Sorry for my lack of update in this blog. Everything has been happening so fast. Even though during June I had a “break” I was still busy with Peace Corps trainings, events, or just meddling around the villages nearby talking and meeting villagers. And then some of you know I actually went back to America for my grandmother’s funeral in September. But I’ve been back in the village now for almost 3 months. And I was just blessed by the visit of my family (dad, mom, brother) and had the pleasure of showing them around Tanzania and my village. Here are a few highlights in random order since April.

50th Anniversary of Peace Corps – This event took place during June and I was privileged to travel all the way to Dar es Salaam to celebrate at the US Embassy with some fellow volunteers. I think I highlight this event because I felt so out of place there. There were so many Americans working abroad and I was very interested in hearing all these new possibilities that I had never even heard of.

Basketball – There is a dirt basketball court that was created by the students at my school. Currently it’s in a super run down condition because we have used it quite a bit. I even bought a basketball back in June so that the students and I could play. But to give you a better picture of what it is like, it’s about half the size of a real court and I can dunk. And to give you an even better picture, I’m the Yao Ming of my village, not because of my height, but because I can play just a bit better than everyone. I’m not trying to be cocky here but I’m more of trying to paint a picture of how basketball here isn’t very big yet, but the students like to play. And during the break in June while Form 2 and 4 students stayed back to study for their National Exams, I had one of the best weeks in Tanzania playing basketball with the students (boys versus girls).

Christmas in July! On July 1, 2011 I went hiking to a village nearby called Luvungo with a student Hilary to visit his mom’s side of the family. And apparently EVERYONE in this village is related to each other. I’d say Luvungo consists of about 250 people including the elderly, adults, and kids. A good number of my students actually come from this village. We first stopped at his grandmother’s house and when we got there they were somewhat shocked to see me. After introductions and greetings in the village dialect of Kipangwa, his grandmother’s first question was if I was a male or female. I got a kick out of it but they really just don’t know. Then the grandmother and my student had a short conversation where she told him she would get a little bit of money in October and during October she would give him money to buy pens for school. She reminded me of my grandmothers and it made me miss home. Then we went to visit his grandfather who lives on the part of the mountain where there’s a gorgeous view. When we got there he wasn’t there, but was at his farm. So one of his granddaughter’s takes us to his farm to say hi. His grandfather was overjoyed to see his grandson. And Hilary’s grandfather said something that really hit me. He said in Swahili, “you come from far away, were educated and then you came here to live with us and teach our children. You’re helping us so much. You are our family here.” And this was the first time I met him. I felt so welcomed. Then he told his granddaughter who was with us to give me a chicken. A chicken here is equivalent to gold/diamonds to us. It’s like the prized possession of Tanzanians. And I’m super hesitant to receive gifts here because people here are living in poverty and yet they give with such a loving heart. But in Tanzanian culture, it’s very rude to reject gifts. And so I accept this gift and I feel super bad. I’ve been to his house, seen his children and grandchildren living around him and most of the kids are malnourished. And here I’m taking away with me a chicken. It’s super humbling to accept a gift like this and such a powerful display of God’s love through people. This was the main story I wanted to share, but throughout the day other people from my village just randomly gave me gifts. I really felt loved.

First term of school finished in early June while the second term started on July 4th (and I remember the date because I was bummed not to get the day off!). But it was a nice change to be back in the bustling school setting with students screaming and running around. But it took a little bit for me to get back into the groove of teaching my heavy load of periods. I continued teaching Form 1 and 2 Mathematics and Form 4 Biology. And it was a bit rough preparing my Form 2 and 4 students for their National Exams in October and November. But before exams, there were many graduation celebrations (school/clubs) that took place in September. And Tanzanian celebrations are similar but also different than in America. But I thoroughly enjoyed each celebration I attended.

Community Theater Training – During the end of July, I was able to attend a Peace Corps Training with another villager named Titho to learn how to use theater to encourage behavior change among the community. Most villagers have been taught or know about health issues and HIV/AIDS. But because many are already comfortable with their lifestyles, there are no positive changes in their lifestyles. So the training focused on how to use theater/arts to stimulate behavior change in everyday life.

