We mentioned in our last update that the large ELCA group from Nebraska has recently returned home. They were in Tanzania to visit the Southern part of the country and a few organizations in and around Moshi. While they were in the south they also visited several refugee resettlement camps. Fortunately we were able to meet with the group before they headed south and before they returned home!
We had a very nice dinner that we wrote about in the “Through Our Eyes” section
just before the large group from Nebraska went on their trip south. They returned last week and we were able to have a “good bye” lunch with them. It was a wonderful time with great food! The group told us about their experiences in Southern Tanzania. They said that it’s a completely different landscape. The poverty is more extreme, the climate is different, and Chinese companies are building roads everywhere. They said that the refugee resettlement camps were very impressive. Individuals and families have been in the camps for decades.
Many of the children know the camps as home as this is where they were born and raised. A few years ago the Tanzanian government agreed to make
thousands of refugees citizens of Tanzania. People are slowly leaving the camps and entering Tanzanian society as a citizen, which means that the camps are slowly closing. Many refugees from Burundi are slowly being “repatriated”, which means that they are being moved back to Burundi. When Rich and Barb return in January we plan to visit the south and see what is happening in the camps.
During the lunch we were able to sit with the same people we sat next to for the dinner before the trip south, Randy and Melanie. They are from Colorado Springs, which is just south of where we lived in Denver. We were able to bond over the Rocky Mountains and other Colorado themes throughout both meals. After the dinner Randy and Melanie ran to their room and grabbed a few items that they felt that they did not need for their return trip to the United States. They gave us two rolls of western toilet paper, a pack of vitamins to take after an upset stomach, and zip lock bags.
It was so nice of them to think of us and to give those items to us. It is amazing how Charmin Ultra and zip lock bags can make you feel at home! It felt like Christmas! It’s the simple things in life that mean the most over here! They were wonderful people and we are so happy to have met them! We hope we can stay in touch and visit them when we return to the Rocky Mountain area!