As I was walking my half mile to school today, I notice this Bougainvillea. It is all around me and is used to hide fences and razor wire like in this picture. What struck about this one was that it was right in the middle of the wire. Beauty amidst the barbs. It struck me because that is how I feel about HOPAC. Dar Es Salaam is not a safe city, not unlike any large city world wide. It would be easy to be scared off my all the dangers. Yet amidst all the ugliness there is beauty. Wonderful, beautiful people, gorgeous creation, and evidence of God’s call in my life to Tanzania. You can’t ignore the fact the razor wire is there. I can’t be oblivious to the dangers around me. But I know I need to take a few more precautions and trust God goes before me.
I left the states one week ago. 30+ hours later, I arrived in Dar Es Salaam. An hour and a half later I finally found myself in my new home. Within that time, I experienced buying ice cream from the car and shared in my new friend’s excitement of the mosquito weapon (looks like a tennis racket but it is electrified!) she bought, complete with a torch (flashlight- she is from England) to “lure them in!” she said in an evil laugh. I found out red lights do not mean stop and sometimes it is best to not watch the road, just trust the driver. Karibu (Welcome) Tanzania!
Arrived to my place to find food in the fridge and cupboards, a couple welcome notes, and a basket of goodies! I am staying in basically a studio apartment attached to a house. My kitchen is outside, but it overlooks the indian ocean! No complaints here. The family living in the house have three dogs and have graciously allowed me to let Snoopy, a Jack Russell Terrier, stay with me! If you know me, you know that is so huge for my emotional transition! Evidence #1809 that God has gone before me to prepare the way.
I went into work for a half day Monday just to start figuring out what my job looks like. I met many of the staff I would be working with and met with the director to get a little more definition of my job. As I am listening to him tell me what they want me to focus on, I kept thinking, “wow, this job is designed just for me!” All the parts of academic advising I wanted to do I get to do, the parts I was fearing, other people are doing! Just another affirmation that God wants ME here!
This is the best part! A representative from Calvin College was supposed to come this week to HOPAC. I don’t think Calvin has ever sent anyone before and it was the week I arrived?! Well, because of world issues/travel advisories, they had to cancel. So my third full day of work, I gave two(Grade 11 and 12) presentations about CALVIN! What an amazing way for the students to get to know me a little bit, for me to get used to being in front of a classroom again, and talk about a topic I could talk for hours about! Go God!!! So my first week over all as has been great! Not without its challenges like power outages, water lines breaking, no phone yet, etc, but I have been reassured daily. I am right where God wants me for this time.