World AIDS Day (Dec 1, 2011) was held on Sunday December 4, 2011. A Community Based Organization (CBO) in Milo (a neighboring village) called Luyode partnered with my site mate Amy Smith (Milo) and I to bring awareness about HIV/AIDS to villagers. This year’s theme was “Getting to Zero” and we invited the whole Milo Ward (consisting of 9 villages) to come participate in this event. After 2 months of long planning and work, the event turned out very successful. We had students from the Secondary School I teach at perform a 30 minutes theater skit showing the truths, dangers, and myths about HIV/AIDS. Other students also helped perform a song/rap about waking up to the reality of HIV/AIDS and the possibility of a HIV/AIDS free Tanzania. In addition to performances, we also invited nurses from the district to provide free testing to villagers and provided free condoms and demonstrations on proper uses. We had football (soccer) matches between villages and also a Baba cook-off to show a little bit of American culture. The goal behind the Baba cook-off was to encourage husbands to help their wives with household chores such as cooking, cleaning and caring for the children. And I’m really glad my family was able to be there to experience this event and intermingle with the local Tanzanians.

Lastly, I was very blessed the last 2 weeks to have had my family here with me. It was a little stressful doing all the planning and guiding, but truly such a joy to have them by my side and experience my life here. We were able to go see animals at Ruaha National Park (the 2nd largest in all of Africa), eat local Tanzanian food, visit my home in the village and meet my African community as well as go on a few hikes, with an end trip to Zanzibar Island on the Indian Ocean. I hope they enjoyed their time here, experiencing a new land and culture as much as I enjoyed having them here.  And I think it’s obvious I’m enjoying my time here in Tanzania. I miss my family (haha I just saw them too) and friends back at home, but God has provided me with a new family and friends. It’s ultimately where He wants me to be right now. And as for the future, I’ve been looking into Graduate Schools and it’s nerve-wrecking because I still don’t know what I’d like to pursue. I’ve officially lived in the village for just a little over a year now and I like the simple life. And although it’s so simple, I feel like I’ve been able to do so much.

April 26, 2011

Hello all!

It has been way too long since I last wrote in this blog.  I had been meaning to give some updates every time I went to my banking town, but there has always been some crazy amount of errands to run and a limited amount of time to complete everything.  Yes, life is much slower in the village, but when you go into a town and realize you’re somewhat back in civilization, it’s all rushed again.

But no worries, I’m still alive and everything has been well so far.  I know some of you received an email from my mom about a prayer request.  About 2 weeks ago she sent out an email about the student Emmanuel whom I mentioned in a previous blog post.  He was doing a lot better and was recovering slowly, but now after a week of feeling better, he got worse again.  I received a call from his mother Joyce yesterday that he is not doing well again.  He currently has major pains in his arms, hands and legs. We believed he was suffering from tetanus, a bacterial infection that is almost non-existant in America.  When I went to visit him at a hospital in a nearby village, he couldn’t sit up straight, he couldn’t speak well, he couldn’t walk, and he had some mental confusion – he couldn’t even remember his own mother when she stood in front of him.  But thank you for your prayers because the next time I went to see him, his fever was gone, he could sit up better, and his appetite was back.  The only problem was that his left leg still pained him to the point where he was unable to walk.  So today he will be transported to a hospital with electricity and running water in a larger town to get proper medical treatment.  Please continue to pray for his health and that God will be by his side through this difficult time.  Also, his mother Joyce is really grateful for all your prayers as well.

I hope the above make sense.  I just found out the bus to village leaves in about 30 minutes and I just received this information yesterday late night.

