Some weeks ago now my sister-in-law Wendy, who visited in August as recounted in
this blog post, told me that the ship Logos Hope, run by the Christian mission organisation Operation Mobilisation, is due to come to Dar es Salaam in January 2016. Well, one thing led to another and I'm very pleased to say that I now have two house guests, Peace from Thailand and Tommy from the USA! Peace and Tommy are two of the four members of the advance team come to establish links with churches and others, organise events and generally prepare the way for the arrival of the ship.
Have to say it's quite fun having them here. Although after a couple of days I was wondering whether their arrival was a dream, I would leave in the morning before there was any sign of life from either of the other two bedrooms, and then in the evening go to bed and fall asleep completely oblivious to anyone coming in. The level of the drinking water container going down slightly is a bit of a clue, I suppose. One form of communication we've been using are Scrabble fridge magnets, a gift from Stephen's parents (see this blog post) which has been good. They seem to be slightly bemused by the idea that I have a housekeeper very willing to do their washing and ironing, apparently this service is not offered on ship.
Over the weekend I've been able to catch up with them a bit, really interesting to learn something about the work of Operation Mobilisation. What surprised me somewhat was to discover just how much time of the 400 or so people on board the ship is taken in the running of the ship, a typical week is something like one day off, 5 days on ship-related duties and one day a week on Christian ministry. While they're here they get people to go to the ship for various events, apparently when I visit I get to wear an orange badge, marking me out as somebody who has helped to set things up. So looking forward to that! Also team members go out to churches to help with various events, with another team staying behind after the visit - which lasts about 4 weeks - continuing to work with churches in looking to make a lasting difference.
So, will be telling you more about this over the next few weeks, expect to have some nice pictures to show when the ship is actually here. Meanwhile, choir practices for Christmas continuing to go well, really enjoying doing what for me are old favourites - eg. 'Torches' - with a fantastic group of people for whom this is new. My thanks to my former colleague Dr Ruth Lee for her very helpful explanation of the power of tonic sol-fa, continue to be very impressed with everybody's facility in using it, am tempted to invest some time building up fluency but haven't yet decided on this.
And one final thing. I'm used to walking down the street and being offered lifts by taxi drivers. But yesterday, there was a slight difference, the taxi driver said, "Taxi, babu?' Excuse me??? BABU???? Just to explain, babu literally means grandfather, but is commonly used to refer to men of grandfather age.
OK, let's get this straight. The taxi driver looked at me and decided that the appropriate way to address me was as BABU????? Of course, this is intended as a term of respect, I suppose it's my problem that it doesn't feel like this. One more sign of increasing age and decrepitude. Although I do have to concede that I have put my glasses down a few times recently, forgotten where I put them, and then been unable to find them because - I'm not wearing my glasses and so can't see well enough. Which is a bit of conundrum really.
So, let's bow to the inevitable, I think I'll order my Saga scooter now. After all the exertion of writing this blog I'd better have a snooze, you know what us elderly folk are like.....