Friday, August 24, 2012

"Welcome, Welcome Our Visitors!"

Times have been very good (nzuri sana) here at City of Hope.  Since our last update we’ve had some sad goodbyes and some wonderful visitors.  

One group of visitors were comprised of government officials from the capital of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam, to salute the work being done at City of Hope.  Each year the government of Tanzania identifies certain places where significant contribution has been made towards the improvement of life in Tanzania.  As a symbol of honor, the Mwenge Torch travels to each of these chosen locations over a period of 2-3 months.  This year, City of Hope was chosen to be the first to host the Mwenge Torch!  On August 13th and14th, we scurried around the compound cleaning up in preparations for the celebration.  The party started around noon on the 14th.  Government trucks filled the drive into City of Hope, dancers moved to the beat of drums, an acrobatic group made tall human pyramids, and we (teachers, interns, missionaries, and students) stood in awe of all the activity surrounding us.  Once all the trucks moved through the gate, the Mwenge torch made it down the main drive in front of the children’s home.  The torch was then placed momentarily inside the children’s home.  Much of what was spoken throughout the torch visit was in Swahili but it was definitely entertaining.  The kids listened to each speaker attentively while Dr. Cha Cha, Regina, Ty, Christopher, and others were honored for the work being done at City of Hope.  Afterwards, we hosted a lunch for the government officials inside the newly decorated mission house.  It was an exciting afternoon to say the least.  Not to mention that our second group of visitors from Duke University arrived the same day!

Mwenge Torch cermony-Kouria traditional dancers
 The Duke nursing students have been a much welcomed addition to our FHD group.  All of them, including “Dr. Mike Scott” as the locals call him, have come with openness and willingness to learn from the Kourian culture of Ntagacha.   Dr. Ty has continued to lead our medical training class in the mornings and discussion times in the afternoons.  It’s been a privilege for those of us who have been here for a longer period of time to help Ty lead the discussions or ask certain thought provoking questions.  Having lost the VCOM students and a few others, we have been thankful to work together as a larger team again.  We have been spending our days working in the medical clinic, going on home visits, participating in various projects at COH, and having many discussions under the acacia tree.  The Duke students have experienced the occasional heavy rainstorms, the crazy awesome African dance parties in the children’s home, chapatis at the chai house, a cinematic showing of “The gods must be crazy”, and so much more.  None of us can believe that our departure time is right around the corner!

Duke U. Nursing students, and Mukwenda
As we wrap up with our time here, please pray that we make the most of every opportunity in this place, and that we are able to bless one another, the children, staff and community here at COH and in Ntagacha.  We will likely have one more dance party with the kids, perhaps another “girl talk” night with the older girls in the children’s home, and a few more house visits, including the home of Joshua tomorrow.  As of today he weights 13 lbs and 8 oz!  His foot wounds are looking much improved, and the little rascal giggled multiple times today.  He is doing very well, praise God!

Thank you for your continued prayers and support!  Our team is deeply grateful.

Kwaheri rafiki!

(We hope to add additional photos to this blog please stay tuned :)

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