Village life has become a lot easier.  I’m slowly picking up the language (Kiswahili and Kipangwa) and so I’ve been able to build deeper relationships with the villagers, teachers, and students.  And tasks such as cooking with a charcoal fire, washing clothes by hand, cleaning, and other activities have almost become second nature to me.  I say almost because I still think it’s not fun to wash clothes by hand. Hehe.  But also as I was able to grow deeper with the people in my village, I encountered probably the biggest struggle I’ve had in country so far.  The struggle was and still is learning to adapt, respect and tolerate another culture that is drastically different.  Tanzanians have their own ways of doing things and sometimes it isn’t the most effective way of doing things either.  And as Americans, we like things short, concise, and to the point.  So at times I found myself frustrated to an unbearable level.  But I do feel like I’m slowly (very slowly) learning to grow in this area.

School is going well!  We have about a little more than a month till the first term ends and I feel like I am so behind in my classes!  And now that the all the teachers for the school year have arrived, I have my final schedule of teaching Biology to Form IV students, and Mathematics to Form I and II students, which equal to about 32 periods a week.  Teaching really is a lot more difficult than I ever expected.  Or maybe the language barrier between the material and the students plays a huge factor in it all. But it is very rewarding to see when my students come to grasp difficult concepts or just seeing them really work hard to learn.  And then there are times when students just do not seem to care whatsoever and I walk out of class wondering why I even came to Tanzania.  But I choose to give rewards whenever possible to reinforce good behavior and achievements.  Back in March, my Form I students did very well on their first Math examination.  So as a reward, I bought a chicken, slaughtered it, and had dinner and a movie for the top 5 performing students of Form I.  Other times I make banana bread to reward those with good behavior and although my banana bread doesn’t turn out as well as it does in America, students love it!  In the past 2 weeks, I’ve had students always bugging me about making banana bread almost every day!

I also had In-Service Training (IST) the last 2 weeks of March in Morogoro.  I met up with everyone from my training class that was still in country to discuss our first few months at village and teaching strategies that have worked in our classrooms.  I really enjoyed seeing familiar faces again, hanging out and I feel like I was equipped with more skills to use back in the village.  Plus, I ate meat almost EVERY MEAL compared to once a week or less in village.  And so when I did return to village people told me I got fatter and I was no longer regular sized – don’t worry I can still see my toes.  At training we also learned some community activities where we can help teach villagers and students about health issues.  And thankfully I do have another Peace Corps Volunteer relatively nearby named Amy who is a health volunteer.  So we plan to work together to promote more awareness about sanitation, HIV/AIDS, life skills to students and villagers.

Lastly, it was Easter this past weekend!  And boy was it an adventure!  I was asked by some students to be a chaperone for the school choir to go to Njombe.  And all I knew/thought was that the students were going to go around to churches and sing.  But it turns out this event was more like a choir conference/seminar.  For those back at my home church or in IVCF, the conference was very similar to Forest Home or Trilogy.  And I really enjoyed spending some time outside of the school environment with some of the students.  They are a fun bunch and just like us when we were teenagers.  The only thing is that everything was in Swahili and so it was a struggle to understand a lot of things.  But nevertheless, I’m glad I was able to support the students on this trip.  I’ll be sure to put up some pictures and even a video later.

And to end this post, below are some prayer requests I have.  Thank you again for all your support, help, love, etc.  I can never thank all of you enough.  And I will make my best effort to update this blog again when I head into my banking town next time!

My prayer requests are very similar to the previous ones.
– I will daily be rooted in the Word of God and His for me
– wisdom and ideas for me to teach and the students to learn
– to grow in bearing fruits of the Spirit as I interact with people
– God will open my mind to learn the Kiswahili and Kipangwa
– God may reveal His Heart and Love for the people of Tanzania

Hey everyone!  Since I last wrote, so much has happened!  I can’t believe time has flown by so fast and it has already been a little over four months since I’ve been in Tanzania.  Next thing I know I’ll be back in the states.  But I do hope not too fast because I have a lot to accomplish with many challenges ahead.  For one thing, I’m not nearly as fluent in the language as I’d like to be.  But I hear that most volunteers usually get a lot more comfortable after nine months of being in Tanzania when they really settle down in their new life.

