We arrived in Dar es Salaam late on Monday. As many of you know it is a long plane trip from Minneapolis to Dar. It seems to get longer and longer as the years go by.
When we got to Dar, Daniel, a driver from the University who often comes to meet us, was waiting for us. This year we bought a used car for Iringa Hope. For the past ten years we have been making our visits using buses or motorcycles, along with catching rides with friends, pastors, and those with business in the villages. This has been a real challenge, especially as our locations have grown and spread out. We have been reluctant to spend any funds on a car, preferring to make as many funds as possible available to help our members. Finally, one of our many friends sent us the funds and told us to “buy a car!” – so we have.
It is a full day drive from Dar to Iringa so weset out early this morning. About 1 PM we arrived in Morogoro where we were planning on meeting the Morogoro Central Rotary club - our local partner for our Global grant.
Jane Fatukubonye met us at a gas station where she had gone to clean the air filter. Jane and the immediate past president of the club will be joining us in Iringa as we make our first village visits this week, so she needed a vehicle in good condition to make the trip.
Jane rode with us to a local resort owned by one of the club members where we met with other club members for lunch. I gave the club one of our Lakeville Rotary banners. They told me they had brought one for our club, but it was back in the car Jane had left at the station (I will get it later).
A reporter had come to the meeting to get our story. Although he is based in Morogro he often writes stories for the national newspaper in Dar. He also takes video for their national news program.
He had already interviewed the club and wanted to talk with Tom. They talked a bit about the program and our club in Lakeville, MN. He then taped a short interview with Tom and took some more pictures. He told us the paper planned to run an article about our grant. He also said that there would be a short clip on the news. we asked him to send us a link when he had one - and he promised to do this. We will see!
Daniel was eager to get back on the road because he wanted to arrive in Iringa before dark, so we cut our conversations short. The women of the club are extremely interesting and we could have visited with them for hours.
Driving into Iringa we noted a number of changes since last year. Every year Iringa develops a little more. Unfortunately, the rural areas where we are working normally do not. We will see how things are doing there as we travel around and interview our members.
Jane and Dinas (last year’s Morogoro Central’s President) are staying a short walk from our apartment. We will be meeting them for breakfast in the morning and then traveling together this week.
We are off to meetings at our offices tomorrow AM. Then it is two villages a day for awhile. We are already getting tired thinking about it.