This is our morning view over Lake Tanganyika from the tiny guest cottage that is our home for two weeks. At all times of the day we can hear a myriad of insects and birds, and when the dog barks in the evening, it means that there are zebras feeding close by beyond the homemade brick walls.
Life is much simpler here for us, especially today since a thunderstorm knocked out the electricity, and the wifi modem got fried by a storm last week. We can sometimes get wifi at the Kneppers’ house, so have had a bit of communication with the outside world, but not much. We basically have no idea what’s happening out there. Hopefully, if there were important news, it would find a way here. They say ignorance is bliss. If not bliss, there is certainly more focus and peace, at least for us in our limited role.
I have been welcomed into the Hope of the Nations Primary School to do health exams on 135 children, many of whom are orphans and have never seen a doctor, and are a bit terrified of me. They speak so softly that to do vision screening I have to hug them to my side to hear them read the letters on the chart. Sadly, in this region of over 2 million, there is no optician, so I have no glasses to offer those who need them, only a seat closer to the blackboard.
Two afternoons I’ve met with groups of women in the nearby ancient village of Ujiji (where Stanley found Livingston). My friend Happiness and I took a bajaji (open taxi on a motorcycle) about five miles on a paved road and then off into a maze of rutted dirt roads. After alighting we walked down a trail that ran into the trees, dotted with tiny homes. Soon 20 unwed teen moms with their babies gathered, along with whoever else was walking by and stopped to see what a mzungu (foreigner) was doing in their village. We sat out under a tree, a tarp covering the hard red earth, next to the mud brick house of our hostess. Happiness encouraged them from the Bible, then I answered questions about mothering, birth, and breastfeeding. One mom wanted to know if she should still breastfeed her one year old if she is pregnant with another baby and she eats only 1 meal a day. Their situation is quite heartbreaking. The fact that I will go back tonight and write about this on the internet is almost too much to take in.
Today I got together with Phoebe and Livita, one pregnant with her fifth baby and the other wi2-month-oldh old. Over passion fruit juice and homemade doughnuts, we talked as mamas do, about baby care, pregnancy fears, breastfeeding and diapering. Meanwhile baby Daniel cooed and wiggled in my lap.