I do hope you all enjoyed the video I put up in my last post.  My Christmas was simple yet challenging at the same time.  On Christmas Eve, I journeyed back to my village from my banking town Njombe.  And because of the holidays a lot of people were returning to the villages to visit their families.  Although I had just webcamed with my parents (which I was overjoyed beyond imagination), I was sad too.  At every stop up until my village, family members were standing waiting to greet their loved ones with a warm embrace.  I make it sound like I was depressed (which I wasn’t!) but it was something I missed – seeing family and friends.  But of course God was there to provide for me with the new relationships I had built with the people in my village. 

On Christmas Day, there was a 4 hour church service in the morning, followed by a grand meal that I shared with Emmanuel’s family, and at night there was another church service from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. (which I didn’t attend).  One thing I noticed is that Christmas here is very different than in America.  First, they have the words to say Merry Christmas, although no one uses it.  Second, there’s no present exchanging whatsoever between villagers, friends, or family members. Third, Christmas is very Christ centered and not really family centered at all.  I didn’t really reflect on this until just a few moments ago when I was writing a letter to a friend.  And as my thoughts played on, I started realizing how American culture has really detrimentally affected what Christmas really means to me personally.  At night for dinner, Emmanuel and I returned to my home to have dinner.  And I was puzzled at why he wasn’t eating with his family (being the oldest of 3 children and son to a single mother).  And his response was that it wasn’t that important because he has their company every day (implying that Christmas wasn’t for that purpose).  I do believe though that Christmas is supposed to bring family together, but not just the “blood-related personal” family together.  Christmas should be the family of Christ coming together to praise God for His gift.  I’m not trying to say that personal families coming together or present exchanging is bad and whoever practices these things should be rebuked. But when we say Jesus is the reason for the season, let’s make it that.

New Years! Sorry, Happy Belated New Years! I’m in shock that it’s already 2011! It makes me feel really old!  I tried staying up for the countdown, but that was an unsuccessful attempt.  But New Years was a fun day for me.  I hiked to the village of Mbwila down the mountain with another teacher.  His mother was born and raised there, so we went to visit his relatives that still lived there. And I am unable to describe the love and hospitality they showed to me as a stranger and foreigner in their land.  It’s like the hospitality you’d see in the Bible.  A lot of people here see me as a white man (or more like foreigner but they still call me white) who comes from a foreign land and has a lot of money.  But the family in Mbwila seemed to see me as another human being with the same needs.  There was no judgment at all.  It was a huge blessing.  There’s a lot of love in this place.

So I titled this entry as “The Genesis of Teaching at Mavala Secondary School” because that is my purpose here with the Peace Corps.  And I have already begun teaching since January 17, 2011!  Because of the shortage of teachers at my school, I have been teaching Biology to Form 2 and 4 students and Math to Form 1, 2, and 3 students.  It’s been hectic teaching about 40 periods a week especially with the language barrier.  I find myself using Kiswahili a lot more in my lessons than I expected because students do not understand English well.  But at the same time, it’s extremely exciting to see when a student finally understands something (which is easiest to assess in the subject of Mathematics).  But aside from teaching I have some plans that will hopefully work out in the end.  First, I hope to plan a sisters’ appreciation day and also a brothers’ appreciation day.  My hope is that the boys and girls will realize the need for one another and that girls are equal to boys in their ability to achieve great things.  The culture here places a greater value on boys and although the government is trying to produce a change in this manner of thinking, it’s progressing terribly slow.  Second, I’ve already started trying to raise money for a trip for some students to go on a Safari to see the animals of their own country.  The majority of the students have never left the near proximity of their villages because of poverty.  This means they’ve never even seen a small town before.  Daily foreigners come and travel around the country and enjoy the wildlife of Tanzania.  So I’m hoping I can take some students to learn about their own country.  Third, I’m working on a grant proposal that the previous volunteer started.  We’re hoping to obtain some money to buy equipment/chemicals for the laboratory, books for the students, and possibly even start up a computer lab.  Currently students learn sciences without any experiments being performed due to the lack of resources.  Students also learn based off the teachers’ notes because books are too expensive to buy.  And while most students have never even seen a computer, the majority of teachers don’t know how to turn on a computer.

