Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Sabbath we will remember!

             Brooklyn and I had a really neat experience this Sabbath! I was originally planning on taking Brooklyn to the church at TASS, which is the Adventist boarding academy just out of Usa River and up the mountain a little ways. We were pretty tired in the morning, though, and we weren't very timely so I decided that we would go to Usa River SDA church which is closer. Nothing is in English there, however, they have a youth church choir and an adult church choir which I LOVE listening to. And I knew Brooklyn would appreciate the music too. We arrived just as they were transitioning from Sabbath school to church...moving their plastic chairs back into the open-air, long and narrow church building. We found two seats about half way up and got settled in. About that time, I looked across to the other isle and a woman was staring at me with her mouth wide was my dear friend and seamstress, Mama Janetti!

This was at her old house with her mother and two daughters the day before I left a year and a half ago. Her mother is now passed away.

Now, here are some things that make the story more exciting:
1. She had no idea I was coming back to Tanzania because we have no way of communicating while I'm at we had not kept in touch.
2. I had heard that her house had been torn down and that she had moved...but I didn't really know where or how to find her.
3. Janetti was not a Seventh-day Adventist, so I wasn't sure why she was at church today...
4. Both Brooklyn and I were wearing special dresses that she had made!
5. Just the day before, she had put two pictures up of her and I that I had given to her when I left!

With those things in mind, the story is even more special. So Janetti kept looking over at us with her mouth open and a  tears coming out of her eyes and we had to wait until the end of the service to express our excitement. 
It was a wonderful service-the congregation singing a cappella hymns in harmony, the choirs, and the long Swahili sermon. After it was over,  we hugged and smiled and hugged and smiled. She brought us over to a group of members and talked all excitedly in Swahili and I only caught bits and pieces,  but she was really excited. We asked her to show us where her new home was and as we followed her, I figured out the story! (She really doesn't speak English, so it was a little difficult, but her daughter helped translate further when we got home...and my Swahili improved in just one afternoon)! 
A neighbor and friend of Janetti shared with her a book written by Ellen White. Janetti had been reading it and learning a lot and accepting everything. She was very excited about it! So her friend had invited her to church this Sabbath and this just so happened to be the first Sabbath she had ever attended! ...and I was there too!

I believe God has perfect timing and He is looking out for even the smallest details to add joy and fulfillment to our lives and to strengthen our faith. It was such a memorable Sabbath He arranged! 
                   And now my dear friend and seamstress is an Adventist! How exciting is that!?!

Janetti's one-room house...which is actually much bigger and nicer than her last home. 
I love this green color!

The "courtyard" out her back door opens up to the back doors of many other homes! There are two squat pots at the very end of the court yard which serve as the bathrooms for everyone.  

The girls had fun jumping rope with some pieces of fabric tied together in the middle.
Janett's 6-year-old daughter, little Janetti is in the front, 10-year-old Esther is on the other side of Brooklyn, Janett is in the very back and the rest are neighbors who wanted to join in :)
Little Janetti carrying my books. She is a cutie-pie!

Friday, August 30, 2013

First Day

Cradle of Love road
Brooklyn and I woke up early friday morning partly because of jet lag and partly from excitement. We went to the nursery where two of my dearest nanny-friends happened to be waking up from their nightshift and surprised them. It was a pretty special reunion. We stayed there in the nursery for awhile and helped get the babies ready for the day then moved onto the big house where there were so many familiar faces and smells. It is just SO good to see everyone and to be here.

A friend's house....she wasn't home. Hopefully she'll be there today!
Brooklyn and Anita
on our little walk to visit friends
Mama Ndizi! (The banana lady!!) I visited this woman countless times with the preschoolers to buy bananas. We would all just sit there and eat them with her and I never knew if she liked it or was annoyed with us because she doesn't speak a word of English or smile very often. However, I gave her a picture of us all together with some little gifts and she was so excited! This was definitely a highlight of the day.
This is the picture I gave her :)

I took Brooklyn to the playground at the near by college where we used to take the kids for preschool. 

She enjoyed it almost as much as the preschoolers did! It probably would have been more fun with some friends, though. 

Zawadi! She was one of the first babies I met here 2 years ago. She has so much personality now!
My little Jeremiah! He's all grown up and so sweet!


Bebe Helen! So good to see her!

Big birds in the back yard

Thursday, August 29, 2013

We're Here!

Cute little traveler ready for her first flight!

Saying goodbye

Here we go!

Brooklyn's first meal on the plane....just so happened to be mac n' cheese - her favorite!

Sunrise out of the airplane window as we got ready to land in Amsterdam

Experiencing Amsterdam in the airport :)

more fun in the airport!

From Amsterdam, we had an 8-hour-flight to Kilimanjaro airport!  It was SO exciting getting off the plane and driving down the familiar roads to Cradle of Love. It's been dark ever since we arrived so we're looking forward to seeing everything and everybody in the morning. We're staying in one of the ADRA huts tonight, which is a treat because it has a hot shower and nice beds and it's right on the compound.

Here is a photo of Brooklyn sitting like a princess with her mosquito net draped above her in our little home for the night.

                                                        The adventures begin tomorrow!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

At the Cabin


One of the highlights of the Gerber's summer is visiting the Mowat's cabin. There's nothing like spending time with good friends on a lake in the summer! Thank you, Ryan, Karen, Katie, and Sarah for your friendship and generosity. Once again, we had a wonderful time!