Sunday, January 29, 2012

Learning Swahili

Last year I downloaded an app to teach myself some Swahili. It is called Byki Swahili, and cost about $10 at the time.
The great thing about it is that I can download lists created by other users, according to categories, to learn. When I think I know all the words in the list, there is a quiz to complete.

As you can see from the screen shot above I have 34 lists I have not completed yet.

Who knows how much I will have learnt, and more importantly remembered, by June. I think bumbling through in a market place each week will probably teach me more.

Friday, January 27, 2012


I found these 10 facts about Arusha on someone else's blog (Michael Sanders - I hope you don't mind that I have used them!):

  1. The Clocktower, a famous Arusha monument, is purportedly situated at the mid-point between Cairo and Cape Town.
  2. The John Wayne movie Hatari! was filmed in Arusha. In the final scenes of the movie, a baby elephant runs amok in the business area around the Clocktower.
  3. There are only three movie theatres in Tanzania, and Arusha has one of them!
  4. The Arusha Accords were signed at Arusha on August 4, 1993, by representatives of competing factions in the Rwandan civil war, thus officially ending the Rwandan genocides.
  5. Since 1994, Arusha has hosted the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which for the past 18 years has been trying and prosecuting participants in the Rwandan genocides.
  6. Although Arusha is situated close to the Equator, it enjoys a temperate year-round climate due to its altitude, with an average annual temperature of 25.1 degrees.
  7. Arusha was founded by German colonialists in 1900, and for a long time remained a German stronghold until the British expelled them in 1916.
  8. Official documents ceding independence to Tanganyika (before it was called Tanzania) were signed by the United Kingdom at Arusha in 1961. The Arusha Declarations for Self Reliance were signed in 1967 in Arusha.
  9. In the video game Halo 3, a highway sign is seen that says "Arusha", though it is crossed out, suggesting that the city was destroyed by the Covenant or the Flood.
  10. Arusha is Tanzania’s safari capitol, and acts as the gateway to several important safari destinations such as the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, Tarangire National Park, and Mount Kilimanjaro. There are over 200 safari companies in Arusha alone.

Friday, January 6, 2012


So why go? Why leave Sydney, family and friends, a loyal Labrador, a lovely house, and a secure job?
Well, this is my side of the story. Andrew, although supporting my reasons, would have his own thoughts and callings.

I was born in Tabora, Tanzania. Daughter of missionaries. My childhood was spent growing up in Tabora, Kigoma and Dodoma. Mum home schooled my sister and I, until our final year in Africa when we attended an English school.  I have fond memories of life then that revolve around a number of snapshots – our black Labrador dogs, playing outside in the dirt, snakes, hospital (I had two hernias operated on), train travel, soda in glass bottles, maandazis, baobab fruit, baobab trees, gutting fish, concrete floors… the list goes on.
me with my mum & sister (Philly) at Livingstone's Memorial in Ujiji, and pounding maize
After we ‘came home’ and settled into life in Australia (I was in Year 3) I always had in the back of my mind that one day I would go back and work in some capacity. But things change. I finished high school. Worked and travelled for a couple of years. Went to university. Started teaching. Got married. Bought a house. Had kids.
At the end of 2008 I began to think about Africa again, and began to think about what I was doing with my life. Was I happy teaching at a local school? (yes) Was there something else I should be doing? (possibly yes) I mentioned my thoughts to Andrew, and suggested we go and teach in Africa for a while. His response:  Are you kidding!?! He pointed out that we were just about to embark on a major extension of the house, and I couldn’t have everything I wanted in life. (true)
I put the idea out of my head and enjoyed the planning of our house renovations, and then the redecorating of our home.
Philly, Stephanie, me & Stephanie's sister (Suzannah)

In December 2010, an old friend Stephanie posted a message on Andrew’s facebook page – she wanted to build a school in Tanzania (where she is living) and would he come and help. I was excited. In my mind our bags were packed and we were boarding a plane. Andrew’s response: Are you kidding!?!
No. No I wasn’t.
It has taken a year of discussion, prayer, decision making, and we are ready to move.
One thing that I have reminded of in this process is the way God looks after us, and only wants good things for us. He knows the desires of our hearts.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6: 33 & 34)
So I am going to:

*go back to Tanzania, the place I spent my early childhood,
*give my own children the experience of a lifetime,
*to make a difference in other people’s lives by helping in any way I can, & therefore show Jesus’ love for them, and
*support Stephanie’s vision for a school.
Who knows what the next few years will bring… but what an adventure!