Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Don't forget...

Money due to Brooke by tomorrow (April 1st) for NW Airfare.

Swahili lesson with Pastor Ben on Thursday @ 6:30pm.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hasheem Thabeet

Hasheem Thabeet is a Tanzanian college basketball player currently playing for the University of Connecticut Huskies. Hasheem and the Huskies will be playing against the Missouri Tigers on Saturday - the winner will go on to the final four in the NCAA tournament.

At 7'3" and 263 lbs, Thabeet is the tallest player ever to play for the Huskies.

Hasheem was born 16 February 1987 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He did not begin to play basketball until the age of 15, when he began to watch pickup games in Tanzania.

Thabeet is projected to be a first round selection in the 2009 NBA Draft should he forgo his final year of eligibility.

Snellen Eye Chart

A Snellen chart is an eye chart used by eye care professionals and others to measure visual acuity. Snellen charts are named after the Dutch ophthalmologist Herman Snellen who developed the chart in 1862.

The traditional Snellen chart is printed with eleven lines of block letters. The first line consists of one very large letter, which may be one of several letters, for example E, H, N, or A. Subsequent rows have increasing numbers of letters that decrease in size. A patient taking the test covers one eye, and reads aloud the letters of each row, beginning at the top. The smallest row that can be read accurately indicates the patient's visual acuity in that eye.

The symbols on an acuity chart are formally known as "optotypes." In the case of the traditional Snellen chart, the optotypes have the appearance of block letters, and are intended to be seen and read as letters. They are not, however, letters from any ordinary typographer's font. They have a particular, simple geometry in which: the thickness of the lines equals the thickness of the white spaces between lines and the thickness of the gap in the letter "C" the height and width of the optotype (letter) is five times the thickness of the line.

Only the ten letters C, D, E, F, L, N, O, P, T, Z are used in the traditional Snellen chart.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Team Meeting Thursday

Our next Tanzania Meeting will be this Thursday, March 26th at 6:30pm in Charter Hall.
Brooke will be bringing the Travel Manual to the meeting.

Magnificent Giraffes

Early written records described the giraffe as "magnificent in appearance, bizarre in form, unique in gait, colossal in height and inoffensive in character." Ancient cultures in Africa revered the giraffe, as some modern cultures do today, and commonly depicted it in prehistoric rock and cave paintings.

Unknown outside of Africa, this animal so excited man's curiosity that it was sometimes sent as a diplomatic gift to other countries; one of the earliest records tells of a giraffe going from "Melinda" (presumably Malindi) in Kenya to China in 1415. The animal was thought to be a cross between a camel and a leopard, a mistake immortalized in the giraffe's scientific name of Giraffa camelopardalis.

The giraffe is the tallest living animal, uniquely adapted to reach vegetation inaccessible to other herbivores. Giraffes have a distinctive walking gait, moving both right legs forward, then both left. At a gallop, however, the giraffe simultaneously swings the hind legs ahead of and outside the front legs, reaching speeds of 35 miles an hour. It has unusually elastic blood vessels with a series of valves that help offset the sudden buildup of blood (and to prevent fainting) when the head is raised, lowered or swung quickly. Giraffe "horns" are actually knobs covered with skin and hair above the eyes that protect the head from injury.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Mount Kilimnajaro

Kilimanjaro with its three volcanic cones, Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira, is an inactive stratovolcano in north-eastern Tanzania, rising 4,600 m (15,100 ft) from its base (and approximately 5,100 m (16,700 ft) from the plains near Moshi) It is the highest peak in Africa at 5,891.8 metres (19,330 ft), providing a dramatic view of the surrounding plains.

For more information about Mount Kilimanjaro click here.

First Day of Spring

Today is the First Day of Spring - when the Vernal Equinox occurs in the Northern Hemisphere.

In Tanzania, and the southern Hemisphere, it is the First Day of Autumn (the Autumnal Equinox). This means that this summer when we are on our trip to Tanzania it will actually be during their winter.

An equinox occurs twice a year, when the tilt of the Earth's axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun, the Sun being vertically above a point on the Equator.

The name is derived from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night), because around the equinox, the night and day are approximately equally long.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Giraffe Mascot

The giraffe that is out by the Tanzania table is very handsome and you can tell it is a male because of his tall antlers.

A giraffe has kind of become our team mascot and hopefully we will be seeing more giraffes around soon. Stay tuned for more info at our next team meeting.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Equal Exchange

Fairness to farmers. A closer connection between people and the farmers we all rely on.

