Missionary Awards!

Since my first year anniversary is coming up in a few weeks, I would like to announce the 2010-2011 Winners for Team Tanzania are:

Best Expression of Unconditional Love (Human Category):  Without a doubt, this one goes to Sophia Spyridon--"Ninapenda Katarina."

Best Lunch Buddy and Futbol Friend: Who else? Michael Pagedas! this one's for you, dude (iFro Rules!).

The Next Best Thing to Mom Award: Felice Stewart walks away with this one; she waited on me hand and foot while I was recovering from my appendectomy

Best Techno Missionary: Our favorite team coordinator , James Hargrave, who knows just what to text in the middle of a crisis ("you're going to be OK and God is with you").

Best Driver in Bukoba: Our Man Behind the Wheel, Godfrey.

Best Bugs: The Grasshoppers they sell in the market at Bukoba (yum!).

Best Restaurant in Bukoba: Where else? The Walkguard (replacement for the Perch)!

Best Chanter in Tanzania: Anastasios Kiyonga makes all of us (and the angels) cry. (You can hear his angelic voice on my latest post.)

Best Support Team: St John's Parish in Cedar Park, Texas! Thanks, guys! Keep those cards and twizzlers coming!

Best Administrative Call: A Big Shout-Out to all the folks at OCMC HQ in St Augustine for our great insurance! Way to Go!

Best Expression of Unconditional Love (Animal Category):  This one goes to Kelly, the giraffe in Nairobi, for her goodbye kisses.

Be Free


Monday, June 20, 2011

Resurrection Hymn in Tone 8 in Kiswahili

Sung by the Orthodox seminarians in Kasikizi, Tanzania

From the heights Thou didst descend, O Compassionate One, and Thou didst submit to the three-day burial, that Thou might deliver us from passion. Thou art our Life and our Resurrection, O Lord, glory to Thee!

Resurrection Hymn in Tone 6 in Kiswahili

Sung by the Orthodox seminarians in Kasikizi, Tanzania.

When Mary stood at Thy grave, looking for Thy sacred body, angelic powers shone above Thy revered tomb. And the soldiers who were to keep guard became as dead men. Thou led hades captive and wast not tempted thereby. Thou didst meet the Virgin and didst give life to the world. O Thou who art risen from the dead, O Lord, glory to Thee.

Resurrection hymn in Tone 2 in Kiswahili

Sung by the Orthodox seminarians in Kasikizi, Tanzania

When Thou didst submit Thyself unto death, O Thou deathless and immortal One, then Thou didst destroy Hell with Thy godly power, and when Thou didst raise the dead from beneath the earth, all the powers of heaven did cry aloud unto Thee, “O Christ, Thou Giver of Life: glory to Thee!”

Lord's Prayer in Kiswahili

Baba yetu uliye mbinguni,
 Jina lako litukuzwe,
Ufalme wako uje,
Mapenzi yako yatimizwe,
hapa duniani kama huko mbinguni.
Utupe leo mkate wetu wa kila siku;
na utusamehe deni zetu, kama sisi
tuwasamehevyo wadeni wetu;
tena usitutie majaribuni, lakini
utuokoe na yule mwovu.

Resurrection Hymn Tone 1 in Kiswahili

When the stone had been sealed by the Jews; while the soldiers were guarding Your most pure Body; You rose on the third day, O Savior, granting life to the world.  The powers of heaven therefore cried to You, O Giver of Life: "Glory to Your Resurrection, O Christ!  Glory to Your Kingdom! Glory to Your dispensation, O Lover of mankind!


The Orthodox Seminarians in Kasikizi, Tanzania sing O Jeronymos.

We want to welcome you!

The Orthodox Seminarians studying in Kasikizi, Tanzania sing me a welcome song. Translation of this song is in the works.

The voice of Sofia Spyridon

She is singing Blessed be the Name of the Lord(Jina la Bwana). A mixture of Kiswahili and Kihaya (her mouth tongue) are used.

