Saturday, January 30, 2010

We're Home

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We made it home safely after a two week vacation in Zanzibar. We want to say thank you again to the grandparents for making this trip possible. It was such a wonderful Christmas present.

It was a marathon of a vacation. To get there, we drove 3 hours north to Kaphiri Mposhi to catch the train to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. After the 46 hour train ride, we hailed a taxi big enough to carry our 12 passengers and all of the luggage and tried to make a mad dash to the port to catch the last ferry to Zanzibar Island, but arrived 10 minutes too late. So, after a bit of discussion, we chartered a small plane over to the island. After arriving on the island, we boarded a taxi and drove the final hour of the trip to the east coast where our lodging was located.

This trip was full of adventures and we made many family memories that will last a life time. It was also a great time for rest from ministry and a chance to recharge our "batteries." I won't bore you with all of the details, but here were some of the highlights:

Beautiful Beaches:
We spent 10 days on the eastern side of Zanzibar Island and then the last 2 days back in Stone Town. The beaches were amazing! The water was clear and it had a very long shelf, which meant that the kids could go as far as they wanted out into the water and it never got over their heads. This worked out great for the little ones.

Village Rental:
The home we rented was on the edge of one of the larger villiages in Zanzibar, Jambiani. As you can see from some of the pictures, many of the children from the villiage would come to the beach in the afternoons and most of them were interested in the Mzungu (White people) children. Most of the time when it was time to come in for dinner, we would have children peeking through doors and windows. Only in Africa.

Portugese Man-O-War:
This time of year turned out to be the Blue Bottle or Portugese Man-O-War Jelly Fish season. These organisms are clear on top with blue tenticles and they hurt like the dickens when they sting you! Half of our group was stung at least once. For the Roberts, it was me, Gracyn and Maddie. For the Whitfields, it was Luke and two of his children - Payton and Macy. The good thing about these jelly fish is they tended to come during the afternoon high tide. So, if we stayed out of the water during that time, we were ok.

The Naked Swimmer:
Another interesting tidbit from our trip was the Naked Swimmer. Every morning at sunrise, about 50 yards down the beach, one of the men from the village would walk out, take all of his clothes off, walk into the water, dip himself several times in each direction, walk back to the shore, pee (sometimes poo), go back into the water, do another 7 to 8 dips, walk back to the shore, then put on his clothes and leave. We asked several of the villagers about him and they told us that he was Falla (crazy).

Midnight with Ali:
Zanzibar is prodominantly Muslim. Someone told us that it is approximately 98% Muslim. So, needless to say, we didn't meet many followers of Christ. The last night before leaving, Luke built a fire on the beach and we just sat out and talked. As we were talking, two locals joined us. One of them was named Ali. During our conversation, we got to talking about the Koran and the Bible. We talked about how Islam is about works and how Christianity is about grace. And we had the opportunity to share the gospel with him while leaving him with a New Testament. We encouraged him to search the scriptures to see who Christ really claimed to be. So, if you think about it, please pray for him. Pray that God would use that brief encounter to bring him into His kingdom.

Being in Zanzibar was refreshing in many ways, but I'm glad to be back home in Zambia. Our time there really helped us to refocus and appreciate Zambia in ways we haven't in the past. And it was great just to spend some quality time with the family without any interferences. Thank you to all of you who prayed for us as we traveled. Blessings!

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