This was the vision the founders had for Equal Exchange back in 1986 - it took three years to establish the new organization that has these global attributes:
• A social change organization that would help farmers and their families gain more control over their economic futures.
• A group that would educate consumers about trade issues affecting farmers.
• A provider of high-quality foods that would nourish the body and the soul.
• A company that would be controlled by the people who did the actual work.
• A community of dedicated individuals who believed that honesty, respect, and mutual benefit are integral to any worthwhile endeavor.

Click here for the link to the Equal Exchange website.

We have many Equal Exchange coffees, teas and chocolates for sale at our Tanzania Table in the narthex, including the Tanzania Full City Roast -
Wild and exotic, the sweet spicy aroma of this East Africa coffee, grown at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro, is heavy and multi-dimensional. This coffee is rich, and the complexity is layered with vanilla, molasses, and hints of cherry and maple. Assertive and thick with a snappy bite.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Rufiji River, Tanzania

The Rufiji River lies entirely within the African nation of Tanzania. The river is formed by the convergence of the Kilombero and Luwegu rivers. It is approximately 600 km (375 mi) long, with its source in southwestern Tanzania and its mouth on the Indian Ocean at a point between Mafia Island called Mafia Channel. Its principal tributary is the Great Ruaha River. It is navigable for about 100 km (60 mi).
The Rufiji is about 200 km (120 mi) south of Dar-es-Salaam. The river's delta contains the largest mangrove forest in the world.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Walking to Tanzania Update

As of March 9 we have 2650 recorded miles toward Tanzania. That leaves 6674 miles left - keep walking!


Thank You to all who supported Game Night on February 28, by buying tickets and coming to join together in the fun and fellowship.

The final total that was received from the Game Night ended up being $1424.81 with the Thrivent match with all proceeds going to support the Miwani for Mwanza Mission!

We could not have gotten the support and results without the hard work of many on the Tanzania team plus other interested members. This is what happens when we work together!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009


The giraffe is an African even-toed ungulate mammal, the tallest of all land-living animal species, and the largest ruminant.

A giraffe is covered in large, irregular patches of yellow to black fur separated by white, off-white, or dark yellowish brown background. It will have spots covering their entire bodies, except their underbellies, with each giraffe having a unique pattern of spots.

The average mass for an adult male giraffe is 2,630 lb while the average mass for an adult female is 1,830 lb). It is approximately 14 ft to 17 ft tall, although the tallest male recorded stood almost 20 ft.

Both sexes have horns, although the horns of a female are smaller. The prominent horns are formed from ossified cartilage, and are called ossicones. The appearance of horns is a reliable method of identifying the sex of giraffes, with the females displaying tufts of hair on the top of the horns, where as males' horns tend to be bald on top — an effect of combat. Males sometimes develop calcium deposits which form bumps on their skull as they age, which can give the appearance of up to three additional horns.

The giraffe is related to deer and cattle, but is placed in a separate family, the Giraffidae, consisting of only the giraffe and its closest relative, the okapi.

Its range extends from Chad in Central Africa to South Africa. The giraffe is a protected species in most of its range. The total African giraffe population has been estimated to range from 110,000 to 150,000. Kenya (45,000), Tanzania (30,000), and Botswana (12,000), have the largest national populations.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mission Calendar

Here is a calendar with information added for our upcoming deadlines and meetings. Our US holidays are in blue and the Tanzania Public holidays are in green.

Click on the calendar for a larger view. A link to the larger view of the calendar has been added in the Link List, too.

Upcoming Meeting Dates

Our next Tanzania Meeting will be on Thursday, March 26th at 6:30pm in Charter Hall.
Brooke will be bringing the Travel Manual to the meeting on March 26th.

Our next Swahili lesson will be on Thursday, April 2nd at 6:30pm in Charter Hall.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Lights of the World

This image is The Earth at Night, an Astronomy Picture of the Day from November 27, 2000.

This is a fairly high res image and if you click on the image above (to see it larger) you can see Mwanza, Tanzania in Africa - one tiny spot of light at the bottom of Lake Victoria.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Daylight Saving Time

If you haven't moved your clocks ahead an hour already you are probably going to be late to church or other important appointments this morning.

The main purpose of Daylight Saving Time (called "Summer Time" in many places in the world) is to make better use of daylight. We change our clocks during the summer months to move an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening. Countries have different change dates.

