Thursday, December 28, 2006

Endallah -- Christmas Eve, 2006

Secondary school expansion underway (cultivated fields in the background):


What the finished product looks like:


From my bedroom window in Endallah:




I'm in Endallah, a small village (about 5,000 people of mostly Irq descent), near the Lake Manyara, Arusha and Kilimanjaro in northern Tanzania.

I'm really out of communication -- no internet, no (land line) phone, no electricity, only some solar power. It feels like another place and time.

Christmas Eve in Endallah was special. We were the honored guests of our tour guide for southern Tanzania who is one of the village leaders and an elected District Councillor. His entire extended family attends us graciously.

For us, they arranged a drum and dance performance of traditional Irqi celebration (including Belgian accompaniment!), and we had had roasted goat and much more. Talk at dinner was of the many development projects underway in and around Endallah, including expansion of the secondary school (a race to finish the additional classrooms before the new term begins in mid-January!), a dispensary (like a clinic) in one of the poorest villages in the area, a road built by hand with wages paid in food.

A non-profit organization in Belgium and many Belgian families have contributed money and other resources and their hearts to these efforts. These are truly stories of perseverance and achievement and vision of the leadership to raise up the people.

And I've been invited to stay. As long as I like -- another week, another two weeks... And the invitation was warmly and repeatedly, genuinely extended. I feel happy and welcomed here. I am thinking to stay through the new year.

***

And there is war in Somalia. I caught a glimpse of a flash of a newcast in Swahili (though they showed a BBC screen shot which is how I ascertained this information). That means I fly to Ethiopia.

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