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March 16, 2014

Mogabiri Farm Center

On Tuesday morning we left Musoma early and arrived in the small town of Mogabiri, the service location for Eva Lapp and Andre Eisenbeis. Mogabiri is on the escarpment and enjoys cooler weather at a higher elevation.  This is great farming and banana country! Eva and Andre were waiting for us at the end of the road which leads to the Mogabiri Farm Extension Centre, their service location. The station is run by the Anglican church and seeks to provide agricultural services to local villages in addition to education related to HIV AIDS prevention. Andre’s interest is in agriculture and…

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March 10, 2014

Kiabakari Bible College

Today we left Musoma town with Bri, Anneliese, Melanie, and Kelsey at 7:30 in the morning in the our Landrover. The agenda was to visit Alicia Hofer at her service location in the nearby town of Kiabakari, about a 40 minute drive from Musoma. Alicia teaches English at Kiabakari Bible College, a Lutheran run bible school that offers training for young men and women who are interested in working for the Tanzanian Lutheran church. We arrived around 8:15 in time to greet Alicia before her first teaching lesson at 8:40!  Alicia teaches two levels of English classes, one for beginners…

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March 9, 2014

On Thursday evening we left Ikoma and took Alia with us to Mugumu to visit Twila Albrecht and Katrina Kennel who have been living there.  We arrived at Mugumu in the early evening, in time to host everyone for dinner at the Giraffe Garden Hotel.  We had a fun evening catching up, laughing, and enjoying soup, chapatis, and chicken and rice. Alia spent the night at Katrina’s house. Friday morning we met Twila at her service location office. Twila is working at IMARA, a non-profit organization under the Tanzanian Mennonite church that works in a variety of community development activities….

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March 9, 2014

Ikoma Cultural Center

On Thursday morning we left Nata to visit Alia Munley at Ikoma Cultural Center, which is halfway between Nata and Mugumu (about 30-45 minutes from both towns.)  We arrived to Alia having her morning breakfast in the outdoor sitting area in the shade of the trees. She had just finished her morning routine of jogging with her sister to get milk from some nearby farmers.  They jog for about 20 minutes, then walk the hour-long return trip.  She is loving her life on an Ikoma farm! Alia’s background in art is what led her to be placed at Ikoma Cultural…

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March 8, 2014

On Tuesday we drove to the small town of Nata, located near the Serengeti National Park, to visit Ellie Shertz, Jama Yoder, and Jordan Weaver.  Ellie and Jama are working with the Grumeti Fund (a non-profit community outreach organization funded by the Grumeti Reserve) and Jordan is working with Grumeti Horticultural & Marketing Cooperative (GHOMACOS), an agricultural cooperative in Nata that provides fresh vegetables to Grumeti. We arrived around noon on Tuesday and enjoyed a lunch of chipsi mayai (eggs fried with french fries) with the students in a local canteen in town. We enjoyed catching up on their lives…

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March 4, 2014

Safari – Sat. Feb. 22nd – Visit to Butiama On our last day of our safari we loaded a rented bus to make the 3 hour drive to Musoma.  We enjoyed our 2 nights of camping at Ikoma Cultural Center, which included exposure to Ikoma traditional culture and Ikoma dancing.  (Alia Munley is volunteering at Ikoma Cultural Center for her service assignment, so more information will be coming this week!) We crammed all our luggage (and bodies) in the bus – which was another feat worthy of a video!  On the trip to Musoma we stopped at the small town…

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March 3, 2014

Grumeti visit – Friday Feb. 21st On Friday, the last day of our safari, we visited Grumeti Reserve about 45 minutes from Ikoma where we were camping.  Grumeti Reserve is a very large hunting block that borders the Serengeti National Park and is situated in the path of the wildebeest migration.  John Tudor Jones bought up the hunting rights to this land and has created a game sanctuary and a high-end tourist lodge in conjunction with Singita hotels.  On average about 65 guests per night stay in one of 3 lodges at Grumeti, which are spread over about 365,000 acres…

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February 28, 2014

Serengeti National Park

The safari - Wednesday, Feb. 19th, 2014 On Wednesday we broke camp at Ngorongoro and loaded the Land Cruisers for the short hour trip to Olduvai Gorge (Oldupai is the correct Maasai name).  Olduvai is famous for its hominid fossils dating back more than a million years ago, and the nearby Laetoli site is where hominid footprints date back to 3.6 million years ago.  It was mind-numbing to think of how much time has passed since the area spawned the first human beings.  We were equally inspired with the notion that humans have coexisted with natural systems for millennia and that…

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February 26, 2014

The safari - Tuesday, Feb. 18th, 2014 While the students get settled into their service assignments, we’ll update you on the week-long trip from Dar es Salaam to Musoma. On Monday the 17th, we took a 9 hour bus ride from Dar to Arusha.  We spent the night at the Meru House Inn and treated the group to a dinner at the local Chinese restaurant.  Everyone was thrilled with the cooler weather, given our increase in altitude and movement away from the coast.  It was cloudy the first several days of our trip, so unfortunately we did not get to see…

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February 24, 2014

Students begin service!

I am writing on Monday evening having finally hung the last mosquito net in our new house and Isaac and Mara are tucked in.  We are living in a house on the campus of the Mennonite Theological College of East Africa (MTCEA).  Of course it is not only we who are settling in to a new home, all the students are doing the same this evening. The day was a good one.  It started with a flurry of daladala trips to the main bus stand in Musoma where groups of students caught their buses to the various villages in which…

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