Near the equator, day and night are nearly the same length (12 hours). But elsewhere on Earth, there is much more daylight in the summer than in the winter. The closer you live to the North or South Pole, the longer the period of daylight in the summer. Thus, Daylight Saving Time (Summer Time) is usually not helpful in the tropics, and countries like Tanzania, near the equator do not change their clocks.

The time difference between Mwanza and Kansas City is now 8 hours during DST.

The idea of daylight saving was first conceived by Benjamin Franklin (portrait at right) during his sojourn as an American delegate in Paris in 1784, in an essay, "An Economical Project." Click here to learn more about Franklin's essay and Daylight Saving Time.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Bruce Kaldahl's Contribution to Walking to Tanzania

Bruce gives us much inspiration as well as his contribution to our effort. Thank you Bruce!

Excerpt from an email Brooke sent to Bruce on March 3, 2009 -
Hi Bruce! I have been kept up to date from Pastor Joe, Pastor John, and others on your progress. Sounds like you are taking part in a waiting game right now which I can't even imagine how difficult that must be. You have been in Brad and my prayers. I also wanted to let you know that you are kicking everyone's butt on by participating in the Walk to Tanzania. Thanks for taking part, it means a lot!

Excerpt from Bruce's reply to Brooke -
I have already walked/rode over 50 miles this week, so I will reach my goal of 300 miles with a few miles to spare. We have already turned in $325 and when the rest of the money comes in, the total will be $1,100.

In times like this, it is best not to pray for patience - God may think you need more practice! I go in for a bone marrow biopsy on Friday and then will have to wait two more weeks for the results - ug. The bike/walk to Tanzania has been good motivation for me to get out of the chair and start getting back into shape. I am just a few miles away from my 300 mile goal and better yet, all the pledges will add up to around $1,000. Thanks again for your thoughts and prayers. Bruce

Money Matters and Deadlines

Message from Brooke - Please keep in mind the importance of the deadlines being adhered to. By paying on time it will give us one free Northwest ticket which will result in additional money to put back into our fundraising pot.

NOTE--Northwest Airlines has confirmed their rate but we knowingly accepted that the taxes could change, resulting in an altered rate. We will not know this for several months but please keep this in mind.

**If for any reason you have concern about the payments and/or the trip in general, please contact Brooke ASAP so that we may discuss.**

When: Wednesday, April 1st
Check Written to: Atonement
Cited on Subject Line: "Tanzania-Northwest Airfare"
Where: In Brooke's box, top drawer of her desk, or hand delivered to her.
Amount: You know who you are as to what your payment should look like--

When: Monday, April 6th
Check Written to: Atonement
Cited on Subject Line: "Tanzania-J & M Tours"
Where: In Brooke's box, top drawer of her desk, or hand delivered to her.
Amount: You know who you are as to what your payment should look like--

See Brooke's email from March 5, 2009 for more details.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ngorongoro Crater Area

A lion stands guard over the floor of the Ngorongoro Crater. Maybe we will see him on our safari in the Ngorongoro Crater Area (NCA) in Tanzania. (Marlene, thanks for the picture.)

The main feature of the NCA is the Ngorongoro Crater, which is the world's largest unbroken, unflooded volcanic caldera. The Crater, which formed when a giant volcano exploded and collapsed on itself some two to three million years ago, is 610 m (2,001 ft) deep and its floor covers 260 km² (102 square miles). Estimates of the height of the original volcano range from fifteen to nineteen thousand feet (4500 to 5800 metres) high.

Although thought of as "a natural enclosure" for a very wide variety of wildlife, up to 20% or more of the wildebeest and half the zebra populations vacate the Crater in the wet season.

An effect of this 'enclosure' situation means that the population of Ngorongoro lions is severely inbred, with many genetic problems passed from generation to generation. This is due to the very small amount of new bloodlines that enter the local gene pool, with very few migrating male lions entering the crater from the outside.

Animal populations in the crater include most of the species found in East Africa, but there are no impalas, topis, oribis, giraffes, or crocodiles.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Tanzania Game Night...Part 2?

Whether you were a part of the Game Night Task Team or just came to play we thank you! The prep work that was done made for a fairly flawless evening and all who were involved had positive feedback to bring. It was such a success that discussion is underway for a Tanzania Game Night Part 2 in the Spring. To Bette Croes and the Game Night Task Team-thank you for your hard work!