I know this entry is a bit long, but I would like to share a little story that made my week.  The students here are very adorable.  I think because of the poverty here, students don’t get the right nutrition to grow.  The majority of Form 1 students are under 5 feet tall and so they honestly look like they are only 8 to 12 years old.  But they are all 13 to 17 years old.  So there’s this one student named Steven.  I believe he’s the shortest of all the Form 1 students and he’s super friendly.  But because everyone thinks I know Kung Fu, I guess he’s a little afraid of me.  This past Thursday was sports day after school for the students.  While the students were lined up I walked in between them to make sure they were listening to the teacher that was speaking at the time.  I made some sudden movement that freaked little Steven out and he started running.  So I started running after him and he freaked!  It’s probably not the best thing that I’m getting amused out of freaking out a student, but ALL the students were very amused.  Even the teachers had a good laugh.  And when I caught him, I just gave him a big hug, but he was still a little afraid. Haha.

And lastly, Thank You for the letters.  It’s always such a blessing to hear from home. I love being able to hold something and read the encouragement and support from you all.  Plus, I love to respond too! J So thanks again.  When I read letters, I get this fat grin on my face like a fat kid who has been given a whole chocolate cake to finish himself (well in my case, some sushi and Korean BBQ). Hehe.

Prayer Requests
– Strategies to teach the students
– Students may have the wisdom and diligence to study and learn material
– Diligence in learning Kiswahili
– Christ’s love will be evident in my actions and words
– Continue to be faithfully rooted in His Word
– God to shine through all the corruption going on in this country (there’s really only so much I can say on this blog about this matter.  There are things that go on here that I am afraid or probably should not put on this blog.  But please pray for God’s Will to be done for He is the God that knows all)

Hello everybody!

It’s still so surreal that I’m in Africa.  And I apologize for my lack of keeping in touch with you all.  Much has happened since November 6th, 2010 and I’m sure as you can tell by the title of this entry, I have already moved to the village of Mavala, the place where I’ll be living in for the next two years.

Since Nov. 6th, 2010, I finished up my last 2 weeks of training, including shadowing a volunteer for a week and taking a final written and oral language competency test to ensure that my time here in Tanzania has been productive so far.  On November 20, 2010 my Community Based Training Group and our host families had an amazing Tanzanian style farewell party for it was our last night with our host families.  There was alot of food, fun, dancing and laughter as we said our final goodbyes.  The next day our whole group traveled back to Dar es Salaam for some last minute technical training.  And the day before Thanksgiving, we had our swearing in ceremony at the US Embassy followed by an amazing pre-thanksgiving feast at the US Ambassador’s residence.  May I add that the US Embassy is a breath taking structure.  On Thanksgiving, I woke up at 4 a.m. to prepare for travel to my banking town (Njombe) and this is because it takes 2 days to reach the village of Mavala.  So I didn’t arrive to Mavala until Friday afternoon around 4 p.m., where I was greeted by many smiling, warm and friendly faces.

It has almost been a month since I arrived in my village and it has been very different compared to life during training.  The village of Mavala is situated on top of the mountains and its super beautiful and gorgeous!  There’s this one area I love to walk to which overlooks a grand valley and it’s so peaceful to watch the sun set over the Livingstone Mountains (which are next to Lake Malawi).  I heard that of all the Peace Corps Volunteers in Tanzania I have the coldest placement site.  But I love it!  The people here are warm, friendly, and loving – and it’s not because I’m a foreigner or American.  I’ll share a story in a little bit of an example.  I currently live in a 3 bedroom house (which is too big for me alone!) located about a 4 minute walk distance from the school.  There’s no electricty or running water, but it’s nothing I haven’t been able to adapt to. 

