From Point A to Point B

2 01 2013

From Point A to Point B

Traveling with Glenn in Africa

I left Usa River late in the afternoon rejoicing for the opportunity of praying with three Masai to come to Jesus.  Now I have much to do as my schedule is packed.  Errands, in Arusha then off to travel for two days to Dar Es Salaam. Including a stop in Bagamoyo where I have my largest scheduled seminar on Discipleship and Luke 10 Evangelism, spreading the Gospel of the Kingdom.  Come with me on a journey, you will learn about the culture the people my challenges and my frailties.  I have many.

2012-12-29 09.29.53

I travel to Arusha to fulfill my promise to pay for some printing done in Kenya.  I arrive too  late to do all I need to do and have to spend the night.  So begins my journey the next day.  We will call it day one.  If you have already read my story about the Western Union skip to the end of Day 1 read the last paragraph or so and proceed.  For the rest of you. Day 1 is a doozey!

Day 1.  First, I have promises to keep,  And miles to go before I sleep.

Went to first western Union, hitherto referred to as WU.   I need to pay for some printing I had done in Kenya.  After a long wait the teller finally arrives and tells me I not only need my passport, but also the passport of the receiver. This is erroneous and I have been told this before. I inform her that I send money all the time and that her info is incorrect. In fact it is against the law for me to carry around someone else’s passport. She is not moved. Onto WU number two. After 15 minutes the teller suggested I go to another WU she forgot her password. Could not get into the system. Went to one at the AIC center, a highly secure facility of international trade. Scanned in, bags checked, ID verified finally entered. Despite their ads they are NOT open on Saturday. Next, I head to a recommended bank after getting explicit directions on exactly where to go. Warning, Africans have almost never even seen a map and can take you somewhere and are generous enough to drop all their plans and go. That is how wonderful they are. However, they don’t have a clue how to give directions and even if someone tells you the wrong way his peers standing right there  would never risk embarrassing him by telling you he is wrong.  So yes, I head out with incorrect directions. After a few minutes, I do the opposite of their directions and notice my destination a block from where they told me, in reverse. I enter fill out the paperwork and then they inform me I am number 70 in line. I leave and start looking on my own. The next two locations I go to tell me the system is down. The next one has only 20 people in line and two clerks. But no forms to send money. I tell them this, but they laugh at me and tell me I just did not look at the right place. So they escort me to the table where the forms are, with a smirk on their face, ready to help the poor ill informed Muzungu. No forms. They begin a search involving 5 employees. Since they have no system for organizing forms they can be anywhere. They finally give up and tell me to go someplace else. Just as I am about to give up, a clerk looks again and I am awarded with one of the last 4 forms in the bank. I suggest they order more right away and they smile. It will not happen till all are gone trust me. It is the African way. I fill out the form and get in line. Right away people come in fill out forms and then squeeze in front of me. I protest. They say they are with the guy in front of me. I motion to security but as usual they will do nothing. A girl comes in and gets in front of the guy that just broke line in front of me. He is distressed. I inform him that she is with the guy in front of the line and that I think I know the guy at the head of the line and think I may be with him. He begins to panic. Before I could make my pretend advance another guy comes up to the guy I was pretending to go up to and they talk and he takes over the front of the line. At this point they have waited on three customers but I have fallen behind three more. When the gentleman who broke line sees the person in front of him almost done he rushes the counter, convinced I am going to force my way next. The whole concepts of lines and taking turns is pretty foreign in the third world. I am blessed to be in Africa, in India, they will fight over a bus one seat when there are 5 empty. Finally, I get to the window and send my funds, then the clerk starts explaining the fees. Except by his explanation, he is going to pay me a fee. He even gives me a form to sign so he can refund me 14000 shillings. I tell him I think he is making a mistake and that I should be paying him a fee.  He begins to be confused and after a consultation with other staff members  they agree I owe the WU fee not the teller. You see in Africa, they mostly give out cash.  They seldom take case to be sent to someone else.  So after 3.5 hours from the original attempt I remitted my funds. Business for companies in Africa must be fun. My favorite, short verse comes to mind. John 3:30. He must increase I must decrease. But in reality, I must die to myself because this stuff will kill you. It is better to let Christ live in you. He can handle these things and love everyone in spite of their frailties. I know it is true because He puts up with me!

