After several changes and complications to our travel itinerary, we made it to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Africa! It ended up being a much longer journey than originally planned with the cancelled flight, delays, missed flight, changing airlines and long visa line, but we made it. The kids did fairly well, all things considered. There was a point in the Dar airport at 3am local time when I think all three kids broke down in tears out of exhaustion. It may have helped us get ahead in line, actually. :)
We have been here over a week now and wanted to give you some of our first impressions through our senses. Feel free to comment with questions for us or the kids - we welcome your thoughts!
Isaac: Our trampoline, our zipline (yup, it's true, we have both at the house we're living in for this first year - more to come on the house!), palm trees, bajaji's (little 3 wheeled car type things that are ALL over here). Goats, cows & a couple chickens on the side of the road.
Gretchen: Insane traffic and daredevil driving. Creepy crawlies -so far in our house we've had cockroaches, ticks (brought in by one of the dogs), a milipede and a few lizards. I've paid a lot of attention to the different type of clothing here - beautiful fabrics, headcoverings, school uniforms, masai dress. There is colorful fresh fruits & vegetables and surprisingly, a lot of furniture lining the sides of the roads for sale. Church in the coffee shop, which is essentially a covered pavilion type of structure. Mosquito nets surrounding the beds. Beautiful flowers lining the drive way of our house.
Gretchen: Campfires. Well, that's what it often smells like, anyhow. We discovered after a few days of being here that it's very common for your trash to be burned. Our trash goes into a little green bucket in the kitchen & from there to a larger red container out back. Then to the corner of the yard to be burned. My recycling self is freaking out with every recyclable thing I put in there, and I am so glad we are doing cloth diapers - not only for the cost efficiency, but because I couldn't handle burning 2 girls worth of diapers all the time!
Isaac: "Jambo" - "hello" in swahili. "Asante" - "thank you" in swahili. Minnie barking (one of our 3 dogs).
Gretchen: Roosters in the neighborhood. Birds in our yard. Ceiling fans in every room. Swahili spoken around me. Languages and accents from all over the world! We went to a playground near the market the other day & there were families from Germany, India, Tanzania, England and the USA all present.
Isaac: Ice cream - it tastes the same as in America. I tried letter & number spaghetti with broccoli. I tried mango & didn't like it.
Gretchen: I'm sure I'll do a post on foods eventually, so I won't put too much here. We went grocery shopping the second day we were here, and got local peanut butter, jam, coffee, milk, juice, bread and a few other goodies. Many have a slightly different taste than what we're used to, but not unfamiliar.
We are trying to be good students of the new culture around us, and are learning new things each and every day. Please pray that we would be curious learners and respectful to those we interact with on a daily basis. We are still fighting jet lag - we are +7 hours here and are feeling it and could use prayers for our adjustment as well. We are so thankful to have a few weeks to settle in to our new surroundings before school begins, especially for the girls who seem to be having the hardest time adjusting. Isaac is sleeping like a champ - going to bed a bit late & sleeping in, but not waking up at night like the rest of us.
We are so thankful for all of your messages, encouragement and prayers!!