Dearest Family and Friends, October 17, 2011
Departure day has finally arrived and tonight we are to board that big steel bird bound for the US! Due to arrive in America the evening of October 18th, we excitedly hope to see our families, enjoy missed fellowship with dear friends, get some rest, and work to make money for this mission work. Hoping to see at least some of you while we are home, we are due to return to Africa January 12th.
While we are gone we are thankful to report that Dr. Bob Whittaker and his wife Annette will be here, with Bob seeing patients at the clinic, possibly doing surgery at the local district hospital, and Annette working with the local Christians in doing evangelism. Having spent almost 30 years in African missions, Bob and Annette are old hands at this work and we deeply appreciate their working again at TCC.
As we leave I wish I could report that all is running smoothly, but that is almost never the case in Africa. Since in Tanzania there are generally no deeds, titles, title insurance, or lawyers involved in the process of buying a piece of land, the young congregation at Monduli Juu bought some property in the usual way on which to construct a simple African church building: the seller, buyer, village chairman and other officials met, discussed the purchase, exchanged money, and signed off on the transaction. Meanwhile, several contractors submitted bids and a builder was chosen. Happy that all the preliminaries were completed, the builder commenced digging the foundation. However, observing this process, several local citizens stopped by, complaining that the land was designated as a common area for the community and claiming that no one was allowed to build on it. After much discussion with the village chairman and all involved, the village secretary informed the entire group that the citizens were correct and that this land could not be built upon. Claiming he was unaware of this, the seller then offered to return some money to the church and to swap the original land for another piece, somewhat smaller but closer to the market place and easily visible from the road. Because the church might have to buy additional adjoining property for future growth, on Friday of that week Danny asked the contractor NOT to engage in further construction until the land issue was firmly settled. But, two days later as we drove to the primary school where the church is presently meeting, we happened to look over at the newly proposed site and saw that the contractor had a team of men digging the new building’s foundation! Oh, the joys of cross-cultural communication! After stopping the builder, we realized that this situation will work out as the Lord directs, and we look forward to assisting the church when we return in January.
Meanwhile, to get to the clinic many patients are braving the rains which have started in earnest now (Thanks to you for praying and to God for answering). Several arrive each week after traveling long distances “kwa miguu” (on foot). And speaking of feet, a number of jigger fleas have recently been discovered embedded in patients’ toes and under their toenails. While enduring having one of these little rascals cut out of her foot one mzungu (white European) teacher volunteering for a few months at a nearby secondary school gave us an unexpected compliment, “I guarantee you I would not be here (I assume she meant Africa) if it weren’t for this clinic.” Thanks to each of you who’ve made it possible for TCC to reach out in the name of the Master Healer to nearly 5,000 people to date!
All our love,
Danny and Nancy Smelser