Saturday, September 20, 2014


Below is a list comparing moving into our house in TZ and moving into our house in Florida.

In Tanzania we had to just ask around for available houses to rent.
In Florida we searched on line and had a Realtor helping us.

In Tanzania we spent two weeks with lots of help getting the house reading to live in.
In Florida we had 6 days from the time we bought the house until we moved in and we are still painting.
Bat poo that fell from the ceiling as we were doing repairs.
 Lots of poo was hauled out from the attic.

We took around 20 suitcases/totes with us when we moved to Tanzania. Our belongs were stored in Dar the capital city while we were at language school. When we were ready to move to Musoma we shipped our stuffed from Dar to Musoma and when the truck arrived in Musoma our stuff was dropped off at the center of town. We loaded our stuff in two vehicles and a push cart.
In Florida the moving truck came to our house.

In Tanzania we moved into a furnished house so we didn't have to buy a dining room table, living room furniture or other things like that.
In Florida we only got the kitchen appliances with the house so our living room is still looking a little sparse.

We could only rent a house in Tanzania. You have to be a Tanzanian citizen to own property.
We could buy or rent when we moved to Florida.

In Tanzania as we needed to buy something we had to go to the electrical shop, plumbing shop, paint shop and etc.
In Florida we went to Home Depot and got all that we needed. Actually we did go somewhere else for the paint.
Luke's room
The kids got choose the colors for their rooms.
Nicole's room

In Tanzania our house had a wall around it, we had guard dogs, bars on the doors and windows and a night guard. All for added safety.
In Florida we do have an alarm system but we have never used it. In fact we just learned the prior owners usually didn't lock the house when he left. We do lock the house.
Coco as a puppy, when she was older she was a very good guard dog.
You can see our wall in the back ground.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Who or what do you seek comfort in?

If you have children you have probably offered them comfort, security and peace of mind by going with them to a party, ball practice, swim lessons or any other list of places. Often the child is nervous or afraid about trying something new and wants mom or dad close by for comfort. Just the other night I was sitting in one of our kids' rooms as they were having a hard time falling asleep. I have realized if  one of us sits in the room it can sometimes help the child to relax and fall asleep faster than if we are in another part of the house.

While sitting there God told me this is what He wants us to do. He wants us to seek comfort, peace and security in Him. He is ALWAYS with us, right by our side. How often do we go for some chocolate, coffee or to a friend when we are having a tough day or going through something tough? How often do we turn to something or someone else before turning to God for our peace and comfort? There is nothing wrong with having a cup of coffee or talking with a friend but do we do that more than seek the comfort and strength God offers. As we are going through yet another transition God is telling me that he is always with us. We just need to seek Him for our comfort and peace.

If a parent can offer peace and comfort to their child just by being present, how much more peace and comfort can God offer us. One of our favorite songs while in Tanzania was 'Never Once' by Matt Redman. Every time we sang or heard the song we thought about all the times God helped us through tough times and was with us through the good times as well. We sang 'Never Once' at church the Sunday before school started. I was in tears as I was thinking about all the times God never left us and also thinking about how God will be going with our kids as they start school, helping them through yet another tough transition.

My prayer is that as you may be going through something tough that you seek comfort and peace in the arms of our Heavenly Father.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Some fun memories

The vehicle we have all liked the most is the Land Cruiser we owned while in Tanzania. Even the kids would agree.

We bought it from missionaries and sold to another missionary. We have did lot with this vehicle:
We took a newborn and mother home from the hospital, 
got medical help for a Tanzanian employee at the office, 
went to scripture dedications,

Took it on many long trips,
It had lots of power to get us over the big hills 

Had fun off roading

Went on a safari with Lisa...

...and got a flat tire

we got bogged
Thanks Ronit, for hoping this would happen. Glad we could help you check that off your bucket list.
it helped us get in and out of our road which was quite a challenge at times

It was waiting for us when we got to Tanzania in Sept. 2011, 5 days later we went on our first all day road trip to language school. We drove it across the country, drove it to the Kenyan coast twice, we hit a gazelle with it, got hung up on a stump and the list goes on. We had fun times in the truck and some not so fun times but it served us well and was fun to drive. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Friends, Warm weather and fun

I know it has been an extremely long time since I did a blog post. But I hope to do posts more often but don't hold your breath. :)

We spent the last week and half in Orlando at the Wycliffe USA headquarters. We went to attend a re-entry program as well some extra time for fun and friends.

The first two days were spent with Keith's parents swimming and at Legoland.

