By Gil Gray

1. I have been asked how I acquired the name “No Hablo” from my team. On my first trip, our safari truck broke down near an isolated village and when the children came up they started speaking to me in Swahili assuming that I knew the language since I was of similar coloring. Seeing how I used to be fluent in Spanish I responded with “no comprendo” meaning “I do not understand.” But, the children continued to speak to me in Swahili and that is how I got the name. I have since learned some Swahili and can understand more than I speak because the rules are very similar to Spanish rules but with a major difference. Swahili words are multi-syllables and when pronouncing words, the emphasis is placed on the next to last syllable and if you don’t say it right they will not understand the word. Here is an example: we say okay, Tanzanians say sawa, but the emphasis is on the sa — it is stretched with emphasis. Mike Kelley asked me what caribou meant and I explained that karibu means “welcome” in Swahili — emphasis is placed on the ri, otherwise it sounds like the moose looking animal. So you can see we laughed a lot and they laughed a lot especially at me because I attempted phrases in some of the lessons that I taught.

2. We stopped on the road for a coffee/bathroom break and a law enforcement officer was there, we quickly made friends and I taught him the fist bump but he could not say the words. He would say fisti, fishy, bumpa, bomba. I told him my say was Gil and he could never say it; there were not enough syllables for him to pronounce the words. We stopped at the same place on our return and he still could not say the words.

3. The people were anxious to hear about Jesus; they had an awareness that something greater than themselves existed.

4. Tanzanians are farmers and the land is filled with resources suitable for farming. Crops were grown on the sides of mountains using manual labor alone. They used shovels and hoes for their work and would hand carry water to the crops.

5. Their infant mortality rate is among the 10 highest in the world and the average life span is 43 years. They lack of medicine, especially in the rural areas, is a major problem. Completing education is a major problem because of the need to work the farm.

6. Dar Es Salaam, formerly the nation’s capital is the major city and most citizens lack electrical power to their homes.

7. The roads are not good and the driving is worse. Tour buses will run themselves off the road in order to keep you from getting ahead. Night driving is not encouraged, we did see an accident where several cows had been hit ¼ mile from a town and the townspeople were already gathered to slice them up and more were coming. Wild animals i.e. lions, are not fenced and there is a fear that they may be hit during night driving. It is against the law to kill a lion unless you are directly threatened.

8. The people manage to live within their infrastructure and have no knowledge of the things that we throw away daily. The amount of water that I consume in a week would probably last the average family a year.

9. The Old Testament is alive in Tanzania.

10. Each morning the women sweep the dirt in front of their doorway, I say doorway because most dwellings had doorways but no door and window ways but no window.

11. Romans 10 became alive to me: How can the know unless they hear.