Last week, on GMI’s facebook page, we asked you to pray for the survey trip that the Sherman family was taking around Lake Tanganyike. They had a great trip as they will describe in this post and were taught many things. Please take the time to read and enjoy this pictorial report of their time and pray for them today!
We thank you for your prayers over this weekend. We successfully visited 14 villages over two days traveling 55 kilometers the first day and 107 on the second. Our little rubber duck is not much of a big lake tamer so we were glad to return safe. The first day the water was very calm most of the day. However, on the second day we found ourselves about 55 kilometers from camp with the lake getting rougher by the minute. We never felt in danger (at least not me), but when we still had several hours to go and the waves had reached 3-4 feet I began to wonder if it might get worse.
Please pray with us as we consider Lake Tanganyika as one of many possible places for future ministry. There is no doubt that the physical and spiritual needs of the people on this lake are great.
Please pray also that if God should lead our hearts toward the lake that he would call a second couple to share the burden with us.
Following is a report in pictures with some captions to explain. We hope that you enjoy them; I know we did!
All packed and ready to go followed by a 4 hour road trip to the lake through many villages
On the way we stopped to buy tomatoes and a roasted corn snack
We dropped over 2500 feet so the boat deflated on the way requiring us to adjust our straps. We got to the lake at dusk.
6 a.m. trying to figure out how to get everything in the boat. But we still were able to get on the lake as the sun rose over the mountains.
Captain Steve along with the First Mate and the Bosun.
Over 2 days we visited 14 villages. We were a bit of a novelty. Even if there were only a few on shore when we arrived; it did not take long to gather a crowd.
In this village (Katili) and one other that we visited (Tundu), 3 children have been eaten by crocodiles this year.
In each village Steve would talk to the men and gather information about churches, schools, health care, clean water, tribes, other needs, etc. Sometimes this meant going on a long walk to talk to the village chairman.
The Bosun and First Mate watched the boat and talked to the women and children.
Only 4 of the villages we visited have road access. These lake people are very dependent upon the lake for commerce and transport of goods. They make their own boats out of a hardwood tree called maninga and stuff the cracks with cotton.
They like to write sayings on the sides of their boats. The one on the left says, “It is by the grace of God” and the one on the right says, “Good character is your weapon”. It is a bit ironic that in the village of the second boat a large group of young men were quite suggestively rude to my 17 year old daughter.
Though the people farm a little bit, their main source of income is fishing. Pictured below are Nile Perch (the big ones), English Fish (yellow), and Mkebuka (I don’t know the English word).
Where ever we went there were throngs of children. What a ministry someone could have! 6 of the 14 villages did not have a primary school so many of these children have to walk an hour or more to the next village to go to school. This usually results in many just not going to school. There was only 1 secondary school in the 14 villages that we visited.
Health is another problem. Only 5 of the 14 villages had a dispensary which is the lowest level of healthcare in Tanzania. For most, it is 1-2 day trip to the nearest hospital.
Though a difficult place to live; the beauty is unsurpassed. The majority of the shoreline is lined with cliffs and and hills that rise up right out of the water making much of the shoreline uninhabitable. In most places the water is already 600 feet deep less than 100 feet from shore.
Though we searched we could not find any bathrooms so we had to make do. On the other hand, midday we found a very comfortable place to eat lunch and take a nap.
There was also a sighting of Katharine Hepburn on the African Queen. I guess that makes me Humphrey Bogart 🙂
Thanks again for your prayers,