Saturday, November 5, 2011

Writing This Blog

Diane is the one who was keen on creating a blog when we landed in Tanzania two years ago. I was not interested in starting something that felt like yet another on-going commitment. So it's been a bit of a twist that while Diane has concentrated her energies on her plethora of responsibilities at our school I've turned out to be the main contributor.

It's a lot of work. Writing does not come easily to me. However, I like to imagine that my high school English teachers would be pleased that I can stay focused on a single theme, struggle to construct coherent paragraphs, effect transitions between them, and strive to create something that flows for the reader, with a beginning and an end.

The challenge is much intensified by the goal that I set early on of posting something two or three times a month. I had my doubts that I could come up with enough topics and ideas to keep up that pace, in effect, to produce a kind of periodical on a regular basis. So far, I've managed.

Again, it's a significant amount of work. Even to put up a few photos takes more than a few minutes. It involves simple editing such as cropping and increasing contrast; reducing the resolution since the pictures are only intended to be viewed on computer screens; and checking the resulting layout so that the size and placement of photos fit with the words.

So why do this? First, it's for the staff of our organization, Lay Mission-Helpers, who naturally have a constant and immediate interest in our experience of living and working in Tanzania. They would worry about us if we were silent for long periods of time, wouldn't you, Janice?

Secondly, our family and friends. It's difficult to describe for them being in a place that is so alien. But we try to give some idea of the differences, both at the most practical level as well as socially and culturally. And directly and indirectly it lets them know how we're doing.

Then, there may be people we don't know who may have an interest in East Africa because they have lived here or are thinking about doing so. They may find these posts enjoyable or enlightening.

Finally, we are writing this for ourselves as a personal journal. Diane and I debrief with each other almost every day over dinner. This blog provides another means to reflect on what's going on for us. Also, after we have left Tanzania it will serve as a record of our life here. We will really appreciate having it as the memories blur.

- Earl

[ As a rule we have been very hesitant about taking pictures of people. Some of them don't want you to. Some of them will want to be paid. That's unfortunate because there are all kinds of interesting sights that we would otherwise post.

Lately, though, I've finally become comfortable at least with posting photos of our students and other people who know us, who don't seem to mind.

We send multitudinous thanks to our friends Joe and Sharman who gave us the very nice point-and-shoot camera we've been using along with two high-capacity storage cards. ]

1 comment:

  1. The nights are cold in Yuba City and the leaves are dropping from the trees. Thoughts turn to turkey and pumpkin pie but already the stores are filled with Christmas decorations! We hope you have received the package we sent you of chocolate and other stuff, but I am afraid that I don't have a lot of confidence in the mail over there. Joe and I are heading to San Diego to see Leslie over Thanksgiving since she is working that day - we will have our dinner the day after, which is just fine with us. So glad you are using the camera to record your stay over there - thank you for the pictures you share with us.