Monday, June 20, 2011

Tanzania bound

Many factors affect our values, interests, desires and decisions. Travel, for many, is synonymous with being away from work and relaxing. While I agree I, and Gail too, find great value in travel that's related to working and living with the locals. To this end we have designed and lead several mission trips in the past, such as to the Katrina stricken area of Mississippi with five teams. This year the trip is to Tanzania.

This trip, like most of the trips, started with the question: would you like to go to Tanzania on a mission trip. With enough "yeses" and some enthusiasm, the planning starts and at first it's crude and vague. With only 24 days to boarding the plane, the details are growing like weeds: what to take, what to expect, schedules, projects with supplies and tools, and projects with what to prepare for teaching. Every morning time is dedicated to compiling the thoughts of the previous day and informing the team of any changes.

This trip involves a team of nine, five students from Western Oregon and four adults including one who just had a knee replacement. As arrangements evolved two students ended up on a different schedule typically traveling about six hours later than the rest of the team. Despite the simplicity of the statement, the details are interesting, challenging and sometimes easily overlooked, like attending the midnight movie with the rest of the team when you don't arrive until 1:00AM.

One of our contacts, a lady in a village called Lengasti, within driving distance of Arusha Tanzania, just emailed us a schedule during our four night stay. It includes a day of welcome, a climb with a view and a swim in a hot springs, as well as teaching health and building garden beds and playground equipment. Our other 13 days will be spent traveling (it a long flight), teaching computer literacy and working with a variety of childhood and health related agencies in Arusha and a day in the Ngorongoro Crater with the lions, giraffes and other wild critters.

We expect to be basically removed from outside communication especially Internet and so real time communication will be limited and reporting back will be relegated to a post-trip movie, collection of pictures and some narrative. We board the plan July 14, return to Oregon August 1 and hope to have a report by mid August. See you then.

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