Muzungu in the Neighborhood!

Every year I’ve come to Tanzania I’ve stayed at Maasai Safari Centre in Arusha at least part of my stay. The past few years, this has been my primary home. Cornelius Mollel is the proprietor. He is the most gracious host, a wonderful Godly man and full of great life stories.

But a couple nights ago I took the opportunity to stay with my friend, we’ll call her Sarah, out in the village. She rents a place that’s about 10ft by 12ft, concrete walls, no windows for 30,000 tsh ($13) per month. She thinks it’s quite expensive for no windows and no electricity. She has a queen size bed, a couch, a coffee table, a propane tank that she cooks on and in the corner are piled her tubs. The tubs are used to wash her clothes and they store her few pots and pans. Her towel (notice it’s not plural) and blankets are stored in zipper bags that keep the bugs out. There are plastic bin type shelves that hold other kitchen essentials. Against the other wall by the couch are three 5-gallon buckets stacked on top of each other that are filled with water. If she needs the water to be clean she has to boil it first. To do any cooking besides rice, beans or ugali (mixture of corn flour and water) she must go purchase the ingredients.

I woke up at 4am overwhelmed with God’s goodness. I’ve been given so much! Am I using all that has been given to me wisely? Sarah is so content with what God has blessed her with. She so freely gives of what little she has. I’m ashamed to admit I hang on too tightly to what God has given me.

When I asked Sarah to show me to the bathroom she asked me to wait. So many people share it she wanted to clean it up first. It’s a glorified “squatty potty”; porcelain with foot grips on each side of the hole. I’d never specifically thanked God before for my two toilets in my house!

In the morning she told me she’d pay for the water for my shower- bless her heart- but I chose to use my wipes rather than use the community shower! When I inquired where I could spit when I brushed my teeth, she took me about 10 yards from her “compound” and said this was a good place for brushing teeth. It was close to a river so there were women doing their morning chores. I was definitely a curiosity. I just smiled and waved. Sarah said it made a real buzz in the area that a muzungu (westerner) was staying the night in the neighborhood!

My husband and I have changed our lifestyle the past few years since I left my full-time job to spend more time on Next Life Foundation but I believe God intentionally showed me how little “stuff” is really needed. I need His constant help so I don’t get caught up in the Western consumerism mentality. May I be fully content with the wonderful blessings He gives me and has given me each and every day.

May His face shine upon you, Patti