imageSorry for the delay with blogging, but having trouble with the Internet. We went out for supper for New Years Eve and my dear sister Nai and her husband surprised me and joined us for dinner. I was so excited to see her and have time to chat with them.

They shot off many fireworks and the team really enjoyed them. Made us feel like we were in the US. We were waiting for the countdown and they did not do that, but when it turned midnight, all the lights went off. Luckily we had Julius with us to explain that is what they do when it turns midnight. Many of the churches here have church services here late and are there during midnight. They spend all that time praising and thanking God for 2015 and pray for good luck in 2016.

My sister Nai was gracious to line up a lady to come to her home to braid the girl’s hair on New Year’s Day.  I have know this lady for years and we were very excited to see each other. She had been crippled by polio and crawls on her hands and knees. She was thrilled to get the money, because she told Nai that God blessed her because she did not have money for food.

While the girls were getting their hair curled, Julius and I went and visited Lightness’s family and her grave. This is the young girl that passed away that I talked about in my newsletter. She was a beautiful young girl that touched my heart and I was saddened by her death. I asked Julius what was the appropriate cultural thing to do, so I brought roses that were shaped in a ring with beautiful ribbons. They grow roses her and they are beautiful. I learned that different color roses are made for certain occasions. We also brought a gift of bread, sugar and chai, which is customary. Her parents were very glad to see me, and we talked about the loss of Lightness and wow what strong faith they have. The father told me that “God had other plans for his beautiful girl and that she must of been special that he took her at a young age.” He then offered to give the wheel chair back that was donated to her and we are checking on the need with another little girl that we know.

We then went to visit her grave, which was right on their land. There were rings and a large cross that laid on her grave, that used to have flowers on them. I then knelt and prayed for her sweet soul and of course I could not control the tears. She was a special young girl that really touched my life. Julius told me that it meant so much to them I came to visit them. I felt better to know that her family were doing well and I do know that Lightness is dancing with the Angels in heaven. I then went to visit the father’s mother, who is 108 years old. She is very smart and every time I went to see Lightness, I would go see her. She was always praying that God would take her instead of that beautiful Lightness. She was so sweet and asked for God to bless me for what I did for Lightness and their family.  I continually am humbled by these beautiful people on how kind and loving they are to me and they are so thankful for the little things that you do for them.

Julius and then returned to have lunch with the girls and they were all looking pretty with the braids in their hair. The girls were taught how to make chapati and samosas by Nai’s daughter Neema and we were served a delicious meal. Then the girls were very tired so they laid around and took a nap, while Nai and I went to visit a relative that was having some health problems. Her husband is a retired physician, who has started a clinical officers school.  His wife Gertrude was having some health issues and her husband and other doctors cannot diagnose the problem. So thank God for technology, I took pictures of the history, physical and X-rays and I emailed them to Dr. Mark Wheeler, who will be coming next week to work in TZ.  Because we are 9 hours ahead, Mark received the email right away and while I was still at their home, I received a reply on what further tests need to be done and he will examine her when he gets here. WOW…WOW…WOW..amazing with the advances of technology how we can get consultation from doctors in the US. What a blessing this is!!! Praise God!  Love you all!  Gayle

Post from Olivia:

It was another great day of experiencing life in Tanzania. The team went to Gayle’s friend’s home where the four of us girls got our hair braided. We were a little nervous going into it, because we were not sure if our scalps could handle all of the pulling. We were pleasently suprised that there was very little pain. We are all enjoying our new, edgier looks.

While we were taking turns getting our hair braided, some of us learned how to make one of our favorite Tanzanian foods, chapati. We began by making the dough and separating it into small balls. We learned how to roll out the dough, spread oil on it, and roll the dough into something that somewhat resembled a cinnamon role. The dough then got taken to be cooked. For the rest of the morning, we relaxed and played with the beautiful little girl that was at the home. We all ended up taking a nap while waiting for our lunch. Everyone on the team was all tired out from New Year’s eve. We woke up to a delicious, home-cooked Tanzanian meal of chapati, sambusas, chicken, beef stew, and fried bananas. We even got a little treat of ice cream and chocolate. For the rest of the afternoon, the four of us girls relaxed at the home and napped a little more.

Olivia Tuel