Monday, November 19, 2007

Let the Nations Be Glad!

Most days at HOPAC, ethnicity is forgotten, even though our kids come from 30 different countries. Our students have names like Tsiry and Hyungmuk and Dasha, they bring chopsticks and sushi to school for lunch, and speak many different languages at home, but in their blue uniforms and the universality of childhood, their differences fade into the background. HOPAC certainly has cliques and rivalries just like any other school, but they are not based on race.

But one day a year, those differences are celebrated. International Day has always been one of the highlights of the year. Students dress in their national costumes, parents set up booths full of artifacts and food from their home countries, and dances and songs are performed. This day never fails to bring me to tears, as I always get the distinct impression that we are witnessing a foretaste of heaven from the Creator and Lover of culture.

Many of the nationalities at HOPAC come from business people working in Tanzania, but more encouraging is that many are MK's--from Sweden, Spain, Korea, Germany, UK, Australia, Finland...the list goes on. What an amazing experience to witness the worldwide Body of Christ.

11th Grade Girls and Their Science Teacher

Litte Dutch Girls

Little Swedish Girls

The Korean Clan

Big Tough Irish Guys

It's November...and gathered on the basketball court, everyone sweats in the same language!

Mmmm...Everbody's favorite part is the food.

All the kids get their "passports" stamped at the different displays.


Tanzanian Dancing

Iksheeta and Grace: She wasn't too happy with the crowds and noise!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


During our half-term break, Gil and I took our first "no-Grace" trip for 3 days to celebrate our 7th anniversary. We went to Zanzibar, an inhabited island off the coast of Tanzania. Technically Zanzibar is part of Tanzania, but is culturally much more Arab. We hadn't been there in years, so this was a special treat. Zanzibar is one of the most fascinating, beautiful, and mysterious places on earth.

Zanzibar from the air. It's only a 20 minute plane ride away.

Seen at the airport: "Smile U R in Zanzibar" Definitely gave us a good laugh!

We stayed at the "Zanzibar Coffee House:" VERY cool Bed and Breakfast-type place (even though we don't drink coffee!) in a renovated old Arab house. Check out our bathroom!

The main city on the island is called Stonetown. All the original buildings are made out of coral and have the most fascinating architecture. Intricately carved doors, called "Zanzibar doors" are seen everywhere--even in the most run down buildings.

Zanzibar is 99% Muslim.

Yes, we were really that close to these dolphins! Close enough, in fact, to jump in with snorkels and swim alongside them.

Got even closer to these monkeys--Red Colobus Monkeys, found only in Zanzibar. Have to be careful not stand directly under them!

At night, dozens of vendors set up on the beach selling all kinds of seafood.

Anglican church established by David Livingstone on the site of a former slave market. Notice the mosque steeple right next door.

Wooden path-like bridge through a mangrove forest. It's hard to see in the picture, but all these trees live in salt water, so the path makes you feel like you are walking on water. Absolutely breathtaking.

Come visit us and we'll take you with us to Zanzibar next time!

Recipe Adaptations

I find it amusing how I need to adapt recipes here.

For instance, tonight I am making Beef Stroganoff. The recipe says, "Simmer 10 minutes or until tender."

I therefore interpret that as meaning, "Simmer 3 hours."

I started it at 4:30, and we'll eat at 7 tonight. By then, it should be pretty tender.

Tanzania doesn't have any kind of mamsy-pamsy cows that get to sit around all day and eat. These cows WORK for a living!