Now this is the story I’d like to share.  The greatest challenge I had so far other than the language barrier is cooking – and it’s not because I’m a boy and unable to.  But cooking here requires lighting charcoal and fanning the flame until the charcoal is sufficient to stay lit on its own.  During the first few days it took me about 2 hours every morning just to get the fire running and then heat some water to shower.  Thankfully school was still in session so lunch was still provided for the teachers.  However a few days after I arrived, school ended and that left me having to start my charcoal stove 3 times a day instead of 2.  But to my surprise, the next morning after school was out for the year, the son of the school secretary showed up at my house in the morning.  Apparently she (sister Joyce) had sent her son who had just completed Form 1 to come assist me as I slowly learned to adapt to my new environment.  A boy of age 15 was so skilled in the basic fundamentals of life.  I was a bit embarassed, but he was very kind, helpful, and ensured me it was because of my lack of experience.  It was nice having him come everyday because I went from living with a host family, seeing some Americans daily, to living by myself in the middle of nowhere.  Aside from one of the teachers coming to help me the first few days I had arrived, it was somewhat lonely at night.  So the boy coming to my house was a huge blessing.  Now about a week later I was journaling about this and as I was writing I came to realize the possible significance of the boy’s name.  His name is Emmanuel.  Emmanuel meaning “God with us”.  I don’t think it was mere coincidence that he came to help me.  It was like God telling me the whole time that He is with me.  No matter where I go, whatever challenges or obstacles I come to face, He is by my side, guiding and caring for me.  And His mom’s name is Joyce just like my mom’s.  Mere coincidence?  I’d like to think not.  Either way, this family has been a huge blessing to me since I’ve arrived at site.  And Emmanuel still comes, not everyday, but enough that I’m slowly improving in my language skills of Swahili and he in English.  Oh and I don’t think I mentioned yet that the district my village is in speaks a dialect that is very different from Swahili.  So in addition to Swahili, I’m now challenged to learn another language!  It sounds crazy, but I’m doing good.  The villagers are super excited when I use my limited Kipangwa.

One other thing is I’ve had a puppy since I’ve been at site.  No, it’s not really mine.  I’m just looking after another volunteer’s puppy as they had to return to the states for their grandmother’s funeral and then head to in-serivce training for peace corps.  I’ve always wanted a dog and never had one because my mom was afraid of dogs.  But living with this puppy for the past month has opened my eyes in how difficult it is to care from something that is totally dependent on you.  The puppy has tested my patience and showed me how short of a temper I have at times.  It’s something I’ve had to repent of and an area that requires alot of growth.  But the puppy has brought me the joys of company and I am sad that I’ll be giving him back to his true owner in about a week.

So other than that, I’m still adapting to the transportation here.  It’s…not fun. That’s all I can really say.  It takes me about 4 hours to get from my village to my banking town and those roads are not well paved at all.  One last thing too, I’m the first Asian/Chinese (although my nationality is American) person about 95% of the villagers have ever seen.  So it’s been interesting.  They think I know kung fu and they ask me to demonstrate it.  So I tell them to attack me and they’ll see me use it.  But they’re all deathly afraid to attempt it.  OH and there was a huge snake outside my neighbor’s house.  It was scary, big, and yeah I think you get the point!  Also, my address for the next 2 years is:

Timothy Chung
Peace Corps Volunteer
P.O. Box 789
Njombe, Iringa, Tanzania

and my new phone number is: 0762850792 – I had to change service providers because the previous network was not covered in my village.

I’d love to hear from and I will respond! :) Also,I hope you all enjoy this video I made yesterday!  It’s not super clean because I used my internet phone to film it! and also because I’m a bit camera shy :)  But Merry Christmas and Happy New Years to all of you back at home!  Praise God for sending His Son to us!

Thank you for the continued prayers and support.  I love you all and I thank God for each and everyone of you.  I pray that you are all growing in Christ and finding the joys and truths of choosing Him first above all things in this world.

November 6, 2010

Karibu rafiki zangu! (welcome my friends!)

