Sunday, September 1, 2013

Bible Study and Street Kids

What a week!
I almost don’t know where to begin. 

First of all, I would like to thank the people who have made my first 5 weeks possible!  Without Betsy Sell, the Call family, The bishop John Smylie, Carrie LaFollette, Rich and Bobbie Hostetler, Zara Logan, Pat and Connie Keller, Julie King, Lolley Jolley, Ann Wafer, Casey Horton, Jack Fowler, Mary McFarlane, Sara Nyquest, and Shannon Tippit, my first month would not have happened!

On Tuesday, I had the wonderful experience of a shared meal and bible study at the bishop’s home.  Bishop G. Mdimi Mhogolo has been the bishop of the Diocese of Central Tanganyika since I was 3 years old, and plans to continue for about 2 more years.  He welcomed all of the missionaries into his home to update us on what has been going on around the diocese and for a bible study.  Afterwards, we shared a meal done true “pot luck” style. 

We took the school bus from the school as all of the staff could be considered missionaries and even those who don’t consider themselves a missionary are employed by the diocese.   The bus is a nice ride.  It’s smaller than any of the busses back home, but easily held the staff from the school.  Once the bus is filled, you would think that the only way anyone could get into the back of the bus was to crawl over the seats, but really there is an aisle that can be cleverly hidden by fold down seats to create more room. 

The ride to his house took around a half an hour.  Driving around Tanzania is an adventure in itself.  We went from the beautifully paved road that took us around and out of town, passed a weigh station, then over several groups of speed bumps.  The speed bumps come in groups of 3 and are quite fun when you are sitting in the back of the bus!  A short way down the road, we turned onto a dirt road that leads to the bishop’s house.  Road probably isn’t the correct word to use here.  The “road” was typical of most of the roads you find out of town (and even in town in the right places.”  It was a cleared strip of land that was barely wide enough for the bus in some spots.  We had to make sure the windows were closed to not only cut down on the dust coming in, but to avoid stray tree branches whipping our faces.  There were deep holes and dips that made it feel as though we were riding waves. 

The bishop’s house on a beautiful piece of land with an amazing view.  I didn’t bring my camera this time, but I promise that next time I will.  We witnessed an amazing purple-y sunset just out his front door, complete with a bright evening star shining over a baobab tree.  I look forward to going again in a couple of months.

Yesterday, a bunch of us from the school went to Shukurani Children’s Center to watch a performance by some of the children.  The children’s center is operated by an NGO called Kisidet (Kigwe Social Economic Development and Training) that works with poor families, orphans, and street children in Dodoma and the surrounding areas.  They focus on education and improving the lives of the children and their families.  The children we watched live at Shukurani and attend school nearby.  It was amazing!

The group was made up of children and youth and their teachers.  They did some amazing traditional dances, complete with singing, put on a couple of skits they designed to teach morals, and performed some AMAZING acrobatics!  There were about 20 people involved in the performances between the drummers, dances, acrobats, and actors.   The pictures below are from their performance.  They are some really talented kids!!
A couple of CAMS teachers pose with one of the younger boys while we wait for the performance to begin.  The children at Shukurani range in age from 3 years old to a girl who is moving on to a secondary school to study performing arts.
One of the instructors at the drums.
Their skills are amazing!  The window made it difficult to get a really good picture.
The rock this boy is sitting on is literally built into the wall and the floor.  It is amazing.  The rock was too big to dig up, so they built the room around it, and incorporated it into the design.  I would want a boulder in my home this way.  It was a great place to sit!
One of the acrobats.  Even in sports mode on my camera, it was hard to get a good shot.  They were moving SO fast!
Do you see that blur by the big brown door?  Yes, he is upside down.  Yes it is a concrete floor under him.  No, they did not use mats.  Yes, I'm pretty sure my heart stopped several times. 
One of those heart-stopping moments.
They really could go on the road and make a TON of money.  The amount of strength these boys have is amazing.  And they seem to be afraid of nothing!
Yes, there are 6 heads, but only 2 feet touching the ground.
Some of the actors. 
I love this picture!  One of the students drumming during one of the dances.  He was really talented as well!  He even played laying on the ground with the drum between his legs.  Can you see how fast his hands are moving here?
The children at Shukurani.
My camera was fascinating!  These two little girls posed for this picture, then spend several minutes enthralled by the pictures of their friends I showed them on my camera.  They were the first of a group that gathered outside my car door hoping for a glimpse.  I wanted to take them all home with me.
As always, I welcome questions.  I am also planning on creating a FAQ blog in the next week.  If there are things you have questions about, let me know and I'll include them!


  1. I love your posts. I am living vicariously through you, as although I've always said that I want to do a mission someday, I'm not that's realistic for me. I am so proud of you. Can you also help me figure out how to access your calendar and contribute to you?

    Can't wait for your next post!

  2. Ditto what Julie said about living through you there! The children in the pix are beautiful, their acrobatics stunning--did they say how long it took them to learn to do those things? Love the rocks in the wall and what it says about attitude: they found a way around (over, maybe under?) the obstacle. The image of the rock in the wall will be on my mind for a while...

    P.S. to Julie: you ARE in a mission field right now, using your talents just as Heidi...I am awed by you both...

    P.P.S. Heidi, you get to see Baobab trees? So cool...could you post a pic of one?

    God be with you,

  3. Julie, Talk to my mom about the calendar. She is taking care of all of that while I'm gone.

    Bobbie, They didn't talk about how long they have been working. Also, I will post a picture of a baobab tree, but they have no leaves right now (remember, it's winter) so I will wait until they are prettier!

  4. Heidi, isn't Bishop G. Mdimi great?! He visited the Diocese of Virginia last year and so I was able to meet and talk with him. I'm glad you were able to, too! And yes, I want a boulder in my house like that as well!

  5. Heya Heidi,
    I LOVE your blog! Sounds like you're having a wonderful and exciting time, though the bus ride sounds a little scary. :)
    I think I want a boulder in my house too.
    xoxoxo -Kate