Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Nice Crook

Here it goes once again. Some of my family members and relatives say that I should post more often but I'm just going to give the warning now that if I did post more often they would be shorter than normal but even more boring if possible.

The last week and a half has been pretty interesting. We've gotten to do some stuff out of the ordinary which always adds some spice to life and experiences to remember:) Last Tuesday Neil and I went with the hospital's truck into Kigoma to do some shopping to furnish our kitchen with the necessary tools and also pick up some food items that we can't get in the local village market. We ended up leaving late which is the norm that I've gotten used to, and didn't get back until around seven in the evening. While in town we tried to check out the train station for schedules and rates. At Christmas time we're going down to Mozambique to spend a few weeks with my family. The initial and final legs of that journey are going to involve us taking a two nights and one day train ride to Dar es Salaam. We weren't able to get our tickets but we did find out that we'll probably be able to get our own sleeper room for the trip and not have to worry about someone swiping our stuff while we're asleep.

The rest of the week continued normally without any surprises. Sabbath kept up the new trend of weekend rain. Both Saturday and Sunday contained some pretty cool storms. On Sunday we had our laundry out on the line and then Neil noticed that it was looking kind of dark outside. We went out to get the laundry and could see a wall of black coming towards us. It was moving pretty fast and while we were watching the distant hills disappeared from view. As I was hurrying to get my clothes down I felt the first drops and right after I had gone inside it started to rain in a serious way. Not the happy-go-lucky rain of a spring morning, no, more like the rain where God has a bunch of fire hoses aimed down at us. Rain is good though because it means our electricity will stay on more consistently.

Monday found us riding into town again but this time to the smaller town of Kasulu, about an hour away. We had sent our passports and papers in the previous week to get our residence permits but they wanted proof that we were students like our papers said. We don't have any proof but went along to try and show him that we're just poor students. Interestingly enough the student issue never surfaced when we reached the office of the immigration guy. There is a Canadian couple here to supervise all the building projects going on currently and they were here last year to build the Heri hospital church. They were in with us to get their permits as well. While we signed the last couple of papers the immigration guy, who I'm going to call Hubert, told us that he needed to get some money from us to pay for a person to take all our stuff to Dar and get the permits processed. This was so we wouldn't have to go ourselves. The Petermans (Canadian couple) had given him quite a bit of money towards getting someone to take our stuff to Dar, but Hubert stated that it wasn't enough. I am not the most patient of people and I enjoy arguing quite a bit. Character flaws, I know. I started to get a little upset because we hadn't heard that we were going to have to pay even extra above the cost of the residence permit. After he stated that the amount given him wasn't enough I asked him what would be a sufficient amount to pay for someone to take our documents. Hubert wouldn't answer me. He just kept smiling and telling us that we needed to give him more money. Now I know that Africa thrives on corruption and lining one's own bank account as often as possible but I wasn't happy about Hubert trying to get extra money after what he had been given was already sufficient to get someone to Dar and have the stay there for a week or so. What ended up happening was the hospital guys there with us talked to Hubert and arranged something so that they would pay some for Neil and I and we wouldn't have to pay any more. After leaving and talking about the exchange while we drove I commented on how seeing as how our options always seem to involve dealing with a crooked person at least we got to deal with a nice crook and not a surly one:)

The only other notable news that I can think of is that I've baked bread a couple of times now (the third try is in the oven now). The first couple of loaves were alright but nothing special. The second batch turned out pretty nice except we haven't been able to get whole wheat flour yet so all the bread is big, fluffy, and white just like I'll be when I get older:) We'll see how this third batch turns out.

Well I hope everyone out there in internet land is having a splendid October. I've put my address here at the top of the page just in case you have time to sit down and write one of those old fashioned things....I think it's called a letter...yeah that's it. Peace be upon you and happy early Hanukkah to anyone who is of the Jewish persuasion!



caitlyn brianne said...

i love reading your blogs justin! it sounds like stuff is going pretty good for you guys! i'm praying for ya! have a great week!

The Patel Family said...

Hey Justin!
We were just visiting "Internet Land" and decided to leave you a comment.
Sure sounds like you guys are having quite the experience!
Have a good rest of the week.
The Patel Family

nickele prahl said...

Hey Justin! I've been trying to get caught up on reading your blogs- good greif...don't you get writers cramp or something?! No actually, please don't- I've gotten a real kick out of reading them. I've been searching for this blog for the longest time- side note though...if you type in justinwoods.blogspot.com, you get a guy with a few too many girlfriends. My physics teacher reminds me so much of you- he says everything random and sarcastic that comes to him- so you're always in my head, just so you know! I miss you too overly much and am praying for you tons. God bless!

Sarah said...

Yay! You're making bread! I just got out of EMT class where we were practicing IVs on manikins...a bit boring.
I like your story about the happy crook. They love to rip off us unsuspecting white people, but I think it's just fun for them. In fact, if I were them, I'd probably do the same :)
Miss you guys...

aunt ann said...

Welcome to the real world of customs and red tape! It is very frustrating sometimes when trying to get things accomplished - i am sure you have heard stories from your dad! It is also very surprising when back in the US to go through red tape that is different but almost as frustrating...

Sounds like you are getting an idea of what you can do this year! Thanks for the long newsy post!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Justin,
This is a beautiful Sabbath afternoon here in Roseburgland - RJA had its fall festival on Thursday eve and for the very last time the Patel's brought Indian food for us to buy! It was yummy!Keep your courage up - it sounds like a real adventure. Bonnie Mayne prints your letters up and the pics and brings it in a notebook each week to church. Wishing you some fun times. Vikki Hein

Anonymous said...

Hi Justin,
Great to read your blog! I get to cross the Border today and pickup or drag the remains of a Van rollover. Noone was injured, Praise God! It is over near Kruger Park.
the beard is looking Very "African Bush" Just right for your environment!
Have a great day