As I leave for Moshi, the next big city on my stop, I simply have to stop and rest for a bit about half way.  I pull over my motor cycle and sit down under a tree.  After about 4 minutes another motor cycle rider, an African, stops to see if I am OK?  I tell him I am and he smiles and welcomes me to Tanzania.  Ten minutes later another rider, the same comments and then he leaves, satisfied I am ok.  Later a car stops to check on me.  You have to understand how great the Tanzanian people are.  They love visitors and believe that visitors are one of the highest forms of blessing.  The further away a visitor travels to see them the greater the blessing.  I am inundated with offers to come stay in their homes and share a meal.  This would multiply their blessing from the Lord. I just can’t do it very often.  But these people are the most generous and kind people to strangers I have ever met.  I am humbled by their continued grace towards me.  This truth stands in sharp contrast to the warnings I am always getting from Americans and Africans alike that I am in great danger when traveling.  Nothing could be further from my experience.  God is Good, and Tanzanians are awesome.

It rains, I stop and put on my jacket.  It stops raining and gets hot so I stop and take off my jacket.  It rains and I stop and put on my jacket and now it is raining steady.  As I approach the outskirts of Moshi I go through a few police stopping points.  They are all busy until I get into the city proper.  In the pouring rain they motion that I should pull over for questioning.  I assure you they don’t really want to do anything put practice their English and welcome me to Tanzania.  As I come to a stop, I tell the police man that I can’t believe he want to talk to a guy on a motor bike in the pouring rain.  He informs me that it is a wonderful day.  Of course it is.  To me it is raining and silly to stop me.  To him it is a blessing that he can’t pass up.  He ask me my business, where I am coming from and where I am going.  Constantly saying, karibu, the Kiswahili word for welcome.  Two other army men come over and inform me they are happy.  They mean they are happy to get to talk to me.  I understand but simply tell them I am happy too.  We are getting soaked to the skin as they smile and constantly welcome me to Tanzania.  I finally shake everyone’s hand and tell them I must go.  They welcome me again and laugh telling me good bye.  I finally enter the town and pass the place where I normally stay.

I have found out since my last stay that they were overcharging me almost triple.  I love those guys they call themselves the Green Christian Hostel.  And the fellowship is good.  Being cheated by being charged three or four times the advertised rate online is a topic I will deal with when I see the owner again when it is NOT raining.  I go to a few places and they are all out of my budget range.  Finally, a African, at a business that calls itself a hotel but in fact has no rooms gives me a location.  Many businesses here have signs that have absolutely nothing to do with their business.  I have gone in restaurants that only cut hair and grocery stores that only sell cell phones.  Signs cost money and so if one changes business models or tenants the signs typically don’t change.

I arrive at the suggested hotel and it is lovely, cheap and the staff is memorized that a Mzungu is staying there. I love it there but mostly they cater to Africans.  So I am a welcomed and unexpected blessing.  So the entire staff has to get a glimpse of me and welcome me.  They all want to practice their English and so checking in can be quite burdensome if you are tired.  I endure the questions and thank them for their welcome.  It stops raining and now I am in a hotel room in the middle of the afternoon and it is a beautiful day.  I could be traveling but the weather around the mountains is so unpredictable I get soaked all the time.  I am tired of being tired so I just relax.
I go for a wonderful meal at an Indian restaurant across the street where upon finding out I am a missionary they all want bibles.  A common request.   I do some questioning and find out they all have bibles except one and I tell her I will bring her a Kiswahili bible the next time I am in town. She is delighted and I have a wonderful and ridiculously inexpensive meal.  Later I sleep like a baby.  Tune in for Day 2.



One response

2 01 2013

Thanks for the adventure!!!! I feel your pain this morning!!!!! Sounds like you need a quite dry place and a good cup of tea or coffee….. Take Care and God Bless 🙂 Kenny T

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