Goats, Kalamatas, and Greetings- Ten Reflection on a Year

As my time here in Tanzania winds down, I have ten thoughts to share, things I’ve learned from this wonderful almost-year.

  • Goat: I don’t know if it’s red meat or the other other other white meat, but boy, it’s tasty.
  • There are two things you can say to others and never go wrong: their names and welcome!
  • I do actually have time to greet and be greeted by others. I have time to answer questions about my night of sleep, my health, my family. And I have time to ask those questions, and listen to and care about the answers.
  • Things aren’t always what they seem. Sure we learned that when we were young but it seems like I learn it often here. The easiest and most recent examples are shallow and involve food, but I’ll share anyway. Oranges aren’t always orange. Here they are green. And just yesterday, I was delighted to walk out of our office building to find a produce vendor with a giant bucket full of kalamata olives! Who doesn’t love a kalamata olive? How do I know if they grow olives here? So I bought a good measure, and last night happily popped one in my mouth. Oh. My. Heavens. WHAT IS THIS? This is NOT a kalamata olive! This is AWFUL. Then I realized that this bag of things smelled so bad too that I couldn’t even have it in my house overnight. So I tromped to our trashpit on the other side of the property, where I bumped into Mr. Donald. (Faithful readers may remember Mr. Donald, a beloved guard, from my first posts.) He explained that my “olives” are in fact some kind of wild fruit and he was quite happy to have them. Pastor Emmanuel confirmed this for me this morning and in the Gogo language they are called fulu. Apparently they can also be called Mountain Ash Fruits. fulu Call them what you want. Awful, I tell you. Just awful.
  • A lack of money causes problems that the appearance of money doesn’t always solve.
  • People should complain about big things- corruption, human rights, fake olives. Little things- let ‘em go.
  • I’m tougher than I thought. You probably are too.
  • As hard as it was to come here, it will be harder to leave.
  • Naiveté isn’t efficient but cynicism doesn’t work either. Better to lean toward the former but keep your eyes open.
  • Is there corruption here? Of course. There’s corruption everywhere. Is it worse here? Sure. And Christians are no more immune to it than anyone else. But to focus on that is to miss the point: flawed people (like all of us) can work in flawed systems and still do some pretty great things. For example, this is Festo. festoHe is very sick. He was a Carpenter’s Kid, but he graduated. We see him about once a week because Carpenter’s Kids pays for the medicine that keeps him alive. And that, my friends, is the point, I think.
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12 Responses to Goats, Kalamatas, and Greetings- Ten Reflection on a Year

  1. Gabrielle Alesi says:

    My fave!!!!



  2. Patrick Ward says:

    mungu akubariki !

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lauren Salminen says:

    Great reflections. I’d love to follow up when you’re home. So true – about doing great things even on a less than perfect environment. CK is a testament to that!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Charlcie Fielding says:

    Thank you for sharing the fruit of your labors……………….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Magi Griffin says:

    You have a good balance. Blessings.

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  6. Kitty says:

    Missing you tons so I’m glad that you are coming home but I’m equally glad that you had this adventure!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sandy Roberts says:

    Amazing! It is hard to believe it’s almost a year!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Nick Smith says:

    Our same Judy, but changed… Caring and humorous yet compassionate. Now you have a broader perspective to work from in doing the good things you naturally do.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ed Wright says:

    Wonderful post – thank you so much for helping us share your experiences. Can’t wait to visit this summer, but sorry we will not overlap. God’s peace!

    Liked by 1 person

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