Jina la Bwana lihimidiwe tangu sasa hata milele (Blessed be the name of the Lord hence forth and forever).

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pentecost Challenge


"…they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language."

"Pole Sana"

It means "very sorry."  This is the only phrase in Kiswahili that expresses sympathy for anything.  In English there are so many different ways to express your sympathy.  We even have sympathy greeting cards. There are also lots of physical ways of showing your sympathy for someone. Hugs are a big one, especially for me.  I have always felt hugs were one of the best ways to show someone your sympathy or your love.

But I can't do that in Tanzania.  Women don't even hug other women--and hugging someone of a different gender is a big taboo. People do shake hands in Tanzania, but hold your left hand on your right elbow while you're doing that.  If you are an Orthodox Christian you might even say: "Furaha na Amani" (joy and peace), but it has been a struggle for me to find ways to show my love for others without hugging.

But, thanks be to God, on Pentecost, the Apostles, broke through this barrier and all other communication barriers through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Now it's possible to communicate and  love and even show sympathy across different languages and cultures.
But learning exactly how to do that is my Pentecost challenge. So please pray that the Holy Spirit will give me the wisdom and the guidance I need.

Be Free


Thursday, June 9, 2011

A priest from Texas and a priest from Tanzania have a video chat.

Don't miss the Academy Award Nominated movie A conversation 8500 miles apart 

Tanzanian Taxis

Hailing a taxi in Tanzania can be a bit tricky, mainly for two reasons: when you are trying to flag down a taxi, ninety-five percent of the time there is no sign on the car to show it is a taxi. Most of the time you are taking a chance hailing the cars that are driving past you. There are two kinds of cars in Bukoba: personal cars and cars being used as taxis.  Four door economy size cars are most common in Bukoba. There is no certain color or sign on any car letting you know the car is a taxi--even if the taxi is in use there is still no way to tell! The only way you know for sure is if the car drives past you--then it probably wasn't a taxi.
The other reason hailing a taxi is tricky is because you must negotiate the price. It is a game you play with the driver, and the game goes something like this: You approach a group of men standing outside their cars.  Usually the men are socializing or reading newspapers. As you get closer, the men start to whistle and yell, “Taxi! you need a taxi?”  The drivers never argue with each other, so you pick one man and start the negotiations:
Driver: “Mambo” (How’s it going)
Me: “Poa, Ninakwenda Posta” (Good, I must go to the post office.)
Driver: “Twende” (Let’s go!)
Me: “Shilingi ngapi” (How many shillings?)
Driver: Elfu mbili” (Two thousand shillings--that's about $1.33)
Me: “Mia tano” (One thousand shillings--that's about $0.66)
Driver: “Sawasawa” (Okay!)
Most of the time you and the driver agree on a price, but sometimes you don’t. When you don’t agree on a price it is important, as you would with any haggling, to be prepared to walk away.  A few times I have had to walk back and agree to the price that the driver proposed, and that's a little embarrassing.
But it is also important to have a regular, trusted taxi driver for safety reasons. We don’t have to worry about this issue because we have Godfrey. Godfrey was a driver that was introduced to us by Fr. Spyridon. When we first met Godfrey he was wearing a fez. This is a hat usually wore by men of the Muslim faith.  When we asked Godfrey about his faith, he said he was a Lutheran. Confused, we asked him why he wears a hat that is usually worn by only Muslim men.  He said he just liked to wear the hat for fashion purposes. Godfrey is one of our best friends in Tanzania.  He is always looking out for our best interests.  When he saw me riding on motorcycle-taxis, he lovingly scolded me and reminded me that, while motorcycle taxis are cheaper, they are very also dangerous.  When Godfrey arrives at our house, he always greets us with a jolly "Furaha na Amani." You cannot help but smile and feel happy when you are riding with Godfrey--and you don't have to negotiate the price.
Be Free,