Luke and Keith's mom
Nikki and Keith's dad

Luke, Max and Nikki at Legoland
The best part of our trip to Florida was seeing friends from Tanzania.
Nikki, Ronit and Luke
Ronit was in Musoma with us.
One of the group activities we did last week was visit Gatorland.
Luke holding an alligator
We also got to spend some time in Downtown Disney with Ronit.
Nikki has taken her picture with this Cinderella
each of the 3 times we have gone to Downtown Disney
We enjoyed getting to see many friends that we have gotten to know over the last 3 years.
We visited the school the kids will attend next school year and we started looking at houses.
It was a very busy but good 9 days in Orlando. We already miss the warm weather. One thing we will really like about living in Orlando is seeing missionary friends from Tanzania and other places that will be passing through Wycliffe.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Keith's Dad and Luke climbing rocks by Lake Victoria

What does it take to get clean water here in Musoma, Tanzania?

First, where does our water come from?

The water comes from Lake Victoria. So, unlike many parts of Tanzania which don’t have easy access to water, we have lots of water.
Picture from friend, during rainy season here
You have lots of water- So what’s the problem?

It’s not clean!

Not only can’t we drink the water from the lake, it’s not safe to touch it! This is because there is bacteria in the lake that can make us very sick. It is worse close to the edge of the lake because it is carried by snails. If the water sits (in a container) for 3 days, then this bacteria will die and the water is safe to handle, but not to drink. We could also get things like Typhoid or ameba from drinking unfiltered water.

We need to have filtered water for drinking and brushing teeth. We also need to be careful when we take showers, because if we get any water in our mouth, it could make us sick. This can be a challenge for children to understand and be careful of.

The town of Musoma pumps water out of the lake and it is piped into our homes.
So, there are two issues with the water.

Whole house water filter with string filter
  1. The dirt in the water.
  2. Health risks in the water. The waters of Lake Victoria have bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other pollutants. We used to buy fresh fish from neighbors, until we found out they used poison to 'catch' their fish.  

We use a variety of methods to deal with dirt. First we use ‘whole house’ filters which are directly in the water lines. This helps reduce the dirt, but not by much. I usually use string filters. I have tried higher end filters, but the water was so dirty it clogged them within a day. I can’t afford to put in a new high end filter every day!

For general water use, washing hands, showers, washing floors, we just know the water is already dirty. During the raining season the water is really dirty. This is because the storms stir up the dirt in the lake. See the picture of water being run into a bath tub. It’s not usually this bad, but this is what we are trying to clean up!

First we run the water through a sand filter.

Sand filter, dirty water in top, drains into bucket

Next we run that water through a ceramic filter, such as a Katadyn filter system. There are various other options (such as Tulip Filters from India, and Iodine filters).

3 Ceremic filters
Katadyn ceremic filter, dirty water in top

After that the drinking water is stored in used water bottles (which are only cleaned with filtered water). We have to make sure that we have a good supply on hand at all times. If you have company over, you can go through a lot of drinking water quickly. This water also needs to be used for brushing teeth. We also always try to have 4-5 bottles in the refrigerator.

 So- If you live in a part of the world where you can safely brush your teeth or drink water directly from the faucet, Don’t take it for granted!

stock pile of water in water bottles

More info on the filters:
This is what the inside of the sand filter looks like.
For more info on sand filters, just Google sand filters in Africa. Here is one sample site.

Katadyn Water Drip Filters

Tulip Water Filters around $15, but would need to have 3 to be similar to Katadyn)

There are also some filter units that use iodine to help purify the water.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Grandma and Grandpa Yoder's visit

Here are some pictures from our time with my parents. We loved having both parents come visit so we could show them our little corner of the world.
Out for a walk
We found 3 chameleons in one day
This one we found in a parking lot and brought it home
enjoying the view from our lodge in the Serengeti Park
For those that know mom know she was not happy about having to do this.
We had to cross the river to get to our lodge. The water was too high to drive through so we had to use the bridge.
Our safari truck and tour guide.
Roasting Marshmallows!!
Dad talking to Peter
At James' home
Luke pushing kids on the swing. The last two on the right are James' children.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Bitikofer Grandparents visit

Finally have the cooperation of my computer, the internet and time to put together some pictures of our visit with Keith's parents.

Doing some hiking

Supper at Peter's home
Phares praying for the offering
Talking with Waynse after church
Waynse is one of the translators
Showing the kids the pictures he just took of them

We were able to get away and do some swimming

We loved our time with them and showing them our life in Musoma.