I’m currently reporting in from Kihonda district in the city and region of Morogoro.  Adjusting to life in Tanzania, Africa has not been easy but I’m enjoying every second of it.  I apologize for the lack of communication the past 6 weeks I’ve been here.  My schedule has been ridiculously busy.  Our Peace Corps team is currently divided into 8 smaller groups called Community Based Training for more individual focused language training.  Training takes place Monday to Saturday at my internship school Kihonda Secondary.  Daily I have language classes as well as technical training on how to survive in this country.  About 3 weeks in, I also started my internship teaching of Biology to Form 3 students at Kihonda Secondary.  The education system here is very unique.  The main language of instruction in primary school is Swahili, but in secondary school it abruptly changes to English.  And when students take tests to try to go to college, it’s all in English.  So students here struggle to pass exams or even learn because most students have a poor foundation in the English language.  Tomorrow I’ll be heading 12 hours south of Morogoro to the border of Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania to shadow another Peace Corps Volunteer in the region of Mbeya!  I’m very excited to do a little traveling, but also to get a glimpse of what life is like in a village/smaller community.  Life is also a lot slower here.  It takes me about 3 hours to wash 3 pants and 3 shirts (probably because my host mom is very adamant about how I should wash clothes).  And it’s dusty here, so clothes get dirty fast.  Cooking is also slower and done on a stove type equipment called a jiko.  You have to make a fire and light charcoal to cook meals here.

There have been those days where I’ve had my Africa moments where I’m like, “I’m really in Africa!”  Let me go into detail.  One day I finished washing my clothes (by hand) and hung them up in the backyard to be dried.  At night I went to go shower (which are always cold and sometimes come from a bucket) and while I was showering the electricity went out (which is common).  So as I stood there, I heard something outside.  To my surprise, it also started raining while I was showering and my clothes were still outside drying!  How great right? Or another time during the beginning of my stay with my host family, something went wrong with the water pipes and the city was without water for over 2 days.

But I think one of the greatest joys I’ve had so far aside from relationships I have been building come from the afterschool English sessions I’ve been holding for my 2 streams of classes that I teach.  I’ve had about an average of 10 students come every day after school to practice and learn English for about 2 hours a day.  I remember the first day I offered the class, I showed up at 4 p.m. and no one came.  I was a bit frustrated because the students were the one who asked me to hold the session.  As I prepared to leave around 4:45 p.m., one student of mine passed by heading for football (soccer) practice.  We got to talk for a bit as I walked him to practice.  When we got to the field I had another student come and tell me he was going to the English session.  So I went back to the classroom excited that at least there would be one person.  By the end of the session that day, more students did come!  From what I’ve learned and observed, it’s Tanzanian culture to be late.  Time is not very important here.  By the end of that first class, students had the confidence to speak simple English sentences and they were telling me in English how happy and excited they were.  Students in Tanzania have learned a lot of English, but they don’t have much opportunity to practice speaking it.  They can understand some words if they hear it slowly, but thinking of words off the top of their heads is rather difficult.  Also in class, students are afraid to ask or answer questions in fear that other students will laugh at them.  In reality though they are all at the same level and they need an environment of encouragement rather than one of ridicule and fear.

Lastly, I found out today where I will be placed for the next two years.  The details of the site is still very vague to me.  But I will be teaching at a secondary school called Mavala Secondary in Ludewa District of the region of Iringa in Tanzania.  On a map, it’s very close to Lake Malawi and I’m very close to Mozambique, Malawi, and Zambia.  Once I find out more information about the area, I’ll let everyone know!

I hope this tad bit gives a better idea of how my life is going on in Africa.  Hopefully I’ll get some internet access soon!

