Korean couple: Mr. Pil Soo and his wife Hey Suk. I think they will be working in Dar es Salaam. They have a vehicle here and only Pil Soo speaks English. So during main classes he translates from English into Korean for her.
Another Korean woman, Mi Hey who is with YWAM in Mombasa is here without her husband. She’s been in Mombasa for years – so she already knows quite a bit of Swahili, and is fairly good at English.
This morning we said good-bye to a Catholic nun from Kinshasa in the Congo. She’s already been working in Arusha for a few years so she has a good base of Swahili already. She left behind a couple of fellow Catholics.
There is a Father from Kerala in India will be working with a parish in the southern part of Tanzania.
Sister Paulette is originally from the Philippines. All the Catholic clergy are extraordinarily friendly, outgoing and very compassionate. The Sister that just left could always be heard laughing.
Germany is represented by two individuals: Sophia who is about 23 and looks after the small children of language students and of the Lutheran Junior Seminary Staff. She came from Bavaria on a one year volunteer basis. She is half way through her year. Her English is pretty good and she has picked up quite a bit of Swahili without studying it at all.
The other German is Harald. I would say he’s around 60. Both Germans are Lutheran. Harald is friendly and helpful with whatever you might need. He has a tentative position in Arusha starting in September. This is not his first time to live and work in Africa. But he’s never worked in a Swahili speaking country before. He’s incredibly kind, but to the point and somewhat businesslike. What you would expect in a German.
Tanzania was a German colony back in the day. So it’s not uncommon to find Germans here. Then add to that the fact that I am at a Lutheran Junior Seminary and there you have it.
But it wouldn’t be Lutheran if some Scandinavian country wasn’t represented here. Enter Lars and Kjersti and their two small children Lia and Simon. Lia is two and a half – in every way. Simon is probably four and a half or five. He fusses and cries often. It’s funny how that sounds the same in any language. Lars and Kjersti have a ton of stuff with them. They will be going to live in some remote village in central Tanzania after language school. Lars is handy with computers and they also have a vehicle. I may go to Zanzibar with them over Easter.
The Tate family of five from Ohio is Independent Baptist. They arrived about 4 weeks ago and are heading to Kitale in Western Kenya when they finish language school. Roger was an associate pastor before coming here. Julie home schools there three kids: Emily age 12, Amy age 7 and Josiah age 5. Right now home school is learning Swahili.
Finally the Wartburg student doing her term abroad is Alana Deutschmann from Hastings, Minnesota. This friendly 21-year-old is enjoying every minute of the “African Experience” She blogs long entries. Travels to the villages with a long-term missionary here and finds ways to do everything from getting to town to climbing the local ‘mountain’.
Two other wazungu (white people) that aren’t students are aforementioned missionary, Pastor Herb Hafermann. I had heard about him when I was at Lutheran Bible Institute all those many years ago. He’s around about half the time. Otherwise he’s out in the Maasai villages doing missionary stuff.
Mzee John has got to be in his 80’s. He’s from Ontario, Canada he says. But he has the most unique accent. Sometimes when he’s talking and I can’t see him I think I am hearing a cartoon character. I have discovered that he is originally from the Netherlands. I think he used to work out here. Now he just winters here. Talk about a snowbird going south!
All these folks are the people I interact with at meals and that live in rooms in the same area as I do. Needless to say all my mealtime and social conversations are in English, our most common language. But it makes for a colorful little united nations amongst the missionaries.