Some prayer requests:

  • That I continue to grow in the Word of the Lord and be rooted in His Love
  • Wisdom and understanding of Swahili
  • Peace of Christ to guard my heart and mind in all circumstances
  • Today is also election day in Tanzania, pray for God’s will to be done in this country regarding their future presidential leader
  • The love of Christ be evident in my words and actions

and Happy Birthday to my BIG BROTHER KAMAN :)

    Hello blog world!  It’s been about a month since I’ve left my home for this safari (which means journey in Kiswahili) the Lord is taking me on.  And I apologize for my lack of updates.  But please do bear with me for I have limited internet access!

    So far life in Tanzania/Africa has been quite the journey.  I landed Friday September 24, 2010 at around 8 p.m. and I’ve done some traveling from coastal Dar es Salaam to 3 hours inland Morogoro the first week I got here.  I’m currently staying with my host family in the Kihonda area of Morogoro and I love them dearly.  I have a Tanzanian father, mother, 2 brothers and sister – Amos, Judith, Braeton, Israel, and Sega.  Living with my host family is part of the training experience to expose the Peace Corps trainees to the Tanzanian culture.  Life here isn’t drastically different than life in America.  The main difference is that doing tasks take a lot longer and I don’t have the luxuries that I have back home.  But by God’s grace and love, I get through each day learning new things and slowly progress forward.

    I’m limited on time right now, so I’m hoping to get some internet access maybe tomorrow to type some more details about my life and how God has been moving in my life.  I haven’t really had the chance to re-read this, so please excuse any gramatical errors!

    Below is some information some of you have been asking for!

    I think mailing takes about 2 weeks to and fro Tanzania.  If you’d like to mail me, (which I would love) my mailing address until November 9th, 2010 is:

    Timothy Chung


    P.O. BOX 9123

    Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

    So please don’t send anything after that date!  I’ll post another address as soon as I arrive and settle in at my official site.  Also please number your letters.  This is Africa.  I might get your 2nd letter before the 1st!

    0788269367 – Thats my phone number in Tanzania.  I don’t know what numbers you’ll need to dial first to dial out of the United States, but I’m sure you can look that up online too.  I can send texts to people in the states and call as well.  So it may be easier to get my number by me sending you a text first?  AND I’m 10 hours ahead of Los Angeles time!

    Life is currently _____________.

    I don’t really know what to say.

    VBS has been going on at my church this past week.  I co-teach the Juniors Department, which is relatively small, but definitely the way God wanted it to be.  I’ve learned how lazy I really am.  I only really taught two full lessons during the whole week, yet I’m so lazy in preparations.  I procrastinate beyond what is even believable.  It’s probably easier to blame it on the fact that I work after VBS in the afternoons, but I know myself.  I’d rather be “relaxing” or doing other things that don’t require me to focus.  I use to think teaching kids was my passion.  I”m not all too certain anymore now.

    On another note, I heard from the PeaceCorps that I’m officially in on July 1, 2010.  But I didn’t find out til the 8th that I was placed in Tanzania.  I use to pray for the country I would be going to.  That God would prepare hearts, pour out His Spirit, and prepare me as well.  But I stopped a while ago.  Here and there though, I’ll lift up a tiny prayer about it.  Maybe because it has been so long since I’ve heard from the PeaceCorps, I lost focus?

    This past year after leaving Merced has been crazy.  Trying to minister to coworkers, encourage friends to continue seeking Christ, and living back at home has been quite the transition in comparison to the past 4 years.  It’s different for sure.  I don’t know if I’m more happy now though.  But I have to trust it’s all in God’s plan.  I’m not saying I haven’t had blessed moments.  But I do look back and wish I was more faithful in the Word, in prayer, in my worship for God, etc.  I have these reflections quite often, I think I’ll step it up soon, and all of a sudden, a whole year passes by and very little has been accomplished!   Maybe that’s what adults feel as they grow older.  Goals and dreams just fade away because initiative was absent.

    I don’t know where I’m trying to go with all this.  But something in my life needs to change. Or I think it does. I mean one thing for sure is my walk with God.  It has lost its intimacy. Almost nonexistant. It’s all about money, work, hanging out, etc.  It’s like the parable of the four soils and I’m stuck where the thorns are choking